Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Sword of the Spirit…..God’s Holy Word

I suppose it was inevitable that computerised robotic technology would be applied to warfare in the 21st century. The US government is now using drones…unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with missiles as part of its offensive against the Islamist Al Qaeda terrorist organisation and its affiliates in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Horn of Africa. These vehicles are piloted remotely by technicians operating from desks in mainland America, who from afar, conduct a variety of operations from surveillance to identification to the launch of air to ground missiles against targets on the other side of the world.

These hugely effective weapons enable states such as the USA and the UK to take the offensive against their enemies without putting their own personnel directly in harm’s way.

Unlike the ever evolving and varied offensive weaponry available to the 21st century military, true believers engaged in the daily spiritual battle have only one offensive weapon which has remained unchanged but totally effective for thousands of years………..the Bible, God’s Holy and inerrant Word.

The great evangelist, Charles Hadden Spurgeon speaking in 1891 put the spiritual battle in perspective: “Our warfare is not child's play: we mean business. We have to deal with fierce foes, who are only to be met with keen weapons. Buffets will not suffice in this contest; we must come to sword-cuts. You may be of a very quiet spirit, but your adversaries are not so. If you attempt to play at Christian warfare, they will not. To meet the powers of darkness is no sham battle. They mean mischief. Nothing but your eternal damnation will satisfy the fiendish hearts of Satan and his crew.”

The Apostle Paul in his discourse on the Armour of God is quite clear that believers need to take up, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This is a mandate for the offensive: true believers must pick up God’s word, read and study it daily; commit it to memory and put it into practice.   

The great theologian and writer John MacArthur affirms the primacy of the ‘sword of the spirit’ in the life of every true believer: “Because in all that it affirms it is without error, because in every single thing it says it is without error, because it is complete and there is no more to be added to it, nor is there anything to be taken away from it, it is therefore……. the authoritative Word of God. It is precisely what God wanted to say. And that is why Isaiah 1:2 says, “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord has spoken.”

Since this is the infallible, inerrant complete authoritative Word of God, it is sufficient. We don’t need anything else. We do not need anything else. Psalm 19 lays that out a number of ways. It is sufficient not only for our salvation, converting the soul, but it is sufficient to make the simple, or the ignorant wise, fully skilled in all matters of holy living, is what that means.”

Jesus himself was directly attacked by Satan at the beginning of his ministry. When tempted in the wilderness by the evil one, Jesus responded using his knowledge of the scriptures, quoting from the Psalms and the book of Deuteronomy.

If the scriptures as they existed two thousand years ago were good enough for Jesus, they should certainly be good enough for all true believers in 21st century Scotland.  So let’s encourage and cultivate the habit of daily Bible reading and study.    

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