So far we have discussed the behavioral dynamics and spiritual propulsion that characterize the complexity of sinfulness. satan at the door of Adam tempted him to eat the fruit but the same devil at Cain’s door tempted him to kill his brother. Lamech, Cain’s great great grandson, was even worse. Sinfulness, which would grow on its own, bears more and different evil fruit as wicked spiritual powers empower us to sin. Under the influence of the devil, our wicked hearts become diabolical. False ideologies and prophesies proclaimed by our hearts are emergent properties of complexly complex sinfulness.
With this understanding, it should be clear that the battle against false prophets and their ideologies cannot be won by simply showing the inherent stupidity and evil of false ideologies. One does not destroy a tree by stripping it of leaves nor can you win a dogfight by launching missiles ... at chaff. Similarly, you cannot demolish a false ideology by smashing its bricks of false eschatology and false evaluation. Since ideologies are emergent properties of a complex system, ideologies are necessarily antifragile to such static attacks. This means that as you demolish some false prophecies, the rest grow stronger and even that which you think you destroyed comes back more insidious and more resistant to fleshly armaments previously deployed Matthew 12:43. All this occurs even before you try to account for the devil’s influence on the human heart to believe and produce these false ideologies. This eternal paradigm is responsible for the re-emergence of false ideologies like social marxism and sexual “liberation” despite the righteous puritan effort to weave the fear of God into the fabric of Western laws, institutions and culture.
Just as Israel failed to remain righteous through the laws of Moses Romans 8:3-4, our most recent societal degradation demonstrates that we may only be temporarily trained through incentives and constraints to avoid certain actions and thoughts. Now a farmer might find it acceptable that every so often he will have to pull up some weeds. However, a whack-a-mole strategy that attacks false prophecies through apologetics, law and culture has far greater consequences than the re-emergence of the false ideology. When we only strive to curtail our neighbor’s bad behavior (e.g. through laws, culture, taboo) or rebuff their evil thoughts (church, music), we become pharisees converting men into born-again sons of hell Matthew 23:15 twice as evil as us. Jesus Christ and His apostles frequently preached against any reliance on human effort to curtail sinfulness 1 Tim 4:3; Col 2:23. Placing our trust in laws and taboo to help us resist or restrain sin is the false ideology that birthed all Sabbatarian cults. You cannot, by the power the devil, cast out demons. Instead, our greatest weapon is rooted in humble submission to God’s Word. We must pray that God Frees us from the power of satan while Circumcising our hearts from stone to flesh Colossians 1:3, Deuteronomy 30:6, Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26, Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10.
The Work of God
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
Here The Holy Spirit again Reminds us that we cannot win against false ideologies by the power of flesh. No amount of behavioral therapy or indoctrination can suppress or destroy the arguments and opinions of a sinful heart (Psalms 36:1-4). It is only by divine power that the wicked depart from evil and, like Nebuchadnezzar Daniel 4:34-35, proclaim (Psalms 36:5-10). Only by divine power are false ideologies shredded and their prophets silenced.
Yet what is this divine power that Paul speaks of? Is the apostle recommending the false preacher’s ersatz charismaticism or the mormon’s gnostic heresy? Of course not! From Ezekiel 37:1, Luke 1:35, Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 4:20; 1 Thess 1:5; 2 Tim 1:7 we see that The Holy Spirit, Who Is God, Is The Power of God. With our limited understanding, we can categorize the expression of His Power as oriented inwardly or externally. External expressions of His Power are marked by the many miracles, healings, prophecies and works of love He Performs through believers across the ages. Less overt, to us, is His Rule over the nations Psalms 66:7, 22:28, Daniel 11:1 down to the hearts of kings Proverbs 21:1 and our every breath. As partially delineated in the previous chapter, He Sovereignly Coordinates world events to accomplish His Holy Purpose. In addition to using the devil to punish those who do evil, He Sends angels to uphold kings Daniel 11:1, support the church Daniel 10:13, 21 and execute His Judgment Genesis 19:1, 24-26; 1 Chronicles 21:14-16; Acts 12:23.
His inward Work, the impossible transformation of the rebellious sinner into a zealous lover of God, is more readily evident in the many saints He Empowers to believe in Jesus ChristJohn 1:12. From Abel to John the baptist until now (Hebrews 11), those of faith believe in Jesus by The Power of His Holy Spirit. As Jesus Elaborates in John 16:8, at the preaching of The Gospel Romans 10:17, the Holy Spirit Convicts the sinner of her sin, Convinces her of The Righteousness of Jesus Christ and the judgment of the devil. He who believes that he is sinful, that Christ Is Holy, and the devil condemned by God, has already acquired holy valuation and holy eschatology. As we have said, there is nothing more visibly inimical to false ideologies and false prophets than holy valuation and holy eschatology.
You Shall Love The Lord
The Work of The Holy Spirit Is Holy and Utterly Different from the efforts of the misguided apologist or misguided pastor.
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
The misguided apologist is like a doctor who looks at the appearance of a disease and, from biblical arguments and laws, eloquently prescribes antipneumatics which attack the false ideologies causing spiritual disease. But as we have said, just as antibiotics select for bacterial resistance, antipneumatics, even when devastatingly eloquent, will eventually make the false prophet resistant.1 The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, Transforms your spirit and gives you a spiritual immune system, so that you begin to produce thoughts that change and adapt to destroy false ideologies wherever they rear their ugly heads1 Corinthians 2:4.
The Holy Spirit Does Not Convict by Arguing with the sinner. He does not trust philosophical treatises to convince people into faith. As Ecclesiastes shows, even when The Gospel wears the form of philosophy Acts 7:22-31, The Heart and Conclusion of The Gospel Is God Commanding us to fear Him Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Just as He Commanded Lazarus to come forth from the grave John 11:43, God Commands dead sinners to believe in Jesus Christ, repent and be baptized. The Holy Spirit Wins “arguments” by Regenerating the sinner’s dead spirit. Then, of course, the God fearing heart demolishes false ideologies by producing holy eschatologyJoshua 2:9 and holy valuationJoshua 2:11-13. And as these regenerate hearts meditate on obedience by fearing God, holy ideologies, institutions and nations will emerge.
By Ruling the nations and Regenerating hearts from stone to flesh, The Holy Spirit, The Power of God, Destroys strongholds, arguments and lofty opinions. The true apologist and pastor therefore understands that the destruction of false ideologies is God’s Work through our unworthy work. We say and do all things in The Light of His Holy Spirit Preaching The Gospel and Regenerating the spirits of men. We encourage and teach men and women to repent of their sins because we know the gates of hell cannot prevail against the heart to whom The Spirit Reveals Jesus Christ Matthew 16:17-19, John 16:13-15.
Weapon of Warfare: The First Prophecy
Since every believer’s heart produces holy eschatology, every believer is a holy prophet Joel 2:28. When a sinner becomes a believer, his first true prophecy is his baptism. In baptism, the new believer joyfully proclaims that he was a sinner and thereby sternly condemns the sinful world that rejects The Grace of God. He proclaims Jesus Is Lord and thereby deposes himself and the devil from the throne of his heart. He confesses faith in The Holy Word of Jesus Christ and, like Enoch Jude 14-15, testifies that The Lord Will Return to Receive His own and Condemn unbelievers to hell for all eternity. Refusing to be baptized is a sin akin to refusing to prophesy according to God’s Commandment.2 The believer can barely perceive and likely cannot articulate that through baptism, in obedience to Jesus Christ, he repeats the words of the true prophets that surround him Hebrews 12:1. He may never fully understand that through his baptism he is engaging in spiritual warfare.
And like the believer, the world rarely perceives that these holy prophecies are hidden in the parable of baptism. Yet the principalities and powers ruling the world see very clearly that Christ is again Making a mockery of their power Colossians 2:15. Therefore, the world senses or feels that the believer is proclaiming its destruction and immediately kills many believers. When not murdered, they are disowned by their families, lose their jobs or are imprisoned by the state Hebrews 10:32-35. The new believer need no longer be perplexed at the world’s hatred. He is a prophet of God walking in the parabolic tradition of all the prophets who came before him Matthew 23:34-35. The world who hates his Master, hates him too John 15:18-25.
Weapon of Warfare: The Holy Life
Continuous with his baptism, the believer continues to prophesy by living a holy life and preaching The Holy Gospel. Here let us recall the wars fought by Israel after crossing the Jordan into Canaan. Although Promised to Israel by God, the land of Canaan was full of evil nations whom Israel Was Commanded to utterly destroy. Just like Israel in the Promised land, the new believer is often surprised and frustrated to find many false ideologies and strongholds of sin still occupying her regenerated heart. Furthermore, because she follows Jesus Christ, the unworthy world, unable to find worth in Christ Matthew 10:38, will attack her with threats and persecute her with violence and exile Hebrews 11:35-38. As a result, the new Christian, like ancient Israel, is in double danger. She is assailed from within by evil strongholds long entrenched in her heart and attacked from without by an evil world that hates her MasterJohn 15:20-21.
In line with our previous understanding, the evil within the heart and the world is complexly complex through our sin and the delusion of the devil. But praise be to God. Obedience is also complexly complex. The principle of complex growth through recursive repetition applies to obedience. Just as transgression speaks deep in the heart of the wicked, obedience speaks deep in the heart of the righteous. However, while sinfulness is empowered by demons, the believer’s obedience Is Empowered by The Holy Spirit. As the believer meditates on God’s Word and reflects on his obedience, he becomes more and more holy. From his holiness emerges Godly thoughts and Godly ideologies which he shares with both neighbors and enemies.
Through suffering, the believer learns obedience and comes to know that The Spirit Uses his holy life To Proclaim Christ and the mystery of godliness 1 Timothy 3:16. By Proclaiming Christ to the believer’s heart and to the fallen world, The Holy Spirit Demolishes false ideologies and silences false prophets. The fear of God falls upon some who see the holy man obeying his Lord. The Spirit Brings some to faith in Jesus Christ and He Hardens the hearts of others Exodus 7:3 to reject God. In this way, holy men and women in every era have been His weapons of warfare against the evil works of satan and the false prophecies of the antichrist Psalms 116:15, Revelations 11:3-13. Forged by God through obedience, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Every act of obedience does fundamental violence to the strongholds and lofty imaginations of the sinful heart and the sinful world.