Sunday, November 20, 2016

Are We Doing it Right?

Jesus of Nazareth came as the long expected warrior-Messiah, as I wrote Thursday, but his weapons, his enemy, his battlefield, his strategy, and the final, climactic battle he fought were entirely unexpected. And the same is true for us. We humans really have a thing for violent, bloody, wars, and that even goes for some of us in the Christian movement. But we're not doing it right, not following the king we've pledged to follow, unless we're fighting the same foe with the same weapons he used. Paul the Apostle and Jerome the scholar explain...

Put on the full armor of God, so that you may be able to stand your ground against the stratagems of the Devil. For ours is no struggle against enemies of flesh and blood, but against all the various Powers of Evil that hold sway in the Darkness around us, against the Spirits of Wickedness on high.

(Letter to the Ephesians 6.11-12, TCNT


The battle is not against flesh and blood or ordinary temptations. The scene is the war of flesh against spirit. We are being incited to become entrapped in the works of the flesh... But this is not merely a physical temptation. It is not merely the inward struggle against flesh and blood as such. Rather Satan has cleverly transformed himself into an angel of light. He is striving to persuade us to regard him as a messenger of goodness. This is how he throws his full might into the struggle. He employs deceptive signs and lying omens. He sets before us every possible ruse of evil. Then, when he has so ensnared us that we trust him, he says to us, “Thus says the Lord.” This is not flesh and blood deceiving us. It is not a typical human temptation. It is the work of principalities and powers, the ruler of darkness and spiritual wickedness.

Jerome (AD 347 - 420)
Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians 3.6.11

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