As we discussed yesterday, Jesus made it clear that we would endure hardship in this life. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, it is clear through the repetition of “heavenly realms” (1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12) that Christian existence is not merely on an earthly plane. It receives its meaning and significance from heaven, where Christ is exalted at the right hand of God.
Paul shares a prayer so that Christians may realize God’s purpose and power: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Eph. 1:18-21) The hope we have is a complete assurance of certain victory through Christ Jesus. As Christians, we can be confident that God has won the final victory and is in control of everything.
In the letter to the Romans, Paul shows his readers that suffering does not separate believers from Christ but actually carries them along toward their ultimate goal. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39) Powers are the unseen forces of evil in the universe, forces like Satan and his fallen angels. In Christ, we are super conquerors, and His love will protect us from any such forces. It is impossible to get beyond God’s loving reach (see Eph 3:17–19).
Jesus warned us “in this world you will have trouble” because Satan is constantly battling against all who are on God’s side, and this is a fallen world. But we have the One-True God on our side who has given us supernatural power through the Holy Spirit in us and His armor surrounding us. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:10-12) No matter the lies you hear that tell you all is lost, remember Jesus told Peter, “…on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matt. 16:18)