Vol. 3, No. 6
We lament the absence of a cure for the "common cold" and resign ourselves to combating the symptoms. Tragically, there are also several medical maladies for which there are no cures yet, some of which are lethal. It is no less than pathetic when real cures do exist for some illnesses, and they are not applied to the patients who desperately need them. Even more difficult to understand is the patient who refuses or neglects to obtain the cure for what ails him, especially should the disease be particularly hurtful or life threatening.
While not a medical cure, the Bible is the cure for much of what ails mankind. Not religion, as such, but the Bible, from which Christianity springs, is this potential cure. Like any cure on earth, the Bible cure is useless until applied.
Man is a composite or dual being, body and soul. The Bible addresses the whole man, his spiritual and physical self. In a sense, the Bible is a spiritual road map, able to guide one in his earthly pilgrimage toward the celestial city of heaven. Yet, the Bible is no less a map for man's physical trek on this sphere. To the extent the Bible serves as a map to be used during our earthly existence, it is also the potential cure for the various things we encounter in this life.
For instance, the Bible is the cure, if heeded, where there is no "work ethic" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Further, it is the cure for: preventing broken families (Ephesians 5:22-29) and unruly children (Ephesians 6:1-4); birth control among adolescents and other unmarried people (1 Corinthians 6:9, 18); substance and alcohol abuse (Ephesians 5:18); stealing (Ephesians 4:28); foul language (Ephesians 4:29); lying and perjury (Ephesians 4:25); tax evasion (Matthew 22:21; 1 Peter 2:17); etc. The key is the phrase, "if heeded." The "works of the flesh" of Galatians 5:19-21, followed by the "fruit of the Spirit" of Galatians 5:22-23, summarize the things for which the Bible can serve as cure, as well as lists the ingredients of the biblical vaccine.
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Every community would be a better, safer, more caring community were its citizens to heartily administer the Bible cure in their lives. The most dramatic cure available from the Bible's medicine cabinet is the remission of sins (Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-5) and the legitimate prospect of spending an eternity with God in heaven. The by-products are not bad either, now, on this earth.
Recently, I wandered on to the site of what must have been a horrific battlefield. From near the dawn of man's habitation of earth through the present, warfare has raged with little relief from its consequential atrocities and devastation. Battlefields, both ancient and modern, continue to yield artifacts carelessly discarded by fallen soldiers.
Many battlefields have been memorialized to commemorate the principles for which armies fought and the soldiers who became casualties of those conflicts. I have visited several such sites, including: Kings Mountain, associated with our nation's war of independence; Fort Niagara, involved in the War of 1812; the Alamo; and Gettysburg. One of the most widely known memorialized battlefields is at Pearl Harbor.
Especially one battlefield in biblical history was noteworthy, in part, for the things left behind by the Syrians as they fled Samaria (2 Kings 7). The battlefield on which I happened was the auditorium of the meetinghouse after worship. Scattered about and unattended were spiritual swords, or Bibles. The ". . . sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God . . ." is part of the Gospel armor (Ephesians 6:12-17).
The sword was an effective weapon of both defense and offense. The Word of God is depicted as such an effective tool. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
No good soldier of antiquity would walk away without his sword. To do so would make him unable to defend himself (or his comrades) and equally unable to press forward an offensive. Ordinarily, a soldier's sword was surrendered only involuntarily in combat.
Yes, I must have come upon a spiritual battlefield. In view of the swords that lie everywhere, the King's army must have been vanquished. There were evidently no survivors!
Surely, the soldiers of Christ are not wandering about unarmed -- defenseless -- and unable to fight. I shudder to think that soldiers of Christ will need to resist the devil (James 5:8) and rescue the fallen (James 5:19-20; Jude 23) during the interim between assemblies -- without the sword of the Spirit! Do you know where your sword is?
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