One way to keep from being attacked would be to keep no company with the wicked. But 1 Corinthians 5:10 tells us that “then must ye needs go out of the world.” Jesus prayed to the Father, “not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (John 17:15). It is His will that we be exposed to attack but not defeated. Our divinely ordered armor provides effective security.
Lt. General William K. Harrison, Jr., in a message given in Yokosuka, Japan, drew attention to Romans 13:12–14, which says, “Let us put on the armour of light,” and, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” This indicates, General Harrison said, that in putting on the armor of Ephesians 6 we are putting on Jesus Christ. He is the truth (John 14:6). He is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30). He is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). He is the gospel (Mark 1:1). He is our salvation (Exod. 15:2), and He is the Word (John 1:1).
In physical war, if a nation were continually under attack and on the defensive, we could prophesy ultimate defeat, surrender, or destruction. To prevent this, there must be a final stand. The initiative and the offensive must change hands before victory can come to the defenders. This stand is called the defensive-offensive.
In World War II, there were four main turning points that gave the offensive to the Allies. All of these were great defensive-offensive battles where the defenders won and afterward took the initiative. Two of them have already been described in brief. The first battle of Alamein at the Alam Halfa ridge turned the tide in North Africa (as briefly described in chapter three). The Battle of Midway mentioned earlier was the defensive-offensive battle that reversed the positions in the Central Pacific. In Europe, the crown for defensive-offensive strategy goes to the Russians in the Battle of Stalingrad. When it became clear that the city would not fall, the Germans should have called a retreat. This was not done, and the German Sixth Army was annihilated. The fourth was the defense of Port Moresby in New Guinea that resulted in the annihilation of the Japanese detachment at Buna.
If there is no turning point, the defender will be defeated. There will be no turning unless a stand is made in a defensive-offensive battle. Yet, seemingly, in the minds of many Christians, a defensive position in the spiritual life is considered a virtue and an offensive position a sin. Defense is associated with the innocent party, as though we expect only the wicked to take up the offense. For this reason the virtuous pride themselves on being defenders, instead of taking up the offensive for truth, justice, holiness, and a powerful personal witness. This sometimes results in the pathetic situation of the virtuous enjoying defeat. Let us never forget that without an eventual offensive, defense only anticipates ultimate defeat.
The defensive-offensive applies to both individuals and groups of believers. Have you been only a defender against sin and sinners? Perhaps it is time for a stand, a defensive-offensive.
“Therefore stand,” and thus make your security sure.
*Excerpted from Principles of War. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.