Saturday, 7 November 2015
…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5
Scholars assign the “casting down arguments” to the “we” of verse 3 and not the “weapons” of verse 4. This is based on the agreement of the participle between the two thoughts. In other words, “…we war casting down arguments.” One use of our spiritual warfare is that we are to have enough knowledge of the source of our faith to challenge those who reason against it.
There are many who deny the Christian faith entirely, there are those who defend their own misguided religions, and there are heretics within the faith – all of these are opponents who need to be challenged. Their arguments need to be cast down and crushed by the superior knowledge and revelation which comes from the Christian faith.
Likewise, we are to cast down “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” Charles Ellicott notes that, “The noun probably belongs, like ‘stronghold,’ to the language of military writers, and indicates one of the rock fortresses … which were so conspicuous in all ancient systems of defence.”
The opponents of Christianity set themselves up as if in a mountain fortress that cannot be reached by their enemies. They shoot their weapons, intending to destroy the argument of Christianity, but we have the true “knowledge of God” on our side and therefore our attacks can and will prevail when they are properly engaged in the battle. The enemy feels exalted, but by standing on the truth of God, his arguments will be cast down. The sentiment is found in Job –
“They are exalted for a little while,
Then they are gone.
They are brought low;
They are taken out of the way like all others;
They dry out like the heads of grain.” Job 24:24
Finally, the waging of our warfare is essential for “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Paul continues with military terms. After pulling down the strongholds and storming the high things which attempt to exalt themselves, captives are taken. Jesus referred to exactly this when He presented Himself in the synagogue in Nazareth –
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4:18, 19
However, the intent is not the literal, physical destruction of the enemy, but to bring them into a new stronghold, one which is “to the obedience of Christ.” If their arguments fail, it means that they were ineffective. Anyone who would cling onto an ineffective argument (and there are many) are perverse and will face God without Christ. But for those who are captured by obedience to Christ, they will face God in a completely different way. They will be free from the destruction that the enemies of Christ will face.
Life application: There is only one proper way of waging the war which Paul writes of. It is to know Jesus Christ and to be able to defend our faith in Him. And the only way to do that is to read, study, and comprehend the truths which are found in the Bible. When we do this, we will be fully prepared to engage in the battle with those who oppose His message.
Heavenly Father, if the message of Jesus Christ is true, then it is a rational, defendable faith. It is a message which is capable of pulling down the strongholds which resist it, storming any high and lofty message which stands against it, and bringing any unreasonable teachings against it into captivity to the truth. And the only way we can accomplish this is through knowing Your word. Help us, O Lord, to pursue it and to know it so that we can then defend it. Let us not waste our days in futile pursuit. The souls of men are at stake. Help us to remember this and to be ready for the battle. Amen.