The Success of the Gospel by the Divine Power upon the Souls of Men
By Rev. Samuel Davies - Posted at Grace Gems:
"The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!" 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
This restless world is now in an unusual ferment; kingdom rising up against kingdom, and nation against nation; armories filling, weapons glistening, cannons roaring, and human blood streaming, both by sea and land. These things engross the thoughts and conversation of mankind, and alarm their fears and anxieties.
But there is another kind of war carrying on in the world; a war, the outcome of which is of infinitely greater importance; a war of nearly six thousand years standing; that is, ever since the first grand rebellion of mankind against God; a war in which we are all engaged as parties, and in the result of which our immortal interest is concerned; though, alas! it engages but little of the attention and solicitude of the generality among us; I mean, the war which Jesus Christ has been carrying on from age to age by the ministry of the gospel—to reduce the rebellious sons of men to their duty, and redeem them into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, from their wretched captivity to sin and Satan!
This is the design in which the apostles were embarked, and which Paul describes in the military style in my text. As some members of the Corinthian church had taken up a very low opinion of Paul, his design in the context is to raise the dignity of his apostolic office. And for that purpose, he describes in military language the efficacy and success of those apostolic powers with which he was furnished for the propagation of Christianity, and the reduction of the world into obedience to the gospel.
These powers he here calls weapons of war. This tent-maker and a few fishermen were sent out upon a grand expedition, in opposition to the united powers of Jews and Gentiles, of earth and hell. All the world, with their false gods, were ready to join against them. They were ready to oppose them with all the force of philosophy, learning, authority, threatenings, and all the cruel forms of persecution. For the Christian cause in which these soldiers of Jesus Christ were engaged, was contrary to their lusts and prejudices, their honor and secular interests. This opposition of the world to the gospel, the apostle also describes in the military style. Their lusts, prejudices, and interests, their vain imaginations and false reasonings, are so many strongholds and high castles in which they, as it were, fortify and entrench themselves. These they hold and garrison under the prince of darkness: in these they stand out in their rebellion against heaven, and fight against God, against his gospel, and against their own consciences.
And with what weapons did the apostles attack these rebels in their strongholds? Not with carnal weapons, such as the heroes and conquerors of the world are accustomed to use—but with weapons of a spiritual nature, the preaching of the doctrine of the cross, the force of evidence and conviction, the purity of their doctrines and lives, the terrors of the Lord, and the all-conquering love of a dying Savior! With these weapons they encountered the allied powers of men and devils; with these they propagated the religion of their Master; and not with the sword, like Mohammed; or with the bloody artillery of persecution, like the church of Rome; or by the canon, like the tyrants of France.