The Bible and our Sanctification
Almost everything we do daily ultimately involves
spiritual warfare. Are we depending on the human weapons, or the spiritual
weapons God has provided?
Our battle is not with flesh and blood (Eph. 6:10ff; Matt.
16:18). No battle with the unseen is easy. We cannot fight such a spiritual
battle with carnal weapons.
One of the marvelous things the Holy Spirit does in the
Christian’s life is to apply the Scriptures to the deep recesses of the mind
over a period of time. As we meditate and memorize the Scriptures the Holy
Spirit brings them to our conscious mind and we are able to put our confidence
and trust in the Lord during trials, temptations, difficulties, and turbulent
times. I am convinced the Spirit also uses His Word in that part of our mental
life that is not within the immediate presence of our conscious mind and from
which we cannot always recall the feelings and thoughts to our conscious mind.
The Holy Spirit uses those Scriptures we have studied and memorized to conform
even our subconscious mind to the likeness of Christ.
The Psalmist David wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my
heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way
to me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24).
The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:1-7 tells us that we
are in a spiritual warfare and the Christian’s weapons are not “according to the
flesh” (v. 2). “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the
flesh” (v. 3). We do not act on purely human, abilities and worldly standards.
Flesh is the willing human instrument of sin. We live in this frail, human body
of weakness, but our spiritual “weapons of warfare are not of the flesh, but
divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (v. 4).
Goodspeed described these “fortresses” or “strongholds
entrenchments and fortifications of opinion, in which men strengthen themselves
against the gospel.” They belong to the realm of the will and intellect. This
metaphor recognizes the defiant and mutinous nature of sin.
The apostle Paul tells us how God destroys or tears down
and overpowers these forces that are against the kingdom of God. “We are
destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of
God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (v. 5).
In the next verse Paul tells us to act on what we know to be the truth of God.
“And we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is
complete” (v. 6).
What are these “fortifications” against the kingdom of God?
They are “speculations,” reasoning, a thought which are the things we reckon or
count on. The word suggests the contemplation of actions as a result of the
verdict of conscience. Every evil act begins with a desire which was
at first only a feeling in the heart, but which, being nourished long enough,
became an evil act (James 4:1-3).
The “lofty things” are the metaphor of a summit or
mountain, a high thing lifted up as a barrier or in antagonistic exaltation. It
is anything that “is raised up against the knowledge of God.”
They are also “every thought” that is opposed to Christ.
What are you saying to yourself about Jesus Christ, the LORD God, the Holy
Spirit and His will for your life? It is in the realm of the thoughts,
cognitions, and intentions of man’s mind, our thinking processes, design, that
produces our emotions and behaviors. The apostle admonishes us to take “every
thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
Are we “ready to punish all disobedience”? That is where
the battle is won or lost. We tend to focus on the outward visible works of the
flesh, but the battle is spiritual, that which is unseen to the human eyes.
These prisoners the apostle Paul has in mind are the
thoughts—the cognitions of man’s mind, and they are every one led captive
into the obedience of Christ.
It is imperative in this spiritual warfare that we submit
our minds daily to the Word of God. Our understanding should be brought into
captivity, led submissive, as though bound with handcuffs. We take captive every
design to make it obedient to Christ. We make them a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
As a person thinks in his heart so is he. Our thinking controls our emotions and
behavior. “Every thought of whatever kind” refers to the perceptive or
intellective center of our being and they must be brought into submission to
“Once the walls of the mind have been torn down, the door
to the heart can be opened,” says Warren Wiersbe. “Paul is the most daring of
the thinkers,” says A. T. Robertson, “but he lays all of his thoughts at the
feet of Jesus.” The great apostle is academically free in Christ.
It is our responsibility as we abide in the Spirit to take
captive in the hidden realms of our personality, which are the imaginations,
that can take over and we find ourselves involved in a thousand things that we
would be embarrassed for our friends and family to know (Matt. 15:19-20). It is
this principle of evil in the heart that must be brought into subjection to
Christ. Bring into submission to Christ all that is not holy and all that is not
true in your mind and heart. God works in our souls to increasingly take control
of our total being. When we acquaint ourselves with God He gives us a deep peace
of mind and heart that passes all understanding. Thus He gives us a purity of
heart, and that is where the spiritual battle must take place daily. Our whole
being can thus be filled with God, even in the hidden areas of our
personalities. “Our battle is to bring down every deceptive fantasy and every
imposing defense that men erect against the true knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5,
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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