Ephesians 2:1 You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.
From 1967 to 1971 my family lived in Guatemala City, Guatemala. During that time there was a protracted guerilla war between various communist factions, the army, and right wing death squads.
There were bomb scares, and bombings, people gunned down in the streets in broad daylight. People you knew were killed or “disappeared”. You kept your guard up and were vigilant and protective. To this day, certain sounds can put me on instant “alert”. There were times of calm, but you never forgot there was a war going on.
The New Testament says the world is in a spiritual war. Paul says that some of us were combatants on the enemy side, serving an evil power, until we saw the light and came over to the good side.
The Church has gone through times when it pretends it is not at war, or times when it mistakes the enemy’s human combatants for the real enemy who has deluded them.
Blessedly we are not always aware of the war, and certainly God grants us many times of peace. Even more blessedly we are given opportunities to see some of the victories in this combat.
But we must never forget that we are in a war against “the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now at work in those who are disobedient.” There is an enemy who hates all the people God has made.
Our mission is to reach out to those who are still deluded into fighting for the other side, with the same forgiveness and charity that won us to the army of the crucified Christ.