As we saw, the word translated as principalities could refer to world rulers or supernatural powers that attempt to exercise control over human life.
Another Greek word that is used in conjunction with the word principalities (archai) is the word stoicheia, which literally means elements, or elementary substances or principle. The contexts in which stoicheia is used reveal other aspects of this fallen world from which we have been redeemed by Christ’s victory on the cross.
Given the context of what we are talking about, from what other things have we been delivered through Jesus, other than literal evil powers? See Col. 2:8, 14, 20; Gal. 4:1-11, especially verses 3 and 9.
The New Testament, especially Paul’s concept of the powers, seems to connect spiritual beings to forces or powers that rule over human life outside of Christ. These could be political, social, traditional, even religious. The word stoicheia used in Galatians 4:3, 9 talks of the system of heathenism from which the Christians in Galatia had been delivered. It is used also in reference to aspects of the ancient Jewish legal system. In Colossians 2:8, 20, it refers metaphorically to worldly philosophical principles. In Isa. 24:21 the phrase the kings of the earth upon the earth implies that the high ones that are on high refers to Satan and the evil angels. Paul refers to Satan as the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), and to the unseen leaders of evil as the rulers of the darkness of this world that abide in high places (Eph. 6:12). In 1 Cor. 15:24-25 Paul refers to their subjugation by Christ. Isaiah foresees the time when evil angels and evil men will all suffer punishment (seeMatt. 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4, 9; Rev. 20:10-15). − The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4, pp. 198, 199.
In short, the Bible teaches us that life is ruled by a series of powers, both personal and impersonal. Without Christ, man is at the mercy of these powers, in whatever form they come. The pressures of the present moment, not to mention the fear of the future, as well as the demands of life, society, tradition, and ideology, all can exert influences that can separate a person from the Lord. But through Christ we have been acquitted not only of our sins but also from our bondage to these powers. We need to understand the nature of that victory and claim it as our own.
Besides the supernatural realities that exist in our world, with what other forces and influences do you struggle, forces and powers that work against you and your faith? First you need to identify what they are and then claim the promises you have in Jesus in order to gain victory over them.