Using Scripture for the Tearing Down of Strongholds ~ blog
The word “stronghold” is found in 52 verses of the Bible. 51 of them are in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament. Here is that passage.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
People in Corinth were bad-mouthing Paul. These people often came into churches that Paul planted and tried to disrupt the message of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. They were called “Judaizers.” They wanted the new Christians to believe that there were works that they had to do to maintain their salvation.
They were raised in the Jewish Traditions of obeying the Torah, or the Laws God gave to Israel, and they could not imagine a gospel of complete grace without having any works you had to do to keep your salvation. These people loved their Jewish religion and feared that Paul was wrong about this whole idea of grace.
There are many places where you can find churches and Christians believing the same thing. Earlier this week I was told by a guy that I needed to ask Jesus to be my Lord and Savior because he judged me by something I said on Monday night at 180 and he felt one of my leaders also was not saved because of something he said.
He has been divisive in the group and so I told him that he is not welcome back until he meets with his leader and myself to talk things through. His problem is legalism. Somehow, he believes that Christians will not continue in sin … which seems pretty amazing since he is part of a sexual addiction recovery ministry.
Nobody received a more scorching rebuke from Jesus than the legalistic Pharisees. Nothing destroys the incredible love and grace of our heavenly Father and our Lord as legalism today that says you must be pure and holy to be saved and that if you continue in sin you must not be a believer. These thoughts are lies and not biblical. They come from a bad interpretation from a couple of verses which might seem to be teaching this but actually do not.
For example, here is the verse he was using from the King James Version;
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:9
First, this translation does not accurately tell us the meaning of the Greek words. This is true for a number of passages in the KJV and this is one of them. It seems to be saying that no Christian will sin. Yet, in the very beginning of his letter John says in 1 John 1:8 and 9;
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
So, which is it? We are either sinners saved by grace or we are not Christians because we sin.
What verse 9 of 1 John 3 is actually saying is that whoever is born of God will not continue in sin and allow it to become their lifestyle and be accepting of it. They do not care what God thinks and just want to live life their own way. That certainly does describe someone who does not truly know the Lord or has been saved.
So, it is in this context of creeping legalism that Paul says these words. He says that there are weapons we have as believers that have divine power to demolish strongholds. He says that these weapons that we can use have divine power, or power from God. And what do these divinely powerful weapons do?
They demolish strongholds. Now a stronghold is a place where one sets himself up to be able to withstand the enemy and from which they can strike out against the enemy. It is like a fort. Sometimes the fort defends against outsiders and sometimes it sends it’s soldiers out to attack. However, in this passage those enemies are not soldiers, they are thoughts. More specifically they are arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God.
And because of these arguments and pretentions, Paul says we need to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. Does that say anything to you about how important our thoughts are? How helpful or harmful the thoughts we think can impact our lives.
We have been talking about memorizing Scripture and using it in this battle. I frequently have thoughts that sprint through my brain in a matter of seconds. Some of these thoughts are crazy, and I say … where in the world did that idea come from? Well, it might be coming from a stronghold in my thinking that is not true and is sent to deceive and harm me.
That is another reason why it is so critical to be reading and memorizing God’s word. It is your antiballistic missile system to shoot down thoughts that are coming from your enemy. Any person that is teaching that our salvation is conditional and can be lost if we sin has a very poor understanding of what the Gospel of Grace is all about.
They become the Pharisees of our day and do damage to the true Gospel of the Unconditional Love and Grace of God.