And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15)
The language of war has been prominent in some circles since the Supreme Court decision last week which declared that the definition of marriage (something that God defined very clearly when He created them male and female and joined them together as one at the very beginning!) would now include same-sex relationships. Some say the war is now between the Federal Government and individual States since this ruling now forces those States who were opposed to “same-sex marriage” to both perform them and approve of those coming from other States who have already been “married.” Others say the war is between Progressives and the traditional view that this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values of which this ruling is clearly not a part. Still others make the point that the war is now very clearly between a very vocal minority and the religious freedoms enjoyed by the majority today—freedoms, they say, that are clearly being challenged more today than at any other time in our nation’s history. Whatever your view of this may be, it is clear that battle lines have been drawn, people are taking sides, and the times in which we live are definitely changing.
The language of war is also very prominent in God’s Word. We can rightly say that when sin entered into the world, so did conflict and war. Men, filled with hate, lust and greed, went to war against one another. The Lord Himself commanded His own people on numerous occasions to go to war against the wicked nations around them. Wars and battles are commonplace throughout the Old Testament, which can often read as record of military campaigns. Outside the pages of Scripture, history records for us that there has never been a time where there have not been wars and rumors of wars. Fallen humanity and war go hand-in-hand like chocolate and peanut butter. Or…maybe you disagree with that analogy and would like to argue the point? Many have fought over lesser things!
Revelation 12 speaks of another war that has been raging since man fell from his estate of innocence in the garden. God Himself announced the combatants of this great and invisible war in Genesis 3:15, when He spoke of the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. John sees this war reviewed in dramatic fashion when he writes: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9). The spoils of this war are human lives, men and women born naturally as co-combatants of the Dragon, yet always preferring their own will and haters of God and the Seed He promised. But God, Who is rich in mercy, sent onto this field of battle a Champion, made in the likeness of these rebels, but Who delighted to do His Father’s will. That will and purpose, of course, included dying in their place, shedding His own blood for the forgiveness of their treasonous sins, clothing them in His own righteousness, and giving them His own indestructible life. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul is referring to in the above passage from the book of Colossians. He uses the language of war when he speaks of the main field of battle being the cross, the place where the promise of Genesis 3:15 finds its fulfillment—a heel was bruised and a head was crushed. Through the cross, our former allies (“…we, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which we once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Ephesians 2:1-3) have been disarmed and the Child of Revelation 12, the Lamb of God, has triumphed over them. Our enemies are a defeated foe—we are simply waiting for the Victor to return in power and glory to make all things new.
However you define this new wrinkle in the ongoing war between Satan and Christ (we are united to Him by faith), please remember that it is ultimately this war which is and has always been behind every battle throughout all of redemptive history. This world is not our home, for we are citizens of another kingdom and we have a city whose builder and architect is God. Nations will rise and fall but we remain ever secure in His hands. We are not called to fear, but rather to take up the weapons of our warfare which are not according to the flesh, but are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (see 2 Corinthians 10:1-6). And we remember in all times these two things: we are victorious in Christ Jesus our Lord, but that victory came at great expense—even the blood of the spotless Lamb of God!
As you prepare to come this Sunday to the Lord’s Table in the midst of these difficult days, remember the triumph of our great Savior. It is a table of victory where our King is seated before us in glory and dispenses to us the riches of His grace which we, as we come in faith, joyfully receive that we may be fully equipped for the ongoing battles of this life. But it is also a Table where the signs and seals of a body broken and blood shed are visibly displayed for all to see. Therefore, come giving thanks to the Father for the gift of His Son through Whom we now have peace with God.
Praising Him, our Victorious Savior,
Pastor Ted Trefsgar