Were there no sin, there would be no war. Were there no world sin, there would be no world war. War makes at least one contribution to human salvation—it is sin’s apocalypse. It reveals the greatness and the awfulness of evil, and corrects that light and easy conception of it which had come to mark culture and belittle redemption. This war’s revelation of human wickedness may perhaps do something to relieve us of a comely and aesthetic type of religion which is rounded, not on a salvation, but on the divine excellence of that glorious creature man, and on the facilities for his evolution. It may recall us to the estimate of him presented by the very existence of Christianity as a religion, which declares his one need to be redemption.P. T. Forsyth, The Justification of God, Adelaide: New Creation Publications, 1988 [London, Independent Press, 1917], page 19.
The demonic is absolutely essential in understanding Jesus’ interpretation of the picture of sin and of humanity’s need for the Kingdom of God. People are in bondage to a personal power stronger than themselves. At the very heart of our Lord’s mission is the need of rescuing people from bondage to the satanic kingdom and of bringing them into the sphere of God’s Kingdom. Anything less than this involves an essential reinterpretation of some of the basic facts of the gospel.G. E. Ladd, New Testament Theology, Revised Edition, Eerdmans 1993, page 50.
As we look at history, what we see is often not merely the impersonal and unmeaning but the irrational and the mad. The face that looks through at us is akin often to the insane. Certainly as Jesus looked at people, He saw them not always as rational moral units or self-contained autonomous spirits; He saw their souls as a battle-ground, an arena or theatre of tragic conflict between the opposed cosmic powers of the Holy Spirit of God and Satan.W. Manson, “Principalities and Powers”, in Jesus and the Christian (1967), quoted in G. E. Ladd, New Testament Theology, Revised Edition, Eerdmans 1993, page 50. Emphasis in original.