We are not pure spirits; our bodies are as much a part of our real selves as our spirits, if we can make that distinction. The Bible does, at least in terms of looking at humans from different angles. The idea that the warfare Christians engage in is spiritual and not physical is in terms of the reality that there are pure spirits which are not physical which are active in the world, called demons. They consist in the biblical story of angels which rebelled against God’s rule and were cast out of heaven, although at least some of them of a higher rank seem to inhabit a heavenly domain. Perhaps they all do, but their focus seems to be on the earth, precisely on human beings. They are led by the one called Satan, the devil, who is designated in one place as “the prince of the power of the air” and they are at work in and among human beings, specifically “the disobedient” (Ephesians 2). They remain active in seeking to undermine God’s will in creation and new creation in which human beings, made in God’s image, play a central part.
This is the warfare in which Christians are involved, a battle in which the faithful are called to be strong in the Lord and take up the full armor of God, standing in resistance against the spiritual enemy (Ephesians 6). We need to learn that the true battle lies there, not elsewhere, if we’re to see the gospel make headway into people’s lives and effect an entirely new culture, the church, which can’t be replicated in this world. Jesus is King and is triumphant in this battle and by extension, we in him.
A battle which lasts the duration of this life and present sphere until the day comes when final judgment and salvation in Jesus arrives. And we will understand the difference then, this present battle interwoven in our existence and life in this world. Of which we need a healthy awareness, even while knowing by faith the victory that is ours in Jesus Christ our Lord.