Hello from 36,000 feet (These are my air born musing): Episode 1.

I have been meditating on being strong in the Lord: “… be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10). What does that mean right now, today? If you get my Monday emails you have heard me talk a lot about the warrior analogy, “the warrior that doesn’t train dies in battle”. This is part of it for sure, men it is vital you are training your families now, praying for them now. Women the same thing goes for you. Is your personal relationship with God growing? Are you lifting up the leader of your house and your children in prayer? Single? It’s not too early to start praying for those future people God will probably bless you with.

 

God willing it never happens, but if you are all hauled off to jail and your children are taken from you and placed in a position where they have to defend their faith, the time for training will be over. If they are not ready, if you haven’t taught them how to pray they will not survive. If you are not trained up and you are not prayed up, you will not survive. The way the world is going friends, it is not unlikely that we will see this kind of persecution in the US in our lifetimes. The wheel of the sexual revolution, sexual rebellion, is rolling at greater and greater speed towards a collision with our Christian worldview.

 

But there is more to this being strong in the Lord thing, and it is directly tied to our status as being on the cusp of this current millennial generation. Being able to tell someone they are wrong. Notice in the Ephesians 6:10 verse it says in His power. This is another way of saying in His authority.

 

There are things that God has given us power over here on earth and things that He has not. A common delusion amongst many Christians today is the autonomy of will. The will of humans is either bound to God by ever increasing subjugation to the will of God revealed in the word of God or it is bound to the sin-nature that exists in each person. One only need look into Romans and Hebrews to get a complete and balanced picture of this human predicament. The lie of the autonomy of human will is one that even I have tripped into in the past. Not to long ago I would have been quoted as saying that God had granted humans a sovereign will. This is simply not the case, all will is bound to His glorious preordained purposes, and even more so any will that believes in its own autonomy. In other words, satan is far more an agent of God then he would want to admit or he would want you to believe. He was God’s agent in the garden, he was God’s agent when he put Jesus on the cross, and he will be the agent of God when he brings the rebellious to the valley in Israel for Jesus to destroy with the sword out of His mouth.

 

Since the devil is working for God it is silly to think one could bind him from accomplishing exactly what God has set him out to do. Yet, I hear this exact mantra from Christians many times, “I come against the devil” or “I bind the devil in the name of Jesus”. These statements are part of a humanist doctrine that has crept into the church. That is a book worthy subject and I won’t get into all that here. Go and search and you will find that you have to take scripture out of context to come to the conclusion that binding satan is something God has granted us the power to do. Let’s take the misquoted verse about throwing down the strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4) notice there is a realm of battle, “… against the knowledge of God… ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Jesus told his disciples to go into the world and preach and teach the gospel and that is the battlefield where we are granted to work in His power. Just some simple questions from church history shows that this is true. Starting with Jesus, Jesus cast out many demons and if anyone ever has the authority to bind them it was him. But He didn’t say that they were bound, as a matter of fact, he made it clear that they were free to return to the person and that they would return with “7 more worse than themselves”(Matthew 12:45). Still looking at Jesus in the garden, he didn’t say devil be bound, he said: “Thy will be done” (Luke 22:42). Next, the apostles didn’t go around binding the devil. You might say, but they cast demons out, yes they did because that is within the commandment of God to preach the gospel. Jesus told them to preach the gospel and one that is possessed is not able to receive the gospel until they are freed. Note that this again falls in line with 2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down what is against the knowledge of God. Lastly here, if you go looking throughout church history you are going to find that this concept of binding demons is an invention of the last 75 years. If satan could be bound than why would the reformers go to the stake quoting psalms 51? (You should pause and read that psalm if you haven’t lately) Why not go binding satan and thereby clear the way for their rescue? Because the idea of binding satan is not found in scripture. We see in scripture that God reserves the right to bind satan and he will bind satan, then release him, and then bind him again (Revelation 20:3).

 

What then does it mean in His power (authority)? This is a text about the gospel and affectatious gospel living. The lived out gospel. The warrior of Ephesians 6 is the God empowered gospel preacher. First, consider the need, have you ever stopped and considered the ludicrous nature of the gospel? A construction worker from 2000 years ago died as an enemy of the state and a bunch of people said they saw him alive. But wait theirs more, a bunch of ancient texts seem to have predicted it. This ridiculous message is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). No human preacher could ever be faithful to the gospel and at the same time sell this to the world. This was by design because the wise will be confounded and God will be the author of every true conversion (1 Corinthians 1:27). The conclusion to this is that only in the power of His might can this wise confounding message be preached.

 

God has not only made us sons but more glorious then that he has divinely appointed us ambassadors of the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:20) and He has designed the message only to be preach by the equipped warrior in the power of His might. Anyone who preaches without the armor will be destroyed by the gospel they preach. Anyone, that preaches without His power will see only a world laughing at their ridicules message, unless they have altered the message and then all they amount to is anathema (Galatians 1:8).

 

We have the granted authority to preach the gospel. This is the greatest honor bestowed on any of God’s creations. We need to stop fooling around in the humanistic fallacy that we have any power that extends beyond this glorious purpose. In order to be concise, think about our salvation. We have no power to even contend for our salvation outside the cross of Jesus Christ. Standing before God, our words would fail. In the light of his righteousness and His justice, we would turn and walk into hell fully accepting that we justly deserved that fate. Yet when we stand before that throne “clothed in glory not our own”, (Matt Redman. Endless Hallelujah) welcomed as beloved sons, we will begin to understand that all truth is His truth, all power is His power, all agents are His agents, all plans are His plans and all our wisdom counts for nothing, it is “hevel” (The Hebrew word translated Vanity in Ecclesiastes 1:2).

 

How could we think we have a purpose outside the icon of our salvation: the empty cross of Jesus Christ? What other purpose could we want other than to serve the body of Christ in such a way that this cross is properly, carefully, fearfully, and gloriously preached? The answer is none. Do not be led by humanism. Do not let some self-help spirituality preacher convince you that the warrior in Ephesians 6 is an archetype for anything other than affectations gospel living by the saint. Scripture has one meaning, it does not change, it has no private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20).

“We must put aside every foolish and dangerous notion that we can improve upon the gospel for the sake of the gospel, and stand with that great cloud of witnesses throughout the history of the church, who preached Christ crucified and raised according to the Scriptures”. – Paul Washer, The Gospel’s Power and Message.

 Think About That

Posted in Blog, Theology.