The Battle we Fight
The Battle We Fight (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
The believer battles. The Christian lives in confrontation. The faithful fight. No one could miss this in even a superficial reading of God's Word. We are to fight externally that outside us opposed to the gospel and to fight internally that within us opposed to the lordship of Christ. We are energetically reminded to "put on the armor of light" (Rom. 13:12) and "to put on the full armor of God" (Eph. 6:11). Paul commands us to "fight the good fight" (1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12). It requires endurance: "Endure hardship . . . like a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Tim. 2:3). Paul heartily addresses other Christians as "fellow soldiers" (Phil. 2:25; Philem. 2).
In the Christian life as warfare we need to understand where we fight, how we fight, and the enormous potential for victory.
Christians Battle in a Real Campaign
Christians battle in the world: "We live in the world" (v. 3). We must never forget the arena in which we battle. We still live in the flesh. We have all of the infirmities, weaknesses, exposures to temptation, and limitations that go with being a human among humans. The gospel itself is a treasure, but we carry that around in fragile clay pots of humanity (2 Cor. 4:7). Jesus prayed, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one" (John 17:15). Jesus left us in the world. We must live the Christian life in an environment that is ceaselessly hostile toward it.
Christians do not battle like the world: "We do not wage war as the world does." It is in no mere human strength that we battle the Christian war. For the conflict to tame ourselves within and to take the world without we are not dependent on anything that human nature can afford us. The church does not conquer on the basis of any kind of human strength—intellectual, physical, economic, institutional, or cultural. We do not win because we are sharper thinkers, strong fighters, richer spenders, or greater builders. We will not even make a dent in the world unless our weapons come from a supernatural source.
Christians Fight with Different Weapons
This calls for á definite refusal: "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world." This would pit us in a battle where mere human strength encountered other human strength. God intends us to battle in a campaign where divine power confronts human strength.
This makes an affirmation. Our weapons have "divine power." They are powerful in God's eyes, whatever the world thinks. They are powerful through God's enablement. They are powerful for God's cause. When we fight with God's weapons we find it self-evident that there is far more than human strength behind such weapons.
What are these weapons? The unbelieving world does not consider them to be weapons at all. They are comprehensive weapons, both offensive and defensive "in the right hand and the left hand." They include purity, understanding, patience, kindness, sincere love, truthful speech (2 Cor. 6:6-7). The weapons include truth, righteousness, preparation, faith, assurance of salvation, and the possession of the Spirit (Eph. 6:14-17). These are first inward weapons, "faith and a good conscience" (1 Tim. 1:19). These are intimately personal weapons: "offer the parts of your body as [weapons] of righteousness" (Rom. 6:13). We are to hand over the very limbs and organs of our body to the battle. Sometimes there is more. There may be supernatural manifestations of power such as Paul sometimes used (Acts 13:8-12).
The world does not recognize our weapons as weapons at all. Yet Christ conquered on His cross through these weapons. Only victories won with these weapons are His victories.
Christians Fight with Effective Weapons
God's weapons can conquer the unconquerable: "to demolish strongholds." The object of Roman siege warfare was to destroy fortresses that resisted. Christian weapons can tear down every wall. Christians do not avoid strongholds or cover them up—we confront them. These strongholds may be external: enemies of the gospel outside of us. They may be internal: compulsions, obsessions, fixations, involuntary thought processes, lack of self-restraint, etc.
God's weapons can explain the unexplainable: "we demolish arguments" (v. 4). With Christian weapons we can demolish theories, bring down deceptive fallacies, and destroy empty speculations. The simple proclamation of the gospel in power (1 Cor. 2:4) can overcome every objection to the truth of God.
God's weapons can assail the unassailable: "we demolish . . . every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God" (vv. 4b-5a). We witness in the face of obstacles, barriers, and walls that can be reared up by human authority against the knowledge of God. With divine weapons we can flatten such opposition.
God's weapons can capture the untakable: "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (v. 5b). The believer can fight within himself and within our culture to take captive all thought for Christ. Every scheme, design, and purpose can be brought to Christ and surrendered to Him.
The intent of God is total victory for Christ. One day everything that resists and opposes will fall before Him. He will be Christ the Victor!