The Church Militant – August 23, 2020
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The follower of Jesus is always at war. He remains in the Church Militant until he enters the Church Triumphant. There is no Church Pacifist. Those who do not fight are dead.
Some folks question that by pointing to the words of Jesus: “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).
And yet, Jesus overturned tables and drove the money changers out of the temple—twice. One time, with a whip!
A slap on the cheek is an insult, not a threat to life. Turning the other cheek can defuse a situation. If an actual threat arises, the government does not hold the sword in vain, nor should an individual hesitate to keep the Fifth Commandment by defending himself or others.
But the Christian’s biggest threat does not come from a terrorist or robber, as dangerous as those might be. The most they can take is our earthly life. We will eventually give that up anyway.
The deadliest threat comes from enemies who would rob us of the peace with God. To such, we dare never turn the other cheek. Never declare a truce. Their goal is to kill our faith and one day join with them in the forever-dark pits of hell.
Of such, we need to be afraid. Against such, we must fight. Yet, before such, we are helpless.
But the Lord our God is not! Using his power, we can be strong. Using his protection, we can resist them. We can defeat them!
“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” is the command. “Onward Christian Soldiers, marching as to war.” is the song.
The enemy uses deception. That makes them more deadly. In the Battle of the Bulge, some English-speaking German SS troops put on American uniforms and began directing traffic—in the wrong direction. At times, they suddenly opened fire on unsuspecting troops.
The G.I.s had to start testing others by asking questions to which only Americans would know the answers: “Who won the last World Series?” Another was, “What is the capital of Illinois?” When U.S. General Bradley answered, “Springfield” a young soldier detained him. The soldier thought the answer should be “Chicago.” He was quickly straightened out.
Even so must we know well the facts of the kingdom of Light lest we be misled by the forces of darkness. Lest we mislead ourselves. The Bible provides the details of how our salvation was won and how it must be kept. It gives the names of our leaders and lists the heroes of old.
It identifies our Commander. It relays his commands. It carries his encouragement.
We are not alone in this fight. But we must be in this fight. The battle for our salvation has been won. The battle for our soul rages on.
Why would we throw away the victory and join the defeated?
My soul, be on thy guard,
Ten thousand foes arise,
And hosts of sin are pressing hard
To draw thee from the skies.
Oh, watch, and fight, and pray,
The battle ne’er give o’er,
Renew it boldly every day,
And help divine implore.
Ne’er think the victory won,
Nor lay thine armor down;
Thine arduous work will not be done
Till thou obtain the crown.
Fight on, my soul, till death
Shall bring thee to thy God;
He’ll take thee at thy parting breath
To His divine abode. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.