(For an explanation of the meaning of “Ordinary Time,” please see “Introducing Ordinary Time” under the tab “Ordinary Time, Year II: Acts & The Letters.”)
2 Corinthians 10:1-6
The Weapons of the Christian’s Warfare
Now in these last few chapters Paul will make one final appeal to the Corinthians of the genuineness of his apostleship. It’s hard to imagine that those who came to saving faith through his ministry could now be so bold to denounce him, but they had allowed themselves to be misled by false brethren who slipped in behind Paul after he had left for another field of labor. I suppose today people would call this “sheep-stealing” or “proselytizing.” Those are really trivial terms to describe what Paul saw happening: Paul was not fighting to keep his church out from under someone else’s influence; Paul was fighting to keep this church in God’s family. We can be sure that whoever these false apostles were, be they Gentile antinomians or Jews of the circumcision party, Paul was fighting for the very truth of the gospel as salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ made real through a Spirit-filled life of love to others. This was the teaching and foundation of his apostleship, and to deny his apostleship was to deny the teaching that undergirded his apostleship, which was to deny the gospel itself. We have simply become so accustomed to church-hopping in our culture that we can’t see the deeper issue.
What is so fascinating about this passage are the weapons which Paul employs in his fights. Paul doesn’t want to fight; Paul doesn’t want to wage war. Besides, as far as the Corinthians who oppose him are concerned, he’s a wimp, anyway: “His bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account” (10:10). But Paul informs them that such estimation comes from the flesh, which ironically is what they accuse him of being concerned about. On the contrary, the weapons which Paul brings to a gunfight “have divine power to destroy strongholds … arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Yes, Paul is humble, no doubt about that. But it is this very humility which allows him to be bold with such powerful weapons as he has. And it is these weapons which he will use against his opponents when he arrives, which are, in a word, the word of God.
And these weapons are still available today, but are quite useless without ammunition: prayer, Bible study and memorization, and all baptized in the Spirit for humble and timely use. And let’s not forget personal holiness and walking with God. Thus equipped, we take our own thoughts captive to obey Christ before we try the thoughts of others. Remember, we do not fight flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), so our weapons cannot be of such.