by Mike Ratliff
3 Ἐν σαρκὶ γὰρ περιπατοῦντες οὐ κατὰ σάρκα στρατευόμεθα, 4 τὰ γὰρ ὅπλα τῆς στρατείας ἡμῶν οὐ σαρκικὰ ἀλλὰ δυνατὰ τῷ θεῷ πρὸς καθαίρεσιν ὀχυρωμάτων, λογισμοὺς καθαιροῦντες 5 καὶ πᾶν ὕψωμα ἐπαιρόμενον κατὰ τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες πᾶν νόημα εἰς τὴν ὑπακοὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NA28)
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not warring according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful through God to the overthrow of strongholds overthrowing reasonings 5 and every high thing rising up against the knowledge of God and leading captive every thought into the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
All believers who are still in this life also live and walk in the flesh in a physical sense, but the goal must be to grow into maturity and no longer walk that way in a moral sense (Romans 8:4). Christians who are obediently doing this must actively war according to the spirit, never the flesh, in the battle to free souls from the forces of darkness and bring them to maturity in Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:17-25; 2:1-4). Therefore, those whose ministries are based around appealing to the flesh are actually warring according to the flesh and that does not work, at least not in an eternal sense. What is done in the flesh may look impressive to those who walk in the flesh in a moral sense, but they are impotent and powerless to free souls from the forces of darkness and bring them to maturity in Christ. Why? They cannot successfully oppose satanic assaults on the gospel or any of God’s truths.
In v4,5 we see that the work of ministry must be seen as warfare. The weapons that are effective are not fleshly, but powerful through God and in their use, they overthrow what? What are these strongholds, reasonings and every high thing rising up against the knowledge of God? These are false doctrines, therefore, the effective weapons Paul is talking about here is what? These are correct doctrines, that is, the doctrines given to the Church by our Lord himself, such as the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
6 Ταπεινώθητε οὖν ὑπὸ τὴν κραταιὰν χεῖρα τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα ὑμᾶς ὑψώσῃ ἐν καιρῷ, 7 πᾶσαν τὴν μέριμναν ὑμῶν ἐπιρίψαντες ἐπʼ αὐτόν, ὅτι αὐτῷ μέλει περὶ ὑμῶν. 8 Νήψατε, γρηγορήσατε. ὁ ἀντίδικος ὑμῶν διάβολος ὡς λέων ὠρυόμενος περιπατεῖ ζητῶν [τινα] καταπιεῖν· 9 ᾧ ἀντίστητε στερεοὶ τῇ πίστει εἰδότες τὰ αὐτὰ τῶν παθημάτων τῇ ἐν κόσμῳ ὑμῶν ἀδελφότητι ἐπιτελεῖσθαι. 10 Ὁ δὲ θεὸς πάσης χάριτος, ὁ καλέσας ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον αὐτοῦ δόξαν ἐν Χριστῷ , ὀλίγον παθόντας αὐτὸς καταρτίσει, στηρίξει, σθενώσει, θεμελιώσει. 11 αὐτῷ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν. 1 Peter 5:6-11 (NA28)
6 Therefore, be humbled under the mighty hand of God, that you may be exalted in due time, 7 casting all your anxiety upon him because it matters to him concerning you. 8 Be sober; watch for your adversary the devil who walks around as a roaring lion seeking whom to devour. 9 Oppose him, firm in the faith, knowing the same sufferings are being laid upon your brethren throughout the world. 10 Now the God of all grace, the one having called you into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, he himself will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him is the dominion into the ages, amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
Peter gives us another perspective of how to minister in the spirit. We are to oppose our enemy firm in the faith (v9). This means we “stand up against him.” The way to resist the enemy is not with divination, incantations, formulas, or words directed at him and his demons, but by remaining firm in the Christian faith. This means we must continue to live in accord with the truth of God’s Word, that is, according to those doctrines given to the Church by the Lord himself. The call by many popular (with fleshly, man-centered so-called, Christians) is “deeds not creeds.” That is shallow works-righteousness that creates religious workers who know nothing of God’s truth and Satan can deceive them into all sorts of false doctrines and does so. On the other hand, when God’s people know sound doctrine and obey God’s truth, Satan is withstood (Ephesians 6:17). This is how Christians walk firm in the faith and cannot be shaken no matter how severe the fiery tests and trials they fall into.
Be forewarned, those who do walk firm in the faith will come under attack and their faith will be tested. Satan hates the truth and God uses this to test us to strengthen our faith.
Soli Deo Gloria!