Notes on Christian Warfare (14)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

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The way, the truth and the life!

The Truth Expressed  (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

When we speak about truth in Christian terms we are talking about doctrine and life. One is the dynamic of the other. The truth of the gospel, the propositions of the word of God which are to be believed in their entirety for salvation. This body of truth is the dynamic of the spiritual and moral life manifest in those who confess the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel is and speaks the truth (John 17:17). We will never understand the world in which we live, the human race of which we are a part and the reality of its state before God. Until we have truly believed the word of God we will fail to understand man’s true state and his great need. Some people complain they need to understand to believe, no, this is the wrong way round. We need to believe in order to understand. Else we will be ever searching and not find. Not only is the truth to expressed but the false also must be renounced (Matthew 23:1ff). The apostle Paul testified to the Ephesian elders how that he had kept back nothing of the truth from them, but declared the whole counsel of God to them whilst in their midst (Acts 20:17-21). The same testimony he declared amongst the Thessalonians (1Thessalonians 2:3ff). We have similar testimony given in the Old Testament in regards to expressing the truth with integrity from the prophet Samuel (1Samuel 12:1ff). The testimony was borne by the prophet Daniel (Daniel 6:1ff). Again the apostle Paul, he lays before us a very searching passage (2Corinthians 4:1ff), verse two in particular, “we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2). Anything that militated against the service of the gospel was put aside. This is where ‘reformation’ bites on both the inside and outside of our beings. If the truth has not penetrated the inside and reformed our hearts and lives we face nothing but utter defeat in terms of Christian warfare. Faith with a good conscience is a necessity. God looks upon the heart (1Samuel 16:7). He desires truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6). Faith and a good conscience go together if one is missing we will end up shipwrecked (1Timothy 1:18f). Our lives must ring true.

If there are any flaws the devil is bound to use them to sink us. Not just to shame us which is bad enough and gives him the utmost pleasure. But to cast a shadow upon the gospel and God’s name ultimately. If we are going to fight for truth and God we must be true within. Any deceit, any sin must go. So we seek and work to reform the heart and slay all falsehood. The truth must be expressed, but in deed as well as in word. If our hearts have truly been changed we will most certainly have a fervency regarding the truth. Some people wonder and ask why preachers get so excited when they are preaching. If the reality of the truth has been grasped their will certainly be an earnestness, conviction, and without doubt an excitement. If the truth never really thrills us have we truly believed it, I mean concerning the person and work of Christ and what he has done for us? Do we ever say to one another, “isn’t it great to be a Christian?” Or “isn’t it great to have the truth proclaimed?” Do we ever actually rejoice together, spiritually, I mean? Because of what we have been given. Or has Christian service been reduced to just taking? If you read through the Acts of the apostles again you will see that is how it was with them, rejoicing and serving one another and reaching out to a lost world. Because the truth had so galvanised them, they themselves had become identified with the truth itself. Not just its content but its dynamic. As they were carried along by the truth they all of them became preachers of the truth, not in the formal sense I mean. With lip, life and service they stood for the truth (v14).

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
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