Old Testament Temple, or New Testament Thinking?
I've been sharing how we've learned the Lord out of context: We've learned God in a temple system even though He has moved out of the building and into people, so that we are walking, talking, temples of God. (I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19)
The NT writers were consumed with the amazing reality of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col 1:27) Christ lives in our spirit man, so He is as close as the intentions of our hearts, as close as our most fleeting thought - not out in some Nebula in space where we have to fight through demons to get his ear.
The truth of Christ in us reveals praying for an open portal or open heaven, or going to the 3rd heaven, or fighting to take the kingdom of heaven, as obsolete Old Testament thinking. We have Christ in us. We have the kingdom of heaven, we have been given all spiritual blessings in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)
Temple thinking tries to add to the work of the cross by formulas to fix what is wrong in life. It tends to spiritualize moral, ethical, and common sense decisions, rather than walking in the New Testament truth of Christ in us, walking WITH Him through tough decisions requiring growth in Him.
Temple Thinking - Plead the Blood
A person who has a temple way of thinking doesn't understand the work of Jesus on the cross, and often doesn't realize the insult against Christ (blaspheme) they are committing when using various formulas. The Father in His graciousness, overlooks ignorance, and does what He can to meet them where they are.
The blood of Jesus is thought of as something which a believer may appropriate for his or her own use against the devil, applied in a ritualistic format: "I plead the blood of Jesus over this situation" or "I plead the blood over (fill in a name)" or even "I draw a blood line in the sand against you devil", or some combination.
New Testament Truth
The blood of Jesus was His blood and His alone to pour out ONCE to pay for the sin of the world. "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." (Eph 1:7)
Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood. (Heb 13:12)
The blood of Jesus was poured out as a sacrifice for us; how dare we think WE can use that blood to protect us as a talisman against the devil! His blood was ONCE poured, and is holy and to be honored as such.
No where in the NT do the authors teach the blood of Jesus is now given to us for spiritual warfare!
When people tell me stories about how successful their prayer was when they used 'plead the blood', I ask them - "Did you at any time use the name of Jesus?" They answer in the affirmative, and I tell them it wasn't the formula that did it, it was the fact for one sliver of time, one moment in that whole formula of much speaking, they used the Name, and THAT is what the Father through the Holy Spirit used - not the formula!
(Historical note: The phrase, 'plead the blood', popularized by Kathryn Kuhlman, was used by the great British Pastor, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), in sermons asking (I paraphrase); What shall you say O sinner when you stand before the Judge...I say, plead the blood, let your plea be, the blood of Jesus has paid for my sins...)
Temple Thinking - Casting Out Demons
This leads us to a related topic of temple thinking; formulas employed to deal with demons. There are books galore on dealing with demons in the spiritual realm, casting them out of the heavenly's, our cities, families, lives, and even 'deliverance' ministries all focused around the issues related to demons.
NT Thinking - Cast it Out!
If a demon manifests around a believer, the believer tells it to leave. WE recognize a thought from hell, we tell it to go and immediately replace that thought with a Godly one. Jesus said to cast out demons. Period. The apostles cast out demons. Period. We don't pray for them to leave, we command them to go. We have been given authority to use the name of Jesus in teamwork with the Holy Spirit, directed by He who lives within, to command demons out of people.
Temple thinking is largely fear based, on the defensive, thinking that things like pleading the blood or praying in tongues around demons helps the situation. Praying in tongues doesn't confuse the demon nor make him angry. It only reveals how ignorant believers are - just cast the thing(s) out and be done with it. No conversations with it, no asking for a history of how it got into the person, don't allow talk, vomit, or making a show - do what is right for the person needing deliverance and just cast the thing out by command.
Haven't you noticed how little the NT letters deal with demons? Most people get delivered, maybe 99.5% or more, by making right decisions. When the demon finds that person is not going to give in to sin, the demon leaves on his own to find a better host. That's why the NT says very little about Christians and demons - just walk in the Spirit and you shut the door and won't fulfill the desires of the flesh. (Gal 5:25)
Casting down strongholds, imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, from II Corinthians 10:4-6 is talking about our thoughts, not demons over cities or nations. Thoughts are the strongholds and imaginations that are lifted up against the knowledge of God. The NT is all about Christ in us, therefore we are immediately responsible and accountable to Him for our actions, thus Paul taught of becoming Christ-like, instead of 'the devil made me do it' thinking.
Don't get me wrong - we do wrestle as Paul stated in Ephesians 6. But we don't rely on formulas to see us through. New Testament reality is that we overcome by the amazing grace of Christ in us, that He is as close as a thought, empowering us to cast out demons as encountered, holding the sacredness of the blood of Jesus and what He did for us in our hearts to be cherished forever.
Ours is a simple faith, relationship based, focused on Christ in us, meeting with other living temples in homes as the New Testament outlines. More next week,