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; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
As believers, Scripture that tells us repeatedly to take heed, to beware and see that no one deceives us and leads us astray from the truth of God’s Word. The importance of these warnings and heeding them are essential to our faith in Christ and our continued Spiritual growth and walk. (Matt. 24, Luke 8:18, Mark 4:24-25).
What, we hear or listen to is then something that we take responsibility for and are required to dissect correctly: to test and try so that we know truth from error. Just like eating healthy foods and exercising for this body of flesh; so too, and more importantly, are we to take care in who, what, and how we hear, so that we mature spiritually. Scripture teaches us to watch, look at, test, try and examine everything and everyone that we listen to, so that we are not deceived. (1 John 4:1, Acts 17:11) Scripture also tells us that what and how we hear is directly related to giving into temptation, sinning, overcoming sin in our lives and the ability to advance in Spiritual warfare. (2 Tim 4:3, Heb. 2:1-3, 2Cor. 10:6)
2 Cor. 10:6 says, “And having a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” This verse sums up our spiritual warfare battle in “having a readiness” which translates to being trained, prepared, and fit for the battle (1). Next, we are to “to revenge all disobedience”, which means to retaliate or vindicate all disobedience (2). Note here; this is not something for the novice or marginal believer to take on and misuse and abuse others with. There is a tremendous lack of spiritual maturity within the church today just as in the church of Corinth and a call to spiritual maturity, in order to successfully engage in warfare is still as critical today as it was then. Additionally, we need to first understand and identify what disobedience is, as mentioned in this verse.
The definition of the Greek word disobedience (par-ak-o-ay’) is translated as inattention or hearing amiss (3). It must be stressed that inattention is not just being preoccupied and not listening to something, it’s incorrect, wrong, or defective listening (4). This is how Adam and Eve ultimately fell in the garden (5). This will be addressed in part two. Disobedience in verse 6 is hearing wrong, it is not being deceived although it certainly leads to a self-deception. Remember Eve was deceived/cheated, Adam was not. Our spiritual warfare battles and our “readiness to revenge all disobedience” is directly related to the final words of verse 6 which says, “when your obedience is fulfilled”. Obedience in this verse means: attentive hearkening or listening (6). And “fulfilled” is to make replete, filled, or well-supplied, to execute and office or finish a task. So, we are spiritually filled and well-supplied to execute and engage in spiritual warfare when we follow and listen to God’s Word. Our spiritual maturity and ability to be armored and ready is directly related to our hearing.
This comes by practice and use, the more we do the better we become skilled and advanced in warfare.
Hebrews 5:14 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Reading Hebrews 5:14 in context (verses 11-13): clearly teaches, not only, that we use it or lose it, but our lack of understanding is because we are dull of hearing.
Heb 5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
To be dull of hearing is literally to be lazy and figuratively to be stupid and indolent, wanting to avoid activity or exertion and languid, having a disinclination for physical exertion or effort; slow and relaxed, in other words, lethargic. (7). Truth is many just simply don’t want to put the effort into it, they want the power with no transformation. It’s a false balance, self-serving, fleshly, and self-deceiving.
Here in Hebrews 5 scripture is speaking to what should be seasoned believers who have sat in the pews and listened to countless sermons and teachings and should most certainly, by now, be teachers themselves with the amount of time that has passed, but clearly, they lack the spiritual skill sets and ability to engage in spiritual warfare of any kind and are called babes, lazy and stupid because of how they have chosen to hear the Word.
The church is full of the many on a liquid diet of spiritual milk and sadly many leaders are more than happy to continue to feed it to them. Itching ears attract wolves and hirelings and vise versa.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
This is disobedience: in hearing amiss, dull of hearing, lazy and stupid, itching ears, wanting to hear smooth error rather than truth. To hear truth and embrace it takes effort on our part for this fallen flesh resists the truth. Often the truth is as painful as it is rewarding, the biggest difference is knowing and understanding that the pain is temporal, fleshly and the reward is eternal.
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hearing amiss (disobedience) changes the truth into a lie, easy to be accepted and believed. Being lazy ease’s the discomfort of truth and disarms its power to transform our lives. Itching ears leads us further into lies and deception which appeals to our lust and flesh.
If we do not diligently pursue truth in what and how we hear, we will not be able to stand against the wiles of the devil nor have the understanding, strength, or ability to engage in spiritual warfare. We will be ill equipped and untrained for battle.
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1Co 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
In Acts 17:11 it shows how they heard “received the word with all readiness” and how they fact checked Paul’s teaching to see if he spoke truth. They were trained and practiced in not only hearing the Word but in testing and trying the spirits by holding everything heard to the Word of God. Verse 12 sums up the results of the Bereans “readiness of mind and searching the scriptures”:
Act 17:12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
Many believed, they received/heard the word with all readiness of mind, searching the scriptures is a natural next step when we hear correctly.
In the parable of the Sower in Luke 8 we read Jesus’s explanation and purpose of the parable in verses 10-15
Luk 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Luk 8:12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Luk 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Luk 8:14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
Luk 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
How we hear is simply and powerfully explained here by Christ and He again reinforces how we hear in verse 18 by saying:
Luk 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
Which ground you are or become depends on how you hear and your response to it! The seed of God’s Word is always sown the same. If you hear it and keep it, God’s fruit will be the result. But if your hearing is amiss because of temptation, or the cares, riches and pleasures of this life has dulled your hearing, you will be unfruitful, baron, and unprofitable in the Kingdom of God. Remember, the devil never rests, the flesh is not redeemed yet, so train yourself to hear when God’s Word is spoken, and above all, have a readiness to test all things with vigilance.
- Readiness: het-oy’-mos From an old noun ἕτεος heteos (fitness); adjusted, that is, ready: – prepared, (made) ready (-iness, to our hand).
- Revenge: ek-dik-eh’-o From G1558; to vindicate, retaliate, punish: – a (re-) venge.
- par-ak-o-ay’ From G3878; inattention, that is, (by implication) disobedience: – disobedience.
- The definition of amiss ADJECTIVE not quite right; inappropriate or out of place. Synonyms: : wrong · awry · faulty · out of order · defective · unsatisfactory · incorrect · untoward · adrift · astray · inappropriate
- Rom 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
- obedience: is the Greek word hoop-ak-o-ay’ : it means : attentive hearkening compliance or submission, obeying.
- dull: no-thros’ From a derivative of G3541; sluggish, that is, (literally) lazy, or (figuratively) stupid: – dull, slothful.
Thayer Definition: 1) slow, sluggish, indolent, dull, languid