What does it mean, to bring into captivity every thought to the obdience of Christ? We read in:
2 Corinthians 10 1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: 2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 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; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? if any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's.
What is the truth of Christ? It is the gospel, whereby we are saved, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and resurrected on the third day, according to the scriptures.
This is our warfare, not physical or in our flesh, but spiritual, that is happening in our minds. Anything that contradicts the gospel, the truth of who we are in Christ, we can put down as untrue. And this is also our most basic discernment, whether it be a voice speaking to us, a thought of our own, or something somebody else is saying. Does it testify to the truth of Jesus? That Jesus died for our sins? That He has made us rigtheous before God, always. That He has reconciled us to God, permanently. That we are forgiven, always. That our righteousness is of Christ, by faith, not our own self righteousness. That He has saved us, and He is keeping us.
If it contradicts the truth of Christ, it is untrue, exalting itself against the knowledge of God.
So, you can ask yourself this question. If a voice speaks to you, accuses you of sin and threatens punishment from God, is that according to the truth of Christ, and His finished work, or does it contradict it?
You can believe that Jesus died for your sins, and his work is finished and complete, or not. It's your choice.
Or how about a voice that speaks to you, and tells you that you're forgiven, righteous before God, and lays before you a good path?
You can choose to see the discipline of God as His shaping us, to believe Him and trust Him in all things, or as punishment for sin. Which is according to the truth of Christ?
Jesus desires mercy, not sacrifice. His yoke is easy, and his burden is light. The gospel of our salvation, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. That all who will believe on Jesus will be saved.
There's no hidden requirements or catches, or trickery. God is without guile. It's a free gift. And the gifts He gives are without repentence, meaning, He won't change His mind and take it back. It is offered freely to all who will believe, without exception. Even to people some might not like, or people some think are doing too much sinning. If you think it's something else, then that's not it.
This is salvation. Jesus is God's rescue plan for a fallen world. Jesus is the only plan. He is the only way. You can't save yourself through your self effort, or by trying to be good enough. It's not Jesus helping you to perfect your flesh, to prove yourself or make yourself worthy of saving. It's only Jesus. Only God is good. Our righteousness is imputed to us by faith, and it's the righteousness of Christ. Not self righteousness.
When God does something, it is finished. What He's asked of us is our belief and faith in His Son. When Jesus saves us, He keeps us, and He will not lose us. Jesus died for our sins. He paid the debt for them. There's nothing left for us to pay. Jesus has reconciled us to God completely. We stand before God righteous and holy, justified by Christ alone. Nothing we can do is good enough to justify us before God. Only the righteousness of Christ, by faith, justifies us. Nobody becomes righteous by law keeping.
The blood of Jesus is fully holy and powerful, able to make all covered by it, holy. Those who claim some other requirement for salvation are implying the blood of Jesus is an unholy or common thing, unable to make someone covered by it fully holy, all by itself. They trample the Son of God underfoot. It's a dangerous thing to call the blood of Jesus an unholy or common thing, to call unclean what God calls clean. It's dangerous, because there's no other way our sins are forgiven. Jesus is it. There's no plan B, just in case Jesus wasn't good enough.
I'm not here to judge people's salvation. Jesus knows who belongs to Him. It's my hope that all will believe, and be saved. I don't want to see anybody not saved. If they've gotten off track, I hope they'll be set free from deception. And if they've never believed, I hope they will now.
But everyone can choose to believe what they will. I won't try to force you. You can judge for yourself if I'm telling you the truth.
We're told that satan accuses us before God day and night. That's part of why assurance and rest in Christ and discernment is important.
Revelation 12 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Ephesians 6 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.
There is deception all around us in this world. Satan is at work to deceive people. Satan can come pretending to be an angel of light, a minister of self righteousness, and seem very religious. So it's important to decide for yourself what is true, bringing all things to the obedience of Christ, and not let yourself be deceived.
The gospel is the foundation of my discernment.
When a person believes on Jesus, they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit testifies of the truth of Jesus Christ and His finished work. That Jesus died for your sins, and you are forgiven, and rigtheous before God, always. There are preordained works a person has as a saved person. They are different for each person. I have faith that God will do the work in a person as He has preordained, according to His purpose. I have faith in God, that He is able to do a good work in me, as He is in you, without condemnation, or threat of being punished, or through my own self effort. It is not my place to judge someone's salvation by their works, or insist they prove themselves to me. Those works don't save them, anyway. And I am not God.
The Holy Spirit leads us on a good path, and will correct us, of course. But not in an accusing or condemning way. There's nothing good about sin. There's some things God may take from you, and there may be others you struggle with. But God's grace is always sufficient.
God disciplines us, and over time, we learn to have faith and trust Him, in all things. Our faith in what He says is true of us increases, regardless of what we see in our physical reality. Our physical reality will change in time, also, but faith comes first.
Galatians 4 16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? ... 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
As Christians, we're told to walk by faith, and to reckon the flesh dead. Everything not of faith is sin. And the flesh isn't just the parts you think are bad. Reckoning the flesh dead, doesn't mean trying to revive it and perfect it. It's walking by faith, believing the gospel, and looking at Jesus, and having faith that God will do every good work in you, not through your own self effort. You are already righteous before God, and not because of the works of your flesh. Your righteousness is of Christ. And your flesh will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, only your reborn spirit will. So I'd encourage you to walk in faith, and get to know your new self, this is the you that will continue into eternity. The wood, hay, and stubble will burn up in the fire of judgment.
Hebrews 4 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.