The Christian spiritual warfare and the use of the mind By Jack Kettler
Spiritual warfare as a Christian is inescapable. How does this warfare take place? Christianity is a rational religion, meaning it is not divorced from the use of the mind or intellect. The use of the mind is a result of man being an image-bearer of God. Hence, the warfare that takes place involves the use of the mind.
What is the Scriptural proof that man is an image-bearer of God?
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 ESV)
Relevant to this study, Francis Schaeffer says regarding God’s image in man:
“…Nothing is to be autonomous from God. The inward areas of knowledge, meaning, and values and the inward area of morals, are bound by God as much as the outward world. As the Christian grows spiritually he should be a man who consciously, more and more, brings his thought-world as well as his outward world under the norms of the Bible.” (1)
According to Schaeffer, man’s image consists of “knowledge, meaning, and values… are bound by God.” In other words, man has the innate ability for moral and rational cognizance.
The following Scriptural warnings to be on guard prove that the mind must be involved:
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3 NKJV)
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” (1 Timothy 6:20)
“By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:14 ESV)
“Guard the good deposit.” What was the good deposit Paul speaks of in 2 Timothy 1:14?
“Parallel with the thought just expressed is that contained in verse 14: That precious (or: excellent) thing which was entrusted to you guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
The ‘precious deposit’ is, of course, the gospel, taken in its widest sense (see 1 Timothy 6:20). It consists of ‘the sound words’ which Timothy has heard from Paul (see the preceding verse, 13). It is precious or excellent because it belongs to God and results in his glory through the salvation of those who accept it by sovereign grace. Again (as in 1 Timothy 6:20), Timothy is urged once for all to guard this deposit. He must defend it against every attack and never allow it to be changed or modified in the slightest degree.
But since the enemy is strong and Timothy is weak, Paul very wisely adds the thought that this guarding cannot be done except ‘through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us,’ that is, within Paul, Timothy, all believers (Romans 8:11). Timothy, then, should hold on to the pure gospel, the sound doctrine, as Paul has always done.” (2)
Summarizing Hendriksen, it can be said:
The faith or good deposit is to be protected. The protection is done by guarding, contending, which means to avoid profane babbling and fraudulent science. The intellect is used to distinguish truth and error.
It can be concluded that the intellectual and spiritual aspects of this warfare are unified and not contradictory.
Be on guard, because deceivers, false prophets, false apostles, savage wolves, and others trying to draw away disciples after themselves shall come to ravage the Church:
“And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.” (Jeremiah 14:14 ESV)
“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:30)
“For I know this that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” (Acts 20:29)
“For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:18)
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:13 ESV))
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” (Galatians 3:1)
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:6 NKJV)
“Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.” (Colossians 2:4 NKJV)
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (1 Peter 2:1)
“Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV)
“By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” (2 Peter 2:3 NKJV)
“I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.” (1 John 2:26 ESV)
Common to all of these warnings, as an example, the bewitching of the Galatians typified and involved the believing of lies. The lies were brought by various deceivers, in which the apostles were aptly described in the warning passages above. As in the case of the Galatians, Paul’s reproof was necessary because of the lack of scrutiny on their part of the doctrine of the Judaizers.
The model example:
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
Paul, the apostle, explains it best:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV)
That is why the Christian must:
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)
1. Francis Schaeffer, He Is There and He Is Not Silent, (Westchester, Illinois, Crossway Books), p. 82.
2. William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary, Thessalonians, Timothy and Titus 1984, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1984), p. 237.
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com