Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Weapons of God's Righteousness

In its time the Spartan army was the most terrifying thing to walk the earth, it was called "a wall of men instead of bricks". The reputation of the Spartan army lasted well beyond Sparta itself. Even today their ferocity and exploits are awe inspiring; read the book Gates Of Fire (please ignore the movie "The 300") and you will see why Sparta was held in such esteem, militarily anyhow.

The Greek military had developed a form of fighting called the Phalanx, it was a tight formation with the ranks so tight their shields protected the carrier and the man to his right. They carried spears so long that the second and third ranks could fight over the shoulders of the ranks before them. The warrior also carried a short sword as a secondary weapon. Many Greek armies also had light missile troops behind the phalanx launching javelins and arrows.

As with Spartan soldiers, warriors from all the Greek city-states were called "hoplites" because they carried their "hoplon" which is the Greek word for implements of war; panoply (armor including helmet, armored breast plate, greves), aspis (shield), doru (spear), xiphos (sword), toxon (bow), oistos (arrow), akóntio (javelin). and lets not forget food, water, etc. In the ancient world this was a lot to carry. In fact the majority of the hoplite's job was to carry his hoplon to the agó̱nas (battle).

All of which leads us to:
and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:13)
When we look at the original Greek the word Paul used which has been translated to "instruments" the word he used is hoplon, or instruments of war. Paul could have used ergaleía which is tools, implements in a generic manner, but he didn't, and this isn't a mistake, he knew what he was writing. Yes, Paul was a Roman citizen, and he was a highly educated man and spoke Greek:
As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the commander, "May I say something to you?" And he said, "Do you know Greek? (Acts 21:37)
Being from Tarsus, a city Hellenized for well over 300 years (and the death place of Alexander the Great), and let's not forget that Palestine was conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 BC so Greek is not a foreign language in neither Tarsus or Judea. It's clear that Paul knew his way around the Hellenistic language. 
Sudden thought: although little is known about Pontius Pilate, what is known is that he was a Roman political appointee, and not a Jew from Palestine. Pilate was an equestrian (upper class, but not the top of the heap) of the Pontii family and was from Central Italy. He assumed governorship not long before Jesus stood before him. For those that claim that Jesus spoke Aramaic only, how could he have conversed with Pontius Pilate? (John 18:28-37) Then again, if all Jesus spoke was Aramaic how could he have read Isaiah in the synagogue? (Luke 4:17-21) Just sayin'
What I'm saying is that Paul didn't tell us to use our hoplon as instruments of God's righteousness because it was a handy word laying around in his theological tool box or something he stumbled on in a 1st Century crossword, it was a word he understood and used. In fact he said it again in Romans 13:12 in a more clear military usage:
The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Here hoplon is translated to "armor". And he used it again in 2 Corinthians 6:7 where it is translated into "weapons:
in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left,
 Hoplon is used here again as "weapons"
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

It's clear that Paul knows exactly what hoplon means, he didn't use it because it's a cool sounding word, and he didn't use it to exaggerate a point, he used it exactly as the Holy Spirit guided him to use it, to tell us that WE are the weapons of God's righteousness.

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