With the celebration of Veteran’s Day 2015, honoring all men and women who have served in our nation’s military, I thought it might be fitting to take a close look at this great hymn.
Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, in 1517. Some time later he wrote the hymn “A Mighty Fortress”. In this post we are going to review the words of that hymn to discover some truths that have been important to the life of the Church of Jesus Christ from the beginning. Martin Luther was quite a musician. He wrote music, sang and played the lute. He wrote this hymn and it became known as the ‘Battle Hymn of the Reformation’. It is said that many of those thousands that were martyred for their faith in Jesus, sang this hymn while being tortured and killed.
A MIGHTY FORTRESS
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing.
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
That is, the angel of light, Lucifer, Satan himself
Doth seek to work us woe.
Never lose sight of the fact he is more cunning and crafty than you.
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Man was given dominion over all creation by the Creator. Man, however, ceded that dominion to Lucifer, better known as Satan, when he fell for the lie and sinned against God.
“The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”” [Luke 4:5-8]
You will note that Jesus, here seen in the Temptation, never denies Satan’s claim. And Satan’s all-consuming work is to spoil the supreme work of our Lord’s creation, that being man.
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing,
We will fail if we seek to battle the evil forces in our own strength! Paul warns us of the necessity of armor and preparation, as follows:
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” [Ephesians 6:11-18]
Were not the right man on our side,
The man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He.
Lord Sabboth, his name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
We know that the war has been won by Jesus on the cross and at His resurrection! Satan is a defeated foe. You can think of it like the German army in the months following D-Day. Their doom was certain – but many allied troops died fighting them in battles throughout France, Belgium and Germany in the months following 6 June 1944. But on 8 May 1945, the Allied Forces victory was complete. The war was over!
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
The anti-Christian tidal wave that is moving throughout the US is nothing more than Satan overplaying his hand. He is behind it all, wanting to cause as many as possible to deny Jesus and spend eternity separated from God.
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
Jesus has left with us the mission of spreading the gospel message. Everything else we do is secondary to accomplishing that mission. The whole purpose of the Church is to be witnesses of the saving and redeeming power of Jesus and His sacrifice. He has promised the Christian victory if we stay true to that mission. Staying on course does not mean you must be a vocational minister or missionary. It just means you place ‘no other gods’ ahead of Him, and you allow Him to lead your every step.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers
Not thanks to them, abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth.
God has given His Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit; all that we need to overcome!
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also.
All the material that life has to offer, including family and life itself, pales under the Light of our Redeemer, our Eternal Life, who is Jesus!
The body they may kill,
God’s truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever…
Each of us must choose. It is a simple choice.
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.” (Author unknown)