Monday, May 02, 2011

Birth of the Every Day Warrior

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions[a] are(A) at war within you?[b]

James 4:1

Yes, they are at war. In fact, if they are not at war than you need to sit back and evaluate whether you are even truly a believer. Sanctification is war. The Spirit is putting to death O' the wretched men we are. If there is no war, is there really sanctification? If there is no sanctification is there truly salvation? God chose us to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit (2 Thess 2:13). Indeed, God's will is our sanctification (1 Thess 4:3). The day you became a believer, you were enlisted into battle. From the day of your spiritual birth in Christ till the day Christ comes again, your spirit and flesh will be at war. Your spiritual birth is the birth of the every day warrior. It is an awakening to the realities of your sinfulness and Christ's righteousness. It is a battle we must fight every day. Every day we have to battle against our sinful desires. This war, however, is not like any other war. This war has all ready been won. It's the Kingdom vs. the world and Christ has all ready overcome the world. Now we know that if Christ has overcome the world than we too have overcome the world in Christ. Christ is the firstborn among many brothers and His brothers have also been predestined to be conformed to His image.
"29For those whom he(A) foreknew he also(B) predestined(C) to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be(D) the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also(E) justified, and those whom he justified he also(F) glorified." 

Romans 8:29-30

We have been predestined, called, justified and glorified. So by this we know that

1. God predestined or ordained us to be brothers and sisters in Christ.

2. Because we were predestined, God then calls us with an irresistible calling through God's Word.

3. In answering His call, we are justified or vindicated by Christ in accordance with the law of righteousness.

4. Being justified we are also then glorified in that we are now one with God. The Spirit of the living God lives within us and causes us to shine in the world. We are the light of the world.

If then we truly are the light of the world, we can not be overcome.

"In him was life,[a] and(G) the life was the light of men. 5(H) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. "

John 1:4

In Jesus was the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God was the light of men. The Spirit of God shines in the world and the world has not overcome Him.

When the terms world and flesh are used in the bible, they, in most circumstances, are not meaning the earth and our skin. When it says in Romans 12, do not be conformed to this world, Paul is talking about the ways of this world not the world itself. When it says not to gratify the desires of the flesh, it is talking about our sinful nature. In John 1 when the term darkness is mentioned, the demonic powers of the devil and his army as well as the desires and ways of our own sinful nature are implied. This is the "world".

Now we can take comfort in knowing that these demonic forces can not over come the Spirit of God. So if we share in God's Holy Spirit than we too are the light of the world. Matt 5:14 says plainly,

"You are the light of the world."

Christ is speaking of His elect in this passage. Those whom He predestined, called, justified and glorified. We are the light of the world and the darkness will not overcome the light. The world can not overcome us! We know that Christ has overcome the world all ready.

"In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world."

John 16:33

In fact, because of this:

"4For(A) everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—(B) our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes(C) that Jesus is the Son of God?"

1 John 5:4-5

Our faith in Christ, who overcame the world, is our victory. And we know that God freely gives faith to those whom He has called. Our faith is given by God's grace. It is a measure of God's grace and not of our own power.

"8For(A) by grace you have been saved(B) through faith. And this is(C) not your own doing;(D) it is the gift of God, 9(E) not a result of works,(F) so that no one may boast. 10For(G) we are his workmanship,(H) created in Christ Jesus(I) for good works,(J) which God prepared beforehand,(K) that we should walk in them."

Ephesians 2:4-5

How comforting would it be to go to war knowing that with this one weapon you would surely win? What if this weapon didn't have to be earned? What if this weapon was given to you and in it being given, you also knew that it could never be taken away from you? That is the faith that God gives us. It is irresistible! Yes, we are in a war but we have faith. Faith is our victory! Faith doesn't guarantee us that we will personally overcome every sinful desire that we face each and every day but it does guarantee us of Christ's victory in our place. Faith doesn't make us sinless by nature but justifies us by law and inspires us to wrestle with sin.

Once again we are not fighting the physical world.

"12For(A) we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against(B) the rulers, against the authorities, against(C) the cosmic powers over(D) this present darkness, against(E) the spiritual forces of evil(F) in the heavenly places."

Ephesians 6:12

We are fighting with the evil desires and passions that are aroused by the darkness of this world. In the Spirit, our desire is to glorify God but in the flesh we want to glorify self and satisfy our selfish desires.

"14For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh,(A) sold under sin. 15For I do not understand my own actions. For(B) I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with(C) the law, that it is good. 17So now(D) it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells(E) in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19(F) For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want,(G) it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22For(
H) I delight in the law of God,(I) in my inner being, 23but I see in my members(J) another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from(K) this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Roman 7:14-25

"17For(A) the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other,(B) to keep you from doing the things you want to do."

Galatians 5:17

These two are opposed to each other. The flesh (or sinful nature) and the Spirit are at war! Every day we face this war. We have to fight each and every day to walk in the Spirit. Again we can have confidence that God not only has justified us through faith but also empowers us to live in faith. To walk in the Spirit is to walk by faith.
"For we walk by faith and not by sight."

2 Corinthians 5:7

We must pray to God that He will give us the strength to walk in the His Spirit and to forgive us in Christ when we fail.

"If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."

Eph 5:25

If indeed we walk by the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Eph 5:16). We are God's beloved and He has given us His Spirit as a guarantee and seal of our salvation (Eph 1:13-14). This war that we are in is God's blessing of sanctification. Sanctification is the process of transforming fully into the image of Christ through knowledge of His Word and by applying this knowledge to the trials of this world by the power of the Spirit. We are blessed to face these trials in life because we know that God is purifying us through them. Are you in a war? You should be. One of the marks of the samurai was there courage and bravery. To run was cowardly and humiliating. We must be brave and step up to the challenges of life that leave us vulnerable. If we are God's children created in His image, than we too are warrior's because,
"The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is His name."

Exodus 15:3

Warriors can not be cowards. Warriors live by a code and indeed we do have a code. The Christian Bushido is the fruit of the Spirit and we can only produce this fruit, if we are walking in the Spirit. We must be brave and fight the good fight of faith like Godly warriors every single day. We are Every Day Warriors.

11Beloved, I urge you(A) as sojourners and exiles(B) to abstain from the passions of the flesh,(C) which wage war against your soul.

1 Peter 2:11

1 comment:

shzam5 said...

Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I get so discouraged b/c of the constant struggles with my sin. Your article is a needed reminder to me that the fact that I am battling (hating the sin that I do, desiring to do what I don't) is a sign that I am loved by God, being sanctified. As "everyday warriors" we realize that growth in holiness is very much associated with the knowledge of our total dependence on Christ for everything. My weapons stink-they always fail. His weapons endure-He is sufficient, no matter what battleground He takes me through.