“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” — 2 Corinthians 10:4 (NKJV)
The church today is divided over many issues, including war. Christians who are against any and all wars for any and all reasons usually dislike hymns like “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Do dedicated pacifists greet scriptures that talk about “our warfare” with equal comfort and disapproval? I hope not.
Neither hymn nor the scriptures have anything to do with the kind of war where people take up arms for the purpose of killing people on the other side. Regardless of what anyone thinks of American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, or any other war, “our warfare” is something else entirely.… Read the rest
“And Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hands.'” — Exodus 17:9 (NKJV)
Among the many gifts God gave Moses, his rod was a tangible object that he could use any way he chose in order to release God’s power. He usually used it wisely and with great effect. Sometimes he did not use it wisely, and it got him in trouble.
His best-known mistake came when God told him to speak to a rock so that water would come from it.… Read the rest
“Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?'” — Genesis 3:9 (NASB)
“. . . in order that I may gain Christ and may be found in Him. . .” — Philippians 3:8-9 (NASB)
As John Newton wrote in his great hymn, “I once was lost, but now am found.” Adam sinned, and then in shame, hid from God. How much better would the world have turned out if he had met God, confessed, apologized, and taken his lumps! Instead, he hid.
Now that the whole human race has been kicked out of Eden, we still hide.… Read the rest
What could have gone on in Jesus’ mind on Palm Sunday, as he received cheers that he knew would not last. Here was the Lord of the universe, deliberately riding a donkey into an ambush. He knew a judicial miscarriage of justice, an illegal trial followed by an ignominious death, awaited him in less than a week.
Fortunately, we don’t have to wonder what he thought. Paul tells us all we need to know. Jesus was God in human form: the fullness of deity, the maximum portion of being God that his fully human nature and body could hold.
He had laid aside all of his heavenly privileges to accept his humanity.… Read the rest
“Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all of your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.”–1 Peter 1:13, NRSV
The hymn says, “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war.” And the war is between our ears. We can’t avoid it. We have no human enemies! As Christians, our reborn spirit desires to serve Christ; our old sin nature desires to please our own flesh. Did you get mad when you read, “we have no human enemies?” That was the voice of your sin nature and its desire to get even with someone.… Read the rest