- A Good Soldier Understands the Authority of God and His Word, The Bible – Both the Word of God and faith belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Heb 12:2 states, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”. Christ is the “author of faith” because the rigors of Hell he endured on the cross is what provides “faith unto salvation” for His elect. He bestows His saving faith – which is the only faith related to salvation – upon an individual as Eph 2:8–9 claims, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”. We can better understand how Christ is the “finisher of faith” by comparing this verse with Php 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. One of the most marvelous truths of Scripture is the “incarnation” (“in the flesh” ) of the Word of God – the embodiment of the Lord Jesus Christ – as we read in John 1:1 and 14: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”. Now, Matt 8:5–10 teaches the clear connection that exists between faith and the authority of the Word of God. The Centurion recognized the power and authority of Jesus and His Word and received commendation from the Lord, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel”. Rom 10:17 also asserts that “…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. The Greek word for “authority”(exousia:G1849) in Mat 8:9 is translated as both “power” and “authority” in the verses Matt 9:6, Luke 12:5 and Mark 1:22. The word “Lord” in 1 Cor 12:3, actually conveys the idea that Christ “has lordship over” or “exercises dominion over”. We must never forget that one can only be “under authority” of God when one has become saved – or “born from above” because it is a “matter of the heart”, not merely “lip service”.
Matt 9:6 “But that ye may know that the Son of man [Jesus Christ] hath power [authority(exousia:G1849)] on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”
Luke 12:5 “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him [God], which after he hath killed hath power [authority (exousia:G1849)] to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”
Mark 1:22 “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he [Jesus Christ, Word in flesh] taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.”
Matt 8:5–10 “And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”
1 Cor 12:3 “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”
- A Good Soldier Understands the Battle is the Lord’s – Exo 15:3 reveals an interesting description of one facet of God’s unlimited might of character, “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name”. Old Testament exemplifies God’s limitless and incomparable power as a great warrior. Psa 24:8 also queries, “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle”. God further declares the futility of human effort in Zec 4:6. A tribute to God’s sovereignty and power to orchestrate a victory without any fighting is seen in 2 Chr 20:5–15. We see that there was a great multitude that was coming against Judah. Jehoshaphat feared and the first thing that he did was he looked to the Lord for help. In 2 Chr 20:12, we go on to read that Jehoshaphat is trusting in the Lord that the Lord would deliver them: “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee”. We see that God says in 2 Chr 20:15: “And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith JEHOVAH unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s”. In this great multitude that was coming against Judah, we will see that neither Jehoshaphat nor any of the people of Judah had to lift a hand. God says this in 2 Chr 20:17: “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of JEHOVAH with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for JEHOVAH will be with you”. And we see in verse 22 where God talks about how He delivered them: “And when they began to sing and to praise, JEHOVAH set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten”. We also witness the great deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, in Exo 14, symbolizing the nature of salvation – deliverance of His Elect from the kingdom of Satan – by God’s power and grace alone. Moses, under divine inspiration, declares to the people, “… stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day”.
Zec 4:6 “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Psa 33:16–17 “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.”
Psa 20:7 “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”
Psa 44:3–7 “For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them. Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob [the elect]. Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.”
2 Chr 20:12–15 “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company [typifying Satan and his emissaries] that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation; And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
- Now is come Salvation, and Strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the Power of his Christ – Isa 9:6 speaking of Lord Jesus Christ declares: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”. We have seen how Old Testament exemplifies God’s limitless and incomparable power as a great warrior. In the New Testament we see parallel passages as well. Rev 11:17 proclaims, “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great [megas :G3173] power [dunamis:G1411], and hast reigned”. The battles depicted in the Old Testament, though historically accurate, serve to teach spiritual truths. Although Christ set up both Divine and human governments for the benefit of mankind, He also maintains that there is an unseen spiritual battle that is being waged at all times. God is not concerned with physical fighting, as the citations in John 18:36, Mat 26:52 emphasize. We must bear in mind that God is concerned with a spiritual battle in the first instance. It is the battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan that God has already won at the Cross, according to Col 2:15, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he [Lord Jesus Christ] made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it”. Jesus spoke of Satan’s impending downfall before going to the cross, in these verses: Luke 10:18 proclaims, “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”. John 12:31 affirms, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out”. We see the battle between Christ and Satan for the souls of the elect depicted in Isa 49:25. The Lord Jesus Christ was victorious in the Atonement – the proof of which was His physical resurrection from the dead. This spiritual warfare – though defeated in principle at the Cross by the Lord Jesus – will actually only cease on Judgment Day, the last day of this earth’s existence. Satan was spiritually “bound” at the cross and during the New Testament “Church Age” (the thousand-year figure is a symbolic number that represents the completeness of the “Church Age”) and is now released for a “little season” to deceive the nations – but his doom is sealed. He will be judged on the Last Day and be cast into the eternal “lake of fire”, as we read in Rev 20:7–10. Now that we are very close to the return of Christ, we can see much more clearly that the Great Tribulation is a period of intense spiritual warfare between these two great kingdoms – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan – and Satan’s principal weapon is deception, as we read about in Rev 20:7–8. Satan’s principal target is not against the people of the world in general – they are already part of his kingdom – but it is against the so-called people of God in the end-time, institutional churches and congregations that have “fallen” into apostasy. Rev 12:7–10 declares the Devil’s ultimate defeat (which in principle occurred at the Cross).
John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Mat 26:52 “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword [instead we should take the Sword of Spirit, which is the Word of God].”
Isa 49:25 “But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives [the elect] of the mighty [Satan] shall be taken away, and the prey [the elect] of the terrible [Satan] shall be delivered: for I [the LORD] will contend with him [Satan] that contendeth with thee [Jesus Christ], and I will save thy children [the elect].”
Rev 12:7-10 “And there was war in heaven [spiritual battle which in principle occurred at the Cross]: Michael [Who is the Lord Jesus] and his angels [or messengers or ambassadors] fought against the dragon [Who is the Satan]; and the dragon fought and his angels [Satan and his emissaries or false prophets], And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”
Rev 20:7–8 “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city [Jerusalem from heaven]: and fire [God’s Judgement] came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever”
- A Good Soldier puts on the Whole Armor of God – We have been discussing the believer’s role as a soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ – that is, one who has been conscripted into God’s spiritual army. In 1 Tim 6:12 Paul encourages Timothy to: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses”. As God saves His people and they grow in grace, one thing they quickly recognize is that the Christian life is a battle. Wonderfully, we don’t fight alone, as 2 Chr 32:7–8 reminds us: “Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah”. Also in Eph 6 and throughout the Bible one learns that the only “real” strength that one can possess is that which God alone gives to each of His redeemed children. “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” highlight the supremacy of God’s everlasting power in bestowing His salvation upon His elect when He saves them and sustains them by His grace. Eph 6:10–13 explains who the real enemy is in this spiritual warfare, and states that a believer is to “put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”. These verses also outlines the various parts of the Christian’s armor. 2 Cor 10:3–6 further adds that this spiritual battle is to be fought with spiritual weapons. The words “wiles”, “power”, “darkness”, and “wickedness” found in verses 11–12 highlights the Deception of the Devil. Eph 4:14 also highlights the deceptive teaching that is rampant in our day. Eph 6:10–18 highlights the objective for wearing the pieces of armor, which are defensive in nature – except for the Sword of the Spirit (or the Word of God) which is the only offensive weapon in the Christian’s armory. This weapon – the Truth as revealed in the Word of God, the Bible – along with all the rest of the armour of God can overcome Satan’s Deception.
2 Cor 10:3–6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Eph 4:14 “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;”
2 Cor 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
Eph 6:10–18 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day [judgement day], and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;