Summary: Though we face a defeated foe, we will ensure our own defeat if we fail to respect his power. God has provided us with armour and weapons that give us victory, but we must train ourselves to use them--then, we must use them.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore.”
"There is no discharge in time of war” [*Ecclesiastes 8:8*]. This is the assessment of the Wise Man. I question whether this current generation is as hearty as those that preceded. Our parents and grandparents fought two world wars that demanded sacrifice of each citizen in order to bring the conflict to a successful conclusion. Foodstuffs were rationed. Commodities were rationed. There were few luxuries available. “Don’t you know there’s a war going on?” became a common saying whenever someone complained about rationing or when they appeared to be extravagant in their use of precious commodities. These conditions of deprivation continued until the war was brought to a successful conclusion. Despite hardship, the populace willingly did without in order to support the boys who fought on two fronts, placing their lives on the line to defeat a vicious and cruel enemy.
That is not the situation today. Canadian troops are among the finest in the world, despite being handicapped by inadequate and outdated equipment, and in spite of political masters using Canadian forces as a political football. Though these brave men and women perform with excellence in the face of a brutal enemy, in seems as if few Canadians pay attention to their sacrifice; and those that are aware of their sacrifice often clamour for them to quit, arguing that the sacrifice is too much. Though luxuries are readily available in our nation, and despite the fact that we experience no rationing of commodities or food, many Canadians resent the necessity of spending money to supply the troops. The attitude appears to be, “how can the government supply our personal comfort if they are spending money on the armed forces?”
A similar transition has taken place within the Faith during the past several decades. In an earlier era, saints willingly sacrificed in order to advance the cause of the Master. They were faithful to participate several times each week in the worship of Christ the Lord. They eagerly set aside time to unite in prayer and held one another accountable to live godly lives. Though they grieved at the necessity of disciplining errant church members, they nevertheless did the hard work required to turn the disobedient back to paths of righteousness. They sacrificed of their earthly goods to spread the message of life throughout the world, ensuring during the century just past the greatest missionary advance ever witnessed.
That is not quite true of the saints of this day. It is well nigh impossible to get people to share in more than one service of worship in a week. United prayer is a thing of distant memories, if it has been experienced at all. Sacrifice is something that we readily admit is taught in the Word of God, but we are uncertain that we wish to be inconvenienced by such demands upon our own precious time.
We are at war. If you are a Christian you are engaged in a titanic struggle for righteousness and against evil. Whether this is the terminal generation may well be determined by whether we realise that we are engaged in combat. We have forgotten that the Apostle speaks of war that is being fought even now. He writes, “Though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” [*2 Corinthians 10:3, 4*].
This is a war that began in heaven, spilled onto the earth, and will be concluded on earth, but only after an assault on heaven. That conflict began when the devil seduced our first mother, and the conflict intensified and became more brutal still with the advent of the Saviour. John saw that intensification and wrote of it, “The dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus” [*Revelation 12:17*]. Earlier, he had written of a time yet future, perhaps very near, when he sees that war in heaven. He writes, “War arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back” [*Revelation 12:7*].