The call to follow Christ is a call to communion with God. But it is also a call to follow the Captain into conflict…a very real invisible war. From the Garden of Eden, to the contesting of Job, to the resisting by Satan in accusing Joshua the High Priest, to the temptation of Christ…we see that there is a very real action on the part of the enemy to destroy the testimony of God, of Christ and His church. When we get to the epistles of Paul, the veil is drawn back to reveal that Christ, by His accomplished work on the cross, and the resurrection, has “…spoiled principalities, and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15) But though these “principalities and powers” be conquered, they are still here, seeking always to usurp authority and power over the hearts and minds of men, women, boys and girls. One day, we shall be free of the influence of the enemy, but until then, we must come to grips with the fact that “…we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12) Paul goes on to say, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not WAR after (according to…) the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds…” (2 Cor. 10:5) So then, our enemy is a spiritual one…he has not changed in his tactics since he first appeared on the scene in the Garden. And he has but one purpose, “…to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (Jn. 10:10)
The question then follows, “What is the context of this conflict? And where is the war waged?” Again, as it was in Eden, so it is today. Paul says, (referring to the actual conflict…”), “… casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5) He is declaring that the battle is in the mind, and it is a conflict that centers in the truth. Why? Because Christ IS the truth, and there is no discrepancy between the Christ, and the objective truth of His word. God can never bless a lie, so if the enemy, by one means or another, can persuade us to believe a lie, then we will not know the power of the Spirit. And without the power of the Spirit, nothing is possible in this life of victory to which we have been called.
One last word concerning our present day, embedded in the “last days.” Paul says to Timothy that in the last days, “difficult times will come.” What does he mean? What did Christ mean when we said, “And when the Son of Man cometh, will He find faith on the earth?” Without the strict pursuit and maintenance of the truth, in mind and heart, faith will not have its basis in the life. The writer to the Hebrews said this: “…Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Heb. 2:1) “How shall we escape if we NEGLECT so great salvation?” (v.3)
Since Pentecost, the history of the church reveals the spiritual conflict centered on the issue of truth. The battle rages on today. So that it is fitting that we should make the Word of God our centerpiece of consideration and study, first of all to believe and obey, but then, to have in our hearts that we might be able to give an answer for the hope that is within us. To us at this time, has been entrusted the great truths of Scripture. Let us be good stewards of the treasure and task, and let us take up the weapons of our warfare, to fight the good fight. “Ye shall know the TRUTH, and the truth shall set you free…If the SON shall set you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (Jn. 8:32,36)