Christians are always at war but it’s not carnal warfare. Rather it is a battle for the minds and hearts of men. Paul put it this way: “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) While there have been those who have waged war in the name of Christ, there is no jihad in pure Christianity. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.
Paul names two things that we are to seek to accomplish in this spiritual war. First, he writes, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.” That is, we expose and defeat all false teachings of men. Second, Paul adds, “And bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” That is, capture the minds and hearts of men with the truth of God so that they will become obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
How are we to accomplish this? As we have opportunity, speak to others about the truth. Use tracts. Enroll friends in our Bible Correspondence Course. Not everyone will do the same thing, but each of us should have his own plan for reaching others.
In our pluralistic society the one thing that cannot be tolerated is intolerance. People seem to miss the contradiction in their own idea of intolerance. Christianity has always been intolerant of certain things. Consider for example the following passages:
Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
This Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands. (Acts 19:26)
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called with one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
The first century society was one of moral and religious tolerance. The early Christians were out of step with the society in which they lived. And so are we.
I suppose that there is as much said about the grace of God found in the writing of the apostle Paul as anywhere else in scripture. In one very significant passage Paul writes, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” (Titus 2:11-12)
While there are several important matters about grace mentioned in this text, there is one thing in particular that I would like to emphasize. The grace of God teaches us—it teaches us to live. On the negative side, grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust—that is, to remove these things from our lives. Then, on the positive side, grace teaches us to “live soberly, righteously, and godly”—that is, live an upright life both morally and religiously. This teaching us how to live is every bit as much a part of salvation by grace as is the forgiveness of sins.
What about you? Are you letting the grace of God teach you? It is not enough just to look to God’s grace for the forgiveness of our sins; we must also let grace lead us out of the practice of sin and into right living. This is the true grace of God. Salvation by grace is not to save us in sin, but rather, to save us from sin.
It is certainly true that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8) but it is also true that something is required of us. One such thing is faithfulness.
Jesus in the parable of the talents commended two of the servants in these words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servants,” then by way of contrast He said to a third servant, “thou wicked and slothful servant.” This third servant then was cast into outer darkness. (Matthew 25:15-30) Jesus offered no middle ground—either “good and faithful” or “wicked and slothful.”
Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth wrote: “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2) We might ask, “faithful in what?” In whatever our Lord asks: morals, business, family, worship, etc. In the message to the church at Smyrna, Jesus said, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelations 2:10) These passages leave little doubt—faithfulness is not optional.
Robert Shank in his book, Life In The Son, entitled the second chapter: “The High Cost of a Free Gift” and it is certainly true that our salvation comes at a high cost. There is the divine cost—it cost God the gift of His son, it cost Jesus His blood. But there is also the human cost—it costs our faithfulness. As we said at the outset, salvation is by grace through faith. But we must also remember that there is no “cheap grace.” FAITHFULNESS IS REQUIRED.