The Cut and Thrust
This 'cut and thrust' is not about sharp business practice or 'positive driving'. It is about an essential defence against the Evil One. Most readers will never have held a sword, and certainly not used it as a weapon. The Roman infantry gladius sword was about 60cm long, made of some sort of steel-like alloy. Although the mounted officers would have a longer spatha sword (about 1 metre) this would be too unwieldy for the foot soldier. The gladius was broad-bladed and double-edged for cutting and slashing, with a well-formed point for thrusting. It was an offensive weapon! Roman legionnaires would be trained to lead with their shield (if possible knocking their enemy down with the heavy metal boss) and then to thrust with the sword. So, the sword is for very close contact fighting. It is life and death stuff.
When Satan attacks, we first stand behind the shield, but then as things get hotter - we will need to use the gladius. This sword is not ours, but it is permanent issue, to every one of Christ’s soldiers and servants, from the Holy Spirit Himself. It is the Word of God. Satan's principal attacks come through lies (John 8:44). As in most military campaigns, the devil lays traps into which we walk as we believe what is untrue.
Lies are only dealt with by truth. The sword of the Spirit is God's Word, which is truth (John 17:17). When we know and trust God's Word, we can use its truth to defend our minds against evil lies ... and the devil has to go away. That is what Jesus did when confronted by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). At the moment of attack, we will not need to advance at all, but simply declare the truth, from behind the shield of faith, to counter the untruths that have been used to ensnare or intimidate us.
Only the negligent Roman soldier (who would be court martialled) would leave barracks without his sword. But one thing worse than a court-martial, is death. Christians who do not trouble to read God's Word will never be able to use it; and those who have not learned any of the Bible, cannot use it in the unexpected moment. They will be defeated. The remedy is to prepare ahead of time - like any soldier. Start today ... with this whole verse, "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17). Commit it to memory, and then test yourself. You never know when you may need to deal with the liar who says, 'You are not saved ... your faith is no good ... God's Word is not true ...'. You can know from the Bible that your salvation is secure if you have received Christ, your faith is growing as you learn to stand behind Him, and He defends you as you grow; there is enough evidence in God's Word that He is always true to what He says - and He never changes. Believe the truth and the lies cannot stand against you!
© Dr Paul Adams