Paul has told us that the experience of Christians in this life is like a war. Now he tells us how we must fight that war. God has provided us with powerful weapons, our tools for war.
The weapons that soldiers used to fight depended wholly upon the flesh, the human body. The purpose of a sword is to cut into an enemyís flesh; a soldier depends on the strength of his own flesh to use it.
A sword might kill an enemy, but it cannot destroy the enemyís castle. That, of course, needed much more powerful weapons.
Elsewhere, Paul writes about a battle against evil spirits*. Here, however, his subject is a war about the thoughts that fill a personís mind*. Thoughts and ideas are powerful, because they can control a personís whole life. One wrong idea can make a person completely unable to trust God. One evil thought can ruin a personís relationship with God. That wrong thought may only be a product of the personís imagination. However, without Godís help, that person may be completely unable to change their mind.
People try to deal with such problems by many different methods. Perhaps they try to convince themselves, or other people, of the truth. Perhaps they make rules for themselves or other people to follow. However, these methods are too weak to achieve success, because they are of human origin. Paul would say that these methods depend on the flesh. That is, the person is depending upon himself, and not on Christ in him*. Instead, the person should give himself to Christ. Christ changes people completely*. He becomes both their master and their teacher: he teaches them how to obey him.
Next part: Why even our thoughts can offend God (10:5)
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.