War and Peace
by Burk Parsons
We all certainly agree that all virtues are heavenly and that all sins are deadly. Nevertheless, certain virtues are more heavenly than others, and certain sins lead to death more quickly than other sins. While some sins are private and some sins public, the wages of every sin is death (Rom. 6:23). As Christians we understand that God hates sin and loves virtue. However, our problem is that we don’t hate sin enough and that we don’t love virtue enough. Consequently, we soft-peddle the deadliness of sin and we offer nice platitudes about the virtues of living a holy life. As such, many professing Christians have swapped their faith for a bumper-sticker and have chosen to live as Christians of the world but just barely in the world, mimicking the world in nearly every way, and, in some cases, leading the way. And because we desire the vain virtues the world has to offer, we have come to terms on how to play the world’s game according to the world’s rules. To our shame, the Enemy has fooled us into thinking that we can actually win the battle by impressing the world with our seeming successfulness. All of this is on account of the fact that the virtues of the world have become more churchy and the respectable vices of the church have become more worldly.
While the waves of compromise and the tide of worldly vice seem overwhelming to those of us standing on the shores of Christian virtue, we cannot stand as idle spectators of the raging battle; we must board our battleships and fight. This is our supreme commission as warriors of Christ-, namely, to conquer all the tempting vices of the flesh, coming to the end of ourselves, laying down our arms, our gods, and all our besetting sins. We must put to death “what is earthly” and take up arms against all the deadly sins within our own hearts (Col. 3:5), for it is only then that we will be able to destroy the strongholds of the world, the flesh, and the Devil (2 Cor. 10:4). Herein is our heavenly virtue, that the Prince of Peace has put death to death in His death on the cross, nailing our deadly sins to the tree on which He was put to death so that we might be seated with Him in the heavenly places, coram Deo, before His face, forevermore in peaceful triumph (Col. 2:13–15).