The Weapons Of Our Warfare
We might not think it, but every Christian is in the midst of a war. Paul knew it, and he spoke of it often; 'fight the good fight' and 'be a good soldier,' he told Timothy. 'Put on the armour of God' he instructed the Ephesians. Here he informs the Corinthians about the 'weapons of our warfare.'
The context is interesting. The Corinthians stood accused of judging Paul 'by the outward appearance.' His basic image, his awkward oratory style, and his lowly profession all served to perpetuate their pejorative opinion of him. But in chapter 10 he deals with a different allegation: he lived his life 'in the manner of the flesh.' In a twist of irony, the Corinthians charged Paul with living a carnal life!
Paul concedes; 'although I walk in the flesh, that is, in a body, I do not war according to the principle of the flesh' (my translation). There is a play on words here; Paul uses 'flesh' in two different, although not unrelated ways. On the one hand, he uses it to speak of his body. On the other, he refers to the evil principle that resides within us, and must fight because we are in a body.
Notice the contrast between 'walking' and 'warring.' His walk is in the flesh, but his spiritual warfare was not according to its principle. Instead, it was empowered by 'weapons made mighty in God.'
Paul does not directly identify these weapons, but he gives us a hint by defining their impact; they 'tear down strongholds.' The Corinthians considered Paul's weapons to be unimpressive, but he outlines how they operate, and what they achieve. They are mighty in God, and they tear down strongholds. In reality, by judging Paul by the outward appearance–'you are carnal!'–they had lost sight of what was truly spiritual. They had fallen for the old trick; what looks best is most spiritual!
In coming weeks we will consider what the mighty weapons might be in the context of the Corinthian epistles. We will also investigate the identity of these strongholds and their application in 2018. But for now, ask yourself this; do you wage your war according to the principle of the flesh, or through the weaponry made powerful by God? We are in a spiritual war. But don't fall into the trap of judging its requirements by outward appearances. To do so is to consider the flesh more powerful than God.