|Posted on 6 November, 2013 at 9:55||comments (0)|
Do you remember “Armistice Day”? Most probably do not! Nevertheless, long before November 11 was renamed “Veterans Day,” it was called “Armistice Day,” and was originally intended to commemorate the end of the First World War (1914-18).
On June 28, 1914, a Serbian anarchist assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and set in motion a chain of events that soon culminated in what many call the “Great War.” Although many nations were involved, we remember it best as a war of aggression by the German speaking countries. When the United States entered the war on April 6, 1917, on the side of France and Britain, the German advance was halted and it became clear that they could not win. The fighting devolved into a virtual stalemate, with long rows of trenches from which the opposing armies continued to fight for many months. Hostilities officially ended on the western front, with the signing of an “Armistice” agreement, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. (firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm).
Twenty years later, in 1938, November 11 became a legal holiday, “Armistice Day,” in Europe as well as in America. On June 1, 1954, the name of the holiday was changed, in America, to “Veterans Day,” to honor all who have served in our armed forces.
The First World War ended with an “armistice,” not a complete and undisputed defeat of the enemy. The opposing armies agreed to cease hostilities and return to their homes. Although it was clear who won and who lost, the aggressor German armies were able to return home with some degree of dignity. The Second World War (1939-45) would end differently, in victory, not with an armistice. There is a vast difference!
When we consider the spiritual war in which Christians are engaged against the forces of evil, it is important to know the difference between “Armistice” and “Victory.” Paul wrote that we are at war “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). We are told to “take up the full armor of God,” so that we will “be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (6:13). To “stand firm” means to be victorious! Never does God’s word indicate that there exists any other option but victory. There is only victory and defeat; there is no place for “armistice.”
In the world of politics, there is some place for “negotiation.” And the Lord taught that children of God should act wisely in their affairs with others. He taught that “if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering” (Matthew 5:23-24). He then tells us to “make friends quickly” with an “opponent at law” before problems get to the point of no return and our “opponent” signs a warrant against us and takes us to court! (Matthew 5:25-26). There is certainly something to be said for “negotiations”!
But when it comes to our relationship with Satan, the Devil, there can be no negotiation, no compromise, and no “give and take.” Satan’s sole aim is to conquer, to destroy, and to corrupt! It is not a wise move to negotiate with Satan or to agree to an “armistice” with Satan! Paul wrote, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons” (I Corinthians 10:21). The concepts of “righteousness” and “lawlessness” are diametrically opposed to one another, so that there can be no “partnership” between them (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). Because we have nothing “in common” with “Belial,” we can have no “fellowship” with the principles of “darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:15). This does not mean that we cannot have friends who are not Christians or “believers.” And it does not mean that a Christian cannot marry or be married to a non-Christian, since there were many such unions, even in the Corinthian church (cf. I Corinthians 7:12 ff). It does mean, however, that the Christian must not surrender his or her principles for the sake of such unions or friendships. Rather, the Christian should be careful to influence for good his non-Christian friend or spouse (I Corinthians 7:14; I Peter 3:1-4).
The story is told of a hiker in the woods who suddenly found himself face to face with a huge grizzly bear. The hiker knew he could not outrun the bear, nor was he strong enough to defeat him in a fight, so he decided to negotiate. The result of the negotiation appeared to benefit both the hiker and the bear. The bear got himself a good meal, and the hiker a fur coat!
There is no substitute for victory! There can be no “armistice” agreement between the Christian and Satan. But we have been promised the victory if we hold fast. Peter wrote, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith” (I Peter 5:8-9). James tells us, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Count on this, that Satan has no power over you except that which you permit him to have!
Donald R. Taylor