Weapons are ancient implements that have been found in every culture of every age. They are used by both aggressors and defenders alike. They are designed to stop, defeat, and snuff out the life of the enemy. I can see how some find them fascinating, from their mechanism to their power.
Paul calls upon the “weapon” metaphor in 2 Corinthians 10, saying, “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 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (4-6). He is defending his apostolic authority against unspecified critics. How sad that one as productive and effective for the Lord as Paul would be subject to the kind of criticism and disparagement he was, but he is a model for how one should respond to such. Along the way, he gives us some great encouragement about the weapons of our spiritual warfare today.
OUR WEAPONS DESTROY. Paul employs three present active participles to describe the function of our divinely-given weaponry. Through this, he identifies the function and capability of what God has given us in our arsenal. First, he says our weapons destroy. Effective weapons must serve to eliminate the enemy. What is the target in our spiritual war? Paul says it is “strongholds”–arguments and high things that exact themselves against the knowledge of God. We are equipped to answer and overcome the false ideas man produces to oppose the Lord (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Pet. 3:15). We are admonished to get into the Word to prepare ourselves for erroneous things man says to lead us away from the will of God.
OUR WEAPONS CAPTURE. We should not automatically be trigger happy in our battles. Christ wants men taken “alive,” to do His will. So these weapons bring false and erroneous thoughts into captivity. We are taken men prisoners of war so that they might be “free” (John 8:32), knowing these men have already been taken captive by Satan to do his will (2 Tim. 2:24-26). We know what a torturous captor he is.
OUR WEAPONS AVENGE. The English words, “being ready to punish” (6, NKJ), actually come from a single, compound Greek word that literally means “bring out right” or “help to justice.” We have got to be ready to use our weapons to defend righteousness and holiness against the terror and evil of disobedience. That usually requires wise tactics and steely nerves. Being shaky with a weapon can cause us to be ineffective as a soldier of Christ.
Now, our weapons are not dynamite and bombs. Neither are we to have an itchy trigger finer. Yet, we are to be soldiers willing to fight. “Fighting,” as Paul mentions is, should not conjure images of gritted teeth, hateful speech, and venomous angry. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, and the like. However, Paul urges boldness in fighting the evil in this world. Let us be sure we are equipped to do battle for God in this way.