Taking Captive Every Thought to Make it Obedient to Christ

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“…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b).

Long before a sin is committed, that sin has been entertained, dreamed about, fantasized, planned, imagined in our thoughts.

When you see a beautiful woman, a handsome man, a beautiful car or motorcycle you can’t help but notice the beauty. Thoughts happen. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s what we do after the original thought that is the problem. When we allow inappropriate thoughts to dwell, that’s on us.

Thankfully, most of us don’t go around committing the sins we think about. What we struggle with is our thoughts.

I find Paul’s admonition and challenge encouraging and helpful. Paul tells the Corinthian church, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

  • Demolish
    • The Greek word for “demolish” means to “take down,” “pull down,” “overthrow”
    • Demolish what? Demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God
    • Something other than the truth of God has set itself up as the authority and the standard of truth in our lives. We are called to demolish, take down, pull down, and overthrow anything that goes against the knowledge of God
  • Take captive
    • The Greek word for “take captive” means to subdue, subject
    • What are we to take captive?
  • Every thought
    • We are to take captive every thought. The good, the bad, the ugly. All…all..every thought
  • For what reason?
    • To make it obedient to Christ!


I love this!

  • We have the word of God to tell us what God’s will is
  • We have been given the authority, the responsibility to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ

Imagine taking every thought captive in order to make it obedient to Christ! Wow!

How God Views Sin

God views sin as a sickness and illness that needs a cure, not as a crime that needs to be punished.

Many of us have a wrong and twisted view of God, for we view him as a wrathful God who wants to punish sinners.

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Imagine a hospital room where a small child is dying of an illness sitting with her dad. What parent on planet earth would ever look at his own child dying of an illness and declare, “Shame on you!”

No parent would ever do that.

And this is exactly how some view God. This misunderstanding is a gross perversion of who God is. This is the devil at work to twist the love and character of God.

It is true that God hates sin. God hates sin because it’s killing his children. So God sent his Son to die for our sins, so that whoever should believe in him will not perish but have ever lasting life.

Sin is a disease and illness that needs a cure. That’s the gospel. That’s good news!

So, listen. Listen real good. God loves you!

Troubling Bible Passages

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Passages like Exodus 32 make me uncomfortable.

While Moses is up on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from God, The Israelites decide Moses is taking too long and they convince Aaron to make the Golden Calf and they begin worshiping it. Only days after experiencing God’s salvation from the Egyptians, Aaron has the audacity to make the Golden Calf and say, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you out of Egypt.”

That’s messed up. That’s wrong in many ways.

I get that. But it’s the rest of the story in Exodus 32 that make me uncomfortable.

First thing that makes me uncomfortable about this passage is what God says. He wants to destroy the Israelites and start all over with Moses. Nothing new. God did this with Noah. And he tells Moses that he wants to do the same thing. It is Moses who has to convince God that this is not a good idea – rescue a people from Egypt just to destroy them when they are free.

Where is grace? Where is the opportunity for repentance?

The second thing that makes me uncomfortable about this passage is what Moses does. After he comes down the mountain, he sees the people worshiping the Golden Calf and loses it.

That much I get. It’s next part that’s hard to swallow. He then asks, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” Then he commands the Levites to slaughter about 3,000 people!


What do we do with that?

Some reflections on this passage.

First, I have issues with this passage because I value human life. That’s good thing. That’s a Biblical thing. Life is a gift from God and no one ought to destroy the life God has given. The thing is, the Old Testament doesn’t seem to have the same world view regarding human life. I don’t know what to make of that.

Secondly, the reason why passages like this trouble me has to do with me. I don’t take sin nearly seriously enough. It’s not that I underestimate sin, it’s just that I don’t take sin and it’s consequences seriously enough.

God absolutely detests and hates sin. It’s not that God hates sin for sin’s sake. God detests and hates sin because of what sin does. Sin separates us from God. Sinners cannot stand in the presence of a holy and righteous God without being destroyed.

The reason why God hates and detests sin is because of what sin does to sinners. God loves sinners. The proof of God’s love is Jesus on the cross. God loves us so much that God had to make a way to undo sin. God transforms sinners to sons and daughters by the cross of Jesus.

Thank God for that!