Because they did not know, or would not accept the truth, soldiers fought on long after World War II had ended. In fact, one Japanese soldier continued the fight for twenty-nine years after the war had ended—until 1974! We might shake our heads in wonder at this fighting of battles in a war that had already been lost. An even greater war has also ended, but the enemy continues to fight on.
We see the battles all the time. On the other side of the world, Christians are imprisoned, kidnapped, murdered, tortured… all simply because they are Christians. But some of the battles are not so obvious. The enemy uses every weapon at his disposal to destroy the future for everyone. He doesn’t do it to win—it’s too late for that. He does it out of pure hatred. He wants to drag as many people as possible down with him.
We see less violent battles in our own society, but battles just as destructive to eternal futures. False teachers misuse the Bible and promise wealth and prosperity if only you will follow them. Gaining numbers in churches is seen as far more important than teaching the truth. Both inside and outside the Church, sexual perversions in direct opposition to God’s Word are not only permitted, but celebrated, promoted and protected. The marriage between male and female which God ordained is seen as outdated, closed-minded and unimportant. Children are murdered each day in clinics and hospitals with no one present to mourn their loss. Greed and lust for power have become more important than serving others. All of these battles cause destruction in both this world and in eternity. All of these battles, won by the enemy for now, are battles in a war that he has lost. The war is over.
Nearly two thousand years ago, the war ended in complete victory for Christ and his followers and utter defeat for the enemy, Satan, and his followers. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” the work of our salvation was complete and the war was over. But, even though he has no hope of winning, Satan continues to lure many into his army of darkness, destroying their souls and using them to further his goal of destroying many more, taking them to eternal destruction with him in hell. Make no mistake, though, the battles must be fought! For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
As Christians, we don’t fight Satan and his perversions of the truth out of hatred, but out of love! It is love for souls that cause a Christian to stand up for the truth! What good will it do for someone to become wealthy in this life, but lose eternity? What good will it do for a couple to unite outside of God-ordained marriage? What good will money and power bring on the Day Jesus returns? Jesus Himself answers those questions: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:36-38)
The greatest battles in this life are for the souls of all people. The battles for those souls rage on. But, the war is over and peace has been declared between God and man! The war is over, but the battles linger. As Christians, saved by God’s grace through faith, our focus is not on the fighting, but on the victory! God continues to grant everyone a time of grace to leave behind sin and trust in Him. We want all people to know the truth and to share in Christ’s victory! All people are conceived and born sinful and in need of a Savior. And Jesus is that Savior! And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) His desire is that all people trust in Him alone for their eternal future, leaving behind the things of this world and the temptations of the enemy, leaving behind eternal punishment and clinging to the promise of eternal life.
When we see and hear of persecutions, when false teachers continue to gain prominence, when perversions are openly celebrated, when the slaughter of the unborn continues unabated, when we see greed elevated to a position of honor, when society seems to be crumbling around us, then we listen again to the promise of God: The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:18)
The war is over. Jesus won.