The way of war, the way of the sword and of battle, is the way of life.
Concerning the conquest of the Promised Land in the old covenant (which is a picture of the new covenant), it says: “There was not a city [sin] which made peace … they took them all in battle.” Joshua 11:19. And in the New Testament it says: “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:4.
Also: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4. (See also Job 7:1)
On this point many people have a completely mistaken (that is, human, or worldly) understanding of Christianity. Precisely because of this Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34.
In Song of Solomon 6:4 and 10 we read that the beautiful and lovely bride is also “awesome as an army with banners!” We must wage war against sin, use the sword, and be as awesome as an entire army!
Christianity is war against lying, unrighteousness, self-love, hypocrisy, etc. First, we must fight against these things in ourselves, and then against the same things in our beloved brothers who themselves want to be finished with sin; finally, we must fight against the spirit that wants to defend such madness (remaining in sin)!
The most awesome and skillful warriors are those who are the purest. God’s word is sharper than any two-edged sword; it divides between soul and spirit. (Hebrews 4:12) In other words, it kills us! It kills our self-will, our very own life, and thereby sin – which is, in any shape or form, our bitter enemy. Every thrust of the sword is a step forward on the way.
We can say that every sin conquered is a fortress taken. This illustration also applies to every soul that is set free.
“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.” Psalm 149:6. “By the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” 2 Corinthians 6:7. “Cursed is he who keeps back his sword from blood.” Jeremiah 48:10. These are very strong words! It pays to take them to heart – Jesus is the captain of our salvation. (Hebrews 2:10)
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing …” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
May we all be strengthened in our belief in victory to such an extent that we will come to what is written in Joel 3:10, “Let the weak say, ‘I am a mighty warrior!’” (Norwegian translation)
Let us follow Joshua and Caleb! They believed in victory – despite the doubting of the other 600,000 to 700,000 men over 20 years of age who bore arms. These two (together with the next generation) really entered the Promised Land while all the others died without entering – just because they, in unbelief, had feared the mighty enemies who were in the land. (Numbers 13 and 14; 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 and 1 Corinthians10:1-11; Hebrews 3:18-19)
It is always important to remind ourselves that we are at war so that we don’t start daydreaming and imagining that we are living in times of peace!
This article is taken from a chapter in the booklet “The Way of Life,” published in Norwegian by Skjulte Skatters Forlag in 1935. Its original title is “The Way of War.”
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