Strength for Battle

In a few moments, some soldiers who’ve made it this far in their training are pressing on towards earning their right to be Rangers. I will have thirty minutes as their chaplain to open the Bible before them, teach them the gospel, show them what ultimate commitment was and is. I’ve nothing but respect for these young men as they push themselves to limits they’ve not endured before. But it is crucial to teach accurately by explaining what the cross of Christ was and what it was not.

Ten things the ultimate battle was not:

  1. Physical endurance
  2. Sleep deprivation
  3. Insufficient caloric intake
  4. Intestinal fortitude
  5. The power of positive thinking
  6. Bragging rights
  7. A fable
  8. An allegory
  9. Moralism
  10. Man’s plan

The enduring tendency we sinners have is to reduce the cross of Christ and the gospel to man’s work. It wasn’t. It was God’s. And that invariably humbles all those who are teachable.

The hardened, of course, those who refuse the offer of the gospel, do what hardened people invariably do: reject, suppress, deny, scoff, turn away, mock, and heap judgment upon themselves.

What the ultimate battle of the Christian gospel is:

  1. God’s gospel
  2. For individuals
  3. For individuals who repent of their sin
  4. The message of who Christ is and what He has done
  5. God’s plan
  6. God’s mercy
  7. God’s justice
  8. God’s wrath against sin
  9. God’s holiness
  10. Man’s only hope

Of course the list could continue. But when there is such a tendency to assume that strength for battle is reducible to man’s commitment, man’s willpower, man’s promises, humanism in all its forms, we must see in the gospel of Christ the ultimate battle is not physical, emotional, monetary, political, or anything else except the battle between Light and Darkness, the Seed of the woman versus the seed of the serpent.

At the cross, God kept His commitment to crush the head of the serpent. God satisfied His own perfect holy justice.

And God has commissioned His people with the precious treasure of holding the truth of the gospel forth for all who will hear and come–to taste and see that, yes, the Lord is good.

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