Part of the 10 Hard Truths about Being Born Again series.
This much is clear:
The path to new birth is strewn with opposition.
And as if that wasn’t enough to discourage or depress you, let me add another one…
Bondage to Satan.
Forget (Just About) Everything You Knew About Satan
In 2 Timothy 2:26, Paul talks about the “snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”
What is Satan’s will?
It’s not as sinister as you might think. Nor is it the graphically wicked portrait we picked up from the Middle Ages:
A horned half man, half goat carrying naked witches off to burn. Or an amorphous monster swallowing sinners.
Satan’s will and work is, for the most part, more subtle. Though no less real.
His will is to work in unbeliever’s [sons of disobedience] so that they walk according to the course of this world.
And what is the course of the world? Rebellion. Particularly rebellion against God. Rebellion through arguments and speculations against the knowledge of God.
What This All Boils Down To
There are real spiritual influences behind ideas. There is more at work behind political, religious, philosophical, analytical or scientific ideologies than simple human effort to explain the universe, craft legislation or satisfy our souls.
That’s why Paul in Ephesians 2:1,2 called Satan the prince of the power of the air: He’s the monarch of our corrupted world. And he comes upon us as unconsciously as the vital air we breathe.
He’s the god underneath guiding the course of this world. He’s the evil monarch who ranges through out the earth. And if a monarch–if a god–then he holds power. Sovereignty.
And rule over this world.
This is why Paul describes Satan’s reign in 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 as one of a stronghold imprisoning people during a war.
The Unconventional Behavior of a Believer in War Time
In fact, Paul often refers to himself as a “soldier.” So you know the warfare metaphor is real to him.
It should be real to us, too.
But how does a Christian soldier behave? We have to answer this question because how a believer–a bond-servant of Christ–behaves is quite contrary to what you might expect in war time.
We must get this right.
Fortunately, Paul gives us a hint. Five in fact. He says the Lord’s bond-servant in war time:
1. Must not be quarrelsome.
Christians may argue, correct, train and teach, but they must not do it in a vicious manner.
2. Must be kind to all.
This means understanding and respecting another’s position. Smiling. Joking. Complimenting.
3. Must be able to teach.
And you can teach only if you have content. And the right content at that.
4. Must be patient when wronged.
Do I really need to elaborate?
5. Must gently correct those who are in opposition.
The core of our existence as believers. “Go, and make disciples of all nations.”
You can find this list in 2 Timothy 2:24-25.
And Paul’s thrust in this list is a hope that by obeying the Great Commission with grace and mercy God may perhaps grant a person repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
So, even though the path to salvation is loaded with opposition, we have hope. Faith. Trust that through the gospel of Jesus Christ people may come alive. They may see. Embrace. Adore. And rest in the peace of God.
Salvation is hard. But that’s why it’s a divine rescue operation by God. And not us.