When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, his work among them was being ridiculed by “some…who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.” (2 Cor. 10:2) Because these people were still walking (living) according to their flesh nature, which Paul wrote elsewhere was “enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7), they could not conceive of any other possible way of living, not even for Paul who had carried on the work of God in their midst for years. Paul went on to say, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
When we couple this thought with what Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12) and what he had already told the Corinthians, “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14), we have a picture of the warfare that God calls us to – a spiritual warfare that consists of wrestling against evil demonic beings and using spiritually discerned truth to bring our own thoughts and the thoughts and beliefs of others into obedience to the truths of Christ. Because there is no neutral ground, every action we take that is not spiritually oriented in Christ becomes an act of warfare against Christ and God. This ought to be sobering indeed.
The “church” is built upon carnality. Nicolaitan overlords and their followers practicing sectarian division, lawlessness (doing what is right in one’s own eyes – Jdgs. 21:25), envy, and self-seeking – all this and more are the building blocks with which the “church” is assembled. “Theology” is learned and taught, not at the leading of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26, 16:13), but according to the “theologies” and “doctrines” of men and denominations (heresies – Gal. 5:20) and the tradition of men makes the Word of God, the Spirit of truth (Eph. 6:17) of no effect among the people of God.
Paul wrote, “Love never does a wrong to one’s neighbor; so love is the perfect satisfaction of the law. And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us behave (walk) properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Rom. 13:10-14)
As the battle cry sounds forth, we must know what our weapons are and what they are not. The one who brings only natural abilities to the battlefield is on the wrong side of the war. The one who has not endured the training necessary to conduct spiritual warfare is a casualty waiting to happen. The one who has humbly bowed before the King of truth and allowed Him to mold and shape His warrior is the one who will still be standing when the battle is done.
The Old Testament records this event:
Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control – for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies – then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’” So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day. Then Moses said, “Dedicate yourselves today to the Lord – for every man has been against his son and against his brother – in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.” (Ex. 32:25-29)
As we seek to apply this – especially in the atmosphere of rampant religious violence perpetrated by zealous fanatics – let us be abundantly clear that no true follower of Christ can physically take up arms against Christians or even non-Christians and rightly claim to have God’s blessings and approval. Our weapons are not the weapons of this world, our enemies are not human beings and this is not how God spiritually purifies His body! Jesus commanded His true followers, “I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt. 5:44) and the Revelation warns us, “If anyone leads into captivity, to captivity he goes; if any one kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.” (Rev. 13:10) Those who fail to heed the warnings about using this world’s weapons are destined to experience them – from the other end!
Yet we must also remember that Jesus warned His disciples, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’” (Mt. 10:34-36) Make no mistake – as we learn to wield the spiritual weapons of Christ, we will bring about enmity. As John wrote, “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (Jn. 3:20) As our light exposes darkness, some will react with the carnal weapons of this world and will rise up and kill the true followers of Christ thinking they are thereby serving God. This is the unavoidable nature of the warfare into which we have been plunged. Anyone who would remain on the Lord’s side throughout the battle must be prepared to stand against the demands of his own flesh and blood even as he refuses to fight against them with the fleshly weapons of this world.
Paul wrote, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may become blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.” (Phlp. 2:14-16) He also wrote, “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:24-26) And Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (Jn. 10:27) These are the responsibilities that is upon everyone who intends to be saved when all the warfare is finished. Since the “church” promotes, intentionally or otherwise, a virtually responsibility-free gospel, the truth is much less popular than is the “church’s” so-called “kingdom of grace” deceptions that scratch and tickle ears.
War in this world is all out, kill or be killed, or, as one observer aptly said, “organized murder.” And there are applications of this attitude that we could emulate in our war against the evil, spiritual beings who manipulate and mastermind the war of Satan against God. It is certain that our enemy is much more committed to all-out warfare than are those who call themselves “Christians”! But overall we do not need to practice any kind of desperate warfare. In truth, we are not desperate. We face a foe who has been defeated but who has not yet surrendered (nor will he ever surrender; he must be overcome yet again in the lives of the end time saints – Rev. 12:11 – and then he will be captured and imprisoned – Rev. 20:1-3 – but he will never voluntarily surrender as after having been imprisoned for a thousand years he is released and rises up in war against God again. – Rev. 20:7-8) But even now we stand in a position of strength and greater resources than our enemy although, if we can only see with our natural eyes, we would seem to be completely outgunned, outclassed, outnumberd and outmatched. Only when we have spiritual eyes will we see the armies of the Lord that so vastly outnumber and overwhelmingly hold the superior position over the enemy who has already been imprisoned on this planet so as to limit his corruption among the creation and who has already experienced having all of his powers undone at the cross of Christ.
The trumpets are sounding – the cry to advance the cause of the Lord is going forth. Let us shake off every tradition of men and teaching of demon that would hinder us from being on the Lord’s side and taking up His armor and weapons of light, love, truth and righteousness. “Let us purify ourselves of every filth of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 7:1) Let us rise up with holy fervor and pray mightily against the spiritual forces of deception and darkness which plague our world. Let us serve our fellow human beings with love and compassion as we speak the truth that Christ alone is the solution to our world’s problems.
This is the call to arms that is ringing out. This is our battle cry!
Let he who has ears hear.