Friday, November 16, 2012

“Arming” for Victory

“Arming” for Victory

Memory text: Ephesians 6:13

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.

By now we have heard a lot about the armor but very little about the victory.  What is victory in Biblical terms?  Victory is the overcoming of an enemy or antagonist.  Who is our enemy? Some may say the Devil, and they are right.  Some may say death, and they are right also.  However, when Christ spoke about overcoming He mentioned the world.  Jesus told His disciples,

John 16: 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

What is about the world or what does it represent that needs to be overcome?  In a few verses above this chapter Christ gives us a hint,

John 16: 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
John 16: 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
John 16: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

Christ said to the disciples that when the Holy Spirit comes He will reprove the world of Sin, among other things.  Why Sin?  Because, the world – those who live in it – do not believe in Him.  Why does the world do not believe in Christ?  When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus He said that the condemnation of the world was “that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).  So, the world is condemned because they have chosen not to believe in the “Light of the world.”  This was the problem of Israel while in the wilderness.  Paul says in Hebrews that they did not enter the rest – of Christ – because of their unbelief (Hebrews 3:19; 4:6).  It was still a problem among Jews in Jesus’ day (Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:6).  So, as we see the word chosen for their condition is unbelief. 

Unbelief is used for two Greek terms: one of them meaning no faith, and the other one apathy.  But apathy is a compound word: a + pathy .  Pathy comes from pathos.  Pathos comes from peithos, of which the root word is pistis or faith.  Paul uses apathy to refer to the Israelites in the wilderness.  Now Paul refer to the apathy – lack of feeling or concern because of not believing – of the Israelites to warn the people of his day that they too could fall in the same trap (Hebrews 4:11).   This is an ongoing battle going on in our hearts and minds.  Ellen White also warns us about it.  Ellen White says,

“In every soul two powers are struggling earnestly for the victory. Unbelief marshals its forces, led by Satan, to cut us off from the Source of our strength. Faith marshals its forces, led by Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Hour by hour, in the sight of the heavenly universe, the conflict goes forward. This is a hand-to-hand fight, and the great question is, Which shall obtain the mastery? This question each must decide for himself. In this warfare all must take a part, fighting on one side or the other. From the conflict there is no release. . . . We are urged to prepare for this conflict. ‘Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’ The warning is repeated, ‘Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’” -Ellen G. White, Sons and Daughters of God, p. 328.

So, the implication is that those who put on the armor will overcome the wiles of the devil, of which one of the greatest weapons is unbelief.  So, to put on the armor then is to be born of God, because they are the ones who overcome the world.  And, they do so by faith – by hearing and believing the word of God.  The Apostle John says,

1 John 5: 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
1 John 5: 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

So, there is no need for unbelief to be part of our lives.  Christ has given us His victory.