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Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual Warfare’


Have you ever tried hewing orcs and hacking goblins? Every once in a while you happen across some fell beast whose armor is just too strong and whose orc-hide is too thick. No matter how much you hack and hew, your sword just won’t do the trick. Like in the Beowulf epic, some monsters are too big.

If your answer is no, then I confess: neither have I.

But as Christians we are always doing battle: “Not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). Paul exhorts all Christians (women included) to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” and to “put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:10-11). But how are we supposed to “put on” this “full armor of God”? Indeed, if this is how we take our “stand against the devil’s schemes,” then we ought to know what Paul is talking about. And so he explains:

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests (Eph. 6:14-18).

The belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, gospel greaves, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit “which is the word of God.” And though all of the above are important (indeed indispensable), it is to the last item that I wish to draw our attention — the sword of the Spirit “which is the word of God.” And so let us follow Paul’s metaphor a little bit.

Nothing is worse then a dull blade — a sword that doesn’t work. You hack at helmets and nothing happens. You expend all your might and mane yet your enemies remain, standing and undaunted. And conversely, nothing is better then a sharp blade — a sword well-forged and proven in battle. In the Beowulf epic mentioned above, the hero is unable to subdue his enemy (Grendel’s mother) until he reaches for a special sword presented to him at the very last moment. Without it he would have failed. With it he was able to smite his monstrous foe. Likewise J.R.R. Tolkien, in the Lord of the Rings, contrasts those swords which are well-forged (by Elves and Dwarfs in ages past) with the poor contrivances of lesser men. Andúril (Aragorn’s sword) is featured prominently as the “Flame of the West.” And in the hands of the king it strikes fear into enemy hearts. This is because it had been re-forged from the shards of Narsil, that blade which had cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand, sending the Dark Lord into hiding.

And yet these myths tell us something true about reality itself: What matters is not merely the man, and how valiantly he fights, nor how sincerely and earnest.  What matters is also the weapon with which he fights. And not all weapons are created equal. Some weapons are made of “better stuff.” Some swords by better smithies. And the difference between the two can determine either victory or defeat — life or death. And yet I believe this analogy holds when considering the sword of the Spirit as well.

What is the sword of the Spirit? Paul says it is the word of God (Eph. 6:17). Thus, it is not the word of men, or angels, or demons, but the word of God. In many ways, words are like swords. Not all words are “created” equal (as it were). Some are stronger, sharper, and more “cutting.” Some are made of “better stuff.” Others are constructed poorly. Some words are simply more powerful and can “do things” that other words cannot. As the wise man said, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Prov. 15:1). A man can be built up or ruined by the words of others. A father can either devastate his daughter with cruel words, or establish her with loving words that tell her she is cherished.

But God’s word is unlike and above all the words of men. It is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). It kills and makes alive. Thus, it wasn’t without reason that our Lord quoted from Scripture when he did battle against Beelzebub. And by the word of God, the Son of God routed the enemy, sending him fleeing into defeat. God’s word is a powerful word, and thus a powerful sword. Indeed, there is none like it. So the psalmist writes, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise” (Ps. 56:3-4). And again, “You have exalted above all things your name and your word” (Ps. 138:2).

But after telling us to take up the “sword of the Spirit,” notice how Paul also instructs us to “pray in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18) And so there is this connection, between the “sword of the Spirit” and our praying “in the Spirit.” As Calvin notes:

Having instructed the Ephesians to put on their armor, he now enjoins them to fight by prayer. This is the true method. To call upon God is the chief exercise of faith and hope; and it is in this way that we obtain from God every blessing (Calvin’s Commentary on Ephesians).

With what do we fight our battles? The word of God. Where do we fight our battles? Upon our knees. The two are vitally connected. If we are to “stand firm” we must be men and women who not only read God’s word (studying it, and meditating upon it), but who also pray God’s word. For it is in prayer that the sword of the Spirit does great battle. And it is in prayer than our knowledge and memory of the word (even our access to an english bible) become so invaluable. Here is where we fight our fiercest battles. And here is where our enemy will oppose us with all his might.

But if this is the case, how ought we best pray with Scripture — that is, praying according to God’s word? Our Lord has certainly not left us without instruction. First of all it should be recognized that the entirety of Scripture can itself be prayed and incorporated in prayer. More specifically, Jesus himself gave his disciples a most excellent example in the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matt. 6, Luke 11). And yet especially suited to the purpose of prayer God has given us the Psalter. And here is a gift most incomparable.

In the 150 psalms God gave us his very-own, ready-made, prayers. Their craftsmanship is both human and divine, capable of penetrating the depths of human weakness and despair, as well as ascending to the heights of worship and adoration. As John Calvin called them “an Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” a “treasury” of “resplendent riches,” the excellency of which is “no easy matter to express in words.”

[F]or there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.

Given the incomparable richness of the Psalms, we might be surprised to realize God actually wants us to use them! But such generosity (even gratuitous extravagance) is not unlike our God.

In fact God has given us these resplendent beauties of the finest quality so that we might sing them back to him; that we might pray them from our hearts; and that we might do battle with them. For these words are not just any words — they are the words of God, forged by the breath of God. And their reliability is next to none. Indeed, the Psalter has been taken upon the lips of our Lord and King Jesus Christ himself when walking this earth and doing battle against demons and dragon. Paul likewise, and all the great host of Christians gone before, have cherished these words to ward off and contend with their bitterest enemies — the world, the flesh, and the devil. As David writes, “The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times” (Ps. 12:6). The Psalter is a blade forged from that ancient hypostatic Word; expired by God himself; holy and inerrant; infallible and unbreakable.  A sword of the Lord, divinely wrought, and double-edged, for prayer and praise, now given to mortal men! …. And do we not care?

Amongst all the portions of Scripture, the psalms especially offer themselves as inspired prayers to God, ready for use, suited to our every need. How is that we are so often apt to leave this sword upon the mantel and in its scabbard? As Calvin noted:

God has furnished us with various defensive weapons, provided we do not indolently refuse what is offered. But we are almost all chargeable with carelessness and hesitation in using the offered grace; just as if a soldier, about to meet the enemy, should take his helmet, and neglect his shield. To correct this security, or, we should rather say, this indolence, Paul borrows a comparison from the military art, and bids us put on the whole armor of God. We ought to be prepared on all sides, so as to want nothing. The Lord offers to us arms for repelling every kind of attack. It remains for us to apply them to use, and not leave them hanging on the wall. – Commentary on Eph. 6:11

How is it that we often prefer our own weak and measly words when doing battle? When fighting spiritual warfare upon our knees? When all hell has broken out against us and none of our words seem to be making a single dent? Why do we choose our own ideas, our own thoughts, our own strength? Do we think we are stronger than our enemies? Or that our foes don’t really want to destroy us? How often do we reach for the sword of the flesh when we could take up the sword of the Spirit? Do we suppose that they are equally made? Do we think our words will suffice?

O how powerful God’s word really is! When taken upon one’s lips by faith; with understanding in the heart. O how mighty they are in battle, and with what ease they are sent aloft to the heavens, or fall upon our foes. With what deadly swiftness they bid our assailants depart. And with what comfort do they fill our souls. When all else fails, and we are nearly subdued by our enemies, one word sends our enemies packing. For all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom. 10:13). As Martin Luther understood and wrote so well:

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That Word “above all earthly powers,” who is himself Life indestructible, has condescended to canonize his very speech for us. And by his spirit he makes this word to live within us and thus give us life. O may we knew that word better, and understand it by his Spirit. May we allow it to dwell within us richly, with all wisdom and understanding (Col. 1:9). Then we will be able to address one another in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord” in our hearts (Eph. 5:19). And since prayer is the chief part of our gratitude which God requires of us, and because God will give his grace and Holy Spirit only to those who earnestly and without ceasing ask them of him” (Heidelberg Catechism 116), let us ask for these things.

And let us give thanks to God for his Word and Spirit, and for the Psalter. And let us take it upon our lips, speaking with faith hearts these psalms which cause our enemies to shrink back in dismay. Calvin wrote, “By faith we repel all the attacks of the devil, and by the word of God the enemy himself is slain.” Now we have been given a better sword. By faith and prayer, let us wield it wisely.

Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for my help!
Draw the spear and javelin against my pursuers!
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!” (Ps. 35:1-3)

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I’ve been talking with my close friends about the difficulty ‘gospel men’ have determining when to fight a theological battle or just avoid offense. As we mature, I doubt this difficulty will go away. Rather, we will likely be tempted to fall into two extremes: 1) offending everybody whenever we disagree with them, or 2) Offending nobody even though we strongly disagree with them.  Both, I believe, are wrong.

As for me, I hope to follow my Lord’s example and that of the apostle Paul.  Although they were gentle as doves with those who needed protection, they surely didn’t avoid conflict with those who needed opposition (“I opposed him to his face,” Gal 2:11), and on occasions seemed to seek it out. And even though they must have known it would arouse the vitriol of their opponents, they didn’t stop short of employing singularly inflammatory statements.

I wonder if Christ or Paul would fair too well in our day… Should we fight? Or should we not? Is there a time to fight? (I think a wise man once said there was a time for everything.)

With that in mind, I ran across this address by J. Gresham Machan entitled ‘The Scientific Preparation of the Minister‘ which was delivered September 20, 1912 at the opening of the 101st session of Princeton Theological Seminary.  As some of us gear up for the ‘Christianity and Liberalism Revisited‘ conference this weekend at WSC, I thought the following paragraph may be particularly appropriate:

Beneath the surface of life lies a world of spirit. Philosophers have attempted to explore it. Christianity has revealed its wonders to the simple soul. There lie the springs of the Church’s power. But that spiritual realm cannot be entered without controversy. And now the Church is shrinking from the conflict. Driven from the spiritual realm by the current of modern thought, she is consoling herself with things about which there is no dispute. If she favours better housing for the poor, she need fear no contradiction… The twentieth century, in theory, is agreed on social betterment. But sin, and death, and salvation, and life, and God – about these things there is debate.

You can avoid the debate if you choose. You need only drift with the current… The great questions may easily be avoided. Many preachers are avoiding them. And many preachers are preaching to the air. The Church is waiting for men of another type. Men to fight her battles and solve her problems. The hope of finding them is the one great inspiration of a Seminary’s life. They need not all be men of conspicuous attainments. But they must all be men of thought. They must fight hard against spiritual and intellectual indolence. Their thinking may be confined to narrow limits. But it must be their own. To them theology must be something more than a task. It must be a matter of inquiry. It must lead not to successful memorizing, but to genuine convictions. – J. Gresham Machen

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I’m going through 1 John right now in my Greek class, and thought I would offer some thoughts.

John speaks of the false teachers (the antichrist) who have come into the world. And then as if to reassure his beloved church, he then changes his tone:

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them (the antichrist), for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (4:4).

This reminds me of a theme I’ve been noticing all throughout the NT, but particularly in John’s writings. Namely, that Christ indwells his church.

It sounds simple enough, but this is a profound mystery. There is this vital and mystical union between Christ and his Church, and it is one of the reasons why Christians don’t get destroyed by the evil one. It is not because we are tough enough to take on our spiritual enemies. On the contrary, we are weak, poor, pitiful, hobbit-folk — halflings — who roam a world full of desperate peril.

We are like spiritual ragamuffins, defenseless if left to ourselves. But Christ works through us by the power of the Holy Spirit, sanctifying, guarding, protecting, nurshishing, strengthening, and preserving us unto the end.

Calvin comments:

Though then they must contend, yet he says that they had conquered, because they would have a successful issue, as though he had said that they were already, though in the middle of the contest, beyond any danger, because they would surely be conquerors.

But this truth ought to be farther extended, for whatever contests we may have with the world and the flesh, a certain victory is to follow. Hard and fierce conflicts indeed await us, and some continually succeed others; but as by Christ’s power we fight and are furnished with God’s weapons, we even by fighting and striving become conquerors. As to the main subject of this passage, it is a great consolation, that with whatever wiles Satan may assail us, we shall stand through the power of God.

But we must observe the reason which is immediately added, because greater, or stronger, is he who is in you than he who is in the world. For such is our infirmity, that we succumb before we engage with an enemy, for we are so immersed in ignorance that we are open to all kinds of fallacies, and Satan is wonderfully artful in deceiving. Were we to hold out for one day, yet a doubt may creep into our minds as to what would be the case tomorrow; we should thus be in a state of perpetual anxiety. Therefore the Apostle reminds us that we become strong, not by our own power, but by that of God. He hence concludes, that we can no more be conquered than God himself, who has armed us with his own power to the end of the world. But in this whole spiritual warfare this thought ought to dwell in our hearts, that; it would be all over with us immediately were we to fight in our own strength; but that as God repels our enemies while we are reposing, victory is certain.

Our only hope is to call upon the name of the Lord, our only strength is through the power of prayer, and our only victory is obtained through faith in Christ the Victor.  He, and he alone, is why we overcome.

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Having spent considerable time and energy over the last weeks and months reading John Calvin, that great Genevan Reformer, I now have the splendid opportunity to study Martin Luther as well.  And oh what a joy! It’s as if someone should’ve said to me: “If you liked Calvin (for all the right reasons, of course, not the wrong ones) well you’re going to love Luther.” And they would’ve been right of course.

The same theological, hermeneutical, homiletical, and pastoral insight which made Calvin such a dear and shining light to many, is there in its brash and bold (and yet foundational) form in Luther. And is it ever encouraging to read.  Indeed I can think of few things as delightful to the soul. However, enough already… Let’s get to some Luther quotes.  From his “What to Look for and Expect in the Gospels” (1521).

After explaining how some confuse the Gospel as merely referring to the four first books of the New Testament, Luther wrote:

There is, besides, the still worse practice of regarding the gospels and epistles as law books in which is supposed to be taught what we are to do and in which the works of Christ are pictured to us as nothing but examples. Now where these two erroneous notions remain in the heart, there neither the gospels nor the epistles may be read in a profitable or Christian manner, and [people] remain as pagan as ever.

The stout German is obviously off to a good start. But one can leave it to the ‘wild boar’ to run a royal rampage across deception and unbelief. He then defines Gospel per se:

Gospel is and should be nothing else than a discourse or story about Christ, just as happens among men when one writes a book about a king or prince, telling what he did, said, and suffered in his day. Such a story can be told in various ways; one spins it out, and the other is brief. Thus the gospel is and should be nothing else than a chronicle, a story, a narrative about Christ, telling who he is, what he did, said, and suffered–a subject which one describes briefly, another more fully, on this way, another that way.

There you have it. The gospel is a story about Christ.

He then goes on to show that this same gospel is the one we get in the Old Testament as well:

Thus when Isaiah in chapter fifty-three says how Christ should die for us and bear our sins, he has written the pure gospel. And I assure you, if a person fails to grasp this understanding of the gospel, he will never be able to be illuminated in the Scripture nor will he receive the right foundation.

Be sure, moreover, that you do not make Christ into a Moses, as if Christ did nothing more than teach and provide examples as the other saints do, as if the gospel were simply a textbook of teachings or laws. Therefore you should grasp Christ, his words, works, and sufferings, in a twofold manner. First as an example that is presented to you, which you should follow and imitate. As St. Peter says in 1 Peter 4, “Christ suffered for us, thereby leaving us an example.” Thus when you see how he prays, fasts, helps people, and shows the love, so also you should do, both for yourself and for your neighbor. However this is the smallest part of the gospel, on the basis of which it cannot yet even be called gospel. For on this level Christ is of no more help to you than some other saint. His life remains his own and does not as yet contribute anything to you.

In short this mode [of understanding Christ as simply an example] does not make Christians but only hypocrites. You must grasp Christ at a much higher level. Even though this higher level has for a long time been the very best, the preaching of it has been something rare. The chief article and foundation of the gospel is that before you take Christ as an example, you accept and recognize him as a gift, as a present that God has given you and that is your own. [emphasis mine] – Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings, ed. Timothy F. Lull, (Fortress Press, Minneapolis: 2005). 93-95.

Well, I don’t know how one could ever strike any more deftly at the very vitals and heart-beat of unbelief.  This penetrates to the core of all false teaching and apostasy which teaches us not to believe in Christ as everything for our salvation, but rather someone and something just shy of it.  Some thing (no matter how small or seemingly reasonable) must be left outstanding.  And just as surely one believes this then all one’s glorying in Christ and his cross falls faint to the ground.

And what’s more, the human heart, in its pride, ever resists such a free gift from our Gratuitous Benefactor and Heavenly Father. And as much as we might think we can today find evidence to the contrary, there’s nothing we like less than a free handout — and from God, least of all. It restlessly tugs against such an offer of absolute and unconditional grace. And of course our sinful hearts are joined in a distorted chorus by the world and the devil, ever providing a relentless deluge of resistance.

And yet the Gospel truly is good news… the best in the world…in all creation. May God by his mercy grant us ears to hear, and hearts to understand, how great and marvelous his love is toward us. Amen.

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In the first place, it should be directed not only against the opponents outside the Church but also against the opponents within. The opponents of Holy Scripture do not become less dangerous, but they become far more dangerous, when they are within ecclesiastical walls.

At that point, I am well aware that widespread objection arises at the present time. Let us above all, men say, have no controversy in the Church; let us forget our small theological differences and all repeat together Paul’s hymn to Christian love. As I listen to such pleas, my Christian friends, I think I can detect in them rather plainly the voice of Satan. That voice is heard, sometimes, on the lips of good and truly Christian men, as at Caesarea Philippi it was heard on the lips of the greatest of the Twelve. But Satan’s voice it is, all the same.

– J. G. Machen. Article found here.

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The more I’ve read and thought over Christian truth, the more I’ve found this particular idea to be at the heart of so much difficulty and unbelief.

HE WHO GLORIES IN HIS OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS ROBS GOD OF HIS HONOR

Thus the matter stands: we never truly glory in him unless we have utterly put off our own glory. On the other hand, awe must hold this as a universal principle: whoever glories in himself, glories against God. Indeed, Paul considers that the world only becomes subject to God [cf. Romans 3:19] when men are utterly deprived of any occasion for glorying. Accordingly, Isaiah, when he announces that the justification of Israel will rest in God, adds at the same time “and praise” [Isaiah 45:26, Vg.; cf. ch. 45:25, EV]. It is as if he were to say that the elect are justified by the Lord to the end that they may glory in him and in no other. But he had taught in the preceding verse how we ought to glory in the Lord: namely, that we should swear that our righteous acts and our strength are in the Lord [Isaiah 45:24]. Note that not a simple confession is required but one confirmed by an oath, lest you should think it something to be discharged by any kind of feigned humility. And let no man here allege that he does not glory in himself at all when without arrogance he recognizes his own righteousness. For there can be no such estimation without engendering confidence, and no confidence without giving birth to glorying.

Therefore, let us remember in all discussion of righteousness to keep this end in view: that the praise of righteousness remain perfect and whole in the Lord’s possession, since it was to manifest his own righteousness that—as the apostle attests—he poured out his grace upon us “so that he himself may be righteous, and the justifier of him who has faith in Christ” [Romans 3:26, Vg.]. Accordingly, in another passage, having stated that the Lord conferred salvation upon us in order to show forth the glory of his name [Ephesians 1:6], so to speak, repeating the same thing, he afterward adds: “By grace you have been saved… and… by the gift of God, not by works, lest any man should boast” [<490208> Ephesians 2:8-9 p.]. And Peter, when he points out that we have been called to the hope of salvation so “that we may declare the excellences of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light” [1 Peter 2:9 p.], doubtless intends that the sole praises of God may so resound in the ears of believers as to overwhelm in deep silence all arrogance of the flesh. To sum up, man cannot without sacrilege claim for himself even a crumb of righteousness, for just so much is plucked and taken away from the glory of God’s righteousness.

– Calvin’s Institutes 3.13.2

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There’s no getting around it. Invariably and inevitably, in the course of any ideological (or theological) discourse, one will eventually find himself confronted by some form of opposition, and therewith, the potential occasion forcing him to decide either to ‘cross swords’ (as it were) and engage his opponent, or otherwise to stand down and retreat.

Now, it should be a given that most men generally like to fight. It’s part of our fallen nature to enjoy brawling. I believe even the most self-respecting and reserved amongst us is not entirely immune to this inclination.   And yet, on the other hand, many of us would also admit we don’t like conflict.  So get this: we want to fight (sometimes) but also generally don’t like conflict. If that doesn’t make sense to you, that’s okay, it bewilders me as well.

Nevertheless, not all fighting is bad. In fact, there’s a sense in which, as men of God, we indeed should want to fight — given the right reason and right motivation.  Scripture is clear enough in this regard.  But determining, when, where, how and in what cases this fighting should be done is the stuff of our common dilemma.   Indeed, it seems unsurety regarding these  kind of situations can be the cause of considerable consternation amongst those conscientious not to give needless offense and yet convicted not to just stand still and do nothing. So what’s needed is wisdom — biblical, mature, and spiritual discernment to determine when to fight and when to hold one’s peace.

Well, the apostle Paul possessed this kind of wisdom. And  what’s more, he demonstrated it when he confronted his fellow apostle Peter before the whole Antioch assembly:  “When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong” (Gal. 2:11).

Now, some might say Paul was wrong to do this since he didn’t first approach Peter individually (Matt. 18:15) and thus avoid a public scandal. And yet, perhaps we shouldn’t jump to any such hasty conclusions.

It seems clear enough to me that when the Gospel is at stake, and therewith, the minds, hearts, and faiths of God’s children, we shouldn’t cavil to the tongues of deception. For under this pretext of peace is the the very demise of the sheep. No, we should stand up like men, and fight.

I’ve been reading through some of John Calvin’s commentaries and found these words particularly riveting.

If Paul had been silent here, his whole doctrine fell; all the edification obtained by his ministry was ruined. It was therefore necessary that he should rise manfully, and fight with courage. This shews us how cautiously we ought to guard against giving way to the opinions of men, lest an immoderate desire to please, or an undue dread of giving offense, should turn us aside from the right path. If this might happen to Peter, how much more easily may it happen to us, if we are not duly careful! – – Commentary on Galatians 2:11

Before them all. This example instructs us, that those who have sinned publicly must be publicly chastised, so far as concerns the Church. The intention is, that their sin may not, by remaining unpunished, form a dangerous example; and Paul elsewhere (1 Timothy 5:20) lays down this rule expressly, to be observed in the case of elders, “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear;” because the station which they hold renders their example more pernicious. – Commentary on Galatians 2:14

It is a cruel kind of mercy which prefers a single man to the whole church. “On one side, I see the flock of God in danger; on the other, I see a wolf “seeking,” like Satan, “whom he may devour.” Ought not my care of the church to swallow up all my thoughts, and lead me to desire that its salvation should be purchased by the destruction of the wolf? And yet I would not wish that a single individual should perish in this way; but my love of the church and my anxiety about her interests carry me away into a sort of ecstasy, so that I can think of nothing else.” With such zeal as this, every true pastor of the church will burn. – Commentary on Galatians 5:12

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