On September 2, 1945 Japan surrendered aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor.
This officially ended WWII, but for years after their government surrendered, Japanese soldiers hid out and held out in various places, refusing to surrender or to believe the war was over. For years bands of Japanese soldiers continued to make guerrilla raids.
One man, Hiroo Onada, held out for 29 years in the Philippines. People left letters and newspapers for him and broadcast over the radio that the war was over. His own brother couldn’t convince him that the war was over.
In February 1974 a young Japanese man named Norio Suzuki encountered him in the jungle. But Onada refused to leave because he was waiting orders from his commanding officer. The next month, Suzuki brought Major Taniguchi, Onada’s former commander to the jungle and Taniguchi ordered him to surrender. Onada emerged with a .25 caliber rifle, 500 rounds of ammo and some grenades, 29 years after Japan surrendered.
Like the Japanese soldiers, sin hides out, refuses to surrender, and wages guerrilla warfare on us.
Christ conquered sin on the cross. He won the ultimate victory. Yet like the Japanese soldiers, sin holds out in believers, even after we receive the Holy Spirit. Indwelling sin is no longer our dominant nature, but it refuses to surrender. It’s crucified but not yet dead. That’s why we need to put it to death on a daily basis. Paul says in Colossians 3:5, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
Our battle with sin must be relentless. Hebrews tells us to “exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
So take up the whole armor of God every day. Rout sin out of its hiding places in your heart with the sword of the Spirit, God’s word. Deny your sinful desires. Fellowship with others who will exhort you daily. Fear the Lord and beware of sin’s deceitfulness. Never assume you have it beaten. Never assume you won’t fall into sin.
Let’s keep fighting the good fight of faith. Eventually we’ll win through the power of Christ. But until Jesus returns or we go to be with the Lord, the war’s not over yet.