God, by His omnipotence, will one day end the great war between good and evil. He will repair, reconstruct, restore, and repossess His entire creation (Isa 11:6-9, 65:17-25; Rom 8:20-22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1-4). Until that time, however, prudence would suggest that we keep an eye on Satan who, contrary to popular opinion, never expected to overpower God by force and establish a separate but equal kingdom of evil. Satan merely seeks to discredit God and God’s relationship with man in full view of all the angels in Heaven! He argues that God is no longer perfect. Satan laments that God’s character has been altered as an unfortunate consequence of His love for man. God’s wisdom and truth have become illogical, His holiness has been compromised and His once absolute justice is now relative and situational. Satan offers to help God purge Himself of this affliction by driving an irremovable wedge between God and man and facilitating an alienation that cannot be reconciled. Satan attempts with one crafty thrust to both assail God’s beloved humans and show up God as an altruistic fool. Satan claims that any man who seeks the great gift of reconciliation with God does so only because it pays (Job 1:9-11; 2:4-5). Satan says anytime God will let him break the link between seeking righteousness and receiving blessing, the so-called “born again” man will be exposed as the same old filthy sinner he was before receiving the great gift of salvation. In other words, the overall concept of salvation by faith, the grace of God and the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ is a sham. God cannot give it, Jesus cannot pay for it and you cannot receive it. According to Satan, it’s all smoke and mirrors so that God can save his wretched humans without appearing to compromise His character.
Satan claims that: (1) so-called redemption from the bondage of sin does not really set you free, (2) God has no real basis for offering forgiveness of your sin, (3) for God to justify you as sinless is a perversion of justice, (4) you are not deserving of adoption into God’s family, (5) you can never be truly regenerated from the death of sin to a life of pursuing righteousness, (6) your walk along the path of sanctification is an exercise in self-delusion, (7) you will never be reconciled with so-called fellow believers, (8) a unified church of Jesus Christ is a myth and (9) you have no hope of glorification in heaven. This is the adversary’s clever attempt to permanently subvert the relationship between God and man and show all the angels in Heaven that God’s plan for reconciliation is fraudulent. If the salvation offered to every man and woman can be exposed as a perversion of wisdom, holiness, justice, and truth, then a chasm of alienation stands between God and man that cannot be bridged. Reconciliation would be unthinkable. God’s whole enterprise in creation would be radically and irrevocably flawed; He could only sweep it away in awful judgment as He nearly did once before (Gen 6:5-7).
Because God decided not to exercise his omnipotence to end the great war between good and evil in an instant, He insisted that the spiritual forces of good and evil follow certain Rules of Engagement. These rules may be renegotiated from time to time and may prevent Satan from completely destroying our lives. Conversely, the Rules of Engagement may also prevent God from exercising some power that might be construed as an unfair advantage in the eyes of the “rulers and authorities” in heavenly realms who are watching this war unfold (Eph 3:10). The Rules of Engagement define such items as: when and where battles are waged, how winners and losers are determined, the consequences of winning and losing, the Allowed Weapons for each side and the Constraints on Effectiveness for each weapon. The primary Allowed Weapon for God’s human soldiers is prayer because, alone, we don’t stand a chance against the dark powers.
In a spiritual courtroom, somewhere in heaven, Satan is the prosecutor, Jesus Christ is the defense attorney and God the Father is judge. We are the defendants. This is a Bench Trial so there is no jury. The courtroom is filled with rulers and authorities transfixed by what is unfolding before them. As in most trials, the prosecutor is the accuser and the defense attorney is the defender. Another name for defender is intercessor.
Satan is accusing us 24/7 probably with the frequency of cosmic gamma burst radiation (Rev 12:10). If we have accepted the great gift of salvation, Jesus Christ is interceding on our behalf (Heb 7:25) to defend us against each accusation. But unlike the characters in a Perry Mason episode, the cold facts about our shortcomings are known at the outset by both the prosecution and the defense. This spiritual courtroom is about establishing, not the existence, but the consequences of undeniable sins.
Our guilt before God is removed by the great gift of salvation by which we are redeemed, forgiven, justified, adopted, regenerated, guided along the path of sanctification, reconciled with fellow believers, united in the church of Jesus Christ and looking forward to glorification. But our sorry behavior, even after we have been saved, still has consequences in this life. Satan not only wants the unsaved to join him in eternal damnation, but he would also like to minimize God's response to the prayers of the saved. Could our sinful nature and behavior along with our inadequate prayer warrior attributes, by the Rules of Engagement, continually lower the effectiveness of our prayers?
We could ask God for the wisdom (Jam 1:5) to comprehend precisely how the Rules of Engagement are constraining the effectiveness of our prayers. Unfortunately, the shear ferocity and frequency of Satan's unrelenting attack and the complexity of creation make it unlikely that we could fully understand and satisfy these rules. But remember, Jesus Christ is not just a lackadaisical defense attorney going through the motions. He is an advocate who wants us to win! He wants us to overcome the shackles of constraint on the power of our prayer. Perhaps we could ask our advocate, Jesus Christ, to break the shackles on the power of our prayer by: (a) showing us how, with God's grace, we can overcome certain constraints and (b) re-negotiating the Rules of Engagement in our favor.
As defense attorney, Jesus is interceding on our behalf to lessen the consequences, in both this life and the next, of our undeniable sins; in this life, Jesus wants to increase the power of our prayers. Aspects of His intercession include:
- The objects of His intercession are the world, the church and every individual who stretches out his hand to receive the gift of salvation.
- The presence of Christ in heaven keeps this sinful earth from imminent destruction (Ps 75.3).
- Christ makes intercession for transgressors, not for the righteous (Is 53:12).
- Christ’s intercession, as high priest, makes us and our worship acceptable to God.
- The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf by helping our prayers be more useful to Jesus Christ (Rom 8:26 - 27). This merging of two intercessors - one within heaven and one within our souls – is the guarantee of our communion with God and acceptable prayer.
- For every believer, Christ represents both the Propitiation and the Paraclete in the presence of the Father.
The Bible has much more to say about Jesus Christ as our defense attorney and the comprehensive role of intercession in Scripture.