3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6
I’ve been reminded in recent days that the enemy is strong and comes from without and within the church. Continually, Satan and is hoard of demons will wage war against the church, tapping her fleshly tendencies, in order to diminish, if not destroy, the testimony of Christ in her midst. Paul reminds the struggling, real-world fighting, Corinthian church that while they are in this fallen world, they are not to rely upon the weapons of this world to fight against strongholds. The battle is going to result in the destruction of strongholds, if we use the divine power given us by Christ. This battle is waged in the mind and heart of believers. We are to THINK like Christians. We are to ACT like Christians. Isn’t that the emphasis of verse 5?
Perhaps this is overly simplistic, but simple seems to be a recurring theme / push for me as a man, dad, pastor. The more complicated we make things, the more we (like pharisees) try to carve out niches of obedience rather than complete, total abandon to the cause of Christ. This applies to the personal and corporate (church) life of believers. But the world needs to see church in the simplest form, otherwise the gospel message gets convoluted by methods and means.
13 But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. For we were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. But our hope is that as your faith increases, our area of influence among you may be greatly enlarged, 16 so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you, without boasting of work already done in another’s area of influence.17 “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”18 For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:13-18
The gospel of Christ is what brings persecution and war. The world hates it, and so does the “god” of this world. But if we shrink from waging war with the gospel, when the gospel is why we are at war, then we will lose battle after battle. See, the war will not be lost because we live on biblical assurances that our King is coming! He will exact judgment, punishing the wicked and redeeming His own. But God’s renown is at stake in the battle, the daily trench / grind. According to Paul, our weapons are spiritual. They are gospel-centered weapons. We are to know the truth of the gospel and live the gospel in the face of all conflict. Essentially, the gospel is WHY we are at war; HOW we are to engage in battle; and THE GOAL for victory. And without over-extending our application of the text, there does appear to be a missional pursuit in this in verses 15-16.
The battle is being waged by people who want credit for the development of the Corinthian church. They’re boasting in their efforts (apparently) instead of Christ and His cross. However God uses us, it is for Him…NOT for us, that He uses us. WE are to boast in the Lord, because it is only from the Lord that we have such an opportunity as this to proclaim the gospel to all flesh. In doing so, we are reminded of Christ’s comment in John 15:18-19, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”