NATURE OF AN ARMY, PART 1: What War?
Yesterday morning in church someone gave out the very familiar old hymn, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war…” What is this war Christians talk and sing about? Who’s supposed to be fighting it – and why?
Minister Warren K followed up on this song with a sermon on the battle against evil that we Christians are in, and how to win these battles. I’ve wanted to do a series of articles on the nature of the Christian army, so I’m going to borrow some of his scripture references for starters. (The Lord knew I needed help for this and provided it at the right time.☺)
We’re born on a battlefield. We may not understand or even believe it, but there is a great conflict going on between two kingdoms –between good and evil– and we are in the midst of it. The Bible gives us a vivid description of this battle, written in an allegory form easier for us mortals to picture.
In Revelation 12 we read what happened when Satan, referred to as “that great dragon,” started a rebellion in heaven. Verse 4 says “his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth.” Christians through the centuries have commonly understood this to mean a third part of the angels followed Satan when he lifted himself up in pride against God.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan… he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (from verses 7-9)
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! … For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God … I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Isaiah 14:12-15.
“Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time…” Satan knows that a judgement day is coming, that his army will be totally defeated and cast into an inferno. But through deceit he’s going to take as many of God’s children with him as he can – his final act of defiance.
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman (the Church, God’s people) and went to make war with the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17) Wherever God has set a light, a witness of His goodness, the devil wants to snuff it out.
Can anyone remain neutral in the midst of this great conflict? Can we as Christians live our lives, enjoy the pleasures of this world, manage to dodge the flying bullets and not get involved? Or can we shut ourselves off in our own little corner and go about our business while the battle is fought in places we just don’t ever go? Can this be a “no sweat” war?
Not a chance. Satan brings the battlefield right into our minds, our thoughts, our desires. We often get hit by temptations and accusations, those “the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Ephesians 6:16) At some point in our lives we’ll make the choice as to which side we join, but no human being can remain untouched. This enemy has his sights on us, our homes, our children.
The Good News: God’s own Son invites us to join His army, fight the good fight of faith and obtain eternal life. (I Tim 6:12)
He sets us free from the power of our enemy, that gravitational pull towards selfishness and wrong desires. He outfits us to be victorious in our battles. And we know our Commander-in-Chief will win the war.