Creed: What Do You Believe?
- Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Editor's Note: "Creed" is an ongoing article series that discusses the core beliefs of Christianity as expressed in the Apostle's and Nicene creeds. Links to the other installments are listed at the end of this article.
In the last installment of Creed: What Do You Believe? we looked closely at Ephesians 6: 12, which reads: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
I told you at the end of the article that we'd be looking at more of the specifics of the armor of God and explore the one place in which we do not battle. So, let's get started.
How'd We Get Here In The First Place?
Some of you may be wondering how a series of articles about the Nicene and Apostle's Creed has managed to migrate to articles about the armor of God. Well, I'll tell you.
The whole point of the Creeds is to focus on what we believe. When you think about it, so much of what we claim to believe in is pretty...well...unbelievable! As I have stated before, this is the very essence of faith, to believe in that which the rest of the world would raise a brow toward.
The Bible is riddled with stories "strange" enough to make us go, "hmmmm." Worlds being created in seven days, floods destroying all but eight people and a few animals, seas parting, a city crumbling after being marched around seven times, the sun standing still, a shepherd becoming king, a King becoming a Shepherd, twelve men from a tiny country called Israel turning the religious world upside down...the list goes on and on.
Then, Paul adds to the mix by talking about things unseen. About wars going on in heavenly places. And about an armor we can't see to put on, but can see the evidence of when we don't wear it.
About a struggle against wickedness we fight every single day of our lives.
Wickedness, You Say?
Wickedness? Isn't that a bit of a harsh word?
If you look at The New American Standard Bible, you will read the passage thusly:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Forces of wickedness.
An interesting word, especially in light of the fact that it's used only seven times in the entire New Testament.
In Matthew 22:18, Jesus referred to the disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians as "wicked" when they came to Him with bogus questions about taxes and the paying of them to the government.
In Mark 7, Jesus has been preaching some pretty meaty stuff. When He leaves the crowd and enters a house with His disciples, they question what He'd just said. (I suppose not wanting to sound dumb in front of the others.)
And He said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.) And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. (NASB)
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