Friday, May 9, 2014

Fighting for the Truth

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion  raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ-- (2 Cor. 10:5)

Those who follow Jesus have been eternally blessed with knowledge of the truth.  In a world that is full of lies, some malicious others simply careless, knowledge of the truth is a precious commodity.  The truth is what the evil one wants to attack and what our flesh wants to reject.

Satan, while rejecting the ultimate worth and authority of God, knows the things of God.  He knows doctrine.  He knows facts.  He knows what God can do and has so often done.  He know that the truth of God will set you free and he wants you in bondage.  He knows that the truth will cause you to love God and hate what is evil, but he hates God and desires that all others do likewise.  Satan knows that the truth will cause believers to better represent God, becoming more and more conformed to the image of God’s beloved Son and spreading his glory all over the earth.  Satan wants to hide the glory of God if he is at all capable of doing so.  For these reasons and more, Satan spends much time and energy attacking God’s truth and supplanting it with his own.  We must recognize that attacks on God’s truth will arise from outside of ourselves.

But we also must be ready when these attacks arise from within.  Our flesh also struggles against the truth of God and is often the most dangerous enemy in this fight.  Our sinful flesh rejects our need of God.  The greatest idol, I am convinced, in human history is the idol of autonomy to the created being.  You see it in the fall of Satan when he rejects God’s rule over him.  You see it in the Garden when Adam and Eve, in an act of arrogant self-exaltation, decide that the truth offered by the serpent was genuine and the truth provided by the Creator was false.  You see it throughout the history of man.  Over and again.  God said, man sins.  God reveals, man rejects.  God shows the way, man goes his own way.  And the temptation to usurp God’s rightful authority still plagues, even the regenerate, man. 

With these two great enemies attacking us, one from without(Satan) and one from within (indwelling sin), we must be mindful of Paul’s admonition in this passage to be militant about how we deal with that which competes for the allegiance that rightfully belongs to God’s true revelation.
In our minds, we must constantly operate in the truth, taking “every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). We will think on, dwell on, and buy into what is true, and we will rebuke and flee from what’s not true. So then, part of having the mind of a mature believer is being able to spot lies and embrace the truth. It is learning the practice of discernment and maintaining a commitment to growing in biblical wisdom.[2]
We must know the Truth and we must know the truth.

First, and foremost, if we are going to resist the lies of our great enemies, we must be set free from the rule and reign of death and be welcomed into the family of God.  We must know, and abide in, Jesus the Christ, the Truth. (John 5:33, 8:32, 14:6)  When we know him, we are set free from death and brought into his life.

Beyond this, if we are to grow in our love of the truth and be ready to resist the schemes of the devil and the weakness of our flesh, we must know the truth.  We must renew our minds by setting our minds on the things of God (Rom 12:2).

And Paul sets this all in the context of battle with verbs like “capture” and “destroy”.  This is not a passive, “I hope it all works out good”, “I’ll get to it after football (or Idol or MacGyver or whatever)”.  This is a battle cry.  It is the leader of a battalion (brigade?...I know nothing about the military) telling his troops, “You have got to get with it or you are going to get hurt.”  There is urgency.  There is passion.  This is a call to arms.  Paul is saying, “Don’t let the lies from without get you and don’t let the lies from within get you.”  Destroy arguments.  Obliterate pretensions.  Take captive every thought that dare not bow a knee to our sovereign Lord.  We must not give up any ground in this battle because it all belongs to the Lord and he has already won the victory.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (2 Co 10:5). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[2] Chandler, M., & Wilson, J. To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain.