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Monday, August 29, 2011

War and Peace

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2nd Timothy 2:3 (New American Standard Bible)

One of the great Christian hymns of the 19th and 20th centuries was “Onward Christian Soldiers” penned by The English Anglican priest Sabine Baring-Gould in 1864. The hymn was eventually adopted by the Salvation Army as its favored processional. It speaks of the Christian life being one of struggle against an enemy host that stands against the fortress of God. In past years certain elements within Christendom have brought this hymn into disrepute stating its theme is “too violent.” That view certainly shoots to pieces the reality of the continuing war we saints fight daily against a brutal and pitiless enemy. It becomes at times a vicious hand-to-hand spiritual combat with Satan and his minions that taxes both strength and will.

An army cannot lay its arms down in the face of an enemy and expect them to ‘play fair.’ It is the same with the Christian Army when it abandons the rules of engagement and puts aside the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-15). Satan and his host take no prisoners and exploit every opportunity to pour down destruction on us.

It is unfortunate that in this dimension of time and space a war of gigantic spiritual proportions is being waged against the children of God. The winning of this war was accomplished by one Man nailed to a weapon of the enemy on a lonely hill called Calvary. The irony is that very weapon became the beloved emblem the Christian army carries before it into battle. We are called to stand fast and fight the good fight. As we meet the enemy we know our Commander, Jesus Christ, goes before us with encouragement and strength. The resurrected power of Christ bids His soldiers onward. We can follow no greater One into battle.