"Before the Time"
A Fifth Column of Faith Behind Enemy Lines
When Jesus met the man filled with demons at Gadara, the demons cried out, “What do you have to do with us, Son of God? Did you come here before the time to torment us?” (Matthew 8:29). The answer is, Yes, Jesus has come before the time.
What time? The time appointed for the torment of evil powers. The time of Matthew 25:41, “Depart from me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” These demons in Matthew 8:29 are admitting that a time is set for their torment. They know they are doomed. They do not fight in hope of victory. They fight to drag as many of us down with them as they can.
Demons know that Christ will be the one to cast them into torment in the end. They recognize him and cry out, “It’s not time yet! You’re early!” Demons not only know they are doomed; they know who will most certainly defeat them--Jesus Christ. They fear him!
Demons learned a mystery in Matthew 8:29. They knew they were doomed. They knew the Son of God would be the victor. But they didn’t know until it happened that Christ was coming before the time of final defeat. Christ is not going to wait until the atom bomb drops to end the war. He has begun to lead a subversive force into the territory of Satan. He has trained a “life-squad” to perform daring rescue operations. Christ has plotted many tactical victories before the time of the final strategic victory.
The resulting wartime mentality:
Since Satan’s doom is sure and he knows it, we can always remind him of it when he tempts us to follow him. We can laugh and say: “You’re out of your mind. Who wants to join forces with a loser?!”
We are not merely holding out for V-Day. We can meet Christ now in the Black Forest and be trained by him to raid the death camps and set people free to join the fifth column of the invading Christ.
The church is the liberated enemy of the “god of this world.” We are the guerillas and the gadflies. We are the insurgency in the rebel kingdom of the “prince of the power of the air.” It is not safe. But it is thrilling. Many lives are lost. Satan’s forces are ever on the lookout for our subversive activity. Christ has guaranteed resurrection for all who fight to the death. But he has not guaranteed comfort, or acceptance from the world, or prosperity in enemy territory. Many have gladly given their lives behind the lines running errands for the Commander. I can think of no better way to live…or die!
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org