2002-05-27 - Spiritual Warfare
1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
There is probably no end to the horrors that can be spoken about regarding war and it's consequences on both the victors and the vanquished. It is fitting for us to have a day where we honor those who have risked their lives that we and others might continue to live in freedom. The Old Testament is full of shocking accounts of how entire cities were simply demolished and everyone in them killed. But we are not to be so naive as to think that this does not happen in our modern culture.
I recently read an account by Schiller on the taking of Magdeburg during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). It will shock you, but injustice should shock us and as Christians we must realize that we are to wage war with sin as violently as this poor city was taken. The account is graphic and if you have a tender conscience you may not wish to read it (So skip the next two paragraphs), but I present it to make an important point. This is precisely how completely we are to root out sin in our lives and if you can work with the analogy this might be useful to you.
"Here commenced a scene, to describe which history has no language, poetry no pencil. Neither the innocence of childhood, nor the debility of old age; neither youth, sex, beauty, nor condition could disarm the fury of the conquerors. Fifty-three dead bodies of women, who had been beheaded, were found in the cathedral; the Croats amused themselves in throwing children into the flames, Pappenheim's Walloons in murdering infants at the breast.
Some shocked at these frightful scenes, entreated Tilly to stop the effusion of blood. 'Return in an hour,' was his stern answer, 'the soldier must have some reward for his toils.' The horrors of the scene were augmented by the dead bodies, falling ruins, and streams of blood; the atmosphere was heated, the intenseness of the vapor at length compelled the conquerors to take refuge in their camp. The entire amount of the slaughtered was calculated at thirty-thousand."
An amazing account and you wouldn't believe what I left out. Such an account of the horrors of war should lead us to honor those who have risked their lives to defend our country. We don't honor those who participate in war crimes, of which the above account would certainly qualify, but we honor those who put themselves in harms way not knowing who they might encounter and how they might be treated in battle.
However, as I said above, I look at this account more of an analogy respecting how we ought to root out sin than I do anything else. There are sins that we coddle like an infant at our breast. These sins need to be cut off from us. As this city was burned to the ground, if we would seek to escape the eternal fire we must set our hearts aflame and consume our iniquities through the blood of Christ. We need to have the mentality of James 4:1-4 and 1 Peter 4:1-4 as we engage in spiritual warfare. Sin is at war with us, and we would be foolish to blindly act as if we did not need to live each day as if we were engaged in a battle with an enemy who seeks not just our lives but also our souls. These may not be pleasant thoughts, but there are unpleasantries stemming from sin that we cannot simply ignore.
Soli Deo Gloria,