Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Stance of Advance not Retreat

I was listening to a talk by Dr. Joe Morecraft from the Love the Church Conference where he mentioned Matt 16:18 where Peter is told that “the gates of hell shall not prevail” against God’s church. This is one of those verses that I think the defeatist mentality of many of the church today, often created by faulty eschatology, has influenced how it is interpreted. I say this as I have been there and seen this verse incorrectly for far too long.

What do gates speak of but a stationary edifice, an immovable object? So often this verse is seen from a defensive position in that it is interpreted that Satan’s attacks will not prevail. While that is true the picture this paints is of the church being holed up in the fortress and trying to hold back Satan at the gates. But gates do not attack they protect and in ancient times would be a line of defense in a fortress and often a weakness as they were a means of entry. The picture we should see is more rightly that the church which is to advance Christ’s Kingdom will not fail to do so no matter the attempt of Satan protecting its doomed fortress. In truth the fortress of Satan was already defeated at the cross and will come to final defeat at Christ’s return.

We are to gain confidence in our advance of Christ’s Kingdom in the here in now as the Apostles were to gain hope. We are to truly see the church as victorious and not as some blip on an historical timeline as many paint it. The church, the bride of Christ, is to be on the offensive and not simply sitting back waiting for His return. Let us be the one that storms the gates knowing they will not prevail, that they cannot hold up. Let us not cower in a corner waiting for help when it is here with us to empower us to advance and not retreat. Let us seek to live out Matt 6:10 and not only cry out that “His Kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” But let us be used by God’s as His means for doing so. Let us not only speak as if we have hope but live as if we have the hope Christ left in such verses as Matt 16:18.

We are called to be a set apart people of God, let us be so. The gates of hell will not prevail because God has already in effect torn them down. Let us not fear a defeated foe but advance to further Christ’s work in this world He has placed us in. A world that is His already. A world that we are to work to glorify Him in. Retreat does not speak well of our taking God’s word seriously so let us do so and ADVANCE His Kingdom.

1 comment:

Tony said...

I should add that I think there is a positive type of retreat. In many a battle one has to step back and regroup to make another offensive push forward. One who blindly moves forward through misplaced bravado accomplishes nothing but possible defeat. The type of retreat that I am speaking of is tactical and I would call it an “offensive retreat”. The retreat I refer to in the above article is the type of retreat that is defeatist in nature, a retreat from this world in waiting for another. The Apostles looked forward to that world to come but went forward, they did not retreat and in the larger picture we can see their deaths as victory as the martyrs of history all saw their deaths as a victory for Christ.