Every Christian is engaged in the battle of the devil and the world today. Shocked by the culture, disappointed by the grasp of the evil one, those who take comfort in Christ are already in the midst of a fight. Those on the other side believe a story that is not one from the lips of the Triune God. Those on the other side ridicule and belittle a historical account of a savior passed on from generation to generation. Those on the other side proudly declare war on those who trust in the God who created and redeemed. And so there seems to be no other option. Prepare for the war. Ready your weapons.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Eph 6:11-13)
In a time of war one must take the resources available and turn them into weapons against the enemy. Fighting for survival, everything hinges on the destruction of the other. Yes, it makes perfect sense to take the good gifts of God and craft our weapons to win the war.
And so, a Christian may take up the gifts of God and attempt to turn them into weapons. Fire a baptism on an unbeliever and that will show them who’s boss. Pummel them with shame: missing out on the fellowship of believers and the gathering of the church. Argue and force the Word of God into their ungrateful ears. The powerful gifts of God can be weaponized, but is it how to win the battle?
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God “(Eph 6:14-17)
Truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, the word of God. The weapon that wins the war is Jesus. His Gospel demands the truth to be exposed, a stumbling block and folly to those who don’t believe. His Gospel attacks the world with righteousness done for you, not demanded from you. His Gospel fights evil with forgiveness and peace, especially when it is undeserved. His Gospel defeats the devil with a undisputed word from the end of the battle, It is finished.
So how can we fight the enemy with the Gospel? We don’t. How do we conquer the world with the Gospel? We don’t. How do we change their minds, make them believe, make them see the truth of the Gospel? We don’t. Christ’s death and resurrection is not our weapon to wield against their unbelief. Rather, He already decided the fight for their life. He already defeated death and the devil, and He has won.
So there is only one thing you can do. Stand firm in gifts of God. Wrap yourselves up in the mighty protection of assurance and eternal life. Give the gifts of His Gospel freely, just as they were given to you, expecting nothing in return. Proclaim the Gospel – that the great war has already been won by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Love and forgive, as Christ has loved and forgiven you. This the weapon of the Gospel.