The Christian Soldier

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The Christian Soldier and the Art of War is a book that I have been inspired to write from the book entitled: The Art of War which is a compilation of the works of Sun Tzu who was a Chinese general who lived around 500 B.C. Sun Tzu’s ideas spread to the rest of Asia, in particular, to Japan. In fact, the Japanese quickly adopted Sun Tzu’s teaching into their military manuscripts. Sun Tzu has played a major part in this development of military strategies in the natural realm. In this book we will deal with many of these principles of “the art of way” as it relates to the believer living the spiritual life as a Christian soldier.

2TI 2:4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

Grace Bible Church
Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin
The Art of war, the Christian soldier.

1 Introduction to the Christian Soldier

As a prisoner of the Roman Empire for over five years, the Apostle Paul was often chained between Roman soldiers, PHI 1:13. His daily exposure to the Roman army and its way of life provided Paul with many insights into warfare; he then applied these concepts to the believer’s spiritual conflict when writing his letters to the Church. Paul’s prison epistles include the letter to the Ephesians. Ephesians chapter 6 is one of the clearest passages on spiritual warfare in Scripture and will figure prominently in this book.

In 2TI 2:1, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and declared, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

2TI 2:2, “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

2TI 2:3, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”

2TI 2:4, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”

 

2TI 2:5, “And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.”

Now, as believers, we have been commanded to “fight the good fight of faith” under the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1TI 6:12.

1TI 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

 

Notice what Paul wrote to Timothy in 2Timothy 4:7:

 

 

2TI 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

Paul continued in 2Timothy 4:8 by saying:

 

 

2TI 4:8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing

 

The point of this passage is that every believer has been enlisted in the spiritual army of God as a soldier of Jesus Christ. However, it is a sad truth that most believers have not and do not listen to God’s Word. They have not been digging in the Scriptures for the precious metals and valuable gems of Bible doctrine. Most believers have not been sensitive and respectful to God’s Book. They have not learned His truths. And, in fact, they have gone AWOL (Absent With Out Leave) from the Word of God and the spiritual life. They have been side-lined or put on the injured list and are casualties in the Angelic Conflict. They have not been living like Christian soldiers.

 

There are many interesting analogies within the Word of God between a soldier in the natural realm and a soldier in the spiritual realm. For example, a soldier must give up his personal freedom in order to serve his country. Similarly, a believer is directed to give up his freedom to serve The Lord Jesus Christ. This voluntary surrender of personal freedom in order to serve God is the principle behind such passages as Matthew 16:24 where Matthew recorded, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’”

 

Matthew further quoted Jesus in Matthew 16:25 and wrote, “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.”

 

In Galatians 5:13 Paul declared, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through [impersonal] love serve one another.”

 

And in 1Peter 2:16, Peter stated, “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.”

 

So, we conclude that a soldier must give up his freedom to serve his country. Similarly, the Christian soldier is directed by Scripture to give up his freedom to serve The Lord Jesus Christ.  A soldier must leave all of his worldly affairs behind as he goes forward to serve his country. This principle of unfettered service is what Paul cited in 2Timothy 2:4 when he wrote, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”

 

Now, intensive training is the first thing a soldier undergoes after enlistment in the military. Likewise, the first thing all believers need is spiritual training accomplished through the intake of Bible doctrine. As believers, we are to be armed with the full armor of God. Please note the corrected translation of Ephesians 6:10

 

Eph 6:10  “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.”

 

Eph 6:11, “Pick up and put on the full armor ‘from’ God, so that you may be able to ‘hold your ground’ against the ‘strategies’ of the devil.”

 

The next verse in this passage, verse 12, explains why we need to put on the full armor from God – because we have formidable enemies.

 

EPH 6:12, “For our warfare is not against blood and flesh [against human beings], but against the rulers [demon generals, commanders like Abaddon and Apollyon, Beelzebub], against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness [demon ambassadors to world rulers and demon conspirators], against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens [rank and file demons].”

 

EPH 6:13, “Therefore, pick up and put on the full armor from God, so that you may be able to hold your ground in the day that evil attacks you, and having done everything, hold your ground.”

 

EPH 6:14, “Hold your ground therefore, after you have buckled on your combat gear around your waist with truth [a reference to the perception and application of Bible doctrine] and [after] having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”

 

EPH 6:15, “[hold your ground] after you have put on your combat boots on your feet with the readiness [or preparation, equipment] of the gospel of peace.”

 

EPH 6:16, “In addition to all [all of these items of military equipment], taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish [intercept and destroy] all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”

 

EPH 6:17, “And take [or receive favorably and welcome] the helmet of salvation, and [receive favorably and welcome] the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

 

Now, the point emphasized in these verses is that there is a great and powerful enemy kingdom surrounding you. This kingdom is doing its best to stop you from going forward in the plan of God for your life and to hinder your spiritual growth. This kingdom is called “the kingdom of darkness” and is controlled by your adversary, the devil, in 1Peter 5:8. Satan is a very powerful king ruling on earth with a desire to first seduce and to ultimately defeat the believer. The potent spiritual attacks from Satan and his “kingdom of darkness” are why so many believers are seduced today. The god or king of this world, Satan, continually throws the darts of his many philosophies at the believer until he finally sees one hit the target – the soul.

 

We know that Satan is a king because he has a kingdom according to Matthew 12:26. Furthermore, he is the ruler of that dark kingdom. You can try to ignore this situation as much as you want, but if you listen long enough to the shouting of the king, King Satan, the god of this world, eventually your life will fracture. And his shouts keep coming from all directions of life. Satan’s cosmic philosophies are thrown at the believer from every angle. For instance, human viewpoint rationalization often comes from family and friends. Remember what our Lord said to the religious Jews in John 8:23, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” If you live the life The Lord Jesus Christ has called you to live, you will live a life from above. If not, you will end up being attacked by the great king of this world. He will besiege your soul and attempt to stop your momentum in the Christian way of life. You will know that Satan has succeeded in hindering your spiritual life when you find that you have lost your peace, composure, poise, happiness, or contentment.

 

Now, this great and powerful king, Satan, uses thoughts and projections to carry out your defeat. Satan’s attacks on the spiritual life of the believer are why Paul told the Ephesian believers, “in addition to all [the armor of God], taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one” in Ephesians 6:16. Those “flaming missiles” are the philosophies of life from the devil’s world. Those “flaming missiles” are the weapons used by the king of this world to surround your soul and demand surrender. Satan has invisible missiles that attack the soul of the believer and cause human viewpoint thinking on the part of the believer; this strategy neutralizes the believer and draws him away from the plan of God. The kingdom of darkness throws worldly thoughts and ideas at believers through the media, friends, family members, other believers, unbelievers, enemies, and sometimes even from our own presumptuous ideas. And then, if these external attacks do not work, there is a direct attack made upon the believer that is much closer to the soul, as we shall see later in our study of the Christian soldier.

 

The kingdom of darkness constantly attacks the believer’s soul; its ultimate goal is to do whatever it can to take the believer away from the plan of God and the inculcation of Bible doctrine. Why? Because Bible doctrine exposes the lies from the devil’s world. In 2Corinthians 2:11, Paul exhorted believers to know Bible doctrine “in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” And, as the ruler of this world, Satan places foolish individuals in positions of authority in an attempt to control the entire world system. This strategy is exposed in the prophecy found in Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world…” An individual cannot deceive the whole world unless he has control over most of it. Satan has the power and the ability to put whomever he desires in prominent positions. Please realize that believers are not commanded to fight with earthly rulers or those men in positions of authority. Instead, we are instructed to become more occupied with God’s plan for our lives. There is no passage in any part of the Bible where we are commanded to fight the devil, try to dethrone him, or try to dethrone those who are in positions of authority by his choice. But rather, we are told to rise above it all and execute God’s predesigned plan.

 

Paul stated this principle in Ephesians 6:11, “Pick up and put on the full armor from God, so that you may be able to hold your ground against the strategies of the devil.”

 

And in Ephesians 6:13 we find, “…hold your ground in the day that evil attacks you.”

 

Also in Ephesians 6:14, “Hold your ground…”

 

In James 4:7, James instructed believers to “submit therefore to God [execute the Predesigned Plan of God (PPOG)]. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

 

Or as Peter stated in 1Peter 5:9, “But resist the devil by being firm in your doctrine.”

 

The conclusion from these verses is that believers are not supposed to attack the rulership of this world, but to resist the attacks the world makes upon their souls by rising above it all and living the Christian way of life in spite of the pressures placed upon them.

 

Furthermore, a soldier is known by his discipline, his armor, and his weapons. So also, the Christian soldier must be disciplined, wear the armor provided by God, and know how to use his spiritual weapons. A soldier is trained intensively, doing the same things over and over again with the purpose that, through repetition, he will be able to automatically do what he has been trained to do under pressure. The goal of this training is to assure that he can fully function even if he finds himself in a crisis situation and cannot pause to think. Through this method of training, even if a soldier is not thinking clearly, he will automatically do what is right because of the discipline that comes from repetition. Such training provides security for the believer because, even under intense pressure, he will think the right thing, do the right thing, and apply the right doctrine to the specific situation. This right thinking resulting in right action is a result of repeatedly learning to think and do the right thing under normal circumstances. And the more doctrinal thinking and actions the believer can do automatically, the greater his life will be. If a believer practices making good decisions from a position of strength in normal times, he will be able to make good decisions from a position of strength during times of pressure and disaster.

 

The difference between fear and courage is the ability to concentrate under pressure. This concentration constitutes the believer’s focus on the doctrine he already possesses in his soul, not preoccupation with his problems. If a person has trouble concentrating under normal situations, he will have trouble concentrating under pressure situations. If a believer does not think doctrine under normal circumstances, he will be filled with fear during abnormal circumstances. But those of us who undergo the course of doctrinal training under normal circumstances have a chance to use that training to handle disaster. However, this does not necessarily mean that we will succeed when faced with disaster. For instance, there are many who will sit through the course but will not metabolize the lesson or, if they do, will fail to apply it at the proper time.

 

In order to succeed in combat, a man has to be trained for the job. This training takes time. A soldier has to know how to do his job under normal conditions before he is given the job under abnormal conditions. And it is the training that makes him victorious, not his lack of fear or his courage.

 

Soldiers are also clothed by the military they represent; in a similar manner, the Christian soldier is said to be clothed by The Lord Jesus Christ. In a familiar passage, Matthew 6:25, our Lord said, “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, [as to] what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, [as to] what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?”

 

MAT 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and [yet] your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

 

MAT 6:27, “And which of you by being anxious can add a [single] cubit to his life’s span?”

 

MAT 6:28, “And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,”

 

MAT 6:29, “Yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.”

 

MAT 6:30, “But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is [alive] today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, [will He] not much more [do so for] you, O men of little faith?”

 

MAT 6:31, “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’”

 

MAT 6:32, “For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”

 

MAT 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”

 

This passage, then, delineates God’s promise to clothe the believer in the natural realm. In the spiritual realm, Galatians 3:27 indicates, “For all of you who were baptized into [identified with] Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

 

Every believer has been enlisted in the spiritual army of God and is a spiritual soldier of Jesus Christ. A soldier is also told whom he will fight; he understands who his enemies are. In the same way, the Christian soldier has his warfare appointed to him and the Scriptures make his enemies known to him. Basically, the believer’s enemies are said to be the world, the flesh, and the devil. For example, we are told that the devil makes war against the Lamb and His followers. Revelation 17:14 records, “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

 

The world is the enemy of the Christian soldier insofar as the things of the world (such as the pleasures or the profits of the world) take the believer away from the plan of God. This is why John wrote in 1John 2.

 

1JO 2::14, “I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”

 

1JO 2:15, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

 

1JO 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

 

1JO 2:17, “And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”

 

A soldier is also supplied logistically. His basic needs are met as he goes forward in training, discipline, and warfare. Similarly, God provides the Christian soldier with logistical grace for his spiritual walk and warfare. The military bears the expense of the war and furnishes the soldier with whatever is necessary for his calling. So also, Our Lord gives us clothes, armor, weapons, and whatever else we need to handle what we are going to face.

 

This logistical grace for spiritual combat is what the Apostle Paul described 1Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.” Everything we need, both in the natural realm and in the spiritual realm, has been provided for us by God.

 

As previously mentioned, training is the first thing a soldier undergoes after he has enlisted in the military. So also, the first thing all believers need is spiritual training through the intake of Bible doctrine, 1TI 4:6-8.

 

In 1Timothy 4:7-8, the Apostle Paul used physical exercise as an example of self-discipline.

 

1TI 4:7, “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women.”

 

“Old women” seem to take a beating in the Bible. However, there is an escape for you ladies because no one has ever properly defined what an “old woman” really represents. I personally believe that an old woman is a woman who is old in her soul – one who is bitter, harsh, caustic, sarcastic, hostile, resentful, jealous, suspicious, and covetous. She is filled with malignity, hatred, and revenge motivation. She is a gossip or rumormonger and loves to spread rumors; she is a scandalmonger.

 

So, in 1TI 4:7 Paul warned Timothy, “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness [eusebeia, the spiritual life].”

 

1TI 4:8, “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

 

Thus, we see the importance of self-discipline in our spiritual walk. The organization of your time and the ordering of your priorities as a believer are very important for the spiritual life.

 

The “godliness” mentioned in verse 8, the Greek word eusebeia, is simply a lifestyle for the spiritual believer. Now, why does this passage say to discipline oneself for the purpose of godliness? Because it requires self-discipline and organization to execute the Predesigned Plan of God (PPOG), even if you have Bible doctrine as your first priority. Now, there are many times when you do not want to come to Bible class. Many legitimate and illegitimate excuses are given by believers who do not study consistently under their right pastor-teacher. It takes great self-discipline to get to class regularly! Then, once you get there, it takes more self-discipline to listen, especially if the lesson is not your favorite subject.

 

1TI 4:8, “For bodily discipline is only of little profit [lasts for a short time]…”

 

There is profit in physical exercise, but the result lasts only for a short time.

 

Paul went on to make this observation about godliness in 1TI 4:8, “For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things…”

 

The reason why Paul used exercise as an analogy for godliness is because exercise requires self-discipline. A person must make time for exercise. It must take priority over other activities. If you take exercise seriously, you must do it even when you do not feel like doing it. Our inconsistency in exercise is why there are all kinds of gadgets and pills on the market today. These “short cuts” are an attempt to monopolize on people’s inconsistencies; however, there is no “spiritual pill” to replace the consistent intake of Bible doctrine. So, you have to be disciplined in order for physical or spiritual exercise to be profitable.

 

Again, in 1Timothy 4:8 we read, “For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things…”

 

“Godliness,” or living the spiritual life, is the result of consistent perception of Bible doctrine. A believer’s consistency is crucial because the doctrine he learns today will carry him for a short time only. This is why doctrines are stated again and again in certain books of the Bible. This is also why your pastor-teacher repeats doctrinal principles from the pulpit. So, repetition of doctrine is important; even the Bible repeats doctrine. Repetition, therefore, becomes vital in the Christian life.

 

Once again, in 1Timothy 4:8, we find “For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things…”

 

In other words, the most important thing in your life is your consistency in the spiritual realm.

 

So we repeat, 1Timothy 4:8, “For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

 

Godliness holds the key to this life for the believer. Your happiness depends on godliness or spiritual living. Your capacity for life depends on godliness or spiritual living. Your success in life depends on godliness or spiritual living. Your promotion in life depends on godliness or spiritual living. Thus, Paul concluded at the end of verse 8 that godliness holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

 

The “life to come” is a reference to all eternity. “For all eternity” means that because some believers were consistent and faithful in the little things, they are going to have the uniform of glory, the order of the morning star, the various different crowns, and their names recorded in the historical section of heaven. Because of a consistent spiritual lifestyle, they are going to rule cities for 1,000 years in the Millennium. Godliness is profitable in time, but even more, it is profitable for the life to come.

 

1TI 4:8, “But [godliness] holds promise for this life and the life to come.”

 

The one thing you have in this life as a believer that will be profitable to you forever and ever is “godliness” or “consistent spiritual living.” So, Paul compared godliness, or spiritual living, to physical exercise. Exercise tones up the muscles; godliness, or spiritual living, tones up the spiritual life. In truth, the believer needs spiritual power much more than he needs physical power. Physical power is relatively easy to achieve; almost anyone can have it if he is sufficiently determined. But, spiritual power is harder to attain and more difficult to keep than physical power.

 

 

So, self-discipline includes the following:

  1. Dedication
  2. Commitment
  3. Instruction
  4. Discipline

 

Discipline is of no value unless it is consistent. The word “discipline” found in verse 8 is the Greek word gymnasia and means “to drive on” or “something performed or practiced in order to develop skill.” Anyone can exercise, even in the spiritual realm, but it takes character for a person to consistently persist in the study of Bible doctrine. Spiritual exercise takes training. Spiritual exercise takes self-discipline. Exercise in the spiritual realm takes character and commitment.

 

Exercise for the Royal Family in the congregation of the local church means:

 

  1. Exercising self-discipline
  2. Assembling together
  3. Concentrating on the teaching
  4. Having good manners
  5. Remaining silent
  6. Not commenting during class
  7. Not disturbing others
  8. Not moving around
  9. Practicing objectivity
  10. Persistence in spite of distraction

 

All of these actions during Bible class are part of the discipline of spiritual exercise that takes us from salvation to spiritual maturity.

 

To repeat, a soldier is told who to fight and he understands who his enemies are. Likewise, the Christian soldier has his warfare appointed to him and the Scriptures make his enemies known to him, 2CO 2:11. As mentioned before, a soldier is supplied logistically as he goes forward in training, discipline, and warfare. So also, God provides the Christian soldier logistical grace for his spiritual walk and warfare, 2PE 1:3. The military bears the expense of the war and furnishes the soldier with whatever is necessary for his calling. Likewise, our Lord has given us clothes, armor, weapons, and whatever we need to handle what we are going to face. Everything we need, both in the natural realm and in the spiritual realm, has been provided for us by God. A soldier must be an expert and well-skilled in his field. Similarly, the Christian soldier ought to be well-skilled in all things necessary for his calling, LUK 14:31.

 

LUK 14:25, “Now great multitudes were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them,”

 

LUK 14:26, “’If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

 

LUK 14:27, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

 

LUK 14:28, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?”

 

LUK 14:29, “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,”

 

LUK 14:30, “Saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’”

 

LUK 14:31, “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand [men] to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand [men]?”

 

LUK 14:32, “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace.”

 

To be well-skilled as a soldier requires much discipline and wisdom; so it is in the spiritual realm. A good soldier must understand the word of command and be ready to obey his officer instantly. As the psalmist declared in Psalm 119:60, “I hastened and did not delay to keep Thy commands.” It is a very sad situation in our day and age when the Christian soldier hears the commands from The Lord Jesus Christ and then delays obedience to them.

 

A soldier must know his position in his unit and how to keep both rank and file. Just so, the Christian soldier must know his place and particular station. That is, he ought to know where God the Holy Spirit has placed him in the body of Christ, 1CO 12:18. Military discipline has appointed every officer in the army to his proper place. Moreover, every private soldier is to abide in the same rank and file, the place appointed to him by his commander. In the military, a soldier is not free to change his station or post on his own. This is especially true in a time of battle when he would expose himself and others to great danger if he did not follow his orders accurately and precisely. The Christian soldier must also keep his place and particular station in the body of Christ as appointed by God the Holy Spirit.

 

In 1Corinthians 12:18, Paul wrote, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”

 

The believer should not abandon his post whenever he pleases. Neither is the believer to quit his position because he doesn’t like the personality of the officer in charge of him. The average Christian soldier has gone AWOL (absent without leave) because of a lack of humility; this is especially true when it comes to keeping his place in the body of Christ.

 

Instead, the Christian soldier should persist in his training; he should stay with his commitments. He should continue with the intake of doctrine and the execution of the Predesigned Plan of God (PPOG). The Christian soldier must discover God’s plan for his life and persist in that plan while he grows spiritually. Pastors must keep their places, deacons must keep their places, and members of each church must keep their places and refrain from withdrawing whenever they please. This does not mean that you will not eventually be promoted out of your current position; it simply means that you need to hold the ground you have gained.

 

A soldier must also follow his leader. Likewise, every Christian soldier should follow The Lord Jesus Christ and ought to have his eyes upon Him through the intake of doctrine, MAT 10:38. For example, in Revelation 14:1 we read of a great and famous army, consisting of “one hundred and forty-four thousand who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.”

 

REV 14:1, “And I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.”

 

REV 14:2, “And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps.”

 

REV 14:3, “And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth.”

 

REV 14:4, “These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.”

 

So, every Christian soldier should follow The Lord Jesus Christ and ought to focus upon Him through the intake of Bible doctrine. As Christian soldiers, we must be willing to follow The Lord Jesus Christ in His reproaches, afflictions, difficulties, and even dangers, if necessary. Remember that the Church-age is the intensified stage of the Angelic Conflict where believers strive to become invisible heroes. Therefore, these principles apply to the invisible realm of spiritual conflict. This is why the Christian soldier ought to be well-skilled and an expert in God’s wisdom so that he is not ignorant of Satan and his devices.

 

In 2Corinthians 2:11, Paul exhorted believers to know doctrine “in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” There is a spiritual war waged by the devil against the soul of the believer. None of us can afford to be ignorant about it. And nothing is more essential for spiritual soldiers than wisdom and power from God, especially when we are faced with internal adversaries. For example, you need to understand that not only does the kingdom of darkness try to put worldly thoughts in your mind, but in reality, its best work is done by keeping things out – namely doctrinal viewpoint. Remember that our adversary, the devil, is compared to a serpent because he is sly and deceitful. The devil is a subtle enemy whose main target is the Christian soldier. And without doctrine resident in the soul and obedience to that doctrine, all of us are in danger of succumbing to the craftiness and deceitfulness of the devil.

 

Why do you think the majority of believers are AWOL? They have been deceived by Satan’s craftiness and worldly policies. If Satan could overcome the man and the woman in the Garden of Eden, a place where they resided in a perfect state without an old sin nature (OSN), just think of how easily he can do it now. Hence, divine wisdom is crucial for life in the Church-age; otherwise, believers will become the devil’s fools. For this reason, Paul remarked in Ephesians 5:14 where he warned against ignorance of doctrine, a lack of biblical wisdom in the Ephesian church:

 

EPH 5:14, “Awake [from your ignorance], sleeper, And arise from the dead [operational death from lack of doctrine], And Christ will shine on you.”

 

EPH 5:15, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise,”

 

EPH 5:16, “making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”

 

EPH 5:17, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

 

Satan is a master at choosing the proper time and the most advantageous season for tempting and attacking the believer. Satan knows how to make his attacks most effective. He knows the times when he is most likely to prevail. For example, he will attack when a believer first becomes interested in doctrine. No sooner do individuals discover doctrinal truth than temptations and worldly things for which they have searched for years are brought in to distract them and entice them back into the cosmic system. For instance, an individual may have been searching for years for someone or something, and then, when he becomes involved with doctrine, the kingdom of darkness brings just what he was searching for right to his doorstep. So, Satan will attack believers when they first begin to study doctrine, as many of us can affirm.

 

Secondly, he also attacks when the believer is plagued by some great affliction. For instance, Satan may attack the believer in times of sickness or physical weakness! Thirdly, he will attack the Christian soldier when that believer is about to enter into some significant venture for God’s glory. As Moses declared in Genesis 49:17, “The devil will be ‘like a serpent in the way, A horned snake in the path, That bites the horse’s heels, So that his rider falls backward.’” For example, Satan stood at the high priest Joshua’s right hand to resist him in Zechariah 3:1-4. The right hand represents the area where a believer follows God.

 

ZEC 3:1, “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.”

 

Notice that Satan stood on Joshua’s right hand in order to accuse him. The right hand represented the area where Joshua was to follow the Lord.

 

ZEC 3:2, “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’”

 

ZEC 3:3, “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel.”

 

ZEC 3:4, “And he spoke and said to those who were standing before him saying, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ Again he said to him, ‘See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.’”

 

Satan standing at the right hand of Joshua illustrates his desire to hinder believers from their spiritual calling.

 

Satan also attacks the Christian soldier when the believer is ignorant of doctrine and when the believer is out of God’s geographical location, just as he deceived the woman in the Garden, (whose name became Eve when she became the mother of all living, Gen 3:20), when she was near the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Apostle Paul stated this concern in 2Corinthians 11:3 and wrote, “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

 

Furthermore, Satan will attack after a great manifestation of God’s love. For example, Satan set upon Paul with his strong temptations when Paul received an abundance of revelations from God. Paul recorded this event in 2Corinthians 12:7, “And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me – to keep me from exalting myself!”

 

So, the kingdom of darkness will do whatever it can to assault the soul of the Christian soldier. For example, the kingdom of darkness may come to the believer and display false colors in the guise of a friend or “angel of light” communicating false doctrine. Or, Satan may try to get the believer to feel sorry for himself. “False colors” mean that the devil does not reveal his “true colors.” He may even put on the same uniform as the believer to make the believer think that the devil is on his side.

 

Remember, the Bible teaches that there are even times when people are sent by the kingdom of darkness to the local assembly. These “false brethren” are not really a part of that assembly, but are there to spy out believers and return them to slavery in the cosmic system. Paul described this subterfuge in Galatians 2:4, “But it was because of the false brethren who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.”

 

So, we see that there are evil individuals designated “false brethren” described in God’s Word who seek to hinder the spiritual growth of believers. In 2Corinthians 11:26, Paul declared, “I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren.” John described these false brethren in 1John chapter 2.

 

1JO 2:18, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many Antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.”

 

1JO 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”

 

1JO 2:20, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know [meaning that God the Holy Spirit will give you the discernment that you need to identify these people].”

 

Satan also has an intelligence service dedicated to discovering what those who have positive volition towards doctrine (PVTD), faithful Christian soldiers, are doing. This intelligence service is described in Ephesians 6:12 as the “spiritual forces of wickedness.” The devil’s cosmic system has spies who are acquainted with the thinking of its enemies, God’s people. For example, Satan has demons whose job is to find out “the sin that so easily entangles” a believer or the sin pattern to which a believer is most prone, HEB 12:1.

 

HEB 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

           

Each person has a sin that so easily entangles him. And Satan is a master at discovering which particular sin it is so he can use it to attack that individual if needed! In Hebrews 12:1, the author of Hebrews warned, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

 

Another important principle concerning the kingdom of darkness’ king and his subtlety is the fact that the devil gradually approaches the soul of the believer as he makes his attack. When the devil first comes to tempt the believer, either through the world, the flesh, or his demons, he is “unassuming” and will demand very little from an individual knowing that is all he can accomplish at that time. If he were to ask for your allegiance and devotion to him all at once, he would be denied, so he implements his attacks gradually. If you don’t believe this fact, look at some of your old doctrinal friends or even family members. How did they get into the reversionistic state they are now in? This abandonment of doctrine happens gradually and, according to the Scriptures, it continually progresses to a worse state without rebound (confession of known sins, 1JO 1:9) and recovery (returning to the study and application of Bible doctrine). This insidious process of reversionism (backsliding) is what Paul described in Galatians 5:9 when he said, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” Mark recorded this same principle given by our Lord in Mark 8:15, “And He [our Lord] was giving orders to them, saying, ‘Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.’” The leaven of the Pharisees is legalism and hypocrisy. The leaven of Herod is worldliness or carnality.

 

In Song of Solomon 2:15, Solomon admonished, “Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom.” Notice that Solomon says it’s just a little fox that ruined the vineyards! Or as the Teacher observed in Ecclesiastes 10:1, “Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor.” The kingdom of darkness, under the rulership of Satan, starts out very subtly, maybe with just some trivial issue, to draw the believer slowly but surely away from doctrine and the spiritual life. Initially, it may just be a single wrong thought, a flaming missile fired into the mind of the believer. Then, after the thought is allowed to stay in the mind for a while and is free to wander, it goes from the mind to the tongue and then to someone’s ear and then to his mind and so forth.

 

Paul emphasized the importance of resisting such thoughts in 2Corinthians 10:5-6, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” After the soul has entertained and accommodated the thought for a while then the principle of James 1:14 becomes a reality:

 

Jam 1:14  “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.”

 

JAM 1:15, “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death [operational death, the state of being ineffectual].”

 

JAM 1:16, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”

 

As a shrewd warrior, Satan also has his reserves. He always has fresh troops at hand because he is a user of others. If his first temptation fails, he has a second, a third, a fourth, and many more! Now remember, his attacks are not concentrated on the majority of believers, but upon the Christian soldier. The majority of believers do have problems; however, their problems are not from Satan but from self-induced misery. Paul wrote of this condition in 1Corinthians 16:22, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed.” But the advancing believer, the Christian soldier, is also besieged by Satan’s cosmic system.

 

Another strategy that Satan utilizes is to make the Christian soldier think that he (Satan) has been defeated and is in retreat. In reality, Satan deceives the believer into thinking that he has a spiritual victory in an area in which he truly does not. For example, Scripture records events where Satan or his demons are cast out, but it also records situations when the unclean spirits leave voluntarily only to come back stronger than before!

 

LUK 11:21, “When a strong [man], fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed;”

 

LUK 11:22, “But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied, and distributes his plunder.”

 

LUK 11:23, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.”

 

LUK 11:24, “When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’”

 

LUK 11:25, “And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order.”

 

LUK 11:26, “Then it goes and takes [along] seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”

 

Or, as Matthew recorded in Matthew 12:44, “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.”

 

A soldier should also know the distinct beats of the drum, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm, and the call. A Christian soldier must understand the distinctly different sounds from the Word of God as taught by his pastor-teacher. In Isaiah 58:1 we read, “The communicator of doctrine is told to ‘Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet.’” The pastor-teacher is a spiritual trumpeter. And just as a trumpeter needs to be well-skilled on how to blow his trumpet, so the pastor needs to be well-skilled in his communication of Bible doctrine! As Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 14:8, “For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?” In the same way, if the pastor does not rightly divide the Word of God and communicate doctrine accurately, how will the Christian soldiers under his command know what to do or how to respond? The Christian soldier may need an alarm sounded in his ears when danger is near or an enemy is approaching; therefore, he needs to recognize the distinct sound of the bugle – the proper doctrine needed at the proper time! The alarm may be a call to duty. The sound may be a call to prayer. The good Christian soldier will be able to identify the distinct sound of the spiritual trumpet; sometimes it sounds out reproof, sometimes counsel, sometimes warning, and sometimes comfort. But all calls are carefully observed by the well-trained Christian soldier.

 

A soldier should also be a man of courage, bold and determined, not easily discouraged nor dismayed by the threats, malice, or strength of an enemy. So the Christian soldier ought to be courageous, not unassertive or emotional, especially when the pressure becomes great. As God said to Joshua, His courageous soldier who was about to go into the promised land, in Joshua 1:7, “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” The Christian soldier ought to be courageous and cultivate the attitude that David had in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me;” In Psalm 56:4, David stated his faith thus, “In God, Whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can [mere] man do to me?” In Proverbs 28:1, Solomon observed that “the wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

 

Now, there are certain principles which will impart boldness and increase courage in the Christian soldier in the midst of danger. He is subject to such danger because of his involvement with doctrine and his participation in the Angelic Conflict. First, there is the virtue of his calling. Motivation and zeal are given to the Christian soldier when he realizes the privilege of fulfilling God’s plan for his life. When he considers that he is “fighting the good fight of faith” and that he has the honorable opportunity of glorifying Christ, he is motivated to advance spiritually. An example of such spiritual motivation in the early church is found in Acts 5:41, “So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.” The Christian soldier is motivated to stand up for the cause of Christ, the Word of Christ, and the people of Christ. He is someone who does his part to gather for Christ. In Matthew 12:30, our Lord stated that “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” Every believer should ask himself, “What am I doing to gather for Christ?”

 

A second principle which imparts boldness and increases courage in the Christian soldier is an understanding of the power and the strength of God, EPH 6:10. The Lord promises to stand by him and help him in all his conflicts, even those battles with the worst of his enemies. This perspective is found in Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

 

ISA 41:11, “Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing, and will perish.”

 

ISA 41:12, “You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing, and non-existent.”

 

ISA 41:13, “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”

 

ISA 41:14, “‘Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,’ declares the Lord, and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.”

 

As the Apostle John commented in 1John 4:4, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

 

A third principle which will impart boldness and increase courage in the Christian soldier is an understanding of his calling from God. Every Christian must take the time to learn how to use his talent to glorify God as well as to learn the nature of his spiritual gift. No matter what we do in Christianity, if we realize that we are doing it with the talent that God has given us or the spiritual gift He has imparted to us, then we will find boldness and added courage.

 

A fourth principle which will impart boldness and increase courage in the Christian soldier is a good conscience. A good conscience made Paul bold in the presence of his irate adversaries, ACT 23:1.

 

ACT 23:1, “And Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, ‘Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.’”

 

A soldier who is besotted with guilt cannot engage or face an enemy with the courage that is needed! This is why Satan loves to make accusations against God’s people, to condemn them and make them feel guilty! And his accusations are true! But, never forget that “a man after God’s own heart” does not quit when faced with failure. And remember, a woman after God’s own heart does not quit in the face of adversity. Peter also remarked on the value of a good conscience in 1Peter 3:16:

 

1PE 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”

 

1PE 3:16, “And keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

 

And the fifth principle which will impart boldness and increases courage in the Christian soldier is the assurance of victory for him. The Christian soldier knows and trusts in the perspective of Paul in Romans 8:31 which states, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”

 

ROM 8:32,”He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

 

ROM 8:33, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;”

 

ROM 8:34, “Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”

 

ROM 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

 

ROM 8:36, “Just as it is written, ‘For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’”

 

ROM 8:37, “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

 

ROM 8:38, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,”

 

ROM 8:39, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

The Christian soldier believes that he is “more than a conqueror” before he enters spiritual conflict because his Captain has revealed to him that if he is faithful, then he shall overcome in the end and receive the crown of life, REV 2:10.

 

REV 2:10, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

 

Continuing the analogy between the natural soldier and the spiritual soldier, we are now ready for the next principle. A soldier must expect to endure hardship and therefore he prepares himself for it. Likewise, the Christian soldier must concede to a life attended with many hardships and difficulties if he desires to bring glory to Christ. Just as soldiers must often lay in a field and experience hardship that others know nothing about, so the Christian soldier experiences personal hardships without others being aware of his trials. This is why Peter exhorted believers to “humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” in 1Peter 5:6.

 

1PE 5:7, “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”

 

1PE 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

 

1PE 5:9, “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

 

Notice in verse 9 that, even though we may think that what we are going through personally is something no one else can understand, the Bible teaches that those same experiences of suffering have happened and are happening to believers throughout the world.

 

1PE 5:10, “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect [mature you], confirm [prove you], strengthen, and establish you.”

 

Hence, the Christian soldier’s life is accompanied by many difficulties and afflictions that he must endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  If he cannot endure hardship, he is not a good soldier. For example, what type of hardness or hardship does the Christian soldier need to endure? First, he must learn to endure the hardship that comes from his personal sins. Many times our own iniquities bring great sorrow and trouble upon us. We do things to ourselves and then we end up looking for someone else to blame. As the Lord revealed through Jeremiah in Jeremiah 2:17, “Have you not done this to yourself, By your forsaking the Lord your God, When He led you in the way?”

 

JER 2:19, “‘Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will reprove you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to forsake the Lord your God, And the dread of Me is not in you,’ declares the Lord God of hosts [armies].”

 

Sin not only hinders the Christian soldier, but many times his own conscience lashes out at him and wounds him spiritually. Sin not only brings hardships upon the soul, but many times distress and anxiety upon the body.

 

The Christian soldier must also learn to endure the hardship that comes from self-denial. We are not called to asceticism, but we are called to self-denial.

 

MAT 16:21, “From that time Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.”

 

MAT 16:22, “And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid [it], Lord! This shall never happen to You.’”

 

MAT 16:23, “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.’”

 

MAT 16:24, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’”

 

MAT 16:25 “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.”

 

MAT 16:26, “For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

 

MAT 16:27, “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds.”

 

There are times when denying yourself may mean to deny yourself of prosperity, riches, wealth, success, sleep, rest, things you enjoy, whatever is necessary in your pursuit of victory. In fact, if something is taking you away from your relationship with God, God will ask you to part from it. An example of this principle is stated in Matthew 19:16 where Matthew records, “And behold, one came to Him and said, ‘Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?’”

 

MAT 19:17, “And He said to him, ‘Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is [only] One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’”

 

Now Jesus said this to the young man because this man had a high opinion of himself.

 

MAT 19:18, “He said to Him [the man said to the Lord], ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness;’”

 

MAT 19:19, “Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

MAT 19:20, “The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?’”

 

MAT 19:21, “Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete [spiritually mature], go [and] sell your possessions and give to [the] poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’”

 

MAT 19:22, “But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property.”

 

MAT 19:23, “And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

 

MAT 19:24, “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

 

MAT 19:25, “And when the disciples heard [this], they were very astonished and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’”

 

MAT 19:26, “And looking upon [them] Jesus said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’”

 

MAT 19:27, “Then Peter answered and said to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?’”

 

MAT 19:28, “And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’”

 

MAT 19:29, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life.”

 

MAT 19:30, “But many [who are] first will be last; and [the] last, first.”

 

In this passage, our Lord is not stating that being rich is evil. Rather, the young man’s riches served as a stumbling block to his spiritual life. God will ask the believer to repudiate anything, including wealth, which is a hindrance to his relationship with God.

 

A third principle that the Christian soldier must also learn is to endure the hardships that arise from relationships with people. He must learn to endure all the vicious and cruel reproaches, the slanders, the criticism, the taunting, the scoffing, the backbiting, the lies, etc. The Christian soldier must endure all the things that the so-called “lovable brethren” and the “sons of the devil” can invent and thrust upon him. And, by the way, if you think this principle is an unlovable attitude intended to cause division in the body of Christ, remember what James wrote to the early Church.

 

JAM 3:8, “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.”

 

JAM 3:9, “With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God.”

 

JAM 3:10, “From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”

 

So, this principle of hardship arising from people is part of New Testament doctrine and not a matter of personal opinion! Jeremiah recorded in Jeremiah 9:8, “Their tongue is a deadly arrow; It speaks deceit; With his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor, But inwardly he sets an ambush for him.” Be careful of the hypocrisy found among born-again believers. The tongues of some men are like cruel weapons. David wrote in Psalm 42:10, “As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’” Being mocked and ridiculed and judged ranks among the great sufferings of the godly. In Hebrews 11:36, we are told that the great believers of the Old Testament endured many of these things. Others experienced mocking and scourging, chains, and imprisonment.

 

“They” shouted at Joseph and hated him because of the calling God placed upon his life. Remember what “they” said about our Lord. “They” said the following:

 

Men said in MAT 9:34 that our Lord was of the devil, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”

They said in MAT 11:19 that our Lord was a glutton, a drunk and hung out with prostitutes, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax‑gatherers and sinners!’

In MAT 26:65, they said that He blasphemed, “Then the high priest tore his robes, saying, “He has blasphemed!”

They said in MAT 26:66 that He deserved to be dead, “They answered and said,” He is deserving of death!”

In MAR 3:21, our Lord was accused of being nuts and insane,

“And when His own people heard {of this,} they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.”

In MAR 3:22, they said He was demon possessed, “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul”

In MAR 3:30, they said our Lord has an unclean spirit, “He has an unclean spirit.”

In  LUK 15:2, He had a reputation for hanging around with sinners, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

In LUK 23:2, they accused of being unpatriotic, And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar,”

In LUK 23:5, they accused of always stirring up trouble, But they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people,

In LUK 23:14, they said he cause people to rebel, “This man is one who incites the people to rebellion,

In JOH 7:12, they said He was a cult leader and He leads multitudes astray, “He leads the multitude astray.”

In JOH 8:48, The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

In JOH 10:20  And many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?”

 

He was of the devil. “They” accused Him of being an alcoholic. “They” said he hung out with prostitutes. “They” said that He blasphemed.  “They” said He was insane. “They” said He was demon possessed, that He stirred up trouble, that He was a cult leader, and many other vicious lies. In Acts 24:5, “they” said of Paul, “For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.”

 

By the way, in every case just mentioned, “they” who said these disparaging things were religious people. Ever since Cain killed Abel, religion has been trying to kill the grace-oriented believer. This is why the Lord said to the religious leaders of His day in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [nature], for he is a liar, and the father of lies.” Likewise, Paul observed in Galatians 4:29, “But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.” At times, these things are hard to bear, but the Christian soldier must learn to endure them.

 

A fourth principle that the Christian soldier must also learn is to endure the hardship perpetrated by wicked men. We do not really see this hardship at this time in our nation, but we may see it someday. For example, looking at Hebrews 11:35, where the author described male and female heroes in the Old Testament, we find that “women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection…”

 

HEB 11:36, “…and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.”

 

HEB 11:37, “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated…”

 

HEB 11:38, “…(men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.”

 

HEB 11:39, “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised…”

 

HEB 11:40, “…because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

 

The Christian soldier must also learn to endure the hardship that comes from God withdrawing from the believer. This hardship is a difficult one to understand at first, but it is true. For example, God withdrew from Job so Job could be tested by Satan. This disengagement by the Lord is actually a compliment to the mature believer. God speaks through His Word. The highest compliment to be given to a member of the Royal Family is for God to withdraw from him so that he can use the greatest power in the world: Bible doctrine! There are times when God’s withdrawal is manifested by all the “doors” in your life being closed; for then, you must make your own decisions. With this hardship, God is testing the doctrine that is resident in your heart (mind)!

 

The Christian soldier must also learn to endure the hardships that come from his particular calling and place in the body of Christ. Some believers have harder service than others in the same way that, in the military, one soldier might have more responsibility or pressure that the rest of his unit. In the same manner, both those on the front lines and those in leadership positions face more difficulties than those in the rear or those who are subordinate to leadership. This principle is seen in every local assembly. Some members of a congregation do their best to support the local assembly through service, giving, praying, teaching, ministering, and helping out in any way they can. However, others are simply too involved with fraternizing with the enemies’ army to have time to serve God. Some believers willingly accept the pressure and are willing to be sent on a dangerous mission. Others willingly stand guard. But, some simply do not want any assignment whatsoever. And although some endure more hardships than others, all must take what occurs in their lives in the place and station assigned to them from the hand of God.

 

Pastors who communicate doctrine, as well as those who are vital to their ministries, are the ones most exposed to these hardships. And sometimes, others in the doctrinal ministry suffer similar intense hardship. However, each one must see to it that he executes his responsibility in his respective position. Those who are on guard must not quit their watch because of exposure to the elements or because danger approaches. Having motivated his soldiers to persist despite the difficulties, a leader must also refrain from withdrawing from his duties no matter what the circumstances may be or appear to be. Leaders must not proclaim that Jesus Christ is the answer to all difficulties and that with doctrine in your soul, you can handle anything and then, when pressured themselves, retreat and fall away or quit and run away.

 

So whatever comes, pastors must teach, the Christian soldier must hear, the worship of God must be maintained, the banner of the Word must be displayed, and saints must keep their ground and station designated by Jesus Christ.

 

This principle is what Paul had in mind when he wrote to Timothy in 2Timothy 4.

 

2TI 4:1 “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:”

 

2TI 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”

 

2TI 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires…”

 

2TI 4:4, “…and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.”

 

2TI 4:5, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

 

Additionally, the Christian soldier exposes himself to hardships voluntarily, patiently, courageously, constantly, and sincerely. He does not have to be dragged or forced into his duty to undergo difficulties for the Gospel’s sake. Instead, he does it freely and, with a ready mind, engages in the work. The Lord does not want soldiers who feel forced to do things. His soldiers are volunteers! They endure patiently as their Captain, The Lord Jesus Christ, exemplified. A good soldier will keep with his colors [keep his uniform on], just as a good soldier of Christ will keep and abide with the banner of truth. Now, under martial law, “death without mercy” was the punishment for a soldier who left behind his colors and went AWOL. When Peter strayed from his colors and realized his folly, he wept bitterly for having deserted the Lord at the Cross. Similar to the soldier who goes AWOL, it will be “death without mercy,” the sin unto death, for the believer who has departed from the truth and has embraced heresy or idolatry, 1JO 5:16. All believers should take heed, lest our enemies also deceive us.

 

Remember that Satan sometimes transforms himself into an angel of light. He puts out false colors that come with an overt banner or standard of “truth.”  He and his false ministers make use of Scripture for the purpose of deceiving the Church. These false ministers are the so-called “love crowd” who say, “Put aside your doctrinal differences and let’s love each other!” In 2Corinthians 11. where Paul warned the believers at Corinth.

 

2Co 11: “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

 

2CO 11:4, “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.”

 

Moreover, Paul stated in 2Co 11:13, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.”

 

2CO 11:14, “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

 

2CO 11:15, “Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.”

 

A good soldier will not turn his back on the enemy to the dishonor of his captain. Although his life may be in danger, he will not run away and, as a coward, betray his captain’s trust. Remember, in chapter 6 of Ephesians, among all the parts of armor provided for the Christian soldier, we read of no “back-piece.” So, if he turns his back, he is unprotected.

 

HEB 10:38, “But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

 

Another interesting principle regarding the Christian soldier is that a soldier is greatly encouraged in all his encounters and sharp conflicts with the enemy by considering the reward and honor he shall receive if he holds out to win the victory. Many people in our passive society reject such an idea, but it is true! In the same manner, the Christian soldier attains much intensity and courage by the consideration of the eternal rewards he shall receive in the end. This motivation was one of the things that made Moses despise the glory of Egypt and refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, the heir-apparent of that royal family. Moses saw Him who was invisible and had his eyes on the rewards reaped by serving God.

 

HEB 11:24, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter…”

 

HEB 11:25, “…choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin…”

 

HEB 11:26, “…considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.”

 

Furthermore, some soldiers of an army are singled out as champions to engage an enemy alone. And, though every champion is a soldier, not every soldier is a champion. A captain will not choose just any soldier for hard work; instead, he will pick experienced and courageous men for such important tasks. Just so, The Lord Jesus Christ sometimes calls forth one in His spiritual army to engage the enemy alone and, as a champion of the truth, to sacrifice his life on the behalf of that truth. And what greater honor can be bestowed upon a Christian than this? We see this “selection for intensive service” happen to Stephen in Acts chapter 7 and to Antipas in Revelation 2:13.

 

The fact that no soldier knows the final outcome of a battle in which he is called to fight is another analogy between the ordinary soldier and the Christian soldier. The Christian soldier needs to operate in faith and trust in the sovereignty of God. A soldier cannot know beforehand whether he will be victorious. Even though he may be valiant and courageous in his service and faithful and true to his captains and leaders, the outcome is not certain until the end of the battle. In victory or defeat, the fate of the individual soldier is uncertain. Just as the ordinary soldier may lose a limb or even his precious life in a fight, the Christian soldier may be wounded or even killed for the cause of Christ! A soldier may possess the greatest weapons and still lose the fight!

 

Now, all this leads us to examine the analogy between the Predesigned Plan of God (PPOG) and what is known in the military as “The Nine Principles of The Art of War.”

 

The principles behind the preparation for war and direction for war are termed strategy. In the military sense, strategy is defined as the science and art of military command used to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions. In other words, in any war there must be a plan and method designed to defeat the enemy. God’s strategy is found in the divine power and operating assets which He has prepared for believers in eternity past. This divine strategy includes the following:

 

  1. His plan, which we call the Predesigned Plan of God (PPOG)

 

  1. His method, the use of His power, which we call divine omnipotence

 

Paul told the Corinthians that one of the signs that he was a servant of God was the fact that he operated according to 2Corinthians 6:7 which states, “In the Word of Truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left.” In summary, God’s strategy for our spiritual warfare includes operation inside the Predesigned Plan of God (PPOG) and reliance on divine power.

 

A second principle of warfare involves the use of tactics. Military tactics consist of the science involved in the organization of a military force and the techniques for using weapons or military units in combination to engage and defeat the enemy in battle. In other words, tactics refer to a device for accomplishing an end or a method of employing forces in combat. So, tactics involve the techniques and abilities to put strategy into operation.

 

It is important to understand these two military terms before continuing with our subject. “Strategy” refers to the method and the plan of attack or defense; “tactics” refers to putting the plan into operation. God’s strategy is found in the Predesigned Plan of God. God’s tactics involve the mechanics of operating in the divine power which He has made available to every Church-age believer.

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ won the strategic victory over Satan in the Angelic Conflict during His first advent by His saving work on the Cross. Tactical victory in the Angelic Conflict has been assigned as a goal for every Church-age believer. As a member of the Royal Family of God, you are assigned the responsibility of tactical victory. The believer is directed by Scripture to put into operation the method and the plan that The Lord Jesus Christ has made available to him for victory in spiritual warfare.

 

2Co 10:3, “For though we walk in the flesh, (we live in human bodies in the natural realm in this world), we do not war according to the flesh, (we do not fight our battles in human strength,)”

 

2Co 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

 

2Co 10:5, “[We are] destroying speculations [false doctrines and theories] and every arrogant thought raised up against the knowledge [the doctrine] of God, and we are taking every thought captive [making every thought surrender to obedience] to Christ.”

 

You are responsible to put into operation the plan that the Lord has made available to every Church-age believer. And remember, never has so much been given to so many as in the Church-age. This vast portfolio of invisible assets available to the Christian soldier is part of the uniqueness of the Church-age. Therefore, all this will lead us to the analogy between the Predesigned Plan of God and what is known in military science as “The Nine Principles of the Art of War.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2: The Art of War

 

 

We will begin this chapter about spiritual warfare and “The Art of War” by further analyzing the similarities between the military life of the Roman soldier and the “soldier of Christ” as found in the Word of God.

 

What is “The Art of War?”

 

One author made this statement – in essence, the art of war is the art of life.

 

Our Lord made an important statement in John 16:32 when He said, “Behold, an hour is coming, and has [already] come, for you to be scattered, each to his own [home,] and to leave Me alone; and [yet] I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”

 

JOH 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

 

So, for the believer, saying that the art of war is the art of life is not a bad statement. Actually, The Art of War is a compilation of the works of Sun Tzu (pronounced “Sue”). Who was Sun Tzu? Sun Tzu was a Chinese general who live in approximately 500 B.C. Sun Tzu’s ideas spread to the rest of Asia, in particular, to Japan. In fact, the Japanese quickly adopted Sun Tzu’s teaching and then added a few chapters themselves. Therefore, it is no accident that Asian cultures are referred to as cultures of strategy; Sun Tzu has played a major part in this development. The “art of war” has been applied to business, sports, diplomacy, and personal lives and has been popularized in American business as well.

 

The most fundamental of Sun Tzu’s principles for the conduct of war is that “all warfare is based on deception.” This principle of deception in war is why the Bible has so many passages that prepare us to handle deception by the kingdom of darkness. And, in fact, the opposite of deception is loyalty – something which is not that common!

 

In 2Timothy 1:15, Paul spoke of disloyalty when he stated, “You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me.” And he made this statement in 2Timothy 4:16, “At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.”

 

2TI 4:17, “But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion’s mouth.”

 

2TI 4:18, “The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

 

Another key principle observed by Sun Tzu is that “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” This axiom is a perfect analogy for certain principles found in the Word of God such as:

 

EPH 6:11, “Hold your ground against the strategies of the devil.”

 

EPH 6:13, “Hold your ground in the day that evil attacks you.”

 

Furthermore, James 4:7 records, “Submit therefore to God [execute the Predesigned Plan of God]. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

 

There are at least nine principles of warfare in the natural realm which have an application in the spiritual realm.

 

  1. First, there is “the principle of objective.”

 

The purpose of a military operation is the attainment of a certain objective assigned to a designated force. All Church-age believers have been assigned to be a member of a designated “force” by God. You have been chosen by God to serve in a local assembly that has been assigned certain spiritual objectives.

 

JOH 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.”

 

So, the purpose of a military operation is the attainment of a certain objective assigned to a designated force. This objective constitutes the guide for the interpretation of orders, for the formation of decisions, and for the employment of the means available. And just as a certain objective exists in the natural realm for a military unit, so an objective exists in the spiritual realm for a local congregation. Our main objective in spiritual warfare, the war in which believers are called to fight, is to glorify The Lord Jesus Christ. This objective is found in Revelation 4:11 – “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created.”

 

1CH 16:28, “Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.”

 

1CH 16:29, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the Lord in holy array.”

 

To repeat, the main objective of the believer in the Angelic Conflict is to glorify The Lord Jesus Christ. So, in the Christian way of life, the principle of the objective is the fulfillment of the Predesigned Plan of God through the attainment of spiritual growth inside God’s plan.

 

  1. The second principle of war is “the principle of offensive action.”

 

Offensive action is the only means by which a decision is accomplished in warfare. And, when successful, the offensive brings victory; in contrast, defensive action can only avoid defeat. Therefore, the only effective way to win a war is to go on the offensive. In 1Timothy 6:12, Paul told Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” Now, Paul did not say fight the devil. He said fight “the good fight of the faith,” a phrase which means the execution of the Predesigned Plan of God. We can ascertain the definition of “fighting the good fight” from an earlier passage in Paul’s second letter to Timothy.

 

2Ti 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;”

 

So the goal of offensive action in the Predesigned Plan of God is advancement to spiritual maturity. Advancing to spiritual maturity results in the conveyance of your escrow blessings (rewards in eternity) to your escrow account and the opportunity to participate in the wonderful privilege of suffering for blessing whereby you become a witness to God’s integrity (His justice and righteousness which reveals His holiness) in Satan’s appeals trial (human history). Paul referred to these escrow blessings in Ephesians 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”

 

EPH 1:4, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”

 

  1. The third principle found in warfare is called “the principle of mass.”

 

The term “mass” is used in the military to define combat power. The concept of mass involves the numbers, the weapons, the tactical skill, the fighting ability, the determination, the discipline, the morale, and the leadership of a military unit. In other words, mass takes into account all the assets and weaponry that a group of soldiers has at its disposal. The proper use of mass determines success in battle. Success in warfare is attained by the employment of mass in a main effort, at the proper time, and at the proper place for the accomplishment of a definite purpose.

 

So, notice four things in this explanation:

 

  1. There must be a main effort
  2. There is a proper time
  3. There is a proper place
  4. There is a definite purpose

 

The main effort of the Christian soldier is to love God with all his strength, DEU 6:5. The proper time refers to “redeeming the time” by being filled with the Holy Spirit, EPH 5:18. The proper place is inside the Predesigned Plan of God, ROM 12:2. The definite purpose is the glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2TH 1:12.

 

Successful use of “spiritual mass” to glorify Jesus Christ can only be accomplished by using the weapons and the power that God has made available to the believer. In the Christian life, there are many distractions from the use of divine power. So, by analogy, mass in the Christian life is the utilization of divine power delegated by God the Father in the Predesigned Plan of God and the function of the power of the Holy Spirit inside that plan. In the spiritual life, the principle of mass is directly related to the omnipotence of God.

 

Remember that we have the ability to fulfill His will only when we are living inside the Predesigned Plan of God for our lives. And whenever believers use human power or Satan’s cosmic power to accomplish a task, they grieve, or even quench, the Holy Spirit. All of Satan’s power and all of Satan’s energy come from two sources. First, his power arises from the fact that he was created the supreme creature of all times. Satan was created a super-genius. He possesses the greatest energy of any known creature. And his energy is absolutely, totally, and completely dynamic.

 

EZE 28:11, “Again the word of the Lord came to me saying,”

 

EZE 28:12, “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre [possessed by Satan], and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God, You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.’”

 

EZE 28:13, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared.”

 

EZE 28:14, “You were the anointed cherub who covers [Satan was the personal bodyguard of Jesus Christ], And I placed you [there]. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.”

 

EZE 28:15, “You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created, Until unrighteousness was found in you.”

 

So, all of Satan’s power and all of Satan’s energy come from two sources. First, his power and energy derive from the fact that he is the supreme created being in all of history. And secondly, Satan’s energy has been renewed from day to day for tens of thousands of years. His day-by-day renewal of energy comes from one source – ARROGANCE. Arrogance is a great energizer among both fallen angels and human beings. For instance, arrogance can motivate a church to do overtly amazing things over a long period of time. However, arrogance is a wrong motivation and such acts are of no account to God. Arrogance motivates all kinds of human good as well as evil and sin. Moreover, arrogance is the most effective human energy system for destroying the fulfillment of God’s plan for one’s life. In fact, the main sin that leads believers to withdraw from the spiritual life is arrogance. The use of human intellect and false concepts, whereby one quenches the Holy Spirit, is almost as common a problem as arrogance for the believer.

 

Again, “mass” in the Christian life is the utilization of divine power delegated by God the Father in the Predesigned Plan of God and the function of the power of the Holy Spirit inside that plan. Therefore, in the spiritual life, the principle of mass is directly related to the omnipotence of God. When you realize these important principles and avoid the pitfalls of arrogance and human viewpoint, you can say what David said in 1Samuel 17:47 – “For the battle is the Lord’s.” Or, as found in 2Samuel 22:40, you may say, “For Thou hast girded me with strength for battle; Thou hast subdued under me those who rose up against me.” The principle of “spiritual mass” is also taught in Ephesians 4:11-16.

 

EPH 4:11, “And he gave some apostles, some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastor-teachers,”

 

Notice that the purpose behind the appointment of these officers in the spiritual army of the Lord is given in verse 12.

 

EPH 4:12, “for the equipping [equipping for battle] of the saints for the work of service, to the building of the body of Christ…”

 

In this verse, the word “equip” is the Greek word katartismos and means to prepare, to equip for battle, or to enable. Also, the word “service” is a synonym for “armed forces,” those who are equipped to fight.

 

EPH 4:13, “…until we all attain to the unity of the faith [that which is believed, Bible doctrine].”

 

The only true unity we will ever have as believers is the unity that comes from thinking alike by means of correct doctrine.

 

EPH 4:13, “…until we all attain to the unity of the Christian faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature believer, to that full measure of development which belongs to the fulfillment of Christ.”

 

Verse 13 records the definite purposes behind the principle of mass in spiritual conflict – unity of mindset, knowledge of Bible doctrine, and personal spiritual growth. Then, the results of growing up spiritually are given in verse 14.

 

EPH 4:14, “As a result, we are no longer to be children [immature believers], tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;”

 

And here, by the way, is part of your spiritual warfare – tossed here and there by waves, carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, or by craftiness in deceitful scheming. But, in spiritual maturity, the believer can have a stability of soul leading to steadfastness of duty and the awareness of deception by the enemy as the basis for spiritual combat.

 

EPH 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects unto Him, who is the head, even Christ…”

 

Verse 15 again reveals the definite purpose of spiritual mass for the Christian soldier – advancing to spiritual adulthood through the inculcation of Bible doctrine taught by a communicator who is motivated by virtue-love.

 

EPH 4:16, “…from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that [doctrine] which every joint [the pastor who is prepared] supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, and this causes the spiritual growth of the body for the building up of itself by means of the spirit of love.”

 

In this verse, “the spirit of love” is a reference to the filling of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, in verse 16 we have a description of a properly functioning military unit where each man knows his place and knows how to effectively carry out his duties; the result is edification of the body and spiritual advancement for the members of the body.

 

So, the concept of mass involves the numbers, the weapons, the tactical skill, the fighting ability, the determination, the discipline, the morale, and the leadership, which are all part of the power of the military principle of mass.

 

  1. “Economy of force” is the fourth principle of war.

 

Economy of force may be defined as the application of the principle of mass. Economy of force is the means by which military mass is deployed or arranged in a main effort. First, the time and place of the main effort are determined. This determination falls under the principle of preparation. The principle of preparation and the ordering of priorities were explained by our Lord in Luke chapter 14.

 

LUK 14:31, “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand [men] to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand [men]?”

 

LUK 14:32, “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace.”

 

LUK 14:33, “So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

 

This last verse does not refer to taking a vow of poverty, but rather emphasizes the setting up of priorities; a believer’s commitment to the Lord must take precedence over all other issues in his life such as his possessions. Then, in verse 34, we have the principle of the believer losing his effectiveness by wrong priorities.

 

LUK 14:34, “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?”

 

In the ancient world salt was used for preserving and seasoning food. A lack of saltiness in this passage is analogous to reversionism (backsliding). The reference to tasteless salt is used to portray the divine discipline of the reversionistic believer in Luke 14:35.

 

LUK 14:35, “It [the tasteless salt of reversionism] is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

Again, economy of force is the means by which military mass is deployed or arranged in a main effort. What does economy of force connote in the spiritual realm? It means that the Christian soldier should not allow himself to be distracted from the plan that God has designed for him. Remember that when we do become distracted, He has made provision for our failures through rebound and recovery. Therefore, there is no place for guilt in the Christian way of life.

 

In the Christian way of life, the economy of force principle is tantamount to the following four things:

 

  1. The perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine: This allows an understanding and use of the divine assets made available to the Church-age believer in the Predesigned Plan of God. A believer must know the means by which his spiritual power is deployed in the main effort of advancing towards spiritual maturity.

 

  1. Making God the first priority: Establishing the priority of our relationship with God over our relationships with people is paramount; this principle must be understood and lived by the believer in order to advance spiritually. And, interestingly, our relationships with others will suffer unless this priority is recognized.

 

  1. A believer’s use of the correct source of power: The utilization of divine power rather than the function of human power in the cosmic system is key to spiritual success. Following this principle is the main reason for blessings in time and in the eternal state.

 

  1. Living inside the Predesigned Plan of God: The utilization of divine power must occur inside the Predesigned Plan of God for the successful fulfillment of that plan. Thus, spiritual economy of force entails the establishment of biblical priorities. First, priority is assigned to a relationship with God over relationships with people. The second priority is an application of the first priority – the use of divine power in the Predesigned Plan of God over the use of human power in the cosmic system. Therefore, this principle of economy of force emphasizes the importance of proper preparation. And preparation comes from Bible doctrine.

 

PRO 20:18, “Prepare plans by consultation [of the Scriptures], And make war by wise guidance.”

 

A Christian soldier should consult the Word of God for guidance in every circumstance.

 

PRO 24:6, “For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors [doctrines from God’s Word] there is victory.”

 

The Christian soldier’s counsel comes from wise guidance – Bible doctrine.

 

  1. The fifth principle of warfare is “the principle of movement.”

 

“Movement” is a technical military term that refers to the maneuvering of combat arms and their support units. Now, movement for the believer is based upon the believer’s understanding of God’s plan for his life. Remember that there is a general plan for all believers and then there is a precise, accurate plan for each individual believer. Under the principle of taking the offensive, the principle of movement means to bring military mass into close contact with the enemy to secure a decisive result. For the believer, this involves bringing his divine operating assets close to the spiritual battles that he faces. This is why the word “wrestle” is used in Ephesians 6:12.

 

EPH 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.”

 

The concept of “wrestling with the enemy” connotes close contact. But, recall that our wrestling is in the spiritual realm, not in the natural realm. The principle of movement is also used for placing a force where it can attack with advantage. This spiritual movement falls under the concept of preparation – preparing oneself for the day of battle. Now, movement is most effective when it is concealed. Therefore God has designed a plan for the Church-age whereby your spiritual growth is concealed. Only at certain stages of spiritual growth are results of your spiritual advance apparent to others. This concealment emphasizes the privacy of your own priesthood in living your own life as unto the Lord. Remember that the Lord does not need to see overt changes in you to discern whether or not you have been moving forward in your spiritual walk. He knows all. By contrast, man needs to see overt change in you to perceive your spiritual growth. However, the Lord is the One who counts! Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart (thoughts in the soul), 1SA 16:7.

 

1SA 16:7, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

 

In the Predesigned Plan of God, movement refers to momentum in His plan with the result being the invisible impact of the believer on history. This spiritual momentum is tantamount to attacking from a concealed position. This momentum, utilized by the pivot (mature believers in a nation, ROM 11:4), has sustained our country for all these years. Our country has been sustained as a client nation to God because of the principle of concealed movement by invisible, spiritual champions.

 

Believers advance in the spiritual life by using divine power. Divine power is invisible. And when we attain the objective of spiritual momentum, we have invisible impact that is never found in any history book. Until the believer attains spiritual self-esteem (self-esteem derived from understanding that you are what you are by the grace of God), such movement in his life is concealed but still effective. Only when he reaches spiritual self-esteem will anyone notice his spiritual advance. Until then, people will only observe the ups and downs of spiritual childhood. But the effectiveness of the Christian life is not in spiritual childhood. And yet, while still in spiritual childhood, most believers mistakenly become involved in Christian service.

 

Another aspect of the principle of movement is that it is most effective when covered by the capable employment of firepower. This principle involves the concept of artillery support for troop advancement as well as all the other logistics that are needed . Now, at the point of spiritual self-esteem, movement is visible and must be supported by maximum artillery fire. Firepower, as defined in the Christian life, is the utilization of certain logistical grace principles and certain problem-solving devices (Appendix A) such as rebound, recovery, the faith-rest drill, and the confidence that is derived from spiritual self-esteem. While in spiritual self-esteem, you have the motivation of impersonal love along with your personal love for God and occupation with Christ. But you do not, as yet, have the full function of impersonal unconditional love as the greatest problem-solving device in life. God provides your artillery barrage through these problem-solving devices. He also provides opposition in the form of suffering to allow you to exercise these devices. With firepower such as the problem-solving devices, along with momentum testing through suffering for blessing, you can advance through each stage of spiritual adulthood to the point of maximum glorification of God. And so, all of these concepts fall under the principle of movement.

 

So, we conclude that a believer advances in the Christian life only when he utilizes the power of God inside the Predesigned Plan of God.

 

2CO 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses [winning spiritual battles].”

 

  1. The sixth principle of warfare is termed “the principle of surprise.”

 

Surprise, in some form, is essential to obtain maximum effect in battle with minimum casualties. This is why we are told by Peter not to be surprised at the trials and the temptations that come our way.

 

1PE 4:12, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you…”

 

1PE 4:13, “…but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”

 

Surprise occurs in many categories of military activity – time, place, direction, force, tactics, and weapons. The great captains of history all used surprise – Hannibal, Caesar, Adolphus, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, and Macarthur. The surprises to Satan during the Church-age are the tactical victories of believers from varying races, cultures, mentalities, talents, and handicaps. Equal opportunity and equal privilege for the believer provided by God in time means that he is not handicapped in any way by race, culture, mentality, talent, etc.

 

As the ruler of this world, Satan is not only surprised, but also shocked every time a believer enters into spiritual maturity. The Church-age with its unique factors such as the indwelling of the believer by the Trinity is a complete surprise to Satan. When the Church-age began and its unique factors began to multiply, Satan experienced the greatest shock since he was thrown out of heaven in prehistoric times. And no greatness by any Old Testament saint has so shocked, surprised, and defeated Satan like the most “insignificant” of Church-age believers attaining spiritual maturity in the Predesigned Plan of God. The Church-age is the single greatest period for the utilization of divine power in all of history. And this power is available to you right now.

 

The life of the Apostle Paul provides the greatest example of a Church-age believer making use of this divine power. The mystery doctrine of the Church-age was not known to Old Testament saints (thus, the “mystery!”), nor was it known to Satan and the fallen angels. Mystery doctrine is part of the “progressive revelation” of Scripture and is the doctrine that Church-age believers are meant to utilize in living the Christian way of life.

 

ROM 16:25, “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past,”

 

ROM 16:26, “But now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;”

 

Every factor related to the Predesigned Plan of God (PPOG), the unique life, the lifestyle of wisdom, has taken Satan completely by surprise. Despite this surprise, Satan counterattacks with his cosmic system in every generation of the Church-age. Satan, as the ruler of this world (John 12:31), uses the cosmic system to attempt to control or defeat believers. This control is his policy for the rulership of the world. Satan’s cosmic system is composed of two power systems. “Cosmic One” is Satan’s exploitation of believers by use of their personal arrogance. This is his chief means of controlling the human race. Satan invented arrogance, for arrogance was his original sin. “Cosmic Two” is the devil’s “propaganda and indoctrination college” used to promulgate cosmic thinking and promote antagonism towards God, especially towards the grace policy of God. So, Satan promotes the cosmic system as a direct response to the Predesigned Plan of God.

 

The cosmic system, as we know it, did not exist in Old Testament times. The cosmic system exists now, in the Church-age, as Satan’s greatest genius. He uses it to distract believers, to counterattack the PPOG, and to neutralize the effectiveness of God’s power. And in our day, this counterattack is highly successful! The devil counterattacks from his cosmic system with temptation, with human good, and with evil. Today, Satan’s counterattack is effective because the average believer fails to learn Bible doctrine. The failure of the believer in spiritual “childhood” to establish and continue the habit of perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine greatly aids the devil in his schemes. Unfortunately, today most believers are living out their lives in a “Madison avenue public relations-look at me” type of attitude using the energy of the flesh rather than God’s power.

 

Perhaps the greatest surprise to the devil is the fact that there is positive volition towards doctrine in every generation of believers during the Church-age. In each generation, there are believers who pass the test; they suffer for blessing and they testify as a witness for the prosecution in the appeals trial of Satan. When a believer passes this type of testing, it is the maximum blow to Satan. This battle with Satan’s world system is described by the Apostle John in John chapter 15.

 

JOH 15:17, “This I command you, that you love one another.”

 

JOH 15:18, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before [it hated] you.”

 

JOH 15:19, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

 

JOH 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

 

JOH 15:21, “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.”

 

  1. The “principle of security” is the seventh principle of war.

 

Security is defined in military science and tactics as all measures taken to guard against the enemy’s attempts at observations, surprise, and hostile interference with effective maneuver of your troops. Security is designed to gain and maintain a military unit’s freedom of action. The analogy of security for the Christian soldier includes eternal security for every believer beginning at the moment of salvation and further emphasizes the fantastic problem-solving devices available to the believer. Our security from satanic opposition in spiritual warfare is given in such passages as Isaiah 54:17, “‘No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,’ declares the Lord.”

 

PRO 21:31, “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the Lord.”

EXO 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”

JOB 5:19, “From six troubles He will deliver you, even in seven evil will not touch you.”

 

In Scripture, six is the number of man and represents all the different actions that mankind attempts in order to harm the believer.

 

JOB 5:20, “In famine or economic disaster He will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword.”

 

In the following verses, Job listed four disasters as illustrations of security – depression, warfare, sins of the tongue, and death.

 

JOB 5:21, “You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue [social disaster], neither will you be afraid of violence when it comes.” The New English Bible provides this translation of verse 21: “You will be shielded from the lash of slander.” Now verse 22 reduces the disasters to two – economic disaster and death.

 

JOB 5:22, “You will laugh at violence or death, neither will you be afraid of wild beasts.”

 

“Laughter” refers to a believer having a relaxed mental attitude in time of disaster. “Wild beasts” actually represent men who live in selfish ambition and inordinate competition. These men act like animals in order to prosper in life. Wild beasts were also instruments of violent death in the ancient world, just as drugs and automobiles are today. Remember that the believer cannot be removed from life apart from the sovereign decision of God. In other words, until God decides it is time for him to depart, nothing will remove the believer from this life. And, once God has made the decision to remove him, nothing can keep the believer here.

 

JOB 5:23 indicates that no instrument of violent death can remove the believer from this life until the sovereignty of God permits it. No believer can be removed from this earth by death until God is ready to take him home. But once God, in His sovereignty, calls the believer home to heaven, nothing can keep him here. Death is the sovereign decision of God only. Therefore, the believer has no right to question the decision or the wisdom of God in regards to the death of a loved one. We have the right to mourn, but we have no right to feel or express bitterness or antagonism toward God. Death is His decision, His judgment call, and His wisdom.

 

JOB 5:23, “For you will be in league with the stones of the field and the beasts of the field will be at peace with you.”

 

This verse indicates that you will be at peace with “the weapons of this world” when you understand God’s security for the believer.

 

JOB 5:24, “And you will know that your tent [human body] is secure, for you will visit your abode, your final home, with no loss.”

 

Verses 24 and 25 signify that death does not terminate escrow blessings (rewards in eternity) for the winner believer, the spiritual champion.

 

JOB 5:25, “You will also know that your descendants [or seed] will be many [or prosperous] and your offspring as the grass of the earth.”

 

In verse 25, “descendants” or “seed” is not a reference to procreation, but to “blessing by association” with the invisible hero. When he dies, the spiritual champion or invisible hero knows that personal blessing will continue to be extended to all his loved ones and friends. So, the impact of the spiritual champion exists not only in his living phase of the Predesigned Plan of God, but also in his dying phase and even after death.

 

JOB 5:26, “You will come to the grave in full vigor or full age, like the stacking of grain or corn in its season.”

 

Because God’s wisdom and decisions are perfect, we must accept God’s decision regarding the time, place, and manner of the death of someone we love or in our own death. God is the Expert – He knows best about when and how we should die. And since God knows best, no one should ever question His judgment. This perspective should eliminate bitterness with regard to your dying or the death of a loved one. Bitterness towards God is tantamount to blasphemy. While we think of life in terms of longevity, God thinks of life in terms of His wisdom, love, integrity, and grace. In verse 26, the term “full vigor or full age” does not mean you will live a long life, but that you will die at the right time. God is perfect; therefore, His timing is perfect. In all matters of life and death, timing is important. Proper timing is portrayed by the illustration of “corn” in our passage.

 

The illustration of corn is taken from agricultural society in the ancient world. There is a right time and a wrong time to harvest and shuck the corn. Only the expert can determine the right time. God is the Expert of experts. Therefore, God decides when it is time for us to die, where we shall die, and how we shall die. All ears of corn do not ripen at the same time. But when an ear of corn is ripe, it is harvested and separated from its sheath; this is a perfect illustration of death. Likewise, man is separated from his physical body through physical death.

 

JOB 5:27, “Behold this, we have investigated it, thus it is: hear it, and know it for yourself.”

 

So, this passage deals with the principle of divine security in time and divine security in dying. Again, the seventh principle of war is security. And security is defined in military science and tactics as all measures taken by a military unit to guard against the enemy’s observations, surprise, and hostile interference with effective maneuvering.

 

  1. The eighth principle of war is the “principle of simplicity.”

 

“Simplicity” is used in a technical sense by students of military science. Simplicity means that all military plans, at any level of command, must be simple and free from complicated maneuvers. Orders have to be direct, clear, and free from surprise. The frequent changing of plans should be avoided and the unity of command should be observed. And what a wonderful application this has to the Christian life.

 

The practice of “frequent changes of plan” is repudiated by God. There is only one plan and it is constant throughout the entire Church-age. And the “unity of command” for us is in the hands of God the Father who authorized the plan. Entrance into the plan was provided by God the Son through the works of His hands. And finally, “the unity of command” is in the hands of God the Holy Spirit, Who provides the power for our execution of His plan.

 

The principle of simplicity with regards to the Predesigned Plan of God involves the mechanics of spiritual function of the believer inside of the plan. The principle of simplicity entails the clear and direct teaching of the Word of God.

 

PRO 30:5, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”

 

So, doctrine must be concisely taught and concisely followed.

 

  1. The ninth principle of war is the “principle of cooperation.”

 

In military terms, cooperation means that all elements of a mission work together for the accomplishment of that operation. Cooperation involves the concept of teamwork. Cooperation within a command is achieved when each soldier interprets his orders in an intelligent manner and executes them in accordance with the authority issuing the order. For the believer, cooperation is achieved by the guidance of the Spirit. In the spiritual realm, when a believer receives his commands from headquarters in heaven and executes them in the Spirit, he operates in cooperation with The Lord Jesus Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Between independent commanders, cooperation is achieved by each officer working for a common objective without concern for individual ambition.

 

PHI 2:5, “Keep on thinking this [doctrine] within yourselves which was also resident in Christ Jesus…”

 

This mindset commanded by Paul is the true unity that exists for those who have spiritual authority; they are not intimidated by others. This principle of cooperation reiterates the importance of the believer identifying his spiritual gift, utilizing his spiritual resources in prayer, and advancing in the privacy of his own priesthood while not interfering in the lives of others.

 

The greatest illustration of teamwork in the Church-age is the fact that all Three members of the Trinity indwell our bodies together. This cooperation by the Members of the Trinity emphasizes the fact that God has a united plan for your life, a plan carefully designed by God the Father, executed by God the Son, and revealed by God the Holy Spirit. Divine cooperation reflects God’s omniscience, His sovereign decisions, and the fact that God has not given us a plan which calls for us to operate by our own devices, our own personalities, our own concepts, or our own human dynamics. Instead, we are directed by Scripture to operate under divine power.

 

So, God has delegated His divine power to us so that we may fulfill His predesigned plan. Therefore, the nine principles of warfare have a direct application to all believers.

 

Each of the nine principles of warfare can be summed up in one word.

 

  1. The principle of objective = plan
  2. The principle of offensive = victory
  3. The principle of mass = power
  4. The principle of economy of force = execution
  5. The principle of movement = momentum
  6. The principle of surprise = attack
  7. The principle of security = support
  8. The principle of simplicity = accuracy
  9. The principle of cooperation = teamwork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3: Paul’s Brand-Mark and the Vegetius’ Discourse

 

 

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, Paul wrote, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” This verse, Ephesians 6:10, is a passage which deals with the believer’s responsibility to use the divine power of God in both offensive and defensive action as a Christian soldier. As already noted, there is a time for offensive action and  a time for defensive action. Now, in view of Paul’s constant contact with Roman soldiers while imprisoned, it was inevitable that God the Holy Spirit would give the great apostle the necessary spiritual I.Q. to make analogies between the spiritual life of the Christian soldier and military life in the Roman army.

 

So, under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul used military terms to describe the Christian way of life. Many of the military metaphors in the Bible are found in the epistles of Paul. In this chapter, we will examine several of the military metaphors used by the Apostle Paul in Scripture. But first, we should note the definition of a “metaphor.”

 

A metaphor is defined as a figure of speech in which one thing is likened to another in order to teach a certain principle.

 

The first area of military metaphor we shall analyze concerns the selection of recruits. As we have already noted, this selection is found in 2Timothy 2:3-4.

2Ti 2:3, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”

 

This verse indicates that soldiers undergo hardship. In fact, soldiers must be trained by hardship. A true soldier learns to endure hardship. Likewise, God trains the believer with hardship, often through the problems that accompany the details of life. This is much like the training of a soldier by hardships. The details of life, often equated with “the charge of the mosquito,” trains believers to face “the charge of the elephant,” which refers to our spiritual warfare. A believer is going to have hardship whether he succeeds or fails in the Christian life. And whether a believer endures the hardship will depend upon the believer’s training, the doctrine resident in his soul.

 

2Ti 2:4, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.”

 

Now, remember that the Bible must be interpreted in the time that it was written. The last phrase “so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier” refers to the officer in charge of that soldier. In the spiritual realm, God is our Officer. In the ancient world, when a recruit had proven himself by graduating from basic training, the Roman army would do something very interesting; they would brand the graduate with a hot iron. One of the most honorable awards in Roman life was to receive that brand. Every man who made it through basic training and had the brand possessed an honorable mark on his life. And the brand could never be removed. Paul referred to a similar “spiritual brand” in chapter 6 of his letter to the Galatian church.

 

GAL 6:14, “But may it never be that I should boast, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

 

GAL 6:15, “For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”

 

GAL 6:16, “And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”

 

GAL 6:17, “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.”

 

Paul’s brand-marks signified that Paul had graduated from rigorous spiritual basic training. Again, the brand-mark was one the highest honors for a Roman citizen. That brand-mark meant that he had gone through the toughest military training in the ancient world, perhaps of all time. Now, there was a famous Roman general named Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus who wrote one of the finest works on the military institutions of Rome. He observed that “victory depends on training, not on numbers.” Vegetius’ insight into military life was profound.

 

Regarding military training, Vegetius remarked, “The recruit, however, should not receive the military brand-mark when first enlisted.” Since the brand-mark indicated that a soldier had graduated from rigorous basic training, Vegetius prohibited it from being done at the beginning of the training, knowing that some recruits would not graduate. This mark was imprinted on the back of the hand with a hot iron. It was “indelible” (lasting and unforgettable). So, the Roman army would brand the mark on the back of a graduating soldier’s hand and he would bear it all of his life.

 

So, Vegetius continued his thoughts on training the recruit by stating, “Before he could have the brand of honor, he must first be tried to see whether he is fit for service, and whether he has sufficient strength, energy and attitude, to see his capacity, to learn his duty, and whether he has the proper degree of military courage.” Furthermore, Vegetius went on to comment, “For any who have enlisted in the Roman army, although promising enough in appearance, are found unfit upon trial or testing in basic training, therefore, they are rejected and replaced by better men.”

 

For a recruit to “wash out” of basic training meant disgrace. This training process was active during Paul’s time on earth, and Paul was aware of it when he wrote his epistles to the Church. So, for the trainee to return home without the brand of honor actually “branded” him a loser! Regarding those who failed to complete training, Vegetius further noted, “They were rejected and they were replaced by better men, for it is not numbers but bravery which carries the day in combat.”

 

Vegetius then concluded, “After their completion of the basic course, after their examination, the recruits should receive that military mark and be taught then the use of their arms by constant daily exercise.” In other words, after a soldier graduated from basic training, he had to continue training to maintain his skills and to learn new skills.

 

This is why the apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:17, “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.” He had gone through the testing and had passed basic training and was qualified. Moreover, he used doctrine the rest of his life. Remember that the Apostle Paul did not learn the mystery doctrine of the Church-age from Peter or John. According to Ephesians 3:3, Paul learned mystery doctrine by direct revelation from God.

 

EPH 3:3, “That by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.”

 

Paul was quite a man, dedicated and devoted to the communication of Bible doctrine. So, the Apostle Paul had passed spiritual basic training and was qualified to use doctrine the rest of his life. The analogy in the spiritual life then is quite obvious; all believers are in full time Christian service, but not all believers have received their mark of graduation from the basics. The mark is tantamount to the spiritual skills, which must precede the production skills, befor the performance of divine good. The production skills of the believer are already in place; they are part of at least the 40 things he received at the moment of salvation. But, the spiritual skills are not already in place at the moment of salvation. Therefore, when you have production skills minus spiritual skills, it equals the performance of dead works and evil.

 

The Apostle Paul, as a seasoned soldier who had been combat-tested in Christian service, should not have been troubled by the legalistic Galatians. This is what Paul meant in Galatians 6:17 when he commanded, “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.” He was saying, “Don’t bother me anymore!” or “Don’t try to bug me with all of your silliness.” Thus Paul, a veteran Christian soldier, was telling the unmarked legalists to “back off.

 

Now, legalism plus Christian service equals production skills minus spiritual skills. In other words, service performed by legalists is tantamount to no military brand with no honorable recognition. Thus, legalism can only produce human good (in the energy of the flesh), dead works, or evil. Therefore, Paul’s use of the brand-mark as a military metaphor illustrates the principle that only those believers who have graduated basic spiritual training are capable of performing divine good (in the power of the Spirit).

 

Again, a metaphor is simply a figure of speech in which words or phrases are used to describe an important principle.

 

So, let us take what Vegetius stated and, like Paul, apply it to spiritual warfare.

 

Vegetius further wrote, “Victory depends on training, not on numbers.” This axiom is especially true in the Christian life; your training and discipline are of the utmost importance. Recall one of the principles that we covered earlier – every now and then, a soldier is singled out as a champion who engages the enemy by himself. In the book of Job, for instance, God chose one man to confront Satan and his deceptions, one by one. Why? Because “victory depends on training, not on numbers.” We see this principle again in Leviticus chapter 26.

 

LEV 26:3, “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out,”

 

LEV 26:4, “Then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.”

 

LEV 26:5, “Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land.”

 

LEV 26:6, “I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land.”

 

LEV 26:7, “But you will chase your enemies, and they will fall before you by the sword;”

 

LEV 26:8, “Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.”

 

So, The Lord Jesus Christ sometimes calls forth one believer from His spiritual army to engage the enemy alone and, as a champion of the truth, to sacrifice his life on behalf of it. What greater honor could be granted to a Christian soldier than this?

 

Thus, we find an application and a principle as spiritual combatants from Vegetius’ statement that “victory depends on training, not on numbers.” In addition, Vegetius stated, “The recruit, however, should not receive the military brand-mark as soon as he is enlisted.” In other words, becoming a Christian is not enough. You must be trained. I have actually heard people quote Psalm 81:10 which states “I, the Lord, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” And they said, “You don’t have to get involved with all that doctrine stuff. Just open your mouth and God will fill it with the words He wants you to utter.” What utter nonsense!

 

HEB 5:14, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern between [divine] good and evil.”

 

In this verse, evil does not refer to immoral sins. You do not need to have your senses trained to discern what constitutes immorality; your conscience automatically knows that. John 1:9. Evil refers to Satan’s policy, as the God of this world, to defy God – his deceptions, his lies, his schemes, and his false doctrine.

 

So, Vegetius rightly concluded, “The recruit should not receive the military brand-mark as soon as he is enlisted.” Then he remarked, “This mark was imprinted on the hand of the soldier with a hot iron. It was indelible (lasting and unforgettable).” So, this brand-mark is a picture of the believer producing divine good that will last for eternity. Whenever you produce divine good, it has eternal value. You cannot lose your reward for the production of divine good in time.

 

The apostle Paul said, 1TI 4:8  For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

 

ROM 6:13, “And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

 

Vegetius went on to note, “Before he could have the brand of honor, he must first be tried to see whether he is fit for service, and whether he has sufficient strength, energy, and attitude to see his capacity, to learn his duty, and whether he has the proper degree of military courage.” As we have noted, Vegetius’ observations reflect biblical principles as well. For example, before you can be honored by the Lord and receive what Paul calls the brand-marks or what Vegetius calls the brand of honor, you must first be tested to see whether you are fit for service. Your testing in the spiritual life comes in the realm of perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine.

 

1CO 11:19, “For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.”

 

So, if you pass the pressure testing, you are qualified to receive the brand-mark. And what will be tested in your life? Well, as Vegetius stated, “whether you have sufficient strength, energy, attitude, and the proper degree of courage.” Vegetius went on to conclude, “For any who have enlisted in the Roman army, although promising enough in appearance, are found unfit upon trial or testing in basic training.” This last conclusion is an illustration of man looking at the outward appearance, but God, as the training officer, looking at the heart. Many believers are found to be unfit upon trial and testing in the spiritual realm. They have gone AWOL; they have withdrawn and quit the spiritual life.

 

The faithful and good soldier of The Lord Jesus Christ does not run from adversity, but freely and with a ready mind, engages in the battle. A true soldier for The Lord Jesus Christ will not turn his back to flee from the enemy and depart from the truth, no matter what happens. His love for The Lord Jesus Christ and his zeal to glorify Him motivates him to persist in spiritual combat. The true soldier of The Lord Jesus Christ knows what HEB 10:38 records – “If any man turns back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

 

Vegetius also went on to comment, “Therefore, they are rejected and replaced by better men.” So, even if we are not faithful to God, there are others who will be. To reiterate, one of the most disgraceful things in the ancient world was for a soldier to “wash out” of basic training. Paul was aware of this fact and used it as a metaphor in spiritual warfare. Again, to return home without the brand of honor branded the recruit a loser! Vegetius further remarked, “They were rejected and they were replaced by better men, for it is not numbers, but bravery, which carries the day in combat.” God is not interested in “how many” and “how much.” He is interested in the motivation of the believer. Proper doctrinal motivation should promote bravery in the Christian soldier. In spiritual warfare, the Christian soldier must understand that his battle is not against people, flesh, or blood.

 

And how does the Word of God tell us to handle this spiritual warfare? Well, we are not supposed to retaliate. We are also not supposed to run away or withdraw from combat. What are we to do then? In Ephesians 6:11 Paul counsels the Christian soldier to “put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

 

Vegetius then concluded, “After their completion of the basic course, after their examination, the recruits should receive that military mark and be taught then the use of their arms by constant daily exercise.” By analogy, after the Christian soldier graduates from rigorous basic spiritual training, he must still train regularly. All of these principles relate to what Paul said in Galatians 6:17 – “From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.” Paul had gone through the testing. He had passed and was qualified as a Christian soldier. Yet, Paul continued to use doctrine routinely for the rest of his life.

 

A soldier in the army of God should consider the following Scriptures:

 

PHI 1:29, “Because to you it has been graciously given with reference concerning Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on behalf of Him…”

 

ROM 8:17, “If indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.”

 

1TH 3:4, “For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know.”

1PE 2:19, “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.”

 

1PE 2:21, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…”

 

MAT 5:11, “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.”

 

JOH 15:20, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘a slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…”

 

MAT 5:12, “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 

1PE 3:8, “To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit…”

 

1PE 3:9, “…not returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”

 

1PE 3:10, “For, ‘let him who means to love life and see good days refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile.’”

 

1 PE 3:11, “And let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”

 

1PE 3:12, “For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

 

1PE 3:13, “And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?”

 

1 PE 3:14, “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled.”

 

1PE 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

 

1PE 3:16, “And keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

 

1PE 3:17, “For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4: More Military Metaphors

 

Let us look at several more military metaphors used by the Apostle Paul.

 

  1. The Military Metaphor of the Distinct Sound of Bible Doctrine.

 

In 1Corinthians 14:8, Paul used another military metaphor to describe part of the Christian way of life.

 

1CO 14:8, “For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?”

 

In the military, there are trumpet commands for assembly, there are trumpet commands to put on your equipment, there are trumpet or bugle commands to fall in, and there are trumpet commands for moving out and for forming in line. All of these commands were conveyed to the troops by trumpets during battle.

 

Now, there were two types of military commands in the Roman army.

 

  1. Voice commands, for situations where the voice could be heard.

 

  1. Trumpet commands, which were used in combat situations where there was a great deal of noise.

 

In this passage from Paul, the indistinct sound, not sounding a clear call, is analogous to speaking in tongues. The gift of tongues was temporary and is no longer in effect today. The gift of tongues (languages) was never designed for teaching Bible doctrine to believers, but was meant to evangelize unbelievers who spoke a foreign language. So, Paul indicated that the use of tongues produced an uncertain sound that is not useful in spiritual battle during the Church-age. Furthermore, this military metaphor was recognition of the fact that the Holy Spirit uses distinct sounds to communicate the mystery doctrine of the Church-age. Therefore, rejection of the distinct sounds of mystery doctrine of the Church-age leads to failure to execute the Predesigned Plan of God.

 

Again, in the context of this passage, the “uncertain sound” indicated involvement with tongues. That is why Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 14:6, “But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?”

 

1CO 14:7, “Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp?”

 

1CO 14:8, “For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?”

 

1CO 14:9, “So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.”

 

And this is what the average “holy-roller” does today – he speaks nonsense into the air.

 

1CO 14:10, “There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages [tongues = a foreign language, not a “secret uttering”] in the world, and no kind is without meaning.”

 

1CO 14:11, “If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me.”

 

1CO 14:12, “So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.”

 

Spiritual gifts should edify or build up the body of Christ, not oneself. We see in 1Corinthians 14:4 that “one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies [teaches doctrine] edifies the church.” And we are not placed in a local assembly to edify ourselves but to edify others.

 

1CO 14:13, “Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.”

 

1CO 14:14, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.”

 

1CO 14:15, “What is the outcome then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind also.”

 

1CO 14:16, “Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying?”

 

1CO 14:17, “For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.”

 

1CO 14:18, “I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all [Paul knew more languages than them];”

 

1CO 14:19, “However, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.”

 

Why does Paul make this statement in verse 19? Because Paul knew that the gift of tongues was directed at the unbeliever for communication of the gospel in a foreign language, not at the believer as indicated in verses 21 and 22 (below).

 

1CO 14:20, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature.”

 

1CO 14:21, “In the Law it is written, ‘By men of strange tongues [foreign languages] and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,’ says the Lord.”

 

1CO 14:22, “So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers; but prophecy [teaching doctrine] is for a sign, not to unbelievers, but to those who believe.”

 

1CO 14:23, “If therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?”

 

1CO 14:24, “But if all prophesy [speak the truth of Bible doctrine], and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all…”

 

1CO 14:25, “…the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.”

 

So, the military metaphor of “distinct and indistinct sounds” emphasizes the need for accurate communication of Bible doctrine. The trumpeting of distinct sounds, the clear communication of biblical truth, fulfills the principle of “doing a right thing in a right way.” And it can be accomplished even though we are not perfect. And so we see that God has a right way to do the right thing.

 

The distinct sound, therefore, means the perception and metabolization of doctrine resulting in the momentum by which we execute God’s plan. The distinct sounds involve learning God’s procedures. But, learning God’s procedures is hindered by the two great enemies of the Christian – ignorance and arrogance. The energy of ignorance and arrogance comes from life in the cosmic system. And remember that at any given moment, you, your mate, your friends, your companions, and your associates are living either in the Predesigned Plan of God or in the cosmic system of Satan, but not in both.

 

This principle is stated by James in James 4:4 – “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” And, in 1John 2:15, John admonished, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Moreover, Paul’s use of the principle of the distinct sound refers to the perfect accuracy of the plan of God. This principle is illustrated in Leviticus 22:21, where Moses wrote, “’And when a man offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord to fulfill a special vow, or for a freewill offering, of the herd or of the flock, it must be perfect to be accepted…”

 

DEU 32:4, “He [the Lord] is the rock, His work is ‘perfect.’”

 

PSA 19:7, “The Torah [the doctrine of the Lord] is perfect, restoring the soul;”

 

ROM 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is…”

 

And then the Apostle Paul describes the will of God – that which is “good and acceptable and perfect.” In 1Corinthians 13:10, Paul wrote, “But when the perfect comes [a reference to the completed canon of Scripture], the partial [signs and wonders] will be done away.”

 

JAM 1:25, “But one who looks intently at the perfect law [doctrine], the law of liberty…”

 

Also, take notice of the events surrounding Apollos in Acts chapter 18.

 

ACT 18:22, “And when he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch.”

 

ACT 18:23, “And having spent some time [there], he departed and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.”

 

ACT 18:24, “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures.”

 

Act 18:25, “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching ‘accurately’ the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John;”

 

Act 18:26, “And he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the ‘way of God’ more ‘accurately.’”

 

2Timothy 2:15 is also a “distinct sound” passage – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling ‘accurately’ the Word of Truth.”

 

Note what these previous verses indicate about God, His work, and His Word.

 

In Leviticus 22:21, the offering must be “perfect” to be accepted.

 

In Deuteronomy 32:4, God’s work is “perfect.”

 

In Psalm 19:7, the doctrine of the Lord is “perfect.”

 

In Romans 12:2, the will of God is “perfect.”

 

In 1Corinthians 13:10, the completed canon of Scripture is “perfect.”

 

In James 1:25, we have the “perfect” law.

In Act 18:26, the way of God is “accurate.” In 2Timothy 2:15, the pastor is instructed to handle “accurately” the Word of Truth.

 

The point is that, in battle, the trumpet sound must be distinct. That is to say, when Scripture is taught, the message must be accurate and clear. The isagogics, the categories, and the exegesis used by a pastor-teacher must be correct. We live in a day and age when the accuracy and the perfection of the Word of God are totally rejected by most believers. Most believers think that sincerity alone will impress God. However, accuracy is the order of the day, especially in the Church-age. And so the distinct sound of accurate Bible teaching is a crucial issue. Therefore, if your pastor is not accurate in what he teaches, you will not have the accurate information needed to live in the Predesigned Plan of God. The pastor must be accurate and precise in his doctrinal communication.

 

Please notice how important it is for the believer to be under a strict system of procedure based upon the accurate teaching of the Word of God. As an example, let us examine Noah’s ark as described in Genesis 6:14-22 (below).

 

In light of these verses, could Noah build the ark any way that he felt it should be built? Could Noah make the ark with any material that he wanted to use and change the dimensions as he went along? The answer, of course, is “no!” Could Noah say, “I want to do things my way?” This is what most of God’s people want to do; they want to do it “their way,” not God’s way. But God gave Noah perfect and accurate instructions in Genesis chapter 6.

 

GEN 6:14, “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.”

 

GEN 6:15, “And this is ‘how’ you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.”

 

Notice the word “how.” The right thing must be done in the right way.

 

GEN 6:16, “You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.”

 

GEN 6:17, “And behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.”

 

GEN 6:18, “But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark– you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.”

 

GEN 6:19, “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.”

 

And, finally, in Genesis 6:22, “Thus Noah did, ‘according to all that God had commanded him,’ so he did.” Noah followed the correct procedure precisely; he followed the distinct sound of God’s commands. If he had not done so, the ark would not have been able to float and the animals would not be here today.

 

As another example, we find precise instructions for making the Ark of the Covenant and constructing the tabernacle in the next book of the Bible. Exodus chapters 25 and 26 record these directives.

 

EXO 25:1, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,”

 

EXO 25:2, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise my contribution.”

EXO 25:3, “And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze,”

 

EXO 25:4, “Blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair,”

 

EXO 25:5, “Rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood,”

 

EXO 25:6, “Oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense,”

 

EXO 25:7, “Onyx stones and setting stones, for the ephod and for the breastpiece.”

 

EXO 25:8, “And let them construct a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell among them.”

 

EXO 25:9, “According to all that I am going to show you, as the ‘pattern’ of the tabernacle and the ‘pattern’ of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.”

 

Following this passage, the exact directions and accurate dimensions of the Ark of the Covenant were given in verses 10-21. Notice what the Lord promised to do when all these accurate, precise procedures were followed by Israel in the following verse:

 

EXO 25:22, “And there I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.”

 

The Lord would only meet with Israel above the mercy seat if the accurate and precise directions were followed during construction of the tabernacle. Then, in verses 23-39, the directions and the precise, correct procedure for the table of shewbread and the golden lampstand were recorded, down to the minutest detail. And notice what the Lord said in the last verse of this chapter, verse 40.

 

EXO 25:40, “And see that you make them after the ‘pattern’ for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.”

 

Notice the word “pattern.” The Lord did not say, “Get all the people working together and loving each other and tell everyone that they don’t have to be too concerned about the pattern.” Neither did the Lord say, “Tell everyone that they should put aside their differences concerning the ‘pattern’ of things and love each other.” And the Lord did not say, “Let’s get everyone in the tabernacle and let’s have a nice time of fellowship and gushing, mushy human activity.” “Accuracy” was the order of the day from the Lord. The distinct sound of the Lord’s accurate instruction had to be followed. “For, if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle?” And, in fact, following the distinct sound of accurate doctrine is proof of the believer’s admiration towards God.

 

PSA 119:7, “I shall give praise to thee with integrity of heart [only] ‘when’ I learn your doctrines.”

 

Chapter 26 of the book of Exodus records more instructions for making the tabernacle. Notice that, in verses 1-29, detail after detail is given concerning the tabernacle.

 

EXO 26:30, “Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to its ‘plan’ which you have been shown in the mountain.”

 

Did you ever wonder why details are given precisely and accurately as a part of the Word of God? Details are given precisely and accurately as a part of the Word of God to reveal to us the importance of “a right thing done in a right way.” God’s desire for us to pay attention to the details is reiterated in Hebrews 8:5 – “See that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” And so, God warned Moses “to do the right thing in the right way” regarding the Ark of the Covenant and the tabernacle. This principle of “a right thing done in a right way” emphasizes the importance of the accurate communication of the Word of God which, in another military metaphor, is also known as the sword of the Spirit.

 

Now, in the Old Testament, accuracy existed in the tabernacle of God. Therefore, you should understand the importance of accuracy in the Predesigned Plan of God. Do you believe that accuracy did and should exist in the tabernacle of God? If you do, then notice what is stated in Revelation 21:3 – “Behold the tabernacle of God is set up among men, and he shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them.” In the Church-age, your body is the tabernacle that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all indwell, 1CO 3:16.

 

The importance of accuracy and precision is also revealed in the accurate, precise details and directions found in the Levitical offerings, the Feasts, the Holy days, the New Moon, etc. This is why Jeremiah warned the children of Israel in Jeremiah 49:20 and 50:45, “Therefore hear [accurately understand] the ‘plan’ of the Lord!” Just like in the days of Jeremiah, most believers today have developed “hardness of heart.” Their attitude is much the same as that of the reversionists of Jeremiah’s day expressed in Jeremiah 18:12.

 

JER 18:12, “We are going to follow our own plans, and each one will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.”

 

Now, King Solomon built the temple for the Lord.

 

1KI 6:38, “The house was finished throughout all its parts and according to all its plans.”

 

The temple was built with extreme accuracy and devotion to detail. Do you believe that it was important for accuracy to exist in the temple? Of course it was! Well, you are currently the temple of the living God as a believer in the Church-age.

 

1CO 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”

 

1CO 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?”

 

Therefore, if accuracy was the order of the day for the temple in the Old Testament, think of how much more important accuracy is for the temple in the New Testament – you!

 

  1. The Military Metaphor of Marching

 

In Galatians 5:25, we find “drill and discipline” used by the Apostle Paul as another military metaphor.

 

GAL 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk [march] by means of the Spirit.”

 

Verse 25 does not say “walk by the Spirit.” Rather, the Greek says “march by means of the Spirit.” The Greek word for “walk” (peripateo) is not used here. Instead, stoicheo, the Greek verb for “march” is used. Stoicheo, as a military metaphor, emphasizes the importance of logging maximum time in the filling of the Spirit. Marching by means of the Spirit involves spending maximum time living and functioning in the Predesigned Plan of God, tantamount to logging maximum time with the Holy Spirit in control of your soul.

 

So, in this verse, we have the Greek word stoicheo which means “to be in line, to advance in rank, to march, or to advance under a system of discipline.” The concept of marching also connotes “to be drawn up in a line with, to hold, to agree, to follow.” The ancient Greeks were the first to use the word stoicheo to refer to military troops who were arranged behind one another. Stoicheo also means “to follow a leader or the example or the pattern.” There is no advance in life unless there is a clearly defined system of authority and leadership. There must be an appointed officer (the pastor-teacher) in command, responsible for giving orders such as “Form line!” and “Forward, march!” He must lead his troops towards the objective (of glorifying Jesus Christ) as defined by precise and accurate orders (found in the Word of God).

 

GAL 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also march by means of the Spirit.”

 

Furthermore, in this verse, “march” is the present active subjunctive of the Greek verb stoicheo. The present tense is the durative present, which implies or expresses endurance and continuation. So, the Christian soldier is supposed to “keep on marching by means of the Spirit” or “keep on marching by enduring through the power of the Spirit.” Again, remember that a soldier of The Lord Jesus Christ will keep and abide with the banner of truth. A good soldier of The Lord Jesus Christ will not turn his back on the enemy. In other words, he will not go AWOL (absent without leave). He will not turn his back to flee from the enemy and depart from the truth, no matter what he faces. The faithful Christian soldier will not “fall out of line” or disobey his “marching orders.”

 

The present tense used in Galatians 5:25, then, is a durative present which means to keep marching by means of the Spirit or by enduring through the power of God. The active voice used in this verse indicates that the Church-age believer produces the action of the verb and keeps on marching. The subjunctive mood used here is known as a hortatory subjunctive used for exhorting or trying to persuade the believer to march by means of the Spirit. Thus, Paul is urging all believers in the Church-age to join him in this course of action – being filled with the Spirit and continually marching by means of the Spirit.

 

To “advance in ranks” involves using the first two spiritual skills to execute the third spiritual skill, living in the Predesigned Plan of God. The first two spiritual skills are as follows:

 

  1. The filling of the Holy Spirit, which enables the use of divine power, ACT 1:8.

 

  1. Cognition of Bible doctrine, which also enables the use of divine power, HEB 4:12.

 

The power available from the first two spiritual skills enables the believer to execute the third spiritual skill.

 

  1. The third spiritual skill is the execution of the Predesigned Plan of God by use of divine power, GAL 5:25.

 

Using these three spiritual skills requires discipline by the believer. A principle demonstrated many times in history is the fact that a small group of disciplined individuals are often able to dominate a larger group of undisciplined men. Paul also used this military metaphor in Galatians 6:16 where he wrote, “And those who will walk [march] by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”

 

So, marching is part of military training. Marching takes discipline. It takes time and commitment to learn to march precisely and correctly; the soldier must learn to fully understand and obey the various orders of drill given by the commanding officer. Marching in a group takes cooperation and coordination. To march is to advance, and so it is in the spiritual life of the Christian soldier.

 

  1. The Military Metaphor of Good Discipline

 

Colossians 2:5 records the next military metaphor used by the Apostle Paul to describe part of the Christian way of life. In this verse, Paul spoke like a drill instructor reviewing the marching order of the Colossian believers.

 

COL 2:5, “For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in Spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.”

 

The first phrase in this verse to notice is “good discipline.” Good discipline is the Greek noun stereoma which means “a good solid phalanx” and refers to an ordered body of heavily armed soldiers. And so Paul remarked, “For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in Spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline [your heavily armed phalanx] and the stability of your faith or doctrine in Christ.”

 

There are several more important terms in this verse, so let us examine each one. For instance, the prepositional phrase “in Christ” is the Greek word eis with the accusative of purpose from Christos. This phrasing is different from many verses translated “in Christ” where the Greek word en and the locative of Christos are used. But, in keeping with the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture, the Holy Spirit wanted us to understand something unique in this verse. So, He used eis Christos. Eis, along with the accusative of purpose of Christos, indicates the objective. Therefore, this phrase should be translated “for the purpose of Christ” or “for the purpose of glorifying Christ.”

 

So, we see that Paul was pleased with the battalion formation at Colossi. The Colossian believers there were marching well; that is, they were advancing spiritually.

 

In addition to the definition given above, the term “phalanx” (stereoma) is also used of an offensive or defensive action, depending on the tactical situation. So, the Christian soldier may be on the offensive in certain circumstances, but on the defensive at other times. So, we find that there is a proper time for offensive action and there is a proper time for defensive action in spiritual combat. For example, we have rebound (confession of known sins), found in 1John 1:9, as a defensive action. By using rebound and recovery (returning to the study and application of Bible doctrine), a believer avoids defeat. But these defensive actions alone do not move him forward in the spiritual life.

 

Recall that offensive actions bring victory, but defensive actions only avoid defeat. In the spiritual realm, offensive action is analogous to Paul’s goal to “press on” or “advance” as found in Philippians 3:14.

 

PHI 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

 

And so the Church-age believer must know when to use offensive action and when to use defensive action in the Christian way of life. For instance, the divine orders recorded in Scripture regarding attacks from Satan and his fallen angels usually call for defensive action – “Stand your ground.” However, offensive action is indicated for several categories of the spiritual life.

 

  1. The evangelism of mankind
  2. The function of the problem-solving devices
  3. The understanding and use of your very own invisible assets available in your escrow account
  4. The execution of the Predesigned Plan of God
  5. The effective function of Christian service in the production of divine good rather than dead works

 

Throughout the Bible, there are commands for defensive action as well as commands for offensive action. For example, the command for both actions is found in James 4:7 – “Therefore, submit to God [His plan]. Stand your ground against the devil and he will flee from you.” Submission to God’s plan is the believer’s offensive action in this verse. Standing his ground against the devil is his defensive action. So, this imperative from James is a command for the believer to be on the offensive and on the defensive. As with the devil, there are also times to be on the defensive in our dealings with difficult people.

 

Ephesians 6:11-17 is one of the greatest passages in Scripture which uses military metaphors to accurately portray spiritual combat for the Church-age believer. This passage describes the “defensive action of the Church.” As noted earlier, Scripture records many offensive actions for the believer in relationship to the human race. However, divine mandates for the believer regarding Satan call for defensive action. The four major principles of defensive action in Ephesians chapter 6 are as follows:

 

  1. The first principle concerns defensive action against Satan, EPH 6:11-12.

 

Verse 11 reveals the means of defensive action – putting on the full armor of God. Verse 12 reveals the need for defensive action – Satan’s fantastic order of battle arrayed against the believer.

 

  1. The second principle of defensive action describes the function of defensive action, EPH 6:13.

 

The function of defensive action is holding your spiritual ground by means of the full armor from God.

 

  1. The third principle from this passage is the provision for defensive action, EPH 6:14-16.

 

This provision includes truth and virtue in verse 14, preparation for true evangelism in verse 15, and the problem-solving devices in verse 16. By way of military analogy, Paul likens these provisions to the equipment of a Roman soldier.

 

  1. The fourth principle Paul defines in this passage is the defensive position, EPH 6:17.

 

This defensive position is, in effect, a “wall of fire” surrounding the believer.

 

Now, Ephesians 6:10 is the actual beginning of this section; this verse reminds the believer of the importance of using divine power in spiritual warfare. Divine power must be utilized on a daily basis to accomplish the Christian way of life.

 

EPH 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”

 

While the command of verse 10 is clear, it does not indicate “how” to be strong in the Lord. Well, this verse is simply a conclusion of how to accomplish the commands found in the latter part of chapter 5 and the first part of chapter 6. These verses reveal “what” God demands in relationships. But “how” are we to accomplish these commands? With divine power!

 

Let us analyze this verse further. The word translated “finally” is actually two Greek words, tou loipou, and should be translated “from now on.” Now, what is Paul talking about? Earlier, in Ephesians 5:22-31, Paul taught the Ephesian church the principles of relationship in marriage. Then, in Ephesians 6:1-4, he covered the principles behind parenthood and the parent-child relationship. After that, in Ephesians 6:5-9, he delineated the principles involved in management-labor relations. And so, after elucidating these important principles regarding relationships, Paul said tou loipou – that is, “from now on.”

 

Paul used “from now on” to encourage believers to “pick themselves up and dust themselves off” after being convicted over their poor handling of relationships in light of the content of the prior verses. If a believer spent the appropriate time studying these passages beginning with marriage, he would be hit hard in some way. There are many convicting principles taught concerning the role of the man, the role of the woman, the parent-child relationship, and the labor-management relationship in the latter part of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. So, if a believer becomes discouraged by the conviction resultant from failure in his relationships, Ephesians 6:10 is a call to him to “pick himself up out of the dust” and move forward from that point.

 

All believers, in some manner, have failed to measure up to the principles of relationships recorded by Paul. And so tou loipou indicates that “from this moment on” we are still alive; therefore, we can make adjustments in our relationships that better align with the Scriptures. In other words, now that we have learned these things and we realize how the Bible says we should be operating in our relationships, we can “pick up the pieces.”

 

Tou loipou means that God still has a plan for the believer’s life. Tou loipou means that recovery is possible. And so, Ephesians 6:10 gives us the conclusion tou loipou – “from now on.” Now, do you see the grace in that? Alright, suppose that you have failed in marriage. Perhaps you have failed as a wife or you have failed as a husband. Maybe you have failed as a parent or as a child or in labor or management. But tou loipou (“from now on”) means that, beginning right now, you can move forward spiritually knowing the marvelous information about God’s integrity and divine power available to you. Tou loipou, then, is a grace idiom. And the idiom implies that many believers in the Roman province of Asia in Paul’s day were not utilizing divine power. They were giving “lip service” to doctrine and the spiritual life, but they were not using the power of God.

 

By the way, notice that two types of relationships were not mentioned here – friends and siblings. Why? Because, in each of the prior relationships listed, the issue of authority was involved. Friendships and sibling relationships involve no authority issue or, at least, they should not. So we have this wonderful grace phrase, tou loipou (“from now on”), meaning that, if you are still alive, you have the opportunity of executing the divine commands for the relationships described earlier in Ephesians.

 

And what are these divine commands for relationships which can only be accomplished by divine power?

 

EPH 5:22, “Wives, obey your own husbands.”

 

EPH 5:24, “Wives, be subject [obedient] to your husbands in everything.”

 

EPH 5:25, “Husbands, unconditionally [agape] love your wives.”

 

EPH 6:1, “Children, obey your parents.”

 

EPH 6:4, “Parents, do not provoke your children to anger.”

 

EPH 6:5, “Labor, be obedient to management.”

 

EPH 6:9, “Management, treat labor fairly.”

 

Most of us have failed in at least one of these areas of relationship. From the moment we realize that we have failed, we should get up, dust ourselves off, and pick up the pieces by rebound and recovery. The realization that there is divine power available to the believer which will allow him to fulfill these relationships properly motivates him to begin to move forward in the spiritual life again.

 

Now, the implication behind the latter part of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is important to understand – if we cannot properly handle relationships with people, then we are too unstable and unprepared to handle spiritual warfare. But once we learn how to handle relationships in marriage, the family, and the business world, then we are in a stabilized condition.

 

EPH 6:10, “Finally [from now on], be strong in the Lord…”

 

In this verse, the Greek word “strong” is the present passive imperative of the Greek word endunamoo which, in the passive voice, means “to acquire power,” “to become strong,” or “to be enabled.” Since this power belongs to The Lord Jesus Christ and He produces the action of the verb, “strong” could also be translated in the middle voice. The middle voice indicates that we benefit from becoming strong.

 

The latter part of Ephesians, starting with the passage on marriage, emphasizes relationships in which we are weak along with the divine solutions for those relationships. But in Ephesians 6:10, we come to a place of strength where we are ready to put on the armor from God. This armor will not just allow us to handle relationships in marriage, family, and the work place, but also to engage in spiritual warfare. So, in verse 10, “strong” is the present passive imperative of endunamoo and should be translated “start becoming strong.”

 

EPH 6:10, “From now on, start becoming strong in the Lord…”

 

Therefore, this verse is a reference to the utilization of divine power. Furthermore, the present tense of endunamoo is a tendentious present which indicates “an action commanded, but not taking place.” This condition of failed potential is revealed by the adverbial genitive idiom tou loipou (“from now on”). In other words, verse 10 should read, “From now on, start becoming something that you have not been, start becoming strong.”

 

So Paul commands the Ephesian believers to begin acquiring the divine power which is available to them for the execution of the Predesigned Plan of God. The passive voice for the subject, the Church-age believer, indicates that the subject receives the action of the verb. This is accomplished by use of the first two spiritual skills – the filling of the Spirit and cognition of Bible doctrine. The imperative mood of this verse signifies that God is making a demand on the volition of each one of us. So, since we are still alive, this verse demands that from this moment on, we should start becoming strong by learning how to use God’s power and setting aside our power. Our power is related to failure. God’s power is related to victory.

 

The victorious results of God’s power are brought out in the next phrase in our verse – “in the Lord.” The phrase “in the Lord” is the Greek word en along with the instrument of agency from the Greek word kurios. It should be translated “by means of [the] Lord.” There is no definite article (“the”) before “Lord” in the Greek; it is added in the English translation.

 

EPH 6:10, “From now on, start becoming [something that you have not been] strong by means of Lord…”

 

The absence of the definite article emphasizes the quality of the noun, that is, the high quality of the Lord. The Lord is not only the heavenly Supreme Court Judge, but He is our Lord and Savior. The instrumental case in Ephesians 6:10 expresses personal agency; the Lord is the Agent, the One Who keeps on strengthening us. Paul stated the same principle in chapter 4 of his letter to the Philippians.

 

PHI 4:11, “Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”

 

PHI 4:12, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”

 

PHI 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

 

So we see that the accurate observation of orders from The Lord Jesus Christ, marching in rank with fellow believers to advance for offensive or defensive actions and self-discipline leading to utilization of the power of God, are all necessary for the Christian soldier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5: Know the Adversary and His Deceptions

 

 

EPH 6:10, “From now on, start becoming strong by means of the Lord, and in the strength of His might.”

 

In corrected translation, this verse reveals that divine power or the omnipotence of God is available to each one of us as Church-age believers. The greatest power functioning today is the power of God described in chapter 6 of Ephesians. Why does the Christian soldier need this power? Because his adversary, the devil who rules over this world, has great power which he uses to accomplish evil, EPH 6:12. This evil power is often deceptive and the people involved may use a façade of good works, religion, “sweetness of life,” or sincerity. Satan’s power of evil is found in many passage of the Word of God.

 

For example, Satan’s power is revealed by the fact that he is the highest of all angels and ruler of all fallen angels in Matthew 9:34 and 12:26, as well as Luke 11:18-19. In Matthew 9:34, he is called “the ruler of demons.” Matthew 12:26 indicates that he has a kingdom. Satan is the most beautiful creature to come from the hand of God. He has a voice like a pipe organ. He has superior genius, beauty, personality, and persuasiveness and he is invisible. Satan is a prehistoric super-creature, as described in Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:11-19. And he was so brilliant with his defense in his first trial before God that God granted him an appeals trial which is being carried out in human history. Thus, God created man to resolve the Angelic Conflict.

 

ISA 14:12, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!”

 

ISA 14:13, “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.’”

 

ISA 14:14, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

 

ISA 14:15, “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit.”

 

ISA 14:16, “Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you, [saying,] ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms,’”

 

ISA 14:17, “Who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to [go] home?”

 

Satan’s power and genius are revealed by the fact that he has a fantastic organization of demons, EPH 6:10-12. He is the originator of murder and promotes violence in the human race, GEN 6:4-11 and JOH 8:44. He doesn’t play by any established rules. He makes up the rules as he goes along. And so Satan’s power is revealed by his rulership of the earth. Satan has greater power than any human and rules the world through his cosmic system. Since the fall of Adam, Satan has been the ruler of this world; his rulership is documented in LUK 4:5-7; JOH 12:31,14:30,16:11; 2CO 4:4; EPH 2:2.

 

In Luke 4:5-6, Satan offered our Lord all of the kingdoms of the world. This was a legitimate offer!

 

LUK 4:5, “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.”

 

LUK 4:6, “And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.’”

 

In John 12:31, our Lord said, “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.” And in John 14:30, “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me…”

 

2CO 4:4, “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

 

EPH 2:2, “In which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”

 

So, the devil rules all fallen angels. And the devil rules all unbelievers. Moreover, the devil rules many believers though demon influence and cosmic involvement. However, the body of Christ, which is ruled by the Head, our Lord Jesus Christ, has received the delegated divine power to resist the devil. This delegated power is a result of our Lord’s victory on the Cross, a victory which overflows into the Church-age, 1Jo 4:4.

 

1Jo 4:4, “Greater is He who is in you [omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit in the Predesigned Plan of God] than He who is in the world [power of Satan as ruler of the world and cosmic system].”

 

Now, as ruler of this world, Satan has two designations since his fall. Originally, Satan was called “Heylel” which means “the morning star” or “the son of light.” Heylel is often translated Lucifer as we find in the KJV of Isaiah 14:12. He was the bright and shining angel guarding the throne room of God, the highest ranking creature of all time, and the most beautiful and attractive creature in appearance and personality. After his fall in prehistoric times, Heylel was called Satan. In the Hebrew, Satan means “enemy and adversary” and signifies that he has greater power than us. However, Satan’s power is not greater than God’s omnipotence. And God’s power, which is available to the Church-age believer, leads us to the topic of God’s grace.

 

In grace, God has made His divine power available to believers. As humans, we are an inferior rational creation compared to angels. Satan is the archon (ruler) of all fallen angels, so his power is much greater than our human power. But God has made His power available to Church-age believers. God’s power is derived from all three Persons of the Trinity. We have the omnipotence of the Father in providing our escrow account. We also have the omnipotence of God the Son who preserves the universe and history daily. And we have the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit who provides the power to execute the Predesigned Plan of God. Through God, we have greater power than Satan. And, even for the unbeliever, God in His grace has provided a power to resist the power of Satan under the laws of divine establishment.

 

The second title given to Heylel after his fall is the Greek word diabolos which means slanderer, traducer, or false accuser. And one of the main activities of the devil, as the ruler of this world, is the expression of his antagonism, slander, and enmity towards God and His people; this he does from a position of great beauty and attractiveness.

 

So, although Satan is far superior to man in every way, God has two grace provisions for man which allow man to combat evil. The first provision of protection for all men is accomplished by the laws of divine establishment evident in human government. These laws protect the freedom, privacy, property, and life of all men, including unbelievers. Throughout all dispensations, even in the Tribulation, man continues to live on the earth because he is protected by the laws of divine establishment and by the third divine institution, the family. Man needs this protection because the power of Satan, as the ruler of this world, is far greater than any power man could ever muster. Furthermore, the presence of the Church, which is indwelled by the Holy Spirit, restrains Satan currently. With the rapture, that restraint is removed; the results are evident in the tremendous violence and warfare of the Tribulation, 2TH 2:6-12.

 

The second provision of protection is for believers only, the provision of divine power which includes the problem-solving devices (Appendix A). Paul describes the mechanics of this power in Ephesians chapter 6 starting in verse 10.

 

EPH 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”

 

We are now ready to begin a study of the military equipment that Paul encouraged the Christian soldier to don before executing spiritual warfare.

 

EPH 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

 

As we have already noted, “to stand firm” is a defensive action and emphasizes the importance of resisting, not attacking, Satan. Let us begin this discussion with analysis of several background passages such as Ephesians 4:27.

 

EPH 4:27, “And do not give the devil an opportunity.”

 

In the Greek, verse 27 actually states, “Stop giving the devil an opportunity.” The Ephesian believers were (incorrectly) trying to go on the offensive against Satan. And, many believers today try to do the same thing, but attacking the devil is never commanded by Scripture. So this is the first warning – stop doing something you are already doing, stop trying to attack Satan. Therefore, a better translation of this verse is, “Stop giving the devil an opportunity.”

 

The second warning from this verse involves the meaning of “opportunity.” The Greek noun for “opportunity” is the accusative singular direct object from the word topos. Topos means “an opportunity,” “a room,” “a chance,” “a place,” or “any portion or space marked off from a surrounding space.” The last part of the definition is important to note. What Paul had in view was a Christian soldier leaving his assigned defensive position to attack Satan. If a soldier does this, he gives the kingdom of darkness an opportunity, a room, a chance, a possibility, a portion or space marked off from a surrounding space. In doing so, he has left a “gap” in the defensive line. In the spiritual life, a believer can have all his bases covered except one and that one “space” is where the kingdom of darkness will strike. Satan and his kingdom will look for that opportunity, that opening, that room in your soul, that place that most people keep secret.

 

Now, God is certainly aware of our weaknesses and He has provided a defensive position for us, knowing that Satan will do his best to exploit those weaknesses to take us out of the plan of God.

In this defensive position, God has provided a “wall of fire” for the believer.

 

ZEC 2:5, “For I, declares the Lord, will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”

 

God’s “wall of fire” is designed to protect us from Satan and his demonic cohort and is necessary because of their superiority to us. So the point is this: we do not personally have the power to deal with these attacks. Therefore, it is important that we remain in fellowship with God and inside the Predesigned Plan of God. So all of these goofy things that the emotional hallelujah crowd does are absolute nonsense and all of this “rebuking” of Satan is absolute nonsense. These activities are absolute absurdity, foolishness, and insanity. The Lord is the only one who has the power or authority to rebuke Satan, so He is responsible to take care of rebuking Satan. On the other hand, God has put the believer behind a wall of fire, a place where he should stay. We find an example of this principle in Jude 1:9 – “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’”

 

So, believers should be on the defense when it comes to Satan and his demons. When we stick our necks out beyond the wall of fire, we leave ourselves open to being clobbered by the kingdom of darkness. When we leave our post, we give the devil an opportunity, a room in our soul. Now, what is meant by “a room?” The believer’s soul has rooms – spiritual rooms, as it were.

 

PRO 24:3, “By wisdom [metabolized doctrine] a house [an edification complex or soul structure] is built, And by understanding [doctrinal insight] it is established [one prepares himself];”

 

PRO 24:4, “And by knowledge, the rooms [of the soul, the seven compartments of the soul] are filled with all precious and pleasant riches [which means something of value and something stimulating].”

 

PRO 24:5, “A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power.”

 

In PRO 24:5, the Hebrew noun incorrectly translated “man” is “geber,” which means a soldier, a warrior, or a valiant person.

 

So Proverbs 24:5 actually states, “A wise soldier is strong [which means he lives in the power of doctrine], And a man of knowledge [doctrinal insight] increases power [the power to resist the kingdom of darkness and hold his ground].”

 

PRO 24:6, “For by wise guidance [guidance from doctrine] you will wage war [know when to be on the offensive and know when to be on the defensive], And in abundance of counselors [counsels from doctrine] there is victory.”

 

Thus, we see that the Bible teaches that the believer’s soul has spiritual rooms. And, in Ephesians 4:27, Paul warns, “Stop giving the devil an opportunity [a room].” The average believer is ignorant of this important topic; he is not even aware that such problems as a hidden room in his soul reserved for Satan exist. David understood this danger and the need for God’s help with it.

 

PSA 19:12, “Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.”

 

The NKJ version of Psalm 19:12 reads, “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” So, there is a secret room in every believer’s heart where the soul hides its skeletons. And, in many cases, the believer refuses to even admit that there is a problem. There are issues in the soul of every believer that he never reveals. On occasion, God may bring those issues to the surface where they can be seen. Sometimes others will see manifestations of those issues, but through impersonal love, will remain silent. But, if a brother does speak out, remember that Proverbs 27:6 states, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”

 

Often, however, even those nearest and dearest to us, those closest to us, are not aware of these hidden issues. And in some cases, these things are so contrary to the general character of the individual that he strives to suppress knowledge of them. He keeps them hidden in the secret chambers of his heart. These secret issues either contribute to an individual’s low self-esteem or produce arrogance in his soul through self-justification. So, these secrets can weigh down the heart with guilt or cause transference arrogance. But worst of all, they hinder or sometimes destroy a believer’s confidence in his relationship with God.

 

The Apostle Paul knew about these secret rooms in the soul which are hidden or ignored by the believer. This is why he wrote in 1Corinthians 4:4, “For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.” He said, “I am not conscious of anything that I am doing which is wrong, but that does not acquit me or vindicate me. The one who is fit to judge me is the Lord.” Now these hidden faults or secret sins differ among various individuals and sometimes differ in the same person at different times.

 

So, many believers have “a skeleton in their closet” – that is, a secret room which they keep private, confidential, undisclosed. This secret closet is a mysterious room concealed, hidden, isolated, and secluded. Many times, believers deny the room’s existence or they justify themselves by saying, “Everyone sins.” But, this room is not just an isolated sin; it is a lifestyle. And we are warned by Scripture to keep the kingdom of darkness from getting a stronghold in this room.

 

Now, we have noted many times the doctrines that are pleasant to the soul.

 

PRO 2:10, “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;”

 

ECC 7:12, “For wisdom is protection just as money is protection. But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the souls of its possessors.”

 

PRO 19:8, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will find good.”

 

But, on the other hand, rejection of Bible doctrine produces destruction.

 

ISA 5:13, “Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge;”

 

HOS 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

 

The principle, then, is very simple – just as doctrine gives the rooms of the soul pleasure and freedom, a lack of doctrine in the rooms of the soul produces slavery and bondage.

 

In Psalm 139:23-24, David said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Unless a believer is free from the chambers of imagery in his soul, these rooms filled with secret faults, he will never enjoy true freedom. That secret room will be like a dungeon or a prison to the life of the believer.

 

Returning to chapter 6 of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, we find:

 

EPH 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

 

Verse 11 begins with the aorist middle imperative of the Greek verb enduo which means “to pick up and put on equipment” or “to clothe oneself.” Enduo was a military word which the Apostle Paul heard and saw in action on many occasions. For instance, in the Mark Anthony barracks, there would be a rack that was filled with equipment. And the command enduo would be used for the Roman soldiers picking up and putting on their equipment. The aorist tense here is a Constantine aorist which views the action of the verb in its entirety. The Constantine aorist indicates that once the believer learns a certain amount of doctrine, he arrives at the point where he can put on the full armor of God. The aorist tense speaks of that point in time when we are commanded to pick up the items, put them on as a part of our equipment, and move to our defensive positions. The middle voice describes the subject, the Church-age believer, as participating in the results of the action.

 

So, while the active voice emphasizes the action, the middle voice emphasizes the agent. In verse 11, the agent is every believer as a soldier of God. Furthermore, this is an indirect middle voice, which indicates that the subject acts for himself on something that belongs to him. In other words, the armor belongs to you but you have to put it on yourself. And, therefore, the subject produces the action for his own interest. The imperative mood is the imperative of command in which God makes a positive demand on every Church-age believer as a soldier of Jesus Christ.

 

So, Ephesians 6:11 should say, “Pick up and put on the full armor of God.” “Full armor” is the Greek noun panoplian, which refers to the entire equipment of the Roman soldier. This full armor of the Roman soldier included a helmet, breastplate, belt, shoes, shield, sword, and spear, plus 60 pounds of tactical equipment. Along with panoplian, we have the ablative of source for two words in this verse. First of all, the definite article tou placed before the proper noun for God, theos, is an ablative of source which should be translated “from God.”

 

EPH 6:11, “Pick and put on the full armor from God…”

 

This command to arm oneself is followed by a purpose clause which reveals the reason for the command – “that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” The phrase “may be” is the present active infinitive of the Greek verb dunamai, which means “to be able,” “to have the power,” and “to have the power by virtue of one’s own ability or resources or by virtue of a state of mind.” The last part of the definition for dunamai is important because a spiritual battle takes place in the soul where a believer does his thinking. All issues begin with thought. This is why thought testing occurs at all stages of Christian experience and as a part of suffering for blessing. To pass thought testing at any stage of the Christian life, the believer must have the following:

 

1) Pertinent metabolized doctrine to meet thought testing at a given stage

 

2) The filling of the Spirit at the time of thought testing to make the correct application of metabolized doctrine

 

3) Concentration, that is, the ability to resist distraction by false issues and avoid being misled with wrong priorities

 

Recall that the world provides frequent distractions to the Christian way of life. When a believer becomes distracted, he accumulates a tremendous amount of self-induced misery under the law of volitional responsibility (reaping what you sow). A single thought can make or break you, depending on the nature of the thought. And your thinking is either derived from metabolized doctrine in your right lobe (of the mind, heart, soul) or thinking derived from the propaganda of Satan. One will improve you; the other will break you apart.

 

EPH 6:11, “Pick and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

 

So we see that this verse indicates that nothing is more important that donning God’s equipment when you are dealing with Satan and his kingdom of darkness. The armor from God enables you to withstand “the schemes of the devil.” This means that the devil uses his demons and his world system to attack the believer. Very few individuals have the privilege of getting personal attention from Satan. Nevertheless, the point of this verse is that you must be fully equipped and in your assigned position, behind the wall of fire, when dealing with Satan’s schemes. And you are always “able” to defend yourself against the devil’s attacks with the full armor from God at your disposal.

 

Again, the present active infinitive of the Greek verb dunamai means “to be able,” “to have the power,” and “to have the power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources or from a state of mind.” The present tense in this verse is a progressive present which signifies that you are constantly progressing in your ability to handle spiritual warfare.

 

The active voice indicates that the believer produces the action through the utilization of the power of God. And the infinitive is an infinitive of intended result in which the result fulfills a deliberate divine objective related to our defense against the power of Satan and his fantastic army. Remember that Satan has an army of millions of angels that are free to operate in the Church-age (Scripture teaches that God has at least 204 million angels and that Satan has half that number of demons).

 

Again, in Ephesians 6:11, we read, “Pick up and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to stand firm.”

 

“Stand firm” is the aorist active infinitive of the Greek verb histemi which means “to hold your ground,” “to stand firm,” or “to be immovable.” Histemi is a technical military word used of “one who does not waiver,” signifying that the Christian soldier should hold his ground against Satan and his demons. The verb histemi is in the Constantine aorist which views the action of the verb in its entirety. In this verse, the Constantine aorist signifies that you have arrived at a point of spiritual growth where you are able to handle spiritual warfare. And the task that you are able to handle is standing your ground against the devil’s schemes. The active voice of this verb indicates that the believer produces the action of the verb. Then, the infinitive of purpose of histemi specifies the purpose of wearing the full armor of God – “that you may be able to hold your ground.” And so, histemi should be translated “to hold your ground,” “to stand firm,” or “to be immovable.” And standing firm can only be accomplished by divine power.

 

EPH 6:11, “Pick and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

 

The phrase “against the schemes” is actually the Greek word pros along with the accusative plural of relationship of the Greek noun methodeia. Methodeia is in the plural and should be translated “strategies.” Methodeias also refers to craftiness, deceitfulness, or deceptiveness. This word refers to the craftiness and devices used by the kingdom of darkness for the purpose of deceiving the whole world, including many believers. Now recall that Sun Tzu observed that all warfare (including spiritual warfare) is based on deception. So, methodeias is yet another military term that, in this verse, refers to the deceptive attacks made by Satan against the Christian soldier. Methodeias is in the plural, which signifies that these attacks are constantly repeated towards the believer who begins making progress in the Predesigned Plan of God. And Paul indicates that the full armor from God is the believer’s only successful defense against these attacks.

 

Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, volume 5, page 103, states, “They (the devil’s attacks) are distinguished not so much by technique or strategy as by refinement and insidiousness.” Refinement indicates that the devil’s plans are well-organized; Satan is a master of organization, as we shall see in this passage. Insidiousness connotes the idea of sitting and waiting for the purpose of entrapping – an ambush!

 

So, all of this analysis gives us some idea about the schemes, the strategies, and the deceptions of the devil. Remember, Satan has one goal with regards to the life of every believer, and that is to lead him astray from God’s plan. Any area of life which is not founded on sound doctrine is open to the devil’s deceptions; it is an unlocked room that he is able to enter, a “gap” in the believer’s defense through which he can attack. Any thought we have or act we do that is not aligned with God’s thoughts or God’s method is open to Satan’s deception. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2:4, “I keep on communicating these things in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument.”

 

So many individuals think they are intelligent and wise, when in reality they are under extreme deception and delusion. This arrogant thinking is the worst kind of deception because it is self-deception. And in 1Corinthians 3:18, Paul warned, “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish [realize that he is a fool] that he may become wise.”

 

Remember that even the woman in the Garden of Eden, who was perfect and who did not have an old sin nature, ended up being deceived by the craftiness and subtlety of Satan. Paul commented on this in 2Corinthians 11:3, “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray [deceived] from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” Notice that it is the “mind” which is led astray, not the body. The only hope for protection against deception is doctrine resident in the soul. Paul made this point in Ephesians 4:14 when he remarked, “We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” Peter also warned about deception in 2Peter 3:17 when he wrote, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the deception of unprincipled men [men with no principles], you fall from your own steadfastness.” Only the truth of Bible doctrine can keep false thinking and false doctrine out of the soul.

 

There are several principles in Scripture that describe how a believer should act to avoid being deceived.

 

1) Avoid evil company

 

The Apostle Paul warned believers about the deception of evil company in 1Corithians 15:33 when he admonished, “Do not be deceived: evil company corrupts good character.” And evil company does not just refer to the common inclination of immorality, but it entails anyone who is under the influence of evil including those who are legalistic. The word for “corrupt” in this verse is the Greek word phtheiro and refers to the destruction and ruin of the inner life of an individual through the communication and impartation of “garbage” to his soul.

 

2) Avoid false teachers

 

The Apostle Peter cautioned us about the characteristics of a deceptive teacher in 2 Peter 2:15.

 

2Pe 2:15, “Forsaking the right way [the Predesigned Plan of God] they have become deceived, having followed the way of Balaam [personal gain], who loved the wages of unrighteousness.”

 

The Goodspeed translation of this verse says that “they set their hearts on dishonest gain.” In other words, failing to gain anything by his own effort or merit, the deceptive teacher lies, cheats, and steals that which belongs to others. The Williams translation observes that “they fall in love with the profits of wrong-doing.” These false teachers are deceived by the kingdom of darkness and they are willing to “sell out” others for the sake of personal gain. Rejection of doctrine (reversionism) and forsaking the right way, the Predesigned Plan of God, leads to deception.

 

So deception is a serious topic addressed in the Word of God; there are myriad warnings for the believer concerning deception and delusion. In Matthew 22:29, The Lord Jesus Christ warned us about deception when He said, “You are deceived, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.” Be sure to notice that deception comes from not understanding the Scriptures or the power of God. God made a similar statement about the Old Testament Jews in Psalm 95:10 when He said, “They keep on being deceived in their hearts, and they do not know my methods.” Take notice of the place of deception – the heart (the right lobe of the mind). Also note the reason for their deception – “they do not know my methods.” We find this principle stated again in the book of Hebrews.

 

HEB 3:10, “They always go astray in their heart; and they did not know My ways.”

 

Now, where is the place in which they go astray? “In their hearts.” And why do they go astray? “They do not know My ways.” Even signs and wonders are used by Satan and his kingdom of darkness to deceive believers as well as unbelievers.

 

In Matthew 24:24, The Lord Jesus Christ stated, “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” In Revelation 13:14, The Lord Jesus Christ indicated that false signs and wonders would be one method used by Satan to deceive the world.

 

REV 13:11, “And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.”

 

REV 13:12, “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.”

 

REV 13:13, “And he performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.”

 

REV 13:14, “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.”

 

REV 13:15, “And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”

 

  1. Avoid self-deception

 

Gal 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”

 

In fact, self-deception is the belief that grace will stop the law of volitional responsibility and abrogate the consequences of sin or poor judgment. In 1John 1:8, the Apostle John also admonished believers about lying to themselves regarding personal sin.

 

1JO 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and truth is not in us.”

 

So, Scripture reminds us that deception is a reality in our day and age. In fact, according to the Word of God, the majority of your family and friends are deceived by the devil’s world. We find this principle in Revelation 12:9.

 

REV 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.”

 

The greatest form of spiritual deception today is religion. Religion is by far Satan’s greatest “trump card.” The Lord Jesus Christ made serious and solemn statements about the greatest religious system of all time which will operate in the tribulation in Revelation 18:21-23.

 

REV 18:21, “And a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘Thus will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.’”

 

REV 18:22, “And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer…”

 

REV 18:23, “…and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.”

 

Notice some principles concerning “religion” in this passage. First of all, these religious people had a “light,” a message. But they strayed from the message so that “the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer.” They lost the light. Secondly, in deception, they stopped teaching doctrine – “the voice of the bridegroom [Jesus Christ] and the bride [the Church] will not be heard in you any longer.” Inevitably, it is the rejection of Bible doctrine that causes any organization to lose the light it once possessed. Therefore, commercialization, money-making schemes, and gimmicks are needed for the perpetuation of the religious organization that is without sound teaching.

 

Moreover, this verse states, “For your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.” “Sorcery” refers to demonic influence and the doctrines of demons, indicating that Bible doctrine has been replaced by the deceptive thoughts of the devil’s world. And then, finally, Isaiah observed that this demonic “garbage” allowed into the heart (right lobe of the soul) results in complete self-deception.

 

ISA 44:20, “He feeds on ashes [garbage]; a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, ‘is there not a lie in my right hand?’”

 

Thus, Isaiah paints a picture of an individual who keeps on mentally “feeding” on deceptive thoughts with no substance to them. As a result, this person cannot tell lie from truth; he does not know that there are lies in his right hand, the hand of power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6: The reason for putting on the Full Armor from God

 

 

In this chapter, we will analyze the utilization of the divine equipment provided by God for the Christian soldier.

 

EPH 6:11, “In the future, keep on becoming strong in the Lord, even by means of the inner rule of His endowed power.”

 

EPH 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

 

The word “for” is the subordinating conjunction of the Greek word hoti which may also be translated “because.” So, why are we to put on the full armor of God? And why are we to hold our ground against the strategies of the devil? Because our struggle is not against flesh and blood. You may think that the armor from God is meant for visible warfare, but it is not.

 

“Our struggle” is a nominative singular subject consisting of two Greek words: the definite article he and the noun pale. Pale means “warfare,” not “struggle.” And the definite article identifies this warfare as “the warfare” or “the spiritual warfare,” which is the good fight of faith that we are called to fight and endure. The definite article also distinguishes this spiritual warfare from all other types of combat in life.

 

Pale also refers to “a contest between two individuals in which each endeavors to throw the other, and which is decided when the victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his neck.” Now, wrestling with an enemy does not mean that we have physical contact with the devil or his demons; rather, it denotes the closeness of the battle – it is personal! Pale is an example of a hapax legomenon, a word that occurs only once in a text. The uniqueness of such a word draws attention to its importance. Pale is not found in any other part of the Bible.

 

So, what does this Greek noun pale mean? It is an old Greek word, and from the time of Homer, it referred to a unique wrestling match that was really a form of combat. The penalty for losing this personal combat was permanent blindness; the loser’s eyes were gouged out! The analogy for spiritual warfare is obvious – the Christian soldier who fails to hold his ground against the devil’s schemes by using the full armor from God becomes blind and defeated. The result is emotional revolt of the soul, blackout of the soul, and scar tissue of the soul, EPH 4:18-19. So, in context, pale refers to personal spiritual warfare or spiritual combat.

 

The phrase “is not” is the present active indicative of the Greek word eimi along with the strong Greek negative ouk. In this form, this phrase means that our warfare “keeps on being not” against flesh and blood. So, whatever our spiritual warfare is, there is something it is definitely not – it is not against flesh and blood.

 

Thus, a principle emerges – one of the easiest ways for a believer to fail in spiritual combat is to get his eyes on people, that is, flesh and blood.

 

This usually means that he blames other people for his problems. The believer who has failed in spiritual combat becomes bitter and angry with people. He becomes vindictive and revengeful. He does not want what God desires for him – reconciliation or restoration with God and with men. The point, then, is that Satan and his kingdom of darkness love to destroy the believer’s focus.  He loves to entice the spiritual warrior to become preoccupied with people, Jer 17:5.

 

Jer 17:5, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord.’”

 

So, when the Christian soldier focuses on “flesh and blood,” he reacts to people and becomes angry when he thinks that they have failed him or when he thinks his battle is with them. Satan and his kingdom of darkness also promote preoccupation with oneself, 1KI 19:10 and 1CO 1:10-11.

 

1KI 19:10, “He [Elijah] said, ‘I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’”

 

1CO 1:10, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

 

1CO 1:11, “For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.”

 

Just as focusing on others distracts the believer from the truth, so preoccupation with oneself also leads to failure in the spiritual realm.

 

Let us return to Ephesians 6:12 which says in part, “Because our struggle is not against flesh and blood.”

 

The word “against” is the Greek word pros in the accusative singular of relationship. In this form, pros is an idiomatic expression for opposition and may be properly translated “against.” There are two Greek nouns at the end of this phrase. The first noun in the Greek is haima which is the word for “blood.” In fact, this phrase does not say “flesh and blood,” but rather “blood and flesh.” The second noun “flesh” is the Greek word sarxz which means “flesh.” Now, every detail in the Word of God is important. Important details in Scripture include the word order, the way the words are related. Remember that “the word of God is alive and powerful,” HEB 4:12. And our Lord taught in Matthew 5:18 that not one dotting of an “i” or crossing of a “t” in Scripture will pass away.

 

The word “blood” is placed first to emphasize the person rather than his sin nature. Blood is mentioned first because a person cannot function in his soul without the circulation of blood to his frontal lobes where thinking takes place. The solutions to all of the problems that a believer faces are found in the psuche, the soul. And those solutions come by means of the circulation of metabolized doctrine in the soul. So, “blood” must come first. Blood is what circulates through the body. Blood carries oxygen which is analogous to thought or Bible doctrine. Without oxygen, a person cannot think. So, as the circulation of blood is important, the circulation of doctrine in the soul is essential.

 

Next in this phrase, we find the noun for “flesh” (sarxz), which refers to the old sin nature of man. The obvious conclusion from this phrase is that we are not in combat with people or with their sin natures. There are times when it is appropriate to go on the offensive against people – “a time to fight,” ECC 3:8. But Scripture never directs us to be the aggressor against Satan and his kingdom.

 

So we have blood before flesh because blood represents the concept of reaching the soul. It is the soul that is eternally saved.

 

EPH 6:12, “Because our struggle is not against blood [people’s souls] and flesh [their old sin nature]…”

 

So another principle emerges – the believer’s spiritual warfare is not against a visible enemy. Instead, the Christian soldier is directed to be on the defensive against the invisible enemy.

 

Thus, we find ourselves in a state of warfare, exposed to the attacks of an invisible enemy. Naturally, if we attempt to battle the enemy in our own strength, we will find that we are not prepared. This is why we must be equipped from Gods’ armor, for no weapon of our own will be able to defend us. The enemy we have to contend with bears an incurable hatred against us and he seeks nothing less than our complete destruction. And his hatred is due to the fact that the Trinity lives in us; Satan hates the Trinity, especially The Lord Jesus Christ. Satan with his kingdom of darkness is mightier than us. Unless we have help from above, we are no match for them. The devil is an artful enemy, invisible and nearby. And, to make matters worse, he has a contact, a strong agent within us – our old sin nature.

 

EPH 6:12, “Because our struggle is not against blood [people’s souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers…”

 

We now come to Paul’s description of Satan’s table of organization and equipment (TOE), which is divided into four categories. These categories in Satan’s demonic military organization are important to understand because they describe our enemy and they give us insight into the devil’s schemes. A sound understanding of Satan’s TOE impacts the Christian way of life by allowing us to see what we can do and what we cannot do as believers. God has given us fantastic power for offensive action and he has also provided fantastic equipment for defensive action. However, we are going to see the fantastic power and authority that Satan has and the vital reason why we are given a greater power from God.

 

So, TOE is a military term and stands for “table of organization and equipment.” And God the Holy Spirit has seen fit to give us a list of Satan’s TOE, Satan’s military table of organization and equipment. In Satan’s TOE, we find four categories (below).

 

The first word in this phrase is “but.” “But” is the conjunction of the Greek word alla and is used to indicate a contrast between warfare with human beings and warfare against angels. Now, recall that some of the believer’s spiritual warfare will be with human beings. Even so, if he uses the problem-solving devices and the virtue derived from divine righteousness, he can turn the curse into a blessing.

 

EPH 6:12, “Because our struggle is not against blood [people’s souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers…”

 

The word “against” is the Greek preposition pros, which indicates the identity of the true enemies to be confronted by the believer. Each category in the demon table of organization is introduced with the preposition pros followed by the Greek definite article tas. Together, these two words dogmatically indicate the identity of our spiritual enemies. Each time that the preposition pros is used, it connotes the idea of disadvantage, opposition, and a hostile relationship. Therefore, this idiomatic Greek preposition is properly translated “against.”

 

Let us now briefly note the four categories of demons that war against the Christian soldier.

 

1) The “rulers”

 

The “rulers” are the highest-ranking demons in Satan’s organization and include Abaddon (Apollyon) and Beelzubul (Beelzebub). This category alone should motivate the believer to learn about the armor from God and to wear it habitually. Satan’s “rulers” have tremendous power; we need the full armor from God to be able to stand our ground against their power and deception.

 

2) The “powers”

 

The “powers” refer to demon officers who have phenomenal authority. Satan’s “powers” are well-trained and are part of the greatest systems of leadership and organizations that have ever existed among creatures. Because Satan is so well-organized, it is extremely important that the Christian soldier be well-organized and precise in his methods. Otherwise, the devil will be able to take advantage of the believer’s sloppiness and disorganization. This is why Paul cautioned in 1Corinthians 14:40, “But let all things be done properly and in an orderly manner.”

 

3) The “world forces of this darkness”

 

These are the kosmokrator demons, Satan’s ambassadors who control many of the rulers of this world. These “world rulers” are invisible. They carry out Satan’s objectives for this world by influencing human beings who are in positions of great power. In fact, you would be shocked at what kind of people are demon possessed and demon influenced.

 

4) The “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”

 

These “spiritual forces” are forces of evil present in the atmosphere around earth, the stellar universe, and, even, in the presence of God, where they represent Satan.

 

Now, this brief introduction should give you a rough idea of the necessity of habitually wearing the spiritual armor from God. Moreover, it should be clear why the Christian soldier is directed to be on the defensive against such powerful enemies. Let us look at some of these categories in greater depth.

 

First, the “rulers” represent the highest-ranking demons in Satan’s TOE. The word translated “rulers” is the Greek word arche and is found in the accusative plural form. Arche is taken from an ancient Greek word archon and refers to rulers, leaders, chiefs, or those in high-ranking positions. Scripture actually gives the names of certain demon rulers found in Satan’s table of organization.

 

For example, there is Abaddon (Apollyon); he is a demon king who resides in the abyss currently, REV 9:11. The abyss is part of Hades, which is commonly referred to as Hell. God has confined Abaddon there. So, right now, the abyss is the residence of a demon king, one of Satan’s right hand angels, called Abaddon or Apollyon. But, he will have quite a future role in the tribulation! In Revelation chapter 9, Abaddon will escape from confinement in the abyss with the help of Satan. At this point in the tribulation, Satan has been cast out of heaven and barred from returning. Releasing Abaddon from the abyss is part of Satan’s plan to “raise hell on earth.”

 

EPH 6:12, “Because our struggle is not against blood [people’s souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers [these are the archons like Abaddon and Beelzebub], against the powers [demon officers who have phenomenal authority]…”

 

The next category in Satan’s TOE is translated “the powers.”

 

Satan’s “powers” are well-trained demon military officers who are part of the greatest systems of leadership and organizations that have ever existed among creatures.

 

EPH 6:12, “Because our struggle is not against blood [people’s souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers [these are the archons like Abaddon and Beelzebub], against the powers [demon officers who have phenomenal authority], against the world forces of this darkness…”

 

The third phrase in verse 12 used to describe a category in Satan’s demon organization is “against the world forces of this darkness.”

 

“Against” is the Greek preposition pros and signifies that we are “face to face” with the enemy. With this preposition is the Greek definite article tous which emphasizes the nature of the enemy. Next, the “world forces” is the Greek plural noun kosmokratoras which means “rulers of the cosmos” or “world rulers;” it refers to Satan’s demon ambassadors who influence earthly rulers. The final word “darkness” is the Greek noun skotous and is correctly translated. Remember, each time you read “against” (pros), this preposition connotes disadvantage, opposition, and a hostile relationship – “Our battle” is a spiritual battle where we are at a disadvantage without God’s armor and where we are opposed by a well-organized superior force that is extremely hostile towards us.

 

These demon “world rulers” are invisible, and yet they carry out Satan’s objectives for governing the earth. They influence world rulers to execute the policies and mandates of Satan. Kosmokrator demons are especially active in Arab nations as well as communistic and socialistic nations. In fact, there are some in the Moslem religion who teach that the quickest and easiest way to go to heaven is to kill a Christian. Some Muslims believe that killing a Christian will result in them automatically going to heaven where there will be women waiting to greet them and take care of their every want. How would they get such an idea? Well, the kosmokratoras are on the job! In fact, there are certainly kosmokratoras in Washington D.C. Kosmokratoras not only connotes influence and control, but also intelligence; these demons are part of Satan’s spy system used to monitor both believers and unbelievers. So, kosmokrator demons are also assigned to attack and discredit establishment-oriented rulers and believers with spiritual momentum. They attack any nation operating under the laws of divine establishment. They attack any local assembly operating under the truth of Bible doctrine. And they not only attack spiritual VIP’s like the Apostle Paul, but they also attack anyone in the vicinity of a VIP believer, like Timothy.

 

EPH 6:12, “Because our struggle is not against blood [people’s souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers [these are the archons like Abaddon and Beelzebub], against the powers [demon officers who have phenomenal authority], against the world forces of this darkness [kosmokratoras meaning demons who specialize in possessing or influencing the cosmos or world rulers], against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

 

In this last prepositional phrase, we see the Greek preposition pros (face to face with) along with the definite article ta (the) and the noun pneumatika (spirit forces). Then we have the Greek definite article tes (of the) with the Greek noun ponerias (wickedness or evil). Therefore, this phrase is best translated “against spirit forces of evil.”

 

The next prepositional phrase consists of the Greek word en along with the locative of the noun epouraniois. This phrase denotes that these demons operate in heavenly places and are not confined to the abyss like Abaddon. Epouraniois, which is translated “heavenly,” refers to the following three regions:

 

  1. The “first heaven,” the band of atmosphere around the earth

 

  1. The “second heaven,” the stellar universe

 

  1. The “third heaven,” the throne room or presence of God

 

So these spiritual forces of evil reside in the earthly atmosphere and throughout the stellar universe. And, currently, they are also allowed to come into the presence of God to represent Satan before Him. These spiritual forces represent the rank and file demon forces under the command of Satan. They perform various duties for the devil. For instance, some indwell unbelievers to induce sickness. Other (engastromuthos) demons seize control of a person’s vocal cords and communicate doctrines of demons through that person. Some demons manufacture pressure situations against believers who have positive volition towards Bible doctrine and spiritual momentum. These rank and file demons also promote human good, evil, and sin. So, verse 12 lists Satan’s table of organization and equipment (TOE).

 

 

 

title – the weapons for the Christian soldier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7:  The full armor of God.

 

 

In view of Satan’s extensive demonic organization designed to oppose God and His people, what should be the Christian soldier’s response?

 

EPH 6:13, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

 

Verse 13 emphasizes the importance of the believer’s defensive position behind the “wall of fire” provided for him by God; God’s armor is designed to protect the Christian soldier against formidable foes. This verse begins with the Greek prepositional phrase dia along with the accusative of cause of the demonstrative pronoun houtos. This phrase should be translated “because of this.” Because of what? Because of Satan’s vast resources listed in his TOE of verse 12. Because Satan has organized his massive resources and has a strategy to use them to oppose God and God’s servants.

 

Because of this opposition, the Christian soldier needs the following two things:

 

  1. Defensive tactics
  2. Divine equipment

 

And, in keeping with God’s policy of grace, the defensive tactics and divine equipment have been made available to all Church-age believers. So, Ephesians 6:13 begins with the phrase, “Because of this.” Next, there is a command given to the Christian soldier that is meant to be a response to “because of this great opposing demon organization.” The command consists of the aorist active imperative of the Greek verb analambano. In this form, it demands that the believer “pick up and put on [the complete armor from God] again and again.”

 

The Roman army had a specific trumpet sound or bugle call which would require the Roman legionnaires to immediately leave their tents, go to the equipment racks, pick up their armor, and put it on. The Greek word analambano has many connotations, but in the military context, it was used for picking up and putting on the equipment which had been stacked on nearby racks, ready for use. And, at the trumpet command, the Roman soldier was to pick up the equipment that was readily available and put it on.

 

The Romans had a rack of equipment nearby available for battle, but what do believers have? The “military rack” for the Christian soldier involved in spiritual warfare is the Bible where doctrine is “stacked” categorically. And, in effect, the Christian soldier does something analogous to the Roman legionnaire; he puts on the equipment provided for him by his Commanding Officer. In the spiritual realm, this equipment is categorical doctrine that is made available to the believer by study under his right pastor-teacher. The wise use of this categorical doctrine allows the believer to handle the onslaught of the enemy. And the “picking it up and putting it on” refers to the metabolization and application of Bible doctrine by the believer.

 

Again, we have the aorist active imperative of the Greek verb analambano which means “to pick up and put on again and again.” The aorist tense is a Constantine aorist which views the action of being able to put on equipment for battle in its entirety. In other words, the Constantine aorist views the believer reaching a place spiritually where the action of picking up and putting on the armor is complete. The Constantine aorist does not refer to the verb’s beginning, end, progress, or result. So, in the Constantine aorist form, the action is simply stated as a fact with no reference to time. Thus, the Constantine aorist form signifies that, once you have reached spiritual adulthood and executed the PPOG, you have the ability to carry this equipment in your very own soul at all times. Some believers will attain this ability; most will not. The difference in attaining this ability lies in the believer’s motivation. A believer’s personal motivation is part of the privacy of his priesthood. No other person can reach into your soul, turn it on “positive towards doctrine,” and keep it there. Each one of us is responsible for his own decisions; therefore, each one of us is responsible for picking up and putting on his own armor from God. There are no personal valets in the spiritual life! The active voice indicates that the believer produces the action of “picking up and putting on again and again.” This is achieved by the consistent and repetitive perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine.

 

The prepared Christian solider is not ignorant of Satan or of his devices. And, in effect, when he has picked up and put on God’s complete armor, he is behind God’s “wall of fire.” Being “behind” a wall of fire is a defensive position. Therefore, the Christian soldier does not get involved in attacking or “rebuking” demons. Why? Because the Christian soldier is commanded to act “on the defense” against demons.

 

The imperative mood of analambano signifies that it is a command; believers are commanded to “pick up and put on God’s complete armor again and again.” So, it is a divine mandate to every Church-age believer from headquarters in heaven to be armed and equipped for the intensive phase of the Angelic Conflict by understanding and relying upon Bible doctrine.

 

EPH 6:13, “Because of this, pick up and put on the full armor of God…”

 

Next in this verse is the Greek definite article “ten” which emphasizes the special equipment necessary for defensive action in the intensive phase of the Angelic Conflict. So, ten distinguishes God’s complete armor from all other categories of equipment. The Greek word for God’s specially-provided equipment is panoplian which refers to “all of the equipment,” “the full armor,” or the “complete armor.” This includes both offensive and defensive weapons. And “all,” “full,” and “complete” refer to the whole realm of doctrine, not just the subjects that interest you personally.

 

EPH 6:13, “Because of this, pick up and put on the full armor of God…”

 

The next phrase, “of God,” is the Greek definite article tou with the ablative of source of theos. Together these words indicate the source of the armor; so, this phrase should be translated “the full armor from God.” The complete armor from God refers to the equipment and the wall of fire which God has provided for defensive action against Satan and all fallen angels.  God’s provision of this armor is yet another manifestation of God’s grace towards man. The next phrase denotes the purpose of the believer picking up and putting on God’s full armor. It defines the objective achieved by use of God’s armor – successful resistance of evil.

 

EPH 6:13, “Because of this, pick up and put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day,”

 

EPH 6:14, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…”

 

The principle developed in verse 14 is the integrity of the believer. Christian integrity is commanded as a part of the Predesigned Plan of God. So how does the believer attain integrity? There are three concepts given in this passage which shed light on Christian integrity. The three concepts are as follows:

 

  1. Truth
  2. Knowledge
  3. Thought

 

The first requirement for Christian integrity is a proper understanding of the truth. Personal knowledge of truth allows the believer to think truth. Then, when the believer “thinks truth,” he comes to the point of personal integrity. And integrity is the key to the Christian way of life, not legalism, not social arrogance, not service. Christianity in our time has become a disaster. Why? Because there is one thing missing from the life of the average Christian – integrity. And the lack of integrity is due to a lack of humility; integrity necessitates humility. Sadly, we live in a time of arrogance and subjectivity. There is no humility in the Church today.

 

And a lack of humility signifies that there is no relaxed mental attitude by believers and no teachability in believers. The average Christian today does not want to be taught. He wants someone to compliment him and tell him what a great believer he is because of his service. There is nothing wrong with Christian service, per se. There is nothing wrong with a prayer meeting. There is nothing wrong with fellowship. But, if you participate in these activities without integrity, then they are wrong. And a right thing done in a wrong way is wrong.

 

PSA 15:2, “He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness [produces divine good] speaks truth in his heart.”

 

Without integrity there is no Christian way of life. And it is teaching, teaching, teaching that builds integrity. Integrity is greater than morality. And so you must have integrity first! And in the Christian way of life, the first integrity that you reveal is the integrity that you display when you assemble in church for Bible class. You must be teachable. You must listen to the pastor-teacher with concentration and without disturbing others. You must be filled with the Spirit. Teachability is just the beginning of spirituality because it is the means by which the believer moves towards integrity. Genuine integrity leads to personal love for God. Why? Because genuine integrity means that you are teachable. It means that you are objective, not subjective; therefore, you can be taught to love God in the proper manner.

 

The only way you can love someone you have never seen is to learn all about him. Thus, personal love for God in the Christian life is only accomplished by metabolization of doctrine. And what doctrine should the believer learn first? He must learn those things that give him a love for God. But, a person who is ignorant of Bible doctrine cannot possibly love God. Why? Because love requires thought. Love is a system of thinking! The thoughts that you have, your frame of reference, determine the love you will have for those in your life. And thought has content. Metabolized doctrine is the content of thought in the case of loving the Lord. Now, all of these points are in view in our passage.

 

EPH 6:14, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…”

 

Let us briefly look at several definitions of integrity to prepare ourselves for further analysis of this passage. The corrected translation of verse 14 reads, “Therefore, hold your ground after you have buckled on your combat gear around your waist with truth, and after you have put on the breastplate of righteousness.” The “breastplate of righteousness” refers to the Christian soldier’s integrity during spiritual warfare in the Angelic Conflict. Integrity begins with the believer’s relationship with God; without a proper relationship with God, there can be no genuine integrity in life.

 

JOB 8:20, “God will not reject a man of integrity, nor will He support the evildoers [those under the influence of evil].”

 

So far, the corrected translation of Ephesians 6:13 reads, “Because of this vast demon organization, pick up and put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to hold your ground in the day when evil attacks you, even after you have achieved or accomplished everything, hold your ground.” And Ephesians 6:14 reads, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…”

 

So what is the essence of the integrity described by the Apostle Paul in this passage? There are myriad definitions and descriptions of integrity that are available, but let us look at integrity as defined in Scripture and as described in Roman society in Paul’s day.

 

One of the best definitions of integrity is “the spiritual strength to put into operation that which one claims to believe.”

 

David wrote in 1Chronicles 29:17, “Since I know, O my God, that You test the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things;”

 

In a pressure situation, an individual with integrity willingly puts into operation that doctrine which he claims to believe. In fact, the believer’s integrity is one reason why God brings a believer certain tests, tests of the doctrine that is in his heart (right lobe of the mind).

 

The Romans esteemed integrity and taught that integrity involves conformation to certain standards or rights. The Roman definition of integrity aligns with Scripture. In 1Kings 9:4, the Lord admonished Solomon with these words, “And as for you, Walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keep My statutes and My ordinances and I will bless you.”

 

The Romans also defined integrity as the quality of life and the power needed to live. Integrity gives the believer the capacity to perform his duties properly. Christian service, prayer, giving, and witness are all part of Christian performance. And, integrity is the actor that plays out the part or the role. The basis for building personal integrity is consistent metabolization of Bible doctrine. So integrity can be described as the quality of life and power needed to live.

 

PSA 25:21, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for Thee.”

 

This verse indicates that God will vindicate and preserve the believer who operates in integrity no matter what situation arises. But, without personal integrity based on doctrine, Christian activity has no worth. Remember, just because you participate in activities mandated by Scripture, it does not mean that you have fulfilled the Christian way of life. Divine good, Christian activity done in doctrinal integrity, is a result of the Christian way of life and not the means of the Christian way of life.

 

So, a principle emerges – it is easy to do something wonderful for someone you love. It is not hard at all. You delight in doing it. You love to give to him, to spend time with him, to serve him, to wait on him, and so forth. When you serve someone you love, you do not consider it a sacrifice!

 

And yet another principle is evident – actions motivated by love do not place strain on your life.

 

If you are in love with someone, there is no real sacrifice or strain when you serve him. So, if you are in love with God, there is no real strain or sacrifice in service to Him. In fact, if you love God, you don’t even consider your actions for Him sacrificial. If you are conscious of all the sacrifices you are making for someone, then you really do not have love for him. If you have true love, then service is not a sacrifice; you will love giving to the one you love.

 

Therefore, one of the most important goals in the Christian walk is development of integrity, which in chapter 6 of Ephesians is described by the phrase “putting on the breastplate of righteousness.” This personal integrity is directed two ways.

 

  1. Motivational integrity is personal love towards God.
  2. Functional integrity is impersonal, unconditional love towards all mankind.

 

So, Paul directs us to have integrity first. This integrity is based on Bible doctrine – “truth” from the Scriptures. Not love – integrity! Not fruit – integrity! Not works – integrity! If you perform all the so-called “great things for God” without integrity, what do you have? You have wood, hay, and straw that will be burned up before the judgment seat of Christ. You have a life where you have wasted your time.

 

1CO 3:12-13, “Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.”

 

So, the value of your actions depends on your motivation, your love for God. You should ask yourself, “Do I personally love God?”

 

A wise author once observed that integrity involves a man knowing what is good and what is evil, what is useless, shameful, and dishonorable.

 

The Romans further defined integrity as devotion and loyalty, especially to your friends and family. To Roman society, loyalty was the key to possessing integrity. Now, Job and his wife provide a good illustration of integrity and loyalty. At the beginning of the book of Job, the Lord pointed out to Satan the fact that Job had retained his integrity despite all the pressures that Satan placed upon him.

 

JOB 2:3, “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil and he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause.’”

 

Even though Job’s wife witnessed his integrity, she abandoned him to his sufferings. Her action was an example of unfaithfulness, disloyalty.

 

JOB 2:7, “Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.”

 

JOB 2:8, “And he [Job] took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.”

 

JOB 2:9, “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!’”

 

JOB 2:10, “But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

 

So, Job maintained his loyalty to God (his integrity), but Job’s wife was disloyal to him. So, devotion and loyalty were indications of integrity in Roman society. There are many believers who have no loyalty to others, none whatsoever. They are only loyal to themselves, and self-loyalty is arrogance. These selfish believers are preoccupied with themselves only, an attitude which results in subjectivity. They have no loyalty in life and, therefore, no integrity.

 

Integrity involves developing loyalties in life, especially loyalty to truth (doctrine). Unfortunately, many believers lose their loyalty toward others when others do not live up to their unrealistic expectations. And this loss of loyalty usually results from ignorance about the doctrine of hamartiology, the biblical study of sin. They do not understand that all people sin and that forgiveness is the order of the day. Therefore, they are not loyal or faithful to others. They have a total lack of integrity when dealing with other individuals. These disloyal believers are not familiar with passages such as Psalm 130:3 which states, “If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” They should not be shocked when others disappoint them; we all fail.

 

1KI 8:46, “For there is no man who does not sin.”

 

PRO 20:9, “Who can say, I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin?”

 

ECC 7:20, “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.”

 

So, what should a believer do when people fail him or let him down? He should operate in personal integrity!

 

PRO 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and as a brother is born for adversity.”

 

1PE 4:8, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

 

And if the perspective of these verses fail you, then consider the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 8:7 – He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Just think, even in a group of self-righteous, religious, legalistic, judgmental, hypocritical, deceitful, arrogant, pompous, blind individuals like the Pharisees, not one person had the audacity to throw a stone at the adulterous woman.

 

To the Romans, integrity also meant reverence and devotion to the authorities of life. This definition of integrity included respect and loyalty towards God revealed by the exact performance of all that was required of them. It also meant respect for the laws of divine establishment expressed in government.

 

Integrity also meant justice or faith in Roman society. To the Roman, faith meant to be true to one’s word, paying one’s debt, keeping one’s oath, and performing all of one’s obligations. In Roman society, integrity was equated with the fulfillment of all of one’s obligations. In the Roman business world, a man’s word was his bond; they did not bother to draw up written contracts. If a Roman gave his word, that was final! So, Roman integrity signified the faithfulness and the ability to fulfill one’s obligations and keep one’s promises.

 

Another Roman connotation of integrity was consistency of word and perseverance of action. This definition of integrity indicated perseverance under the most trying circumstances.

 

Now, all integrity is related to truth. As Ephesians 6:14 records, all biblical integrity is based upon truth. This integrity not only involves learning the truth, but living in the truth and telling the truth. Loyalty to the truth, then, is the simplest form of integrity. The more complicated form of integrity involves the entire lifestyle of the believer. Often, the proper lifestyle of the believer has been described as morality, but that is not correct. The proper lifestyle of a believer is personal integrity based on truth. A believer can be very moral and still have no integrity. In fact, arrogance and many other mental attitude sins arise from a believer’s morality via the “holier than thou” syndrome. This fact does not imply that morality is sinful. Instead, it simply warns the believer that the blind arrogance of morality often produces the arrogance complex of sins.

 

So, let us review a few biblical principles concerning integrity and how it is developed in the believer before we continue with Ephesians 6:14.

 

  1. Integrity begins in the heart (right lobe of the soul, the mind).

 

Integrity, then, is a system of thinking.

 

GEN 20:6. “Then God said to him in the dream, ‘Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this.’”

 

1CH 29:17, “Since I know, O my God, that Thou test the heart and delight in uprightness, I, in the integrity of my heart, have willingly offered all these things;”

 

  1. There is no integrity without truth.

 

Truth must come before integrity, just as the belt must come before the breastplate.

 

JUD 9:16, “Now therefore, if you have dealt in truth and integrity.”

 

PRO 2:7, “He stores up sound wisdom [truth] for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.”

 

PSA 15:1, “(A Psalm of David.) O Lord, who may abide in Thy tent? Who may dwell on Thy holy hill?”

 

PSA 15:2, “He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart.”

 

PSA 15:3,”He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;”

 

  1. Integrity reveals respect for God.

 

And not only does integrity indicate a believer’s respect for God, it produces confidence in the believer.

 

JOB 4:6, “Is not your respect for God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?”

 

  1. Integrity in the believer is the basis for God vindicating that believer from his enemies.

 

PSA 7:8, “The Lord judges the peoples; vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me.”

 

PSA 26:1, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity; and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.”

 

PSA 26:11, “But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me.”

 

So, always walk in integrity no matter what the situation may hold.

 

  1. Integrity is also the basis for “blessing by association.”

 

PRO 20:7, “A righteous man who walks in his integrity – how blessed are his sons after him.”

 

The blessings that a believer who lives in integrity receives overflow from his cup (his capacity for blessing) and spill over to others around him, PSA 23:5.

 

PSA 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 8:  The Belt of Truth

 

 

Ephesians 6:14 continues, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” There are two concepts developed in Ephesians 6:14.  The first concept relates to the first item of equipment listed. It is called the girdle (really a belt or harness) of the Roman soldier. Whenever a Roman soldier responded to the trumpet command, he left his quarters and ran over to the rack of equipment. And the first thing he put on was the belt or harness. Paul used this action to illustrate biblical truth.

 

EPH 6:14, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth…”

 

The first Greek word in this verse is the aorist active imperative of the verb histemi. Histemi is found in verses 11, 13, and 14. Histemi means to “stand against,” “to oppose,” “to hold your ground,” or “to stand fast.” Now remember, the believer does not have any human power or ability strong enough to enter and be victorious in spiritual combat against such superior creatures as are found in verse 12. Angelic creatures, even fallen angels, are infinitely stronger, greater, and smarter than humanity. We cannot possibly cope with them in our human strength. Therefore, God has provided a “wall of fire” to protect us. The belt of truth is part of this wall of fire.

 

The aorist tense of histemi is a Constantine aorist which views the believer’s defensive actions against Satan and his demonic organization in its entirety. In other words, the Constantine aorist tense views the believer as having reached a point where he is spiritually strong enough to hold his ground in spiritual warfare. So, the Constantine aorist sums up an action of long duration. The believer’s defensive action over a long period of time is in view here.

 

It has taken the believer a lengthy time of dedication and devotion as a student of the Word of God to reach the point where he is able to put on the harness, the belt of truth. The believer must have biblical truth in his soul. And the more truth he learns, the more truth he will understand. And, the more truth he understands, the more truth he will think. And, the more truth he thinks, the greater chance he has to possess integrity. Thus, we see the mechanics of the principle that truth precedes integrity. This principle starts out with truth in the concept of Bible doctrine. And, in context, truth is defined as the absolute truth of the Word of God.

 

The active voice of histemi signifies that the Church-age believer produces the action of the verb under the military metaphor of defensive action. The Christian soldier’s defensive action in time of spiritual warfare is the constant and persistent perception of Bible doctrine in spite of the satanic pressure. The imperative mood in this phrase is the imperative of command in which God makes a direct positive demand on the volition of every Church-age believer. So the phrase “stand firm” or “hold your ground” is a divine command for defensive action through the daily intake of Bible doctrine.

 

EPH 6:14, “Hold your ground therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…”

 

In verse 14, “therefore” is the Greek inferential conjunction of oun. A conjunction simply joins together sentences, clauses, phrases, or words. An inferential conjunction is derived as a conclusion from facts or premises. Thus, oun may also be translated “because of this.” An inferential conjunction usually introduces additional information concerning the topic at hand. “Because of this” means “in view of the verses we have just studied.” In view of Satan’s table of organization and equipment (TOE), there is something the believer must do. So, the beginning of verse 14 is more properly translated, “Because of this vast satanic organization, hold your ground.”

 

Now, to hold his ground, the believer begins with his combat harness of truth. In the ancient world, wearing a battle harness indicated that a soldier was ready for service; he was prepared or strengthened for action. The phrase “having girded” is the aorist middle participle of the Greek verb perizonnumi which means to buckle on a belt. In our passage, perizonnumi means to put on one’s battle harness. It is used metaphorically to refer to equipping oneself with the knowledge of biblical truth. So, in the ancient world, wearing a battle harness indicated that a soldier was ready for service; he was prepared or strengthened for action. Therefore, a better translation of this phrase is “having buckled on your combat gear around your waist with truth.”

 

EPH 6:14, “Because of this, hold your ground, having buckled on your combat gear…”

 

And we shall see an interesting principle regarding the “battle harness of truth,” namely that the rest of the spiritual armor was connected to it in some way. Furthermore, the aorist tense signifies that buckling on the belt of truth is something that should be done daily. So, the Christian soldier buckles on his belt of truth by the daily intake of Bible doctrine. This metabolized truth is the only basis for defensive action against Satan and offensive action in the Predesigned Plan of God. The middle voice of perizonnumi is an intensive middle voice which denotes the fact that the Church-age believer acts for himself upon something belonging to himself. Bible doctrine belongs to the Church-age believer, especially the mystery doctrine. And since doctrine is the greatest of all treasures belonging to the believer, it is far more important than anything else in life.  How you think, how you handle life, what capacity you have for life, and your entire lifestyle all depend on making Bible doctrine your first priority in life. So, when you place doctrine first, you are learning how to buckle on your combat gear around your waist with truth.

 

Again, the middle voice of perzonnumi is an intensive middle in which the Church-age believer acts for himself upon something belonging to himself. What can we conclude from this? Paul concluded in 1Corinthians 3:21, “So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you…”

 

1CO 3:22, “…whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you…”

 

1CO 3:23, “…and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.”

 

To repeat, “having girded” is the aorist middle participle of perizonnumi which means to buckle on a belt. And in verse 14, it means to put on one’s battle harness which is used metaphorically for equipping oneself with the knowledge of truth, Bible doctrine. The participle of perzonnumi is a temporal participle denoting that the action of the aorist participle precedes the action of the main verb. Now, what is the main verb in verse 14? The main verb is “hold your ground.” But, you cannot hold your ground until you have buckled on the combat harness of biblical truth.

 

Thus, we have the first principle from this verse – intake of doctrine must precede spiritual battle.

 

And we will see that the subsequent participles in this passage will indicate the same principle. You cannot hold your ground against Satan until you have Bible doctrine, the belt of truth. Later, we are going to see why the breastplate of righteousness is listed after the belt of truth.

 

So, the verb perizonnumi refers to a combat belt issued to every Roman soldier as the “framework” for the rest of his equipment.

 

EPH 6:14, “Because of this, hold your ground, having buckled on your combat gear…”

 

To reiterate – in the ancient world, wearing a battle harness signified that a soldier was ready for battle. He was prepared or strengthened for action. In our verse, wearing the battle harness of biblical truth refers to a believer who is ready for spiritual battle; he has been prepared or strengthened by intake of Bible doctrine. The rest of the Roman soldier’s combat equipment was attached to or connected with his harness.

 

Now, the combat belt or battle harness was worn, in part, over the breastplate.

 

The bottom part of the harness that went around the waist (the belt) held the breastplate in place. This belt was called the “balteus” by the Romans. The breastplate would actually snap into slots on the waist belt. So, the Roman soldier’s breastplate was supported and secured by the combat harness.

 

Thus, a second principle emerges from this verse – a Roman soldier must have his belt on before he could put on the breastplate.

 

Otherwise, the breastplate would not be secured and it would move around, exposing the soldier to attack; it would be useless and, perhaps, even an encumbrance. The spiritual application of “putting on the belt before the breastplate” is obvious; the believer must have the truth of Bible doctrine before he can operate in the righteousness or the integrity of God. Therefore, we return to the importance of setting priorities. The harness of truth must come first. That is to say, the intake of Bible doctrine is the believer’s top priority. So, the belt is the part of the harness that fastens the breastplate; the belt supports and stabilizes the breastplate just as doctrine supports and stabilizes the believer’s integrity.

 

Let me be clear – when donning the complete armor from God, the belt of doctrine must be put on first. Only then can the Christian soldier put on the breastplate of righteousness or integrity.

 

Now, the harness was composed of a balteus (belt) and a baldric. A baldric is a shoulder strap, usually made of ornamental leather, which is worn over the chest to support other parts of the military equipment. The baldric would stretch over the top of the breastplate. This fact has spiritual significance, as we will see. So, the battle harness consisted of the following two parts: the “girdle” or belt was worn around the waist while the baldric was a leather strap which was slung across the chest and over the shoulder.

 

Another part of the battle harness was an “apron” or “codpiece” that attached to the bottom of the belt and extended below the belt to cover the loins. It protected the genital area of the soldier. Today, we would call this apron a “super-duper jockstrap.” This codpiece was attached to the bottom of the belt, again emphasizing that the belt must be put on first. Since the rest of the soldier’s armor attached to the belt, the belt was very thick and wide. Spiritually, a Christian soldier’s belt of truth must be “thick and wide.” He must have extensive doctrine in the right lobe of the soul attained by the daily intake of the Word of God.

 

So, when the Roman soldier was buckled up for combat, all his armor was in place and the various parts of his armor coordinated together to protect him. The belt and the armor attached to the belt protected the vulnerable parts of the soldier. The complete harness was needed when heavy armor was worn; the heavy belt supported the breastplate and the baldric secured the breastplate to the soldier’s chest. The baldric was studded with metal plates and was fastened with a decorated buckle.

 

The soldier’s sword scabbard hung from his belt. The belt also had loops to attach items such as ropes and rations. This system made all these items easily accessible when needed. The spiritual implication of the battle harness is clear – a Roman soldier’s equipment depended on the belt; just so, everything in the Christian way of life depends on Bible doctrine.

 

In addition to the items discussed, the Roman soldier also carried his most valuable possessions on his belt – silver, gold, and jewelry that he plundered from captured cities or enemy bivouacs. The harness itself was often decorated with precious or semiprecious metal plates.

 

So, there is another spiritual analogy here – the Christian soldier who has put on his belt of truth will have a measure of blessing by following the Lord into spiritual battle.

 

In our passage, Paul mentioned the belt first and foremost because he understood its importance. The belt was the key to the rest of the panoplia, the full armor from God. Thus, in Ephesians 6:14, the combat belt comes to represent Bible doctrine resident in the soul of the believer. As such, doctrine is the basic requirement that precedes the rest of the complete armor from God.

 

And so a principle emerges – once the Christian warrior has buckled on his harness of balteus (belt) and baldric (shoulder strap), he is fully prepared for the charge of the unseen enemy.

 

For example, Solomon wrote in Proverbs 20:18, “Prepare plans by consultation, And make war by wise guidance.” The Hebrew word for “consultation” in this verse is the noun etsar, which means advice, prudence, or wisdom. In the spiritual realm, it refers to the truth of Bible doctrine. However, we must always remember the principle found in Proverbs 21:31 – “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the Lord.” Our job as Christian soldiers is to be prepared by having doctrine resident in our souls; the Lord accomplishes the victory.

 

Let us return to our examination of Ephesians 6:14. When the alarm trumpet blew, the Roman soldier would run to the rack of equipment and the first thing he donned was his belt. He would pick up his battle harness, put it on and then don the rest of his armor. And once his equipment was in place, he would pick up his weapons and move to the FLOT line, the defensive area.

 

FLOT is a military acronym for the “forward line of troops.” These troops were closest to the enemy. Now, how would the Roman soldiers handle being placed on the front line in warfare? They would lock their shields together against the enemy! The spiritual implication of this action relates to the fellowship found in the local assembly whereby believers “stand together” in unity of purpose against the devil’s schemes.

 

So, Ephesians 6:14 is more properly translated, “Because of this, hold your ground, having buckled on your combat gear…” The harness made up of balteus (belt) and baldric (strap) was the most important part of the Roman legionnaire’s combat gear. This fact is especially evident since the sword scabbard, the dagger, the breastplate, and the rest of his equipment were attached to it.

 

EPH 6:14, “Because of this, hold your ground, having buckled on your combat gear…”

 

Next in this verse, we find the accusative singular direct object of three Greek words. The first word is definite article ten used to distinguish this belt from all other belts. Ten indicates that the belt is a special type of belt. Ten is followed by the Greek noun osphun, which refers to the waist, hips, or loins. The next word is the possessive genitive of the pronoun su, meaning “your,” that is, “your waist.” To the Jews, osphun (the loins) signified the genital region and was considered the site where life was generated to perpetuate the race. The loins produced life. Furthermore, a blow to the loins often resulted in loss of life.

 

The spiritual analogy is obvious – the believer’s “spiritual loins” generate spiritual life. His osphun is the heart (right lobe of the soul) where biblical truth resides. As such, the believer’s “spiritual loins” need protection. And a great blow to the right lobe of the soul may result in great spiritual damage.

 

Ephesians 6:14, “Because of this, hold your ground, having buckled on your combat gear around your waist with truth…”

 

Next we have another prepositional phrase in this verse. It is the Greek preposition “en” along with the instrumental singular of “aletheia” which means “truth.” En should not be translated “in,” but “by means of.” So, the means by which the Christian soldier buckles on his combat harness is truth. In other words, Bible doctrine is the means by which we reach our objective in the spiritual life. How does the Christian soldier get ready to hold his ground? “By means of doctrine!”

 

The absence of a definite article before “truth” calls attention to the high quality of doctrine. Thus, the “belt of truth” comprises the entire realm of doctrine, all of its truths and all of its categories, as it is assimilated by the daily perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. Therefore, if a Christian wants to attain the supergrace status of maturity, he must accept the challenge to learn Bible doctrine on a consistent, daily basis no matter what distractions or temptations Satan introduces to hinder him! And this objective, the high ground of supergrace, is well worth the effort!

 

So, aletheia is the Greek word for “truth” or Bible doctrine. The absence of a definite article in the Greek emphasizes the quality of the noun. Thus, aletheia indicates the high quality of metabolized doctrine in the right lobe of the soul. Now, many believers ask, “How do I know if I am learning truth?” or “How do I know my pastor is teaching truth?” Well, a doctrinally-oriented pastor is not afraid to provide references; he also gives his flock the opportunity to examine the Scriptures themselves. Such a pastor has no problem with “Bereans” in his congregation. In fact, he is encouraged by them. They are sometimes his best students.

 

ACT 17:10, “And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they went in the synagogue of the Jews.”

 

ACT 17:11, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, [to see] whether these things were so.”

 

So, what is truth as defined by the Bible? First of all, truth is biblical information which causes the believer to be more stable, more certain, and more sure than ever before. Truth will produce stability and security in a believer’s life. It will cause him to be certain, confident, positive, and assured, without being arrogant; a vital part of truth is humility.

 

PSA 25:8, “Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.”

 

PSA 25:9, “He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.”

 

PRO 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.”

 

So, truth will cause you to be certain, confident, positive, and assured, without becoming arrogant. Gesenius observed that truth will produce firmness, security, and integrity of mind. “Firmness” infers determination, steadfastness, steadiness, and establishment. “Security of mind” means strength, defense, and protection. And “integrity of mind” we have already covered.

 

The Greek noun aletheia also means “integrity of character.” It means that which is faithful and certain. When a believer has integrity of character he will be constant, dedicated, devoted, loyal, and steadfast by virtue of his integrity. Thayer’s Greek lexicon describes aletheia as “that which frees the mind from pretense, deceit, and falsehood.” When a person lives in aletheia, he will not be a hypocrite, a phony, or a deceiver.

 

So, all these concepts regarding integrity are in view in EPH 6:14 and center on one word – aletheia (truth).

 

Thus another principle emerges – it is impossible to serve the Lord apart from truth as your true motivation. You cannot just “be sincere” and serve the Lord; you must have truth, Bible doctrine resident in the soul.

 

JOS 24:17, “Now, therefore, respect the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth…”

 

1SA 12:24, “Respect the Lord and serve him in truth with all your heart…”

 

Truth or Bible doctrine is the first basic ingredient that the believer needs to serve the Lord. Truth or doctrine will enlighten the believer and guide him in the spiritual warfare of the Angelic Conflict.

 

PSA 43:3, “O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them [light and truth] lead me; let them [light and truth] bring me to Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling places.”

 

Notice here that David wrote that it is truth that gives us light and leads us to worship God properly. Truth is something that we must be taught, however; it does not come naturally.

 

PSA 25:5, “Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day.”

 

Truth must be taught. Truth protects us and keeps us from deception – not salvation alone, not Jesus alone, not the Holy Spirit alone – but truth! In fact, John stated in John 14:26 that God the Holy Spirit uses the doctrine we have been taught to protect us from deception.

 

JOH 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

 

Therefore, truth protects the believer from deception – not his feelings, not his emotions, not the so-called gift of discernment, but truth!

 

PSA 40:10, “I have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.”

 

PSA 40:11, “Thou, O Lord, wilt not withhold Thy compassion from me; Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth will continually preserve me.”

 

Notice, then, that truth preserves and protects the believer.

 

PSA 61:7, “He will abide before God forever; appoint lovingkindness and truth, that they may preserve him.”

 

 

 

Chapter 9. The Breastplate of Righteousness

 

 

We will begin this chapter with a brief review of Ephesians 6:14.

 

  1. First, all of the Roman soldier’s armor was, in some way, connected to his combat harness, which is described as “the belt of truth” in verse 14.

 

  1. Secondly, the main verb of this verse is “hold your ground.” But, a soldier is not prepared to hold his ground until he has put on his combat harness. The harness must come first.

 

The spiritual principle here is that we must “put on” Bible doctrine before we engage in spiritual warfare. The “belt of truth” is not put on us by someone else; we must put it on and it must be firmly in position. This is why there are commands throughout the Bible such as Romans 13:12 to “put on the armor of light.” “Light” is another metaphor for truth or Bible doctrine.

 

ROM 13:14, “But put on The Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to [its] lusts.”

 

EPH 4:24, “And put on the new self, which in [the likeness of] God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

 

COL 3:10, “And have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”

 

  1. A third principle we noted was that a soldier must put on the belt before he could put on the breastplate.

 

Otherwise, the breastplate would not be secured and might move around, exposing him to attack or impeding his movement. The spiritual application of the belt before the breastplate is obvious; a believer has to have truth, Bible doctrine in his soul, before he can operate in the righteousness (the integrity) of God.

 

  1. When a Roman soldier was buckled up for combat with all of his equipment in place, he knew he was protected. He was ready to coordinate the defense with other soldiers.

 

Once a group of legionnaires had donned their armor, they would pick up their weapons and move to the FLOT line, a place closest to the enemy. The soldiers of a Roman phalanx on the front line then coordinated their defense, often locking shields against the enemy. So, this is how the Roman soldiers would handle being on the front line in warfare. And this whole process started with the vital act of putting on the combat belt.

 

  1. The combat harness was decorated with intricate buckles, medal plates, and inlays of gold, silver, and precious metals. These decorations represented the campaigns in which the Roman legionnaire had fought and succeeded in battle.

 

So, the combat harness, made up of belt (balteus) and strap (baldric), was the most important part of the Roman legionnaire’s combat gear. The central role of the combat harness is emphasized by the fact that the breastplate, the sword, the dagger, and other tools and provisions sat on or hung from the battle belt.

 

So, Ephesians 6:14 states, “Because of this, hold your ground, having buckled on your combat gear around your waist…”

 

Now, how does the Christian soldier prepare “to hold his ground” against the schemes of the devil?  “By means of doctrine!” “By means of doctrine” is the correct translation of “in truth” in our verse. “In truth” is the Greek preposition en, along with the instrumental singular of aletheia. The instrumental of aletheia signifies that “truth” is the instrument or means by which we hold our ground. Truth, or doctrine, is the means by which we reach our objective in the spiritual life. And the absence of a definite article in this preposition calls attention to the high quality of Bible doctrine.

 

Thus the “belt of truth” comprises the entire realm of doctrine, all of its truths and all of its categories, as it is assimilated by the daily perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. So if you want to attain the supergrace status of maturity, you must accept the challenge to learn Bible doctrine on a consistent and daily basis, no matter what distractions or temptations come your way.

 

Next, let us review several facets of “truth.”

 

  1. First of all, truth (doctrine) is a biblical perspective which will cause you to be more stable, more certain, and more sure that ever before.

 

  1. Truth will produce stability and security in a believer’s life.

 

Truth will also cause him to be certain, confident, positive, and assured without being arrogant, for a vital part of truth is humility. Biblical truth will produce firmness, security, and integrity of mind. Firmness infers determination, steadfastness, steadiness, and establishment.

 

  1. Truth frees the mind from pretense, deceit, and falsehood.

 

When you live in aletheia, you will not be a hypocrite, a phony, or a deceiver.

 

  1. Truth, or doctrine, is the first basic ingredient that the believer needs to serve the Lord, JOS 24:14, 1SA 12:24.

 

  1. Doctrinal truth will enlighten the believer about the schemes of the devil and will guide the believer in the spiritual warfare of the Angelic Conflict, PSA 43:3.

 

  1. Truth, or Bible doctrine, also protects the believer and keeps him from deception, JOH 14:26, PSA 40:11, PSA 61:7.

 

The protection afforded by doctrine is crucial in the Church-age. In 2Timothy 4:3-4, Paul warned Timothy that, in the last days, truth will be rejected and deception, even of believers, will ensue.

 

2TI 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires…”

 

2TI 4:4, “…and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will be turned aside to fables.”

 

Now, what does God truly desire for you? He desires truth to be in you!

 

PSA 51:6, “Behold, thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part thou wilt make me know wisdom.”

 

God desires truth to be within us! Why? Because God is Truth. Anyone can pretend to have integrity outwardly, but the Lord desires truth within us. And in His virtue-love, God always reveals grace and mercy with His truth.

 

2PE 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

 

None of us could ever face the truth if it was not accompanied with grace and mercy. Recall that God’s grace provisions are for our present needs while His mercy is for our past deeds. Moreover, mercy is God’s “grace in action” directed towards a person’s past.

 

PSA 85:10, “Lovingkindness [grace] and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”

 

PSA 85:11, “Truth springs from the earth; and righteousness looks down from heaven.”

 

Notice in verse 11 that truth in man will always spring up or surface. And verse 11 also indicates that God’s righteousness looks down from heaven. The righteousness and justice of God is completely satisfied when He sees His “truth” (doctrine) in operation in a believer. In John 1:14, we find that The Lord Jesus Christ was “full of grace and truth.”

 

JOH 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

 

And we are told that it is truth which cleanses us and purges us from sin in John 15:3.

 

JOH 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

 

Notice that it is by “words which I have spoken to you” that the believer becomes clean. So, what is truth?

 

JOH 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy Word is Truth.”

 

The Word of God, then, is Truth.

 

Bible doctrine cleanses the believer’s soul from the filth and garbage received and projected by the cosmic system. Paul referred to this in Ephesians 5:26 when he penned, “That He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word.” Solomon also observed that grace and truth are the means of deliverance of the believer from the power of sin and the influence of evil.

 

PRO 16:6, “By lovingkindness [grace] and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the respect for the Lord one keeps away from evil.”

 

So we see that the belt or combat harness of truth is vital to the believer in spiritual warfare. In fact, it is impossible to worship God properly without the truth of doctrine.

 

JOH 4:23, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father by means of the Spirit and truth; for such people [believers] the Father seeks or strongly desires to be His worshipers.”

 

JOH 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth [in the filling of the Spirit and with Bible doctrine].”

 

John recorded several comments about “the Spirit of truth” by our Lord in his gospel.

 

JOH 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.”

 

JOH 14:16, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever [for all of eternity].”

 

JOH 14:17, “That is the Spirit of Truth [aletheia], Whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.”

 

Notice that God the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of aletheia” or “the Spirit of doctrine.”

 

JOH 16:12, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

 

JOH 16:13, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

 

JOH 16:14, “He shall glorify me; for He shall take of mine [from me], and shall disclose it to you.”

 

JOH 16:15, “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of mine, and will disclose it to you.”

 

So, we have all these passages in Scripture which emphasize the importance of truth, Bible doctrine. Therefore, if a pastor truly loves the Lord, he will teach God’s truth. If a believer truly loves the Lord, he will study God’s truth.

 

2TI 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of Truth.”

 

The Apostle John wrote in 3John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth [Bible doctrine].”

 

Moreover, truth or doctrine will always prevail, even though it is the direct enemy of Satan and his world system. Believers who live in sin or who are lazy, passive, and slothful despise truth. Believers who are involved with legalism, religion, human works, and self-righteousness reject truth.

 

In Galatians 4:16, Paul reproved the legalistic Galatian believers by asking, “Have I therefore become your enemy by telling you the truth?”

 

Since the truth always prevails, we might as well embrace truth as Paul wrote in 2CO 13:8, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.”

 

Returning to Ephesians 6:14, we read, “Because of this, hold your ground, having buckled on your combat gear around your waist by means of doctrine, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…”

 

Now, the Roman soldier’s combat gear included breastplate, scabbard, sword, food-bag, pouch, canteen, and a very thick leather codpiece, all of which were connected to the belt around his waist. All of these important items were “carried” by the belt.

 

Moreover, the Roman legionnaire did not have a bag of manuals and books that he would take out and examine during the battle; that would distract him and put him in danger. Instead, his thoughts and actions resulted from information that he had already learned by inculcation and intensive training. His “belt of truth” for combat was carried with him in his mind. By analogy, it is doctrine in a believer’s soul, his belt of truth, that sustains him in the midst of spiritual warfare.

 

The spiritual implication of the belt is important to understand. All other important items in a Christian soldier’s life are “carried” by the belt of truth, Bible doctrine – every bit of happiness, everything that is meaningful, the methods for handling problems, the adversities he faces, and the wonderful blessings he receives. Everything of value in the Christian life depends upon Bible doctrine transferred into the soul through perception, metabolization, and application of that doctrine. Doctrine resident in the soul of the believer is vital because life is filled with problems, and no one solves his problems without thought. But proper thought has to be dynamic, accurate, and true. Therefore, a believer’s thoughts must come from God’s thinking. And God’s thinking becomes the Christian warrior’s combat harness.

 

After the combat harness, a Roman soldier put on his breastplate.

 

Earlier in this book, we noted that all warfare is based on deception. A common deception is the surprise attack. In the ancient world, archers and artillery units using catapults, ballistae, or slings accomplished a surprise attack. So, in a surprise attack, the legionnaire was suddenly faced with arrows and other projectiles, such as rocks. Therefore, it made sense to put the breastplate on right after the belt.

 

EPH 6:14, “Because of this, hold your ground, having buckled on your combat gear around your waist by means of doctrine, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…”

 

“Having put on” is the aorist middle particle of the Greek verb enduo which means “to put on,” “to clothe oneself,” or “to be invested with power.” The aorist tense is a culminative aorist which views the attainment of Christian integrity or Christian honor from Bible doctrine in its entirety, but regards it from the viewpoint of existing results. What is the existing result in this passage? The existing result is the attainment of personal integrity by inculcation of doctrine.

 

With the belt of truth girded about his loins and the breastplate of righteousness protecting his heart, a believer finds himself in a position similar to David before Goliath. When David said, “The battle is the Lord’s,” he applied personal integrity in circumstances of extreme pressure. This declaration was a statement of David’s integrity. With this statement David identified with truth and, as a result, the giant was slain.

 

Enduo is in the middle voice in this verse. The middle voice represents the subject as participating in the results of the action of the verb. With the middle voice, the subject is intimately involved with the action of the verb. Moreover, this is also a dynamic middle which emphasizes the part taken by the subject in the action of the verb. And recall that the middle voice describes the subject as acting with a view toward participating in the outcome of the action. Therefore, the Christian soldier who has donned the breastplate is guaranteed to be placed on the front line of defense where he will participate in the action of the battle.

 

The participle found in this phrase is a temporal participle. This aorist participle indicates that the action of the verb (put on the breastplate) precedes the action of the main verb (stand your ground). So, integrity based on biblical truth must precede the divine mandate for defensive action against the schemes of the devil.

 

Now, is all of this important to mention? The tenses? The voices? The moods? Are the details important? Absolutely! The sequence of action in the koine Greek is important. Koine Greek is a scientific language. It arose as a common language in the armies of Alexander the Great. All soldiers, even those conscripted from conquered lands, had to learn koine Greek. This allowed all soldiers under Alexander to accurately and precisely understand the orders given by their officers without confusion. So, koine Greek is a precise language. And the original language of the New Testament is koine Greek. With this accurate and precise military language, God the Holy Spirit was able to have the authors of the New Testament accurately and precisely record the Word of God.

 

Therefore, in the Greek, we are able to discern what actions must occur first. Even though the command to “hold your ground” is given first, it is not the first action that must be performed. But, you cannot hold your ground without first being prepared. You must do something before you are able to hold your ground. What must you do first? First, you must buckle your combat gear around your waist. And then you must put on the breastplate.

 

These two actions are connected by the Greek conjunction kai, which signifies that the belt and the breastplate are closely related. Because the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness must come before the action of the main verb, “hold your ground,” it is appropriate to put “after you” in the English translation.

 

EPH 6:14, “Because of this, hold your ground, [after you] have buckled on your combat gear around your waist by means of doctrine, and [after you] have put on the breastplate of righteousness…”

 

We are now ready to finish our examination of the last phrase in this verse. The Greek word ton, translated “the” in the English, comes before “breastplate.” Ton is in the accusative case, which indicates that the next piece of equipment, the breastplate of righteousness, is unique. So, this phrase should be translated “the breastplate,” “the only breastplate,” or “the unique breastplate.” And indeed, it is the only breastplate that will protect the Christian soldier in the spiritual warfare of the Angelic Conflict.

 

The Roman legionnaire had the best military equipment of his time. Often when a Roman soldier fought, he went into combat against men who were taller, bigger, and stronger. But, they did not have his training. Therefore, the Roman Empire won many battles against seemingly superior enemies. And there were two basic reasons for this.

 

  1. The superior training of the Roman soldier

 

  1. The superior equipment of the Roman soldier

 

The Roman legionnaire was an expert with his equipment because he was trained and trained and then trained some more until he could use it perfectly. The spiritual implication of this training program is clear – the believer must be trained and trained and trained some more on the use of the ten problem-solving devices so that when he faces adversity, he will be able to handle it by means of using them. For example, how can you actually “cast all your cares on the Lord” unless you have the training and equipment to do so? Intensive spiritual training comes by inculcation of Bible doctrine through the believer’s submission to his right pastor-teacher. God has called a right pastor-teacher for each congregation.

 

EPH 4:12, “[The pastor-teacher is given] to equip [equip for battle] the saints for the work of the ministry…”

 

Metabolized doctrine in the believer’s heart (right lobe of the soul) becomes his equipment for spiritual warfare. So first in this phrase we have the connective conjunction kai which denotes that truth and the breastplate are related. The Greek word for “breastplate” is the noun thoraka which is properly translated breastplate. The thoraka covered the chest and part of the back.

 

The next Greek word in this phrase describes the spiritual breastplate and is the descriptive genitive noun dikaiosune, which means righteousness, integrity, virtue, or correct thinking. Dikaiosune is also used to refer to the righteousness of God which is imputed to the believer at the moment of his salvation. Thus, dikaiosune allows the potential for great personal integrity in the believer.

 

So, dikaiosune is sometimes used for the imputed righteousness of God. However, in this context, it is used for the attainment of divine integrity through consistent perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. And so the breastplate of righteousness or integrity is the virtue and the honor attained through the perception of Bible doctrine. And this takes us back to the principle of order again. What came first? The belt! Then, after the belt, came the breastplate.

 

The belt is the absolute truth of the Word of God or Bible doctrine and the breastplate is attached to that truth. And so we see that all personal integrity of the believer and his ability to fulfill the Royal Family Honor Code come from Bible doctrine. But, you will never have this integrity or this ability inside the Royal Family Honor Code unless you first desire to learn truth. Then, you must listen to the truth so that you have knowledge of truth. Finally, you must think truth because truth is the basis for Christian integrity. Therefore, we see that integrity is a thought, not an action. And all action proceeds from thought or the lack of thought.

 

Thus, the breastplate of righteousness is the virtue and the integrity attained through the perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. Now, while the rank and file legionnaires in the Roman army wore a breastplate of bronze or iron, the officers wore a breastplate overlaid with gold or silver. This fact is a representation of those believers in the Royal Family who have been promoted because their works entailed divine good – gold, silver, and precious stones.

 

So, in Ephesians 6:14, the breastplate refers to the virtue and integrity developed by the believer from cognition of Bible doctrine. Putting on the breastplate means that the Christian soldier will operate with character and integrity among believers and unbelievers. In the fourth and fifth chapter of Ephesians, Paul described how a believer with integrity should act.

 

EPH 4:31, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

 

EPH 4:32, “And be kind or gracious to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

 

EPH 5:1, “Therefore be imitators or followers of God, as beloved children…”

 

EPH 5:2, “…and walk in virtue-love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

 

EPH 5:3, “But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints…”

 

Finally, take note of Ephesians 5:4 – “…and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”

 

Notice that Paul admonishes “filthiness” and “silly talk.” The word translated “filthiness” is the Greek noun aischrotes, which means shameful speech, obscenity, or profanity, such as calling someone a nickname that you would never use before the Lord. Do you do this? Or do you allow others to do it to you? If so, realize that it is not the attitude of the Royal Family of God. Such speech is in sharp contrast to purity and the breastplate of righteousness. You are a member of the Royal Family of God and you should never do those things or allow them to be done to you.

 

EPH 5:4, “…and there must be no filthiness and silly talk…”

 

“Silly talk” is the Greek noun morologia, composed from two words – moros, which means moron, and logia, which means words. Morologia means foolish talk, silly talk, saying things to others that you would never say in front of The Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Next, there is the phrase “coarse jesting” which is the Greek noun eutrapelia, meaning conversation by so-called “witty retorts,” joking that is not conducive to the Royal Family of God, playful words designed to send an ungodly message, coarse language, vulgar language, or low jesting. These verses recorded by Paul give us some idea about how a member of the Royal Family of God should not act.

 

Now, as a prisoner of Rome, the Apostle Paul was often chained to his guards who were Roman soldiers. This situation gave him opportunity to become familiar with the Roman army and its equipment. Being chained between Roman legionnaires gave Paul plenty of opportunity to observe their armor and their weapons. So, it is only natural that he used a Roman soldier’s armor to portray spiritual principles related to the Angelic Conflict. We have the results of Paul’s comparison between the Roman soldier’s armor and the armor from God in Ephesians 6:10-17. Let us review the completed exegesis of verses 10-14 in this passage.

 

EPH 6:10, “From now on, start becoming strong by means of the Lord, and in the strength of His might.”

 

EPH 6:11, “Pick up and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to hold your ground against the schemes [the strategies] of the devil.”

 

EPH 6:12, “Because our struggle is not against blood [people’s souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers [these are the archons like Abaddon and Beelzebub], against the powers [demon officers who have phenomenal authority], against the world forces of this darkness [kosmokratoras meaning demons who specialize in possessing or influencing the cosmos or world rulers] against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places [against the spiritual forces of evil in the atmosphere around the earth, the stellar universe and in the presence of God].

 

EPH 6:13, “Because of this [vast demon organization], pick up and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to hold your ground in the day when evil attacks you, even after you have achieved or accomplished everything, hold your ground.”

 

EPH 6:14, “Because of this [Satan’s TOE], hold your ground, [after you] have buckled on your combat gear around your waist by means of doctrine, and [after you] have put on the breastplate of righteousness…”

 

So far, we have analyzed the belt or harness of truth (doctrine). Let us further analyze the breastplate of righteousness (integrity). This phrase begins with the Greek definite article ton which is properly translated “only.” Ton indicates that this breastplate is the only breastplate that will protect the believer in the spiritual warfare of the Angelic Conflict. “Only” is followed by the Greek noun thoraka, which means breastplate. “Breastplate” is followed by the Greek definite article tes, which is rightly translated “of the.” Next, we find the descriptive genitive Greek noun dikaiosune, which means righteousness, integrity, virtue, or correct thinking.

 

As noted earlier, dikaiosune is often used for the righteousness of God which is imputed to us at the moment of salvation. And this righteousness gives us the potential to have great personal integrity. However, in this context, dikaiosune is used for the attainment of divine integrity through consistent perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine.

 

So, in our passage, the breastplate of righteousness or integrity represents the virtue and the honor attained through the perception of Bible doctrine. 1Thessalonians 5:8 is a similar passage where Paul again uses the breastplate to represent integrity and spiritual self-esteem.

 

1TH 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope [assurance] of salvation.”

 

In this verse, “be sober” is the present active subjunctive of the Greek verb nepho, which means to be self-controlled or well-balanced and comes to signify a state of spiritual self-esteem. The subjunctive mood of nepho is the mood of potential and desire. The subjunctive mood indicates what God desires us to do, but it also recognizes that we may or may not do it. So, God desires the believer to be in spiritual self-esteem, but the believer’s volition will determine whether he obeys God. So, how does the believer enter the state of spiritual self-esteem? He has positive volition towards doctrine (PVTD), which is represented in this verse by the “breastplate of faith (pistis),” faith in the Word of God which then result in virtue-love. So, spiritual self-esteem is a result of maximum doctrine resident in the soul of the believer. In spiritual self-esteem, the believer has a relaxed mental attitude (RMA); people or circumstances do not easily upset him. With such an attitude, he is able to act with impersonal love towards those in his periphery.

 

Finally, there is the metaphor of the helmet. In battle, a blow to the head often resulted in death. The helmet protected the soldier from death. Spiritually, the hope (assurance) of salvation means that the believer is protected from spiritual death. The helmet, then, is a metaphor for the security of the believer in regards to salvation. So, let us review the entire verse.

 

1TH 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us attain spiritual self-esteem, after we have put on the breastplate of pistis [which is doctrine resulting in virtue-love] and as a helmet the confidence in salvation.”

 

So, in the New Testament, dikaiosune is the Greek word used for the justice and righteousness of God; therefore, it refers to the virtue, the honor, and the integrity of God. The believer is required to possess this same virtue, honor, and integrity to successfully carry out God’s plan. God’s integrity is not just some system of morality or some system of doing good works. Bible doctrine makes it very clear that honor and integrity are infinitely greater than morality. God’s honor and integrity can only be attained by learning the truth, knowing the truth, thinking the truth, and applying the truth. These four steps comprise the entire “integrity package.”

 

Again, the entire integrity package is learning the truth, knowing the truth, thinking the truth, and then applying the truth. Now, dikaiosune, the righteousness of God, belongs to God alone; it is a part of His perfect and eternal essence. However, God has provided the thinking of Christ or the mind of Christ to the believer, 1CO 2:16. The thinking of Christ is Bible doctrine which is the believer’s means of attaining the honor, the virtue, and the integrity of God. The integrity which God has made available to the believer is developed through living by His righteous Word or maximum Bible doctrine resident in the believer’s soul.

 

It is doctrine in your soul which gives you the integrity or the spiritual strength to handle any situation in life. And to be strong spiritually is to operate in the integrity of God, which comes from applying doctrine to your particular circumstances in life. And so, Bible doctrine, which is the thinking of Christ, is the spiritual strength or integrity that the believer must depend upon in spiritual combat. Therefore, if you are operating in integrity, you are living in God’s righteousness; you have put on the breastplate of righteousness which He has graciously provided for you.

 

So, when a believer lives in the doctrine that God has revealed to him, he is living in the righteousness or the integrity of God. The breastplate of integrity, then, is an experiential righteousness that follows the positional righteousness of salvation. This integrity is infinitely greater than any system of morality that has ever been designed by man. If you travel all over the world, you will find that various people have different ideas as to what constitutes being good or moral. But when you go to the Word of God, you will find that God’s standards of integrity are impossible to meet apart from Bible doctrine resident in your soul. As an example, let us look at chapter 5 of Matthew’s gospel.

 

MAT 5:38, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’”

 

MAT 5:39, “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

 

MAT 5:40, “And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.”

 

MAT 5:41, “And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two.”

 

MAT 5:42, “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”

 

MAT 5:43, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’”

 

MAT 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…”

 

MAT 5:45, “in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on [the] evil and [the] good, and sends rain on [the] righteous and [the] unrighteous.”

 

MAT 5:46, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?”

 

MAT 5:47 “And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more [than others]? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?”

 

MAT 5:48, “Therefore you are to be perfect [complete, mature], as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

These commands seem to be impossible to fulfill, but remember what our Lord said in Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

So, the breastplate of righteousness represents experiential righteousness. With experiential truth, a person acts in a manner consistent with his positional truth. That is, he fulfills the potential of his position. Every believer is positionally righteous, but few act in a manner commiserate with that righteousness. Every Church-age believer is a member of royalty, but few live by the Royal Family Honor Code. And not only has God provided positional righteousness for every believer, but He has also provided a means to experience that righteousness in time – Bible doctrine.

 

 

So, let us stop and summarize what it means to put on the breastplate of righteousness or literally how to function in the Royal Family Honor Code. It is a divine code of ethics for all Church-age believers as members of the Royal Family of God. Abiding by the RFHC is tantamount to putting on the breastplate of righteousness. And, in as much as the Royal Family lives in the Holy of Holies and the royal palace forever, God the Holy Spirit provides the Royal Family Honor Code. All members of the Royal Family will live in the New Jerusalem in the eternal state while the majority of believers from other dispensations will live on the new earth.

 

REV 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”

 

REV 21:2, “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.”

 

But, as of right now, members of the Royal Family are the personal representatives of The Lord Jesus Christ on earth. And Jesus Himself said that the love and respect that we show each other reveal the fact that we are His ambassadors, JOH 13:34-35.

 

JOH 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

 

JOH 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples [students], if you have love for one another.”

 

Currently, the humanity of The Lord Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He has selected the Royal Family of God to represent Himself on earth during the Church-age. And since we are privileged to be the personal representatives of The Lord Jesus Christ on earth during the Church-age, we should know how to treat each other as members of the Royal Family by learning and abiding by the Royal Family Honor Code.

 

Church-age believers are spiritual aristocrats, born again into the Royal Family of the King of kings and Lord of lords. And, though we come from vastly different human backgrounds, all of us must learn to think like royalty and to act like royalty. The honorable Christian, the believer with integrity, lives by a code of honor. He respects authority. The honorable Christian loves God with personal love. He loves man with impersonal, unconditional, agape love. The honorable believer represents Christ in a gracious style that reflects our Lord’s eternal, indestructible aristocracy. And, in its true sense, aristocracy connotes excellence, achievement, courage, and a sense of responsibility.

 

And so we are spiritual aristocrats. And we did not earn our exalted birth, just as no royal infant deserves to be a prince. Now, in aristocracy, even the children are inculcated with superior standards. The young children are taught and trained from birth to think and to act with poise and courage. Therefore, as members of the Royal Family of God, we need to be taught and trained for a superior manner of life.

 

So, we did not earn our exalted new birth, just as any royal child does not earn or deserve his royal birth. Our royalty is the result of the accomplishments of Someone Else. Therefore, at spiritual birth, we enter into the Royal Family of The Lord Jesus Christ. And, as befits aristocracy, our King has provided a spiritual code of ethics for royal living. This royal code of ethics, this honor code, is found throughout the New Testament, but especially in the letters of Paul.

 

As royalty, we should not live under systems of legalism or religious codes. Instead, we should live under the Royal Family Honor Code. And the need for an honor code in the Church-age is due to the fact that Church-age believers are something that no other believers in any dispensation or any other member of the human race are; we are new creatures, a brand new spiritual species, 2CO 5:17.

 

2CO 5:17, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

 

Now, let us briefly review what we have already examined in chapter 6 of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church and then examine some of the remaining items in the full armor from God.

 

EPH 6:10, “From now on, start becoming strong by means of the Lord, and in the strength of His might.”

 

EPH 6:11, “Pick up and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to hold your ground against the schemes [strategies] of the devil.”

 

EPH 6:12, “Because our struggle is not against blood [people’s souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers [these are the archons like Abaddon and Beelzebub], against the powers [demon officers who have phenomenal authority], against the world forces of this darkness [kosmokratoras, meaning demons who specialize in possessing or influencing the cosmos or world rulers] against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places [against the spiritual forces of evil in the atmosphere around the earth, the stellar universe, and in the presence of God].”

 

EPH 6:13, “Because of this [vast demon organization], pick up and put on the full armor from God, that you may be able to hold your ground in the day when evil attacks you, even after you have achieved or accomplished everything, hold your ground.”

 

EPH 6:14, “Because of this [all that Paul taught from chapter 5 on], hold your ground, [after you] have buckled on your combat gear around your waist by means of doctrine, and [after you] have put on the breastplate of righteousness…”

 

And, as we have noted already, the breastplate of righteousness represents the integrity, virtue, and honor developed from the Royal Family Honor Code.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 10: Shoes of the combat boots for your feet.

 

 

Continuing with verse 15, the next piece of equipment provided for the Roman soldier was his footwear or combat shoes.

 

EPH 6:15, “…and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”

 

The phrase “having shod” means “having tied on or bound on” the combat shoes. This phrase could be translated, “Also put combat boots on your feet.” The phrase “with preparation” means “with the equipment.” The noun “gospel” means “good news” (the good news about salvation) and the word “peace” refers to the doctrine of reconciliation (salvation reconciles man to God).

 

So, let us note several principles about witnessing.

 

  1. Every believer-ambassador is God’s agent for witnessing.

 

Witnessing is the responsibility of every member of the Royal Family of God, ACT 1:8; EPH 6:15,20; 2TI 4:5.

 

2TI 4:5, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

 

This means that, at some time in your life, you are going to have the opportunity and the privilege of communicating Bible doctrine.

 

There are two areas of responsibility for this witnessing. There is a general witness of your life, 2CO 3:3,6:3.

 

2CO 3:3, “Being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

 

This area is not pertinent to all situations, but there are times when it will be. Then there is the witness of the lips, that is, proclaiming the gospel, 2CO 5:14-21,6:2.

 

2CO 6:2, “For He says, ‘AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.’ Behold, now is ‘THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,’ behold, now is ‘THE DAY OF SALVATION.’”

 

  1. Knowledge of pertinent doctrine is necessary for effective witnessing.

 

The believer must witness in wisdom; this means the use of Bible doctrine. He must be filled with the Spirit in order to effectively communicate the gospel. He must make the issue clear and avoid human persuasiveness or salesmanship. The believer’s ability to witness depends upon a number of things.

 

His emphasis should be on the gospel, especially the doctrine of reconciliation, EPH 2:14-17.

 

EPH 2:14, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility…”

 

EPH 2:15, “…by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace…”

 

EPH 2:16, “…and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the Cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”

 

EPH 2:17, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.”

 

A true witness must have correct and accurate gospel information from Bible doctrine, 1PE 1:18 and HEB 4:12.

 

1PE 1:18, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers…”

 

HEB 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

 

The true witness must be filled with the Spirit and, therefore, current on rebound. He must have the right mental attitude. For instance, witnessing is paying a debt to the unbeliever, ROM 1:14-15.

 

ROM 1:14, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.”

 

ROM 1:15, “So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”

 

Preparation means a maximum understanding of doctrine in the soul.

 

ROM 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

 

Romans 1:16 describes the attitude of the super-grace believer – “I am not ashamed.”

 

Witnessing, therefore, belongs to the royal priesthood and is an extension of our ambassadorship. Every believer is an ambassador; if you are born again, you are an ambassador of Christ, 2CO 5:18-20.

 

2CO 5:20, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

 

  1. The issue of the Gospel must be presented in a simple and clear manner.

 

John 3:18 and 3:36 are two perfect illustrations of how easy it is to make the issue of the gospel clear. You must give the unbeliever pertinent information regarding salvation. Christ is the issue; attitude towards Christ is the issue. Therefore, the effective witness must avoid any false issues of legalism, salvation by works, jumping through psychological hoops, and so on.

 

JOH 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

 

  1. The effectiveness of witnessing depends on the Holy Spirit.

 

The effectiveness of witnessing ultimately depends upon the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Holy Spirit directed towards the believer relates to his spirituality, ACT 1:8, 2CO 3:3. The ministry of the Spirit directed towards the unbeliever relates to his conviction, that is, to convince him of the truth of the Gospel, 1CO 2:14; JO 16:8-11.

 

JOH 16:8, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment…”

 

JOH 16:9, “…concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me…”

 

JOH 16:10, “…and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me…”

 

JOH 16:11, “…and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

 

  1. The clarity of witnessing emphasizes God’s judgment of human good, not personal sins.

 

The clarity of witnessing depends upon the believer’s understanding of the judgment of human good. Human good was rejected at the Cross. The believer’s human good will be judged for reward at the judgment seat of Christ, 1CO 3:11-16. The unbeliever’s human good is the basis for his judgment at the last judgment, REV 20:12-15.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 11. Shield of Faith

 

 

Verse 16, then, introduces the shield of faith.

 

EPH 6:16, “Above all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

 

Verse 16 involves one of the most important parts of a Roman soldier’s defensive equipment, the shield. “Above all” is a prepositional phrase; it is actually a Greek idiom meaning “in addition to these.”

 

“Taking” in verse 16 is the aorist active participle of the Greek verb analambano, which means to pick up and put on. The aorist tense is a constative aorist which views the action of the verb in its entirety. Analambano takes the accumulation of doctrine resident in the soul and relates it to the function of the faith-rest technique. The active voice signifies that the Christian soldier himself prepares the action by picking up his own shield. Each soldier must pick up and carry his own shield, and when the army contacts the enemy, he must use his own shield in battle. The participle is circumstantial with an antecedent action to the main verb which is to “hold our ground” in verse 14. So, the first part of verse 16 should be translated, “In addition to these, having already taken up the shield of faith, hold your ground.”

 

Next in this verse is the “shield of faith.” “Shield” is accusative singular direct object of the Greek noun thyreon, which means a door-shaped shield. “Faith” is the descriptive genitive singular from the Greek noun pistis. Ordinarily, pistis means one of two things. It can mean the action of faith or doctrine, that which is believed. Here it refers to the principle of faith in itself. Under the principle of faith, faith is a system of thinking. Faith = thinking. It is the system of thinking by which we learn; someone teaches us something and we choose to believe it.

 

Rationalism and empiricism are the only other two systems of thinking. Rationalism always makes what you think in your mind the criterion. Empiricism is what you see, smell, taste, or otherwise observe; it is the basis for scientific experimentation. In empiricism, you synthesize what you have observed into conclusions you accept as reality. But, faith has always been the basic system of thinking and the basis for education.

 

The classification of the proper objects of faith is crucial. The object of faith for the unbeliever is The Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in The Lord Jesus Christ results in salvation, ACT 16:31. After salvation, the Word of God (Bible doctrine) becomes the object of faith.

 

All the faith in the world secures nothing but condemnation. However, a tiny little bit of faith in Jesus Christ secures eternal salvation. So the efficacy of faith always lies in its object. We learn this through salvation and we apply it in our spiritual lives. All efficacy of faith is related to either the Living Word or the written Word.

 

So, we end this book with the WRITTEN WORD AND THE LIVING WORD – BIBLE DOCTRINE AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

 

In His Name,

 

Pastor Bob McLaughlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix A: The Ten Problem-Solving Devices Available to the Church-age Believer

 

 

PSD #1: Rebound

 

Rebound is a technical term referring to the method whereby a believer who is out of fellowship with God through the commission of known personal sins returns to fellowship with God. Rebound is the simple confession of known sins to God, 1Jo 1:9, JOH 13:10, PSA 32:5. Rebound is a grace function, requiring no overt works by the believer such as penitence.

 

PSD #2: The Filling of the Holy Spirit

 

While all Church-age believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the filling of the Holy Spirit is predicated on being in fellowship with God and is accomplished by rebound, EPH 5:18, 1Jo 1:9. The filling of the Holy Spirit gives the believer God’s power to live the spiritual life, ACT 1:8.

 

PSD #3: The Faith-Rest Drill

 

The faith-rest drill entails claiming a promise made by God in the Scriptures and then relying (resting upon) God to fulfill His promise, Heb 4:1, 4:10-11. In the spiritual life, God does the work and the believer receives the reward, PHI 1:6. The faith-rest drill also involves trusting in the character of God Who is faithful to the believer, DEU 7:9, 2TI 2:13, 1TH 5:24, 2TH 3:3.

 

PSD #4: Grace Orientation

 

Grace orientation is the realization that all we have is a gracious gift from God, 1CO 4:7, 2CO 12:9, JAM 4:6. Grace orientation promotes an attitude of humility in the believer; it is the antithesis of arrogance. Grace orientation also motivates the believer to act graciously towards others.

 

PSD #5: Doctrinal Orientation

 

Doctrinal orientation is achieved by the perception, metabolization, and application of biblical principles taught by your right pastor-teacher. Doctrinal orientation promotes thinking and living by God’s norms and standards, MAT 4:4, ISA 55:9, 1CO 2:16, ROM 12:2, JOH 4:24. Bible doctrine also gives the believer the power to live the spiritual life, HEB 4:12.

 

PSD #6: A Personal Sense of Destiny

 

As long as a believer is alive, God has a plan for him, JER 29:11, Phi 1:20-21. This fact should give the believer hope (confidence, expectation) about the future, ROM 15:13, Phi 1:20.

 

PSD #7: Personal Love for God

 

God is loving, righteous, just, faithful, and much more. As such, God is a deserving object of our personal love, DEU 6:5, MAR 12:30, LUK 10:27. But remember, you cannot love someone you have never met unless you learn about him, 1PE 1:8.

 

PSD #8: Impersonal Love for All Mankind

 

Impersonal love is derived from the integrity of the one who loves and does not consider the worthiness (or lack of worthiness) of the one being loved. It is altruistic or unconditional love. Impersonal love is derived from spiritual self-esteem, grace-orientation, and a relaxed mental attitude of the lover, MAT 5:44, ROM 13:9, GAL 5:14, JAM 2:8.

 

PSD #9: Sharing the Happiness of God

 

God’s happiness is a perfect happiness that is not dependent on circumstances or people. It is “true” happiness for the believer who is abiding by the Royal Family Honor Code and living in the Predesigned Plan of God, JAM 1:25, MAT 25:23, JOH 15:11, PHI 4:11.

 

PSD #10: Occupation with Christ

 

Occupation with Christ is the natural result of learning Bible doctrine, 1PE 3:15, HEB 3:6, EPH 3:19, 2CO 5:14. All of Scripture points to Him, the manifest person of the Trinity. Occupation with Christ prevents occupation with the nonessentials of life such as self, circumstances, or people.

 

 

Appendix B: The Divine Institutions

 

 

  1. Divine institution #1: Volition

 

Volition is defined as unfettered, un-coerced moral choice. Volition, then, is moral free will referenced in such verses as Joshua 24:15 and Proverbs 1:29. Like angels, man is a creature with free will.

 

  1. Divine institution #2: Marriage

 

Marriage is the joining together of one man and one woman to become “one flesh,” GEN 2:24 and MAR 10:7. Marriage perpetuates the human race. Christian marriage is an illustration of the Church’s relationship with Jesus Christ, EPH 5:22-33.

 

  1. Divine institution #3: Family

 

Family is graciously provided to man by God, EPH 3:14-15. The family remains the basis for all human societies. The family provides a stable environment for children to grow up safely under the authority of their parents.

 

  1. Divine institution #4: Government

 

Government is provided by God to furnish man with an environment conducive to freedom, ROM 13:1-7. Through the laws of divine establishment, government allows for a society where man is free to choose and a believer is free to live his life before the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for us, because fear makes us irrational.  Fear is an irrational and emotional sin, and calls for rebound and Bible doctrine to conquer.  Once we take an objective approach regarding our fears, and face them, we usually discover that they weren’t such a big threat after all.  In fact, many times we will laugh with relief at how irrational they actually were.  When believers think with Bible doctrine, and have faith in its power to produce virtue love in their lives, they will rest in solid amazement as their fears melt away.

 

Fear, therefore, is failure to learn and apply Bible doctrine to the problems of life, and failure to learn and apply the 10 problem solving devices from the word of God.  Fear is part of the emotional complex of sins.  These sins, when present in the believer’s soul, allow emotion to take over the soul.  This is when you find yourself reacting with emotion rather than responding with Bible doctrine.  Fear is made up of a whole system of emotional sins which include worry, anxiety, insecurity, incapability of doctrinal application, and therefore the inability to use the problem solving devices.  All of these sins will put the emotions in the driver’s seat of your soul, and therefore your life.

 

The word “worry” comes from the Greek word that means to choke, or to strangle.  That is what fear and worry do; choke the flow of doctrinal thinking in a believer’s life.  When this happens the believer must name and cite those sins to God (1Jo 1:9), and continue to take in doctrine on a daily basis.  Conversely, failure to take in doctrine will also choke the flow of doctrinal thinking, leading again to fear and worry.  Fear, worry, anxiety and insecurity are all sin, so is failure to learn Bible doctrine consistently.

 

            Many sins involve thinking only, while fear involves emotion and no thinking.  The Christian loser is hindered from his advance by the various categories of sins and arrogance related to fear.  Fear defeats more people than any other thing in the world.  God has promised us a rest and peace that goes beyond understanding.  God promised the Jews a land flowing with milk and honey where they would have rest on every side.  However there were others in that land, many of them giants, that Israel would have to push out in battle.  Rather than approaching the battle line with the confidence and courage of faith in the promise of God, most of Israel feared their enemies, and as a result did not enter into the rest of God.

 

The writer of Hebrews uses their example and asks us to have a real fear, not of our enemies, or life’s circumstances, but a fear of failing as the Jews did by not entering into God’s rest through faith in what God has promised.

 

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.  For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they [the Exodus Jews] also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.  For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Heb 4:1-3)

 

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to really live.

 

So that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What shall man do to me?” (Heb 13:6)

 

In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can mere man do to me?

(Psa 56:4)

 

To face your fears and not be afraid is the final test of maturity.  Fear is crippling, it shackles those who could do great things, and keeps them from even attempting that which they could possibly achieve.  Fear chokes and kills dreams and creativity, and the most interesting thing about fear is that it is a learned behavior.  Infants are not afraid, a small child could be in the middle of a war, but if he was in his mother’s arms, he would sleep peacefully.  We eventually learn to fear, and it is Bible doctrine that will halt, and reverse this process by teaching us to live in God’s peace.

3   The Snowballing Principle of Fear

 

The more things you surrender to fear, the more things you will fear.  Today you may be worried about only one thing; tomorrow about two things, and soon you become so emotionally involved in fear that you have no identity.  Irrationality means loss of identity, which means the accumulation of fear until you are afraid of life itself.  Fear is something that, if not controlled, continues to develop in your life until you have no capacity left to enjoy life.  By means of many years of such ungodly decisions to live in fear, as a believer you become a loser.

 

David said of the ungodly, “There they were in great fear where no fear had been” (Psa 53:5a).  There was no reason to fear, but that’s exactly what the ungodly did.  Fear is irrational thinking caused by ignorance of Bible doctrine.  One of the reasons people become addicted to drugs or alcohol is fear of life, which causes anxiety, worry, and tension.  The cure for these addictions is a healthy diet of Bible doctrine which changes your irrational thinking to rational thinking which is the mind of Christ.

 

The more you surrender to fear, the greater becomes your capacity for fear.  As fear controls more and more of your life, your insecurities increase, destroying your capacity for love, life, happiness, and blessing.  This is akin to residing in the cosmic system rather than the Pre-designed Plan of God (PPOG).  In the cosmic system no set of circumstances, be it wealth, success, prosperity will ever make you happy, because fear will always be there, strangling your capacity to enjoy anything.

 

(For the choir director; on stringed instruments. A Maskil of David [a Maskil is a song or poem of instruction]. “Give ear to my prayer, O God; And do not hide Yourself from my supplication. Give heed to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted, Because of the voice of the enemy, Because of the pressure of the wicked; For they bring down trouble upon me, And in anger they bear a grudge against me. My heart is in anguish within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me.  Fear and trembling come upon me; And horror has overwhelmed me.” (Psa 55:1-5)

 

Fear destroys happiness, where fear exists, happiness cannot.  That’s because there is no way you can have true love, or true happiness, apart from a healthy mental attitude, and fear destroys the mental attitude.  So the greater your capacity for fear, the more you increase the power of fear in your life.  The more you increase the power of fear in your life, the greater is your mind set as a loser believer, and the greater your chances of failure to execute the PPOG through the mechanics of the spiritual life under equal opportunity.  The greater your chances of failure to execute the PPOG, the sooner you cancel your equal opportunity to glorify God.  The sooner you cancel your equal opportunity to glorify God, the sooner you live a life of total misery through the law of volitional responsibility.

 

Most of our problems would melt away if, instead of shrinking in fear before them, we make up our minds to walk boldly through them by believing the promises of God and applying God’s doctrines to our lives.  This is what happened to the children of Israel when they were at the Red Sea when Moses told them to stand still and to stop being afraid.  At that point, the Jews had mountains to the left, mountains to the right, and the Red Sea at their backs while the greatest army in the world was quickly descending upon them with the intent of killing them all.

 

As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them.
(Exo 14:10)
 

 

The Hebrew verb for the phrase “to look” is “nasa” and it means that they kept staring and concentrating on Pharaoh’s army, the oncoming problem.  By doing so they were overwhelmed by fear, and they completely forgot the grace and power of God, and the marvelous deliverance they had experienced just a short time before.  They were concentrating on the problem rather than concentrating on the solution.  They not only panicked, but they began to do something which all of us have been guilty of at some time, they began to whine and complain.  Whining and complaining Christians are not going to solve their problems.  If you’re complaining, you’re concentrating on the wrong thing, the problem.  God has provided solutions for every one of our problems, the great and the small.  Therefore we must concentrate on principles of doctrine and not the circumstances.  We will always fail and fall into fear when we concentrate on the disaster rather than on the solution.

 

In times of relative peace we must feast consistently on a healthy diet of Bible doctrine from our right pastor-teacher.  We must concentrate on doctrines as they are repeated again and again so that when pressure hits we won’t hit the panic button, but will automatically think and apply doctrine to the circumstance.  With positive volition towards doctrine you will know what to concentrate on when the pressure inevitably hits.

 

One of the main distractions in time of pressure is emotion, described by the word frightened in Exo 14:10.  Notice the last part of the verse, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord (Exo 14:10b).  The reaction of fear and panic removed any possibility of applying Bible doctrine.  They had seen the power of God in their deliverance from Egypt, but they made no application from that doctrine to this disaster.  This is because they failed to concentrate on what they had learned, and allowed fear and panic to control the soul.  They expressed their fear rather than their faith, so they screamed in panic to the Lord.

 

Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.” (Exo 14:11-14)

 

Notice that first they had to be stabilized in their mentality or else some of them would have turned back to the Egyptians, begging to be slaves.  Actually, on this day they were already slaves in their mentality.  The principle is that you’ll live like a slave unless you learn to become stabilized under pressure.  Even living in a free country like the U.S., believers are slaves because they are unstable in their system of thinking.  The Jews faced extermination from the pursuing chariot army of Pharaoh.  They were not trained in war and they carried no weapons to speak of.  They were in a hopeless situation, and they were helpless to do anything about it with their own power.  However, Moses told the Jews, “Do not fear.”

 

How could Moses, who was well trained in the art of war, give such a command in this situation?  It was because Moses knew that God had given the Jews a promise.  God had promised that He would bring them to the Promise Land.  The Jews needed to recall this promise, and recall the great omnipotence displayed by God when He freed them from Egypt.  In other words, they had to think recall the doctrine of the faithfulness of God, and the doctrine of the character and nature of God, with special emphasis on His omnipotence.

 

Though most of us will probably never face an entire army, the same principle applies to us in every situation of pressure.  When you’re in a seemingly hopeless situation that’s when you need to remember that the Lord will fight for you while you keep your mouth shut.  David said the same thing when he faced Goliath, a seemingly hopeless situation.  “And that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” (1Sa 17:47)  In the Church-age, it’s the same thing, Rom 8:31 says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us [and He is; says the first class condition], who is against us?” (Rom 8:31).  This is the whole concept of the faith rest drill, one of our 10 problem solving devices.  The Lord wants us to have faith, and to rest and wait on His deliverance which will always come in His perfect timing.  When you are afraid of anything, you give that thing power over you.  When you’re afraid of a person, you give that person power over you.  Fear is also a manifestation of a degenerate, self-absorbed mind.  The first thing Adam did after he sinned was to hide himself from the Lord.  Adam was occupied with his nakedness before he sought the Lord’s solution.  “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” (Gen 3:10)

 

The greater your capacity for fear, the greater your capacity for arrogance and becoming a loser, for fear causes you to become totally preoccupied with yourself.  Once you begin to operate in the arrogance complex of sins, all the rest of the mental attitude sins will quickly follow.  This combination of fear and arrogance causes many people to become mentally ill, psychotic and neurotic.  The more things that acquire the power to promote fear in your life, the more punitive suffering and self‑induced misery you bring on yourself.  The more things that acquire the power of fear in your life, the greater your capacity for fragmentation of the soul which results in you becoming a loser in the Christian life.  As a loser, your capacity for life, love, and happiness is completely destroyed.

4    Fear of Death

 

The greater your mindset as a loser-believer while living, the greater will be the intensification of your fear when dying.  You will be afraid of death rather than rejoicing in the excited expectancy of coming face to face with your Lord forever.  Fear of death destroys capacity for life; this is a sign that you are still in spiritual childhood.  Death is the last thing in the world that should concern you, for you have no control over either the manner or time of your death.  When you realize your death is strictly in the Lord’s hands, the one time when the Lord’s wisdom will prevail over your volition, there is no excuse for fearing death.  When you understand there is nothing to fear in death, you begin to realize there is nothing to fear in life.

 

Fear causes two categories of punishment.  First, you punish yourself through self-induced misery.  Secondly, when your fear produces arrogance, divine punishment will follow. Mature believers are not afraid; they apply the great problem-solving devices, reach spiritual adulthood and eliminate fear.  Many people spend so much time being afraid of death, or of dying, that they do not enjoy life.  They have no zest for life; no capacity for life.

 

There are four key reasons why a believer should not fear death:

  1. The believer’s death is a matter for the sovereignty of God. Once you firmly believe that God decides perfectly the time and manner of your death, and the time and manner of the death of a loved one, including a child, you will no longer have a problem with it. You may have sorrow for a short period of time but ultimately, if you trust in the character and nature of God, you will know that whatever He does or allows there is a justified reason for it.

 

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

 

Dying is the one part of the Christian’s life that does not depend upon the individual’s free will or his volition; it depends entirely on the sovereignty of God.  The timing and manner of death is not a matter for us to decide; nothing will prolong or shorten a believer’s life beyond God’s timing for his death.

 

“God is to us a God of deliverances, and to God the Lord belongs escape from death. (Psa 68:20)

 

The believer has no control over the time, place or manner of his death; it is a matter of God’s sovereignty, wisdom and integrity.  Until the Lord is ready to take us home to be with Him, we are going to continue to live on this earth.  Mankind has no authority or choice over when or how he will die.

 

No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; (Ecc 8:8a)

 

The dying stage of a Christian’s life may be short or it may be prolonged, it may be a period of suffering or it may be pain free.  Whatever it is, it will be perfect because God is perfect and all of His decisions are perfect.  He is never wrong, unfair or unjust.  Anytime you become critical or upset, blaming God for a decision He has made concerning death, take a step back and remember:  He is never wrong, He can never make a mistake, and everything that He has ordained is perfect and right.  Since the omniscience of God knows all of the facts in each individual case, the matter of the physical death of a believer is always a wise decision.

 

  1. Death has lost its power over the believer. The greatest encouragement in the world that each and every believer should take to heart is the absolute truth that death has lost its power over him.

 

He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces, (Isa 25:8a)

 

For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.  But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. (1Co 15:16-26)

 

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through Our Lord Jesus Christ.

(1Co 15:54-57)

 

Death is simply a shadow and a valley that we must pass through to enter the eternal state.

 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psa 23:4)

 

Once the believer understands that he is eternally united to the One who has gained the victory over death, the Lord Jesus Christ, he can live in confidence, free from the bondage and slavery that the fear of death causes.

 

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. (Heb 2:14-15)

 

  1. The believer’s death is precious in the eyes of the Lord. The death of every believer, winner or loser, is always valuable and precious in the eyes of the Lord. Even though some will die as losers, all believers go to Heaven, and this is a triumph over Satan.  Any time a person makes a decision to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God is glorified, and when that person is brought home there is joy in Heaven.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones. (Psa 116:15)

 

  1. Death means being face to face with the Lord in a state of perfect happiness. At the moment of death, the believer is immediately transported into the presence of the Lord.  He leaves behind his physical body, which is no longer needed, and enters into Heaven with his soul, spirit and interim body.

Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight – we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. (2Co 5:6-8)

 

Heaven will be a place of perfect happiness and contentment.  None of the problems and pressures we face here on earth will follow us there.  Our interim bodies will suffer nothing unpleasant; there will be no mourning, no crying, and no pain.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev 21:3-4)   The apostle Paul, in the book of Philippians, stated the attitude we should all have toward death:

“According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phi 1:20-21)

 

Paul knew that he was a spiritual winner.  He knew that Christ Jesus had everything under control, and that the future would be extraordinary.  Paul knew that God saves the best for last, lavishing blessings in dying and death, while making the final preparations for life in Heaven throughout all eternity.  Why did Paul have such peace and confidence?  Through metabolized Bible doctrine and advancement to spiritual maturity, he came to the realization that God had everything under control, and was saving the best for last.  Paul had lived a wonderful life, absorbed with his relationship and service to the Lord.  He was a man in a state of contentment as he stared death in the face; he knew that dying was actually the beginning of a life that would last and endure forever.

The loser believer, on the other hand, will face dying as a time of anxiety, worry and fear.  There will be no dying grace, and no tranquility of soul or peace of mind.  The cosmic Christian is a loser in both life and death.  However, the day he dies is still better than the day he was born.  He will meet the Lord Jesus Christ face to face, and he will live with Him for eternity.  However, as the cosmic Christian was a loser in living and dying, he is also a loser in the eternal state, for any greater blessings and rewards will be lost to him forever.

 

5   Fear is an Emotional Sin

 

Many people make decisions based upon how they feel.  They will say, “I have a gut feeling about this.”  What people don’t understand is that emotions were designed by God to be responders to thought, not the source of thought itself.  Emotions cannot think.  In a given situation you may not feel good, but you still can think and apply doctrine.  Courage is defined as the ability to think under pressure.  We have already noted the calm rational thinking of Moses at the Red Sea.  Emotion only produces a smoke screen of courage, not the real thing.  Thinking and applying Bible doctrine under pressure is what produces true and lasting courage.

 

Fear is irrational and irresponsible.  The cowardice it produces leads to irrational decisions as it did in Isaac’s life when he feared the king and his men.  When the men of the place asked about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “my wife,” {thinking,} “the men of the place might kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is beautiful” (Gen 26:7).  Fear not only prevents Bible doctrine from being your number one priority, but it fragments and destroys the function of your spiritual life, and then moves you into the eight stages of reversionism.  The last three stages of reversionism (blackout of the soul, scar tissue of the soul, and reverse process reversionism) destroy all previously learned Bible doctrine, and hinders any use of problem solving devices.

 

Fear is also a function of self-absorption.  You are absorbed with yourself and your problems.  You want the world to center around you.  You want everyone to stop what they’re doing and help you.  Meanwhile you are filled with fears and very emotional.  Emotion is not a criterion for the spiritual life, despite what many emotional Christians say.  How you feel at any given moment is never the issue in the spiritual life, but rather the issue is always what you think.  To make emotion the criterion for the spiritual life is to marry the arrogance skills to the emotional revolt of the soul.  This is not to say that emotion is not a part of the spiritual life, but that emotion should always be responding to the thinking of Bible doctrine.  Therefore normal emotional activity in the soul functions in subordination to the absolutes of Bible doctrine circulating in the soul.

 

Emotion can be normal or abnormal, good or evil.  However, regardless of what it is, emotion is never a tool of cognition.  You do not learn by emotion.  God gave us emotion to enjoy the truth, but emotion is not a criterion for the spiritual life, nor was it ever designed to be a substitute for the problem solving devices.  Sinful emotional activity such as fear, worry, anxiety, hatred, anger, revenge, and guilt are reactions which are totally rejected by the absolutes of Bible doctrine.  Emotional reactions, such as false spirituality, or emotional revolt of the soul are a distraction to the execution of the PPOG.  Given a situation of testing, the loser believer under emotional revolt of the soul will scream, blame, and fall apart under the pressure of unrealistic expectation, illusion, denial, projection and even hallucination.  So the believer must distinguish between normal emotional response, like enjoying a good movie, or excitement over the understanding of a doctrine, and the abnormal emotional reaction to life in the form of the emotional revolt of the soul (making decisions based on how you feel, falling apart under pressure, substance abuse etc.).

Fear as an emotional sin results in zero application of doctrine to life, and results in stress.  Stress in the soul is always self-induced misery, which results in further suffering and additional stress.  Soon you are spiraling out of control, heading for the inevitable crackup.  However, this need not be the case for any believer’s life.  The emotional roller-coaster ride of fear can be stopped or avoided entirely by learning and applying Bible doctrine.  The Bible says that fear does not exist in virtue-love.

 

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. (1Jo 4:18)

 

            Virtue-love is acquired by the believer through positive volition towards doctrine.  Continued negative volition towards doctrine only contributes to increased fear and eventually the sin unto death, “There is a sin face-to-face with death” (1Jo 5:16b).  The practice of worry and anxiety in living leads inevitably to the experience of great fear in dying.  This fear and the accompanying reaction of bitterness to the fact one is dying is a sin.  This is a sin that loser believers can’t help but commit as they travel through their very own death-shadowed valley.  Not so for the mature believer however: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me;” (Psa 23:4).

6   Fear Generates Sins of Arrogance

 

If your fear is not corrected with Bible doctrine, it will generate a chain of arrogance sins that flow one into the other.  For example, if you’re afraid of losing someone, you become jealous.  If they show any favoritism toward anyone else you become bitter toward them.  Next you develop a strong antagonism toward the person as you become self-righteous about their unjust treatment of you.  Now you are implacable, you can no longer be consoled as you become a hurt little child in your thinking.  The final step is to plot your revenge while remaining numb to the hurt that you inflict.  Jealousy, bitterness, antagonism, self-righteousness, implacability, and vindictiveness destroy any capacity for life, and make you indistinguishable from the unbeliever, sadly, all too often they make you far worse.

 

Fear and the function of your spiritual life are mutually exclusive.  Living in fear causes it to grow like a cancer, swelling and metastasizing into different areas until the individual is afraid of so many things he is completely intimidated by life.  Only the consistent, daily intake of Bible doctrine will overcome the problem of fear, and in so doing release one’s ability to go into action, like David did when he faced Goliath.  While fear of death will hinder your living, it will never prevent your dying.  You have no control over the time or manner of your death, and it is arrogant to think otherwise.  Those details are totally in God’s hands, chosen by Him in eternity past as a part of His perfect plan for each of us; it is part of our personal sense of destiny.  Fear eliminates the humility needed to understand and embrace that destiny, leaving us at the mercy of emotional sins like worry, anxiety, guilt, denial, projection, and of course ever increasing fear.  We are overcome by our problems, slaves to the disasters that befall us rather than meeting them head on with the promises of God.  Succumbing to disaster destroys the spiritual life, while application of your personal sense of destiny, gained through the persistent intake of Bible doctrine, advances the spiritual life as designed by God:

 

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can {mere} man do to me?”

(Psa 56:3-4)

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” (2Ti 1:7)

 

Arrogance causes loss of personality.  Because of arrogance, you do not know who or what you are, for you cannot see your soul in the mirror of the word of God.  You form your views of life, and yourself, by what other people tell you.  Desiring to feel wanted and loved, you do what others want rather than what God wants.  Arrogance deceives you into thinking they really do love and want you, when they only want to use you to fulfill their own desires.  People, who live in bondage to their own desires to be loved and wanted by others, develop a great capacity for unhappiness, constantly complaining and grumbling about life.

 

As with fear, the more you develop your capacity for unhappiness, the more things make you unhappy, and the smaller grow your chances of having any happiness in this life.  With increasing capacity for fear and unhappiness, you eventually retreat from any form of reality, becoming psychopathic or neurotic.  The only hope of escape is for you to function under the perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine while you’re still partially normal and able to think rationally.  Cognition of Bible doctrine inside the PPOG can remove the fear, arrogance, self‑deception, and retreat from reality.  Ignorance of doctrine makes it impossible for God’s grace to be utilized in your life.  With no understanding of God’s grace, you will be totally miserable, burdened by fear, arrogance and other mental attitude sins, unable to escape them.  The saddest part is that you do it to yourself.

7   Fear of Failure – Human Viewpoint

 

Fear of adversity destroys capacity for prosperity.  When prosperity comes, you’re so afraid of losing it that you have absolutely no capacity to enjoy it.  You hoard it, you guard it and you worry about it.  You stash it all away for a rainy day, and all of that is a manifestation of no capacity for life.  Therefore, you do not enjoy prosperity when it comes.

 

Fear is the enemy of the PPOG since it is evidence of a lack of virtue-love.  Fear makes you depend on others.  Yet the Church-age believer cannot think, apply doctrine, or solve problems through the mind of another believer.  You must have the doctrine in your own soul, and solve your own problems.  To the extent that you depend upon others for your spiritual application to life, you are not executing the PPOG.  People are simply afraid of too many things.  The fear of being wrong, of making a mistake, or being criticized is the prime inhibitor of the creative process in all of us.  Winners are those people who make a habit of doing the things losers are uncomfortable doing.  Fear of failure must never be a reason not to try something.  To live in fear of failure means you never take any chances.  Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.  The greatest test of courage is to endure defeat without losing heart.

 

Teddy Roosevelt said it best: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, fails while daring greatly.  Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt

 

Abraham Lincoln’s life was a testimony to the ability to press on despite past failure:

In 1831 he failed miserably in business.

In 1832 he was defeated for legislature.

In 1833 he failed again in business.

In 1834 he was elected to legislature.

In 1835 his sweetheart died.

In 1836 he had a nervous breakdown.

In 1838 he was defeated for speaker of the house.

In 1840 he was defeated for elector.

In 1843 he was defeated for congress.

In 1846 he was defeated for senate.

In 1848 he was again defeated for congress.

In 1855 he was defeated for senate.

In 1856 he was defeated for vice-president.

In 1858 he was defeated for senate.

In 1860 he was elected president.

He said “I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep doing so” -Abraham Lincoln.

 

One man with courage can affect the majority in a great way, as David did when he stood his ground against Goliath.  Goliath stood and shouted to the soldiers of Israel, and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me.  If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. (1Sa 17:8-11)

 

In this passage we see the difference between those who think with Bible doctrine and have faith in God’s promises, and those who think with human viewpoint and fail at faith perception.  Saul and all of Israel were greatly afraid.  Saul’s cowardice was infecting the entire camp of Israel and they were defeated before they even stepped onto the battlefield.  It was David’s faith in the promises of God and resulting ability to face the giant Philistine bully with only a few stones that inspired all the rest of them.

 

So David arose early in the morning and left the flock with a keeper and took the supplies and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the circle of the camp while the army was going out in battle array shouting the war cry. And Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, army against army. Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them.  (1Sa 17:20-23)

Notice in the next verse that Israel’s thinking still has not changed.  Unless human viewpoint is replaced by Divine viewpoint, fear will continue day after day and will, in fact, get stronger with time.

 

When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. (1Sa 17:24)

 

This is what happens in your life every time you let fear (that thing or person, the Goliath in your life) take over your soul it is taunting the people of the living God, which is you!  It is an insult to your Father, just as Israel insulted God on the battlefield, when you allow the circumstances of life to cause you to live in fear.  You wouldn’t want your children to live in fear, nor does God desire it for you.

 

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

(Mat 7:11)

 

Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (1Sa 17:26)

 

David had unshakable faith that no one could defeat God’s army.  It was only through the soldiers’ collective fear from a lack of faith in the promises of God that it was ever defeated.  In the same way, nothing in this world can defeat the Church-age believer.  You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1Jo 4:4).  Yet, just like with Israel, the believer can bring on defeat by his own lack of understanding and faith in the mystery doctrine of the Church-age. Even though David was smaller, younger, without armor, and had only stones and a sling as weapons, he defeated his enemy because he believed God’s word.

 

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. (1Sa 17:45-52)

Far too many people never understand until it is too late that the more you fear suffering and seek to avoid it, the more you will suffer.  In proportion to your fear of being hurt, ever smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you.  Fear shackles those who could do great things and keeps them from attempting many things which they could actually achieve.  The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal, the tragedy lies in not having a goal to reach for.

Did is a Word of Achievement.

Won’t is a Word of Retreat.

Can’t is a Word of Defeat.

Ought is a Word of Duty.

Will is a Word of Beauty.

Can is a Word of Power.

8   The Solution to Fear

 

The PPOG has been designed to remove all the cobwebs of fear from your soul replacing them with confidence in Bible doctrine.  This leads to confidence in the Lord.  That is the only true basis for spiritual self-esteem, which is confidence in yourself, and your relationship with God through Bible doctrine in your soul.  Doctrine in your soul reminds you of the promise and encouragement of Rom 8:31, “If God is for us, who is against us?”  This inevitably results in the greatest courage in life.  It’s more than physical or moral courage; it is mental attitude courage in all relationships, and in all circumstances of life.  Fear is met and destroyed with courage.  When you face your fear with courage, most of the time you will discover that it was not such a big threat after all.  Paul stated this to Timothy who was intimidated by his congregation.  It is a command which is given to anyone living in the PPOG.

 

For God has not given to us a lifestyle of fear, but of power, and of virtue‑love, and of sound judgment.

(2Ti 1:7)

 

Whenever we’re afraid it’s because we don’t have enough knowledge to make a sound decision.  One of the biggest fears in life is fear of the unknown.  If you know enough about something, you can deal with it.  Every time you really stop to look fear in the face, and face it with the truth from God you gain strength, courage and confidence. “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about” (Psa 3:6).  Courage is resistance to fear and mastery of fear, but it is not the absence of fear.  The brave man is not the one who never feels fear.  That would be unrealistic and irrational.  The brave man is the one who masters his fears; the one who is willing to face problems head on.  We all need the strength to endure the things which we cannot change.  However, we also need the courage to change the things which should be changed.  Most of all we need the wisdom to know one from the other.  Every time fear comes into your life, you know you are not living the Christian way of life.  The Christian life was designed by God to be the way of virtue-love, which is personal love for God the Father, impersonal love for all mankind, and occupation with Christ.  True courage is the result of virtue-love.  True courage means sound judgment, thinking under pressure, and good judgment at all times.  Sound judgment comes from Bible doctrine, not from emotion.  The person with real courage is the person with doctrine in their soul.  When David faced Goliath, he had doctrinal courage which was far superior to Goliath’s loud-mouthed macho courage.

 

Living in the PPOG is a life of courage.  As we execute the PPOG we learn what true courage is and how to apply it.  In the world, what passes for courage is often not courage at all, but simply arrogance and stupidity.  It is virtue-love developed in the PPOG that casts out fear and replaces it with courage.  Fear does not exist in virtue-love, but virtue-love drives out fear; for fear causes punishment. In fact, the person who is afraid has not been matured by virtue-love (1Jo 4:18).  If you have personal love for God the Father, and you understand His integrity you can rest on the entire essence and integrity of God.  If you love God, then you know God.  Understanding God’s integrity gives you the confidence to depend on Him. If you are dependent upon God and His integrity, then having fear not only insults God.

9   Emotions of the Soul

 

As we have noted many times, emotion cannot think, apply doctrine, or function in a crisis.  This is because emotion has no doctrinal content.  Emotion is not sinful in its right place as a responder to thought, but it is sinful when it becomes the aggressor.  Therefore, there are two categories of emotion: normal and abnormal.  In normal emotion, the emotions respond to the authority and thinking of the soul.  In abnormal emotion, the emotion controls the soul and blocks out all rational thinking.  Abnormal emotion produces fear, worry, anxiety, anger, and hatred, resulting in violence.  Fear cannot think when under pressure and a believer living in fear cannot apply Bible doctrine to handle life’s problems.  So, when emotion takes over, doctrinal thought is cut off.  If abnormal emotion takes over your soul for a long enough period of time, doctrinal thought will be erased.

 

            Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord. For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit. The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the emotions, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” (Jer 17:5-10)

 

God will test your emotions.  In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ says, “And all the churches will know that I am He who investigates the emotions and the hearts [right lobes]” (Rev 2:23).  This is why we all need to solve our problems with thought and courage, not with our feelings.  Courage is thinking doctrine, and functioning under pressure as if there were no abnormal circumstances.  Courage is claiming promises in adversity; using the ten problem-solving devices; and functioning under the privacy of your royal priesthood to think, and to apply Bible doctrine with your own intellect.  However, fear destroys this process with the result that you become a loser believer.

 

Reaching the first stage of spiritual adulthood, spiritual self-esteem, begins the grace function of self-confidence, thinking in terms of metabolized doctrine in your own right lobe.  The Church-age believer cannot think doctrine, apply doctrine, or solve problems through fear, or by seeking the counsel of another.  Every believer has been designed by God to be spiritually self sustained; able to conquer fear and problems with doctrine circulating in his own soul.  The spiritual adult believer eliminates emotion as a criterion for Christianity.  Knowing that that how you feel is not important, whereas what you think at any moment is of supreme importance.

 

The adult believer strives to think, apply Bible doctrine, the problem solving devices, and continually replenishes his doctrinal reserves through his daily doctrinal intake. Since emotion cannot think, it therefore can neither learn, nor apply doctrine.  If you are the type that has to feel good, or be entertained when in Bible class, you are using emotions that cannot learn.  A true student of the word of God learns all the doctrines of the Bible, whether they appeal to his emotions or not.

 

Since fear is a sin of emotion, it is necessary to understand emotion.  A believer, who thinks in terms of metabolized doctrine, and the ten problem-solving devices, can put fear in its proper place and then experience legitimate emotion.  When emotion is out of line it results in irrationality and its accompanying sins of fear, worry, anxiety, and anger.  When doctrine is in your intellect, emotions can become legitimate if they are subordinate to that doctrine.  Abnormal emotions will tear you apart.  In a believer’s life there must be a balance between emotions and doctrinal thinking in the right lobe of the soul.

 

The Bible has a great deal to say about the emotions of the soul, often using physiological nomenclature to express the concept of emotion.  The Hebrew word “kiljah” refers to the fat pads of the kidneys, but it is used figuratively for the emotions.  “O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and emotions.” (Psa 7:9).  “But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, Who tries the feelings and the heart” (Jer 11:20).

 

The Greek word “nephros” is used in the New Testament for emotions, “And I will kill her children with pestilence; and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” (Rev 2:23).  The Greek word “splagchnon” is literally translated guts or entrails.  It is used for emotions in 2Co 6:12.  The Greek word “koilia” is used for emotions in Rom 16:18; Phi 3:19.  It actually refers to the solar plexus, the nerve center where you feel those butterflies or activity when excited or nervous.  For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own emotions; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting (Rom 16:18).  Whose end is destruction, whose god is their emotions (Phi 3:19).

 

These words for emotion are different from the Greek word “kardia” which is translated as heart.  Kardia refers to the intellect or the right lobe of the soul where there is no emotion.  The emotions should be under control of the right lobe of the soul, where the doctrine that gives you momentum and wisdom is located.  That’s why the Bible distinguishes between the right lobe and the emotions.  Jeremiah describes our Lord Jesus Christ as, The Lord of the armies who judges righteously, who tests the emotions and the right lobes (Jer 11:20).  In Jer 17:11 the verse literally says, “I, the Lord, search the right lobe, and I test the emotions in order to give to every man according to his modus operandi.”  All spiritual momentum, growth and application come from epignosis (metabolized) doctrine in the right lobe of the soul.  The Lord’s judgment, or evaluation, of you will depend on what dominated your soul.  Was it Bible doctrine or emotion that dominated your life?  You must have epignosis (metabolized doctrine) and “Sophia” (wisdom or applied doctrine).

 

Note that the Lord searches the heart, but He tests the emotions.  He searches the heart for doctrine, and He tests the emotions to see if they are subordinate to the heart, or if they control the heart.  If the emotions dominate the heart, then the modus operandi of the believer is heretical, as it is with many believers who give prominence and dominance to the emotions.  “Examine me, O Lord, and test me; test my emotions and test my heart” (Psa 26:2).  The heart must be tested for its content of doctrine and its control of the emotions.  “And all the churches will know that I am He who investigates the emotions and the right lobes [hearts]” (Rev 2:23).  God is constantly investigating your heart for doctrine, without doctrine a vacuum is created, causing your emotions to dominate.  This results in emotional revolt of the soul.  “My son, if your right lobe [heart] is wise, my own right lobe [heart] will be glad; and my emotions will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. Do not let your right lobe [heart] envy sinners, but live in respect for the Lord all the day” (Pro 23:15-17).  When you hear truth, you have a norm and standard for truth from doctrine in your heart (right lobe), and therefore, you respond emotionally.  When you live in respect for the Lord all day, your right lobe controls your emotions and is occupied with the person of Jesus Christ.

 

Even normal emotion is not the criteria by which you are to evaluate your spiritual life.  Your spiritual life is what you think, not what you feel.  Believers who make emotion the criterion for their spiritual life generally have four basic problems:

  1. Such a believer’s emotional pattern distracts him from the execution of the PPOG. Now I urge you, brethren, be alert for those who are causing dissensions and apostasies contrary to the doctrine which you have learned. For such believers do not obey our Lord Jesus Christ, but they obey their own emotions, serving themselves; and by their smooth and flattering speech, they deceive the hearts [right lobes] of the stupid (Rom 16:17-18).
  2. Emotion hinders the perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. O you Corinthians, our mouth [means of communicating doctrine] has been open face to face with you [in doctrinal teaching]; our right lobes have been enlarged [by learning more doctrine]. Therefore, you have not been hindered by us [Paul, Apollos, Timothy]; you have been hindered by your own emotions (2Co 6:11-12).
  3. Such a believer makes a god out of his emotions. When emotion becomes your god, you’re fragmented and ripe for such things like the tongues movement.  Many [cosmic] believers keep walking, concerning whom I have communicated to you many times, and now continue communicating even though weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose destiny is destruction, whose god is their emotion, whose fame is by means of dishonor [whose glory is their shame], who keep on thinking about earthly things [wrong priorities from a fragmented life] (Phi 3:18-19) (authors corrected translation).
  4. Such a believer’s unrestrained or uncontrolled emotional pattern is the basis for criminality, violence, hatred, anger, total involvement in the arrogance complex, which means bitterness, vindictiveness, jealousy, implacability, self-pity, and guilt reaction.

 

Applying the emotional sins of fear, worry, anger, and anxiety to the problems of life not only fails to solve them, it makes them worse.  When you add nothing (emotion) to your problems, the problems remain unchanged.  Fear removes all ability to think, courage, on the other hand, is the ability to think under pressure.

10   Authority in the Soul

 

In the human soul, there exists a male and a female part.  Intellect is the male part of everyone’s soul, and must dominate the emotion, which is the female part.  Like the woman responds to and reflects her man, emotion is a responder and reflector of the thinking, and/or the norms and standards of the soul.  Being only a system of response and feeling, emotion in itself does not contain the ability to reason.  It also has no content of thought, no common sense, no vocabulary as a tool for mental function, or doctrinal content.  Therefore, emotion is never the criterion for Christian experience.  You are never spiritual because you feel spiritual, or because you have an emotional experience.  For example, allegedly speaking in tongues is blasphemy; no one has legitimately spoken in tongues since 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was destroyed under the fifth cycle of discipline.  It is emotional arrogance and even blasphemy to think you are not saved unless you feel saved, or you are not spiritual unless you feel spiritual.  Such views produce a constant fear and insecurity, and are in direct contradiction to the PPOG.

 

Emotional arrogance converts reality into illusion and hallucination.  As we have noted, emotions are wonderful when subordinate to doctrine, but they are a disaster when they control your soul.  The sign of such control is the existence of the emotional complex of sins: fear, worry, anxiety, and insecurity.  Thus, under the PPOG for the Church-age, emotion is not an adequate source of motives, thoughts, decisions, or actions.  The Church-age believer must learn to distinguish between the perception, metabolization and application of Bible doctrine as the means of executing the PPOG, and emotional experience which can be normal or abnormal.  However, whether it is normal or abnormal emotion is never the spiritual life, only a response to it.

 

Guilt is another failure of the believer to rule his emotions through doctrine in his right lobe.  Guilt is emotional feelings of culpability, and arrogant preoccupation with the correctness of one’s behavior stemming from self-absorption.  Guilt is a manifestation of the need for the problem solving devices, and therefore guilt is a sin.

 

Let your character [way of life] be free from the love of money. Being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?”

(Heb 13:5-6)

 

Fear is not just an emotional sin; it is also a mental attitude sin.  A believer may believe any number of false doctrines that are promoted by the kingdom of darkness in this world.  False doctrines lead to wrong conclusions and then sin is produced.  One of these sins is the sin of fear.  Though different from the emotional sin of fear because of its source, the result is the same: failure to apply God’s word within God’s PPOG for your life.  The ten spies were cowards when they scouted the Promised Land.  Joshua said of them, “Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully” (Jos 14:8).

 

Psa 27:1-3 ({A Psalm} of David.) The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In {spite of} this I shall be confident.

(Psa 27:1-3)

 

It is well with the man who is gracious and lends; He will maintain his cause in judgment. For he will never be shaken; The righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  His heart is upheld, he will not fear, Until he looks {with satisfaction} on his adversaries. (Psa 112:5-8)

11 The Principle of the Fear‑Panic Ploy

 

When Saul was anointed as the first king of Israel in his youth, he was a humble man, and the Holy Spirit was mightily upon him.  In his later years, he spiraled into reversionism through neglect of Bible doctrine, and grew afraid of David, fear that expanded to the point that it debilitated his entire life.

 

Now Saul was afraid of David, for the Lord was with him but had departed from Saul. (1Sa 18:12)

 

Then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually. (1Sa 18:29)

 

Then Saul immediately fell full length upon the ground and was very afraid because of the words of Samuel; also there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day and all night. (1Sa 28:20)

 

Fear is prohibited in the grace plan of God (Deu 31:6-8; Jos 8:1; 1Ch 28:20; 2Ti 1:7).  “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa 41:10).

 

Maturity is characterized by courage or lack of fear.

“I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about.” (Psa 3:6). 

 

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can {mere} man do to me?”

(Psa 56:3-4)

 

“In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” (Psa 56:11)

 

By faith he [Moses] left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

(Heb 11:27)

 

It is possible to learn many doctrines and yet fall apart in sudden historical or personal disaster.  Sudden disaster often places the believer under such great pressure that he is thrown into an emotional state of panic where he cannot concentrate on the doctrine he has learned.  Many believers can handle disasters if they know that they’re coming, but they have a problem with sudden unexpected disaster.  Remember that the difference between fear and courage is the ability to concentrate under great pressure.  The coward cannot think under pressure, while the man of courage concentrates under the same pressure.

 

Concentration is required in learning and metabolizing doctrine, but is required to an even greater extent when applying doctrine under a pressure situation.  Adversity, suffering, stress, and disaster all have the ability to destroy concentration and this causes your fears to take the place of what you have learned.  The suddenness or intensity of a disaster hinders the believer from concentrating on doctrine that God has already provided and he has already metabolized.  Because of this, there are many Biblical commands about fear.  “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (Deu 31:6).  “And the Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear, or be dismayed.” (Deu 31:8)

 

Believers in all stages of spiritual growth can find themselves suddenly in the fear‑panic ploy of the cosmic system from some sudden disaster.  Every believer must be prepared for this.  Faith always selects something (a promise from God, or a doctrine) that is stronger than the pressure that comes from sudden adversity.  The solution to the fear-panic ploy is found in the faith‑rest drill, where the believer claims a promise to stabilize the mind.  The faith-rest drill, however, requires spiritual strength from maximum doctrine in the soul to function properly.   Faith must be mixed with the doctrine that has been learned.  That your faith should not be in the wisdom of man [human viewpoint], but in the power from God [Bible doctrine in the soul] (1Co 2:5).

 

The ability to deploy the problem solving devices prevent the outside pressures of adversity from becoming the inside pressures of stress in the soul.  Adversity is the outside pressure of life.  Stress is the inside pressure of life, like fear, worry, or anxiety.  Adversity is what life does to us; stress is what we do to ourselves.  When there are no problem solving devices on the FLOT line of the soul, adversity turns into stress, and stress overruns the command post of the soul, putting the spiritual life out of action.

 

The principle is that adversity is inevitable, even necessary; stress is optional, it is never necessary.  That is because when you deploy the problem solving devices, stress is eliminated.  You deal with your own problems in the privacy of your soul and thus avoid the reactions of panic, fear, and arrogance.  God gives you spiritual freedom and human freedom so you can make your own choices and learn to take responsibility for your own decisions.  People who live in fear are intimidated by life.  Just because someone is alive does not mean that know how to live.  When fear is eliminated by Bible doctrine the believer will have confidence in God and courage towards mankind developing great capacity for life, happiness, and most of all love.  Therefore fear is a self induced misery that is removed by Bible doctrine:

 

Fear does not exist in virtue-love; but virtue-love drives out fear, because fear has self-punishment, and the one who fears has not been matured by means of virtue-love. (1Jo 4:18)

 

Virtue-love is an absolute of Bible doctrine which removes fear.  The absolute standard drives out the false variable by means of the power of Bible doctrine.  Therefore, virtue-love is the absolute that destroys fear in the life.

Conclusion.

 

In our study of fear we have arrived at the following ten points:

 

  1. Fear is met and destroyed with courage.

 

  1. When you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all.

 

  1. Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.

 

  1. Most of our problems would be totally solved if, instead of fearing to face them, we remember Bible doctrine and the promises of God, and walk boldly through them.

 

  1. Whenever we’re afraid, it’s because we either don’t know enough doctrine or fail to apply the doctrine to the situation. If we understood enough about God’s promises, His character and nature, and apply them, we would never allow fear to control us.

 

  1. Whenever we fear something, we give that which we fear power over us. The more fear we have, the more power fear has over us.

 

  1. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face, and operate in the ten problem solving devices.

 

  1. Courage is resistance, and mastering fear.

 

  1. Bible doctrine in the heart (right lobe) must rule the emotions if fear is to be conquered.

 

  1. Virtue-love, developed through a maximum amount of Bible doctrine in the soul, is the absolute that destroys fear in the life of the believer.