Surviving As A Christian In A War Zone!
The title of this video is “Surviving as a Christian in a War Zone.” This fallen world is a war zone in rebellion against God and His righteousness. If you are a Christian and your foundation is not rock solid, whether you are living in a place of repression like China or Iran, or in the Bible-believing heartland of America, you may become a Christian war casualty, one who is sidelined and never fulfills God’s purpose for your life. So to encourage you, I want to look at two foundational truths that will help you stand firm and not be a casualty: Assurance of salvation and our identity in Christ. Let’s look into it.
For Christians, as long as we are in this world, we live in a war zone. The very moment we place our faith in Jesus, we cross over from being in friendly territory to unfriendly territory. One moment we’re a welcomed part of this world system that is in rebellion against God. We’re accepted by it and loved by it. But once we place our faith in Christ for salvation, we enter God’s Kingdom and this world system becomes enemy territory, hostile to us and everything Christ stands for.
“I am not of this world.” John 8:23
And the moment we place our trust in Him for salvation, we also become not of this world. Yet God does not immediately take us out of this world to be with Him in heaven. Instead, He leaves us here in enemy territory and tells us to occupy until He comes.
Unfortunately, far too many Christians don’t realize the warfare they’re getting themselves into and become causalities. They fall in battle and become sidelined by sin or temptation, or become fearful and lose confidence. So instead of occupying enemy territory as God left us here to do, they shrink back and live just like everyone else in this world. They give up fulfilling God’s purposes for their lives and the great rewards God has planned for them because they are unsure and afraid.
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward (Great Reward). For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come (Christ) WILL COME, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:35-39
This verse is not meant to chasten you or rebuke you, or to make you feel bad about yourself, but to encourage you. Fear and lack of confidence are real enemies that Satan will do his best to fan into a fire in your life. If he can just take away your confidence and make you fearful and unsure about God, then he will be the one with the victory in your life. Fear, lack of confidence and pressure to conform to this world will cause you to shrink back from walking the Christian life and obeying God. And if you do shrink back, the result will be threefold:
- You will lose eternal rewards. Notice that it says “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” There is a great reward in heaven coming for those who faithfully serve Christ here on earth. Let me be clear: Our salvation is based on faith in Christ alone, not on our works. But eternal rewards given at the Judgment Seat of Christ to those who are saved will be based on the works we do on this earth as a result of our faith. When we shrink back from what God would have us do because of fear and lack of confidence, we are forfeiting eternal rewards – not our salvation, but rewards.
- You will fail to achieve God’s purpose for your life. Lack of confidence and assurance will cause us to shrink back from serving God and, even though we are saved through faith in Christ, God will not be pleased with us. This is because our shrinking back due to our lack of confidence is thwarting God’s purposes. This verse says, “but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” This doesn’t mean you are going to hell. You are saved solely by your faith in Christ, not based on your performance. So this is not about salvation. It’s about serving God and pleasing Him with our lives. There are assignments God has for every single person. And when we faithfully do those assignments, we please God. When we don’t, He doesn’t stop loving us, but we have let Him down and He gains no pleasure from our lives.
- If you lose our confidence and shrink back, you will fall into sin, even habitual sin. There is no neutral ground in this war. You are either helping to advance God’s Kingdom or you are supporting and possibly even furthering the kingdom of this world. When we lose confidence and shrink back, Satan, this world system and our flesh are all too willing to placate us with pleasure while we waste away our time. A nominal, lukewarm Christian life is a victory for Satan. He can’t stop you from being saved once you place your faith in Christ. But he can do the next best thing from his perspective, which is to neutralize you and make you totally ineffective for Christ.
But this verse reminds us of who we are: “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Notice how this verse gives assurance of salvation even to those who shrink back, reminding us that we are not like the rest of the world that is drawing back, not just from pleasing God, but drawing back “unto perdition,” meaning they have turned completely away from God, to the point that their eternal destiny is hell. Instead, it says “we are not of them.” We are not like them. We no longer belong to that group. We are not of this world.
To keep us neutralized, Satan will always attack us on two fronts so that we lose confidence and become fearful:
- Assurance of Our Salvation
- Our Identity in Christ
If Satan can get us to be unsure of God’s promises and to forget who we are and why we’re here, then he can continue with his plan without opposition. So let’s look at each of these.
Assurance of Salvation
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your assurance of salvation? For example, if you died this very moment or if Christ came at this moment to rapture His Church, how sure are you that your name would be called and that you would be taken to be with Him for all eternity, with all the privileges of being saved and experiencing both God and heaven?
Do you ever fear that you might miss the rapture? Or that maybe you’ve sinned one too many times and have blown it, that you may have lost your salvation? Do you ever wonder if God will close the door on you and say,
“…depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23
Well, let me encourage you. If you have placed your faith in Christ for salvation and have any doubts at all as to whether God will really save you and rapture you, God wants you to know right now that your confidence and assurance of His salvation and His love for you should be a 10, and nothing less. Don’t believe the doubts and fears that the enemy wants to throw at you. Believe God’s Word:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Everlasting life is a gift based solely on believing in Jesus. Our performance, our obedience, has no effect on our salvation.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, AND SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; but is passed from death unto life.” John 5:24
Notice the past tense in this verse how, once we place our faith in Christ, we have already passed from death unto life. We are not waiting to be saved. Eternal life starts the moment we place our faith in Jesus. And there is not one instance of someone in the Bible passing back from eternal life to death. Salvation is permanent.
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, HAVING FORGIVEN YOU ALL TRESPASSES; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” Colossians 2:13-14.
There’s a movement out there in Christian circles, commonly referred to as Lordship Salvation, which wants to strip you of your assurance of salvation and your confidence by saying that only past sins are forgiven when you believe in Christ. So after you believe in Christ, it is still possible to sin and lose salvation, that it becomes up to you to walk in obedience to Christ as Lord, or else you will end up in hell. This is a lie right from the mouth of Satan. I did an entire video on this lie , where I prove from Scripture that the moment we place our faith in Christ, just like it says here, all sins (past, present and future) are immediately forgiven. Here’s a link to my video in the top right corner if you are the least bit unsure of God’s complete forgiveness.
From that point forward where we place our faith in Christ, we walk in liberty with full assurance of salvation. God immediately gives us His Holy Spirit, thereby putting His seal on us, guaranteeing our full redemption, our complete salvation.
“Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, YE WERE SEALED WITH THAT HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:12-14
“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby YE ARE SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION.” Ephesians 4:30
The Holy Spirit living inside every believer is God’s permanent seal of promise, described as the “earnest of our inheritance.” An earnest is a partial payment that guarantees that the full payment will come at a future time. When you buy a house, you put down a small sum of money called an “earnest deposit,” to guarantee that the full payment will come at a future date. When we believe in Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, which God says is His guarantee that He will fully redeem us at a future date.
In the entire New Testament, there is not one example of a believer in Christ being unsealed and losing the Holy Spirit. Our salvation is sure. Now, in the Old Testament before Christ, that was a different dispensation where the Holy Spirit came and went upon people, Saul being a good example. It was never said in the Old Testament that the Holy Spirit sealed a person, just that the Holy Spirit came upon them and sometimes left them. But in the New Testament, the two biggest changes that happen to someone who trusts in Jesus for salvation are that all their sins are immediately forgiven and they are immediately sealed with the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing their salvation.
Finally, Jesus Himself said that our salvation can never be lost in Revelation 3:
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I WILL NOT BLOT OUT HIS NAME OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before His angels.” Revelation 3:5
Jesus said that the one who overcomes will never lose their salvation. Their name will never be blotted out of His Book of Life. They are eternally secure. The question is, who is an overcomer? The same author, the Apostle John, answers this in 1 John 5:5:
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but HE THAT BELIEVETH THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD?“ 1 John 5:5
We do not overcome by our own efforts, by working and striving to be obedient to God, to live as a good person and walk before Him without sin. No! That is not how we overcome.
To Overcome Simply Means To Believe in Jesus for Salvation
Which means that you believe God’s Word:
- That you are a sinner before God (Romans 3:23)
- That God is holy and His penalty for sin is death – eternal separation and judgment (Romans 6:23)
- That you cannot save yourself through your own good works (Romans 3:12, 20)
- That nevertheless, God loves you and sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for you, to pay your debt of sin before God (John 3:16)
- That the payment of Christ’s blood on the cross covers 100% of your sins (Colossians 2:13-14)
- And that He rose again from the dead, showing us the eternal life that is ours once we place our trust in Him (1 Peter 1:3-7)
This is what believing in Jesus means. This is what makes us an overcomer. We overcome the world not by our good works but by believing in Jesus, God’s Son, as the complete sacrifice for our sins. And for all who believe, who overcome, Jesus promises that He will NEVER blot your name out of the Book of Life.
That is 100% assurance of salvation.
And as far as keeping your salvation, even that is not up to us.
“Now unto HIM THAT IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM FALLING, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 24-25
Notice that it is God’s faithfulness and power that keeps you from losing your salvation, not your own efforts. If keeping salvation were up to us, through our own walk of obedience, then we would all lose it in a heartbeat.
So I’ll close this part about assurance of salvation with this one verse from 1 Peter 1:3-7. This is the Apostle Peter’s word to believers in the church:
“3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,”
Notice how Peter describes our inheritance of eternal life as being incorruptible, one that cannot fade away, but is reserved for you in heaven. If we can lose our salvation through sinful behavior, then that would mean our inheritance could be corrupted and lost. But Peter says “No!” Our inheritance is incorruptible and will not fade away, but is reserved for us in heaven. And why will it not fade away? Peter goes on to tell us:
“5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Notice that it is the power of God that keeps us saved, not our obedience. Obedience has nothing to do with salvation. Obedience is important because those who obey God in this life will receive eternal rewards. But salvation is not one of those rewards. Salvation is a free gift that comes solely through faith in Christ. That is why Peter goes on to say that we can therefore rejoice, even if we have to go through trials in this life”
“6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:3-7
So in terms of assurance of salvation, be confident. Be 100% sure of it. Memorize these verses to remind yourself that you are a child of the King and that you will never lose this great salvation so as to stop being a child of the King. If you have placed your faith in Christ for your salvation, you are God’s child forever.
In the top right corner, I have a link to another video I did on the assurance of salvation, where I go into much greater detail, including looking at some difficult verses, like those that say that those who commit certain sins will never enter the Kingdom of God. Going back to the verse I listed earlier, Colossians 2:13-14, here’s a hint on how those sins cannot harm us: God already nailed all our sins to the cross so none of these sins will ever be found on our record for Him to judge. Even though we did those very sins, they are all nailed to the cross the moment we place our faith in Jesus! Because of the blood of Christ and what He did for us, our record is forever clean and those who say otherwise don’t understand the complete forgiveness that happened at the cross.
If you want a more detailed explanation on assurance, watch the video. But do be assured of your salvation. Enter His rest, where you walk with confidence and assurance, knowing that you are a peace with God.
And then there’s the second area where Satan will attack us to make us lose our confidence and become a causality of war.
Our Identity in Christ
On a scale from 1 to 10, how important do you think you are to the Body of Christ? How much does your life really matter? Are you just barely saved “by the skin of your teeth,” as they say, or does your life count for something eternal? On a scale from 1 to 10, does your life have eternal purpose?
This all speaks, not to our assurance of salvation, but to our identity in Christ, our identity that tells us why we’re here and whether we have purpose and meaning, as we occupy enemy territory.
Above all else, Satan does not want you to really get a hold of this truth of who you are in Christ, not only the understanding that you have position and purpose, but that you also have the authority of Christ. You can believe in Christ all you like, but it isn’t until you begin walking in your new identity, with all the authority God has given you, that Satan and those who follow him will take notice of you and begin to tremble.
So what is our identity in Christ once we are saved? Who are we? Peter again tell us:
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10
This incredible verse tells us both our identity and our purpose for being here. It says both who we are and why God left us here to occupy enemy territory. This is why you exist on earth as a Christian. This is your reason for breathing air.
First our identity:
- A Chosen Generation. The moment you placed your faith in Christ, you became part of a master plan of God that is much bigger than yourself. It didn’t just happen by chance. You were chosen. God didn’t reluctantly agree to save you. He sought you out and chose you. He sought you out long before you ever turned to Him and He relentlessly pursued you. You have great value to Him and His love for you is never ending. God has seen you at your worst and yet loves you and chose you to spend eternity with Him.
Do you ever feel alone? Well, you’re not. Elijah felt alone, when he spoke to God in despair, thinking that he was the only person left who stood for God, when he lamented to God:
“I, even I only, am left;” 1 Kings 19:14
But God answered,
“Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18
Elijah couldn’t see all that God was doing and felt alone, but he wasn’t alone. He was an important part of a larger plan that God was unfolding. Similarly, you are chosen by God and you are not alone but are part of an entire generation that God has called out to Himself. You are an important part of something much bigger than yourself.
- A Royal Priesthood. If you have placed your faith in Christ, your sins have already been forgiven. Scripture says you are already clothed in white raiment, your name is already written in the Book of Life and will never be erased, and you are already seated with Christ in heaven. You are a child of the living God, a part of His Royal Priesthood. That is who you are. That is your identity. You are not just saved. You have an official position in the Kingdom. Jesus is our High Priest, but we are also part of the priesthood. And not just any priesthood, but a Royal Priesthood. We serve the living King!
- A Holy Nation. As Royal Priests, we represent the King and His Kingdom in this occupied war-zone territory called Earth. In 2 Corinthians 5:20, the Apostle Paul referred to himself as an Ambassador for Christ. That is who we are on earth. As such, we are to represent Him in the way we live. We are to be holy as He is holy. The word, “holy” means “set apart.” We are not to live like everyone else, conforming to this world. Instead, we are to set ourselves apart and live as a holy nation before Him and as ambassadors of this holy nation to this world.
- A Peculiar People. I laugh at this phrase, thinking “Yep, and some of us are more peculiar than others, myself being the most peculiar of them all.” In modern English, the word “peculiar” tends to mean “weird.” But that’s not what this word meant back in the 1600’s when the King James Bible was translated. This word “peculiar” in the Greek is the word, “peripoíēsis,” which means “a preserving of one’s own property, a purchased possession.” And many modern Bibles translate this word just that way, as “a purchased possession.” We are peculiar or distinct from everyone else on the planet in that we are God’s own purchased possession. Through the blood of Christ, He purchased us. He owns us. We are not our own but are now His possession. We are no longer distinctly separated from God and alienated from Him, but we are now His. We have a Father Who loves us and lays claim to us, and will never relinquish that claim.
And lastly, we have a purpose for being here:
- That we may declare the praises of Him Who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. We are called to be witnesses, ambassadors for Christ, every one of us. That does not mean we all have to stand on a street corner and preach the Gospel with a megaphone. God’s Word says that He equipped each one of us differently with different skills for His own purposes and that each of us is essential in the Body of Christ. Though we are all equipped differently, we all have this same purpose for being here: to proclaim Christ as His ambassadors. And we proclaim Christ in many different ways.
“5Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:5-12
Each of us is uniquely different in the Body of Christ and will serve in different ways with different gifts and abilities, as God has equipped each of us. So what I’m called to do is not what you are called to do, and vice versa. Yet each of us has great value to God and is important in the Body of Christ.
“14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:14-20
So our identity is that we are a chose race, a royal priesthood, a valuable part of the Body of Christ, a holy nation, a people for God’s possession. That is who we are. And we have a purpose: that we may proclaim the excellencies of Christ, Who called us out of darkness and into His light. We achieve that purpose by using and developing the gifts, talents and abilities that God has uniquely given each one of us.
And finally, our authority on this earth. Listen to these verses:
“Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Jesus: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Satan does not want you to know this: that as part of the Body of Christ, you have more authority than he does, because we have God’s Holy Spirit inside of us, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. We can bind. We can loose. We can wage war against this spiritual enemy and tear down his strongholds. We can cast down lies and bring every thought into obedience to Christ.
But Satan will try to convince you that you don’t have this authority, to the point where you are too timid and lack confidence to walk in this authority. And he will try to lure you into sin to weaken you.
Do you know that when you sin, you give enemy the legal right to enter your life and oppress you? A Christian cannot be possessed by demons because we have the Holy Spirit inside us. But we can definitely be oppressed by them. And the way they enter our lives is through sin.
Sin is rebellion against God’s authority. When we sin, we give demons the legal right to oppress us and cause havoc in our lives. But just because we sin, that does not mean we lose our authority. Even if a policeman violates the law, as long as he wears the badge, he still has the power to arrest us. Similarly, even when we sin, we still remain a part of the Body of Christ, with all the authority of Christ. That is why the Bible says,
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
We submit to God through repentance and prayer, asking God to forgiven us of sins we’ve committed as believers and to restore us into a right relationship with Him. Our sin does not affect our salvation, but it does affect our relationship with the Father and the blessings that He gives us. After we sin, we restore that relationship through repentance. And with our repentance, submitting ourselves to God, we have the authority to close the door on Satan’s interference in our lives and make him and all who follow him flee from us. We can literally command him to go. And he will.
So stop believing the lies and walk in your identity, your purpose and your authority as an ambassador for Christ in this occupied territory. Don’t be a war casualty. Don’t settle for being lukewarm in your faith. You are a child of the King, with His authority to bind and to loose, to strengthen or to tear down.
“10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesians 6:10-18
Through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit inside us, the faith, skills and gifts He’s given us, and with prayer, God has equipped us to be victorious in this occupied territory. So walk with power and authority as a child of the King.
And why to we do all this?
“To make known the mystery of the Gospel.” Ephesians 6:19
Folks, we’re in the last moments of the last day here on Earth. Our King is coming very soon. My biggest prayer for myself is that I will end well. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my Christian walk, but I really want to end well. So, as Paul says,
“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded:” Phillipians 3:13-15
Let us forget any mistakes we’ve made and the things which are behind us and instead press forward toward the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Finally, I do this in all my videos, if you are not 100% sure that you are saved, that if you died today, God would welcome you into heaven, I urge you to make your commitment to Jesus secure right now. Here’s a prayer for salvation that you can pray. But keep in mind that a prayer does not save you. You are saved only when you place your trust in Jesus alone, believing in your heart that He died to pay your debt of sin to God and that He rose from the dead to show you the eternal life that He offers. This prayer, then, is just a way of formalizing that decision, putting a stake in the ground, saying that you are trusting in Him and never going back. If that’s what you would like to do, please pray with me:
“Lord, I have sinned and I need you to save me. I believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and that He rose from the dead to show us the new eternal life You have for us. I believe solely in Jesus to save me, that He paid my debt of sin 100%. Please forgive my sins and save me now, Lord, according to your promises. In Jesus Name.”
If you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, know right now that you are eternally saved.
Thanks for watching and God bless.