#206, THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses, 1TI 6:12.
Our profession of faith is a very important matter. Our text speaks of professing before many witnesses. How many people today make a profession? Have they made a good profession? How many people today believe on Christ and has it been with saving faith? Our text says we must "fight the good fight of faith." I want to emphasize that saving faith is not an easy matter; it is a fight. It is a spiritual warfare and a continual struggle. Struggling against what? We must constantly struggle against that ugly monster, "I." Self is our most vicious enemy.
As we proceed in our study of saving faith, we must see it as our armour against our chief enemies. EPH 6:16 speaks about the armour of the Christian soldier. "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." Faith is depicted as the shield. If you understand anything about war, you know that a shield is a very important part of the armour. It is the shield that protects one from the missiles of the enemy.
When we become involved in the spiritual warfare, faith is to be held out as the shield whereby we can quench the missiles of the wicked.
As we hold our text in its context, we will see that that old ugly monster, "self" has become our greatest enemy. The fiery darts of Satan come against our soul. The greatest of these is self-exaltation.
Let us keep our text in context; the verses preceding it, 1TI 6:9-12, say, "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through [They are their own enemy.] with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
Our biggest enemy is Satan, enthroned on our heart, and selfishness that seeks self-exaltation, lusting, coveting, and desiring forbidden things. There we have the great fight of faith. Satan and the ugly monster, "I" must be dethroned from our hearts so that Christ can be lifted up and placed on the throne of our heart. That is the exercise of saving faith. It is the constant battle of fighting the good fight of faith; it is not an overnight occurrence where one walks the aisle, accepts Christ, and is saved. It is a constant striving for our entire life. It is a matter of fighting and holding up the shield of faith to be "able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" lest we fall from the faith. We must avoid erring from the faith and piercing ourselves with many sorrows. We must constantly come before the throne of grace that the Lord may preserve us, spare us, and keep us from self-destruction, that underneath will be the everlasting arms.
We must understand that Satans goal in Paradise was to cause man to commit self-destruction. You shall be as God; you decide what is right and wrong; you place self on the throne of your heart. The greatest fight that must be fought by saving faith is against that ugly monster, "self." MAR 8:34-36 says, "And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospels, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
Do you see the beauty in that Scripture? We are to deny ourselves; that means dethroning self. Then we are to take up His cross which involves crucifying the old man of sin and all the ugly, selfish, lustful darts of the wicked that dwell in our hearts. Then we may follow Him, serve Him and fight the good fight of faith, but we must first dethrone Satan to remove the poisonous venom that was injected in paradise. It poisons our whole being, and it must be removed. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospels, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
What profit is there for a man to gain all the recognition you are coveting and promoting? Self may reach the highest pinnacle, but what have you gained if in the process you lose your soul? Jesus teaches us that if we were able to master every covetous thought, bringing it to fruition, you would gain the fame and wealth of the world, we would profit nothing if we lost our soul. He is teaching us that the fight of faith must come against all the things that are in opposition to the Spirit of Christ. It is a continuous warfare.
The power of self love is an enemy over which we cannot deliver ourselves as we see from the teaching of our Savour in MAR 10:26-27, "And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." What was the topic when Jesus made that statement? He was talking about the rich young ruler; he was walking away sorrowfully because he couldnt bear to part with his wealth or fame. Those were the things that exalted self in his life. Then the disciples ask who can be saved. The Lord Jesus answered that man cannot do it, but "with God all things are possible."
The fight of saving faith means we must strive against these things before the throne of grace. We must come before the Lord for His help and deliverance. He can conquer the ugly monster, "self," and we will see the sinfulness of sin as He gave the Pharisees who brought the woman taken in adultery to see a glimpse into their own hearts. Then they didnt have one stone to throw. A little self-knowledge should bring us to the throne of grace pleading for the Lord to deliver us from the power of the prince of the air. We must plead for self to be dethroned so the Lord Jesus Christ might be enthroned on our heart. Then we will serve the Lord. That is the exercise of saving faith.
The unregenerate sinner can no more exercise saving faith, nor alter his own affections, than he can create a world as we can see with the rich young ruler.
In MAR 10:21-22 we read, "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions." Was the rich young ruler willing to sacrifice his earthly or his heavenly possessions? Self was still on the throne; the poor man was unregenerate. The work of regeneration is shown in new affections, desires, and love. We learn to hate the things we formerly loved, and we come to love that which we once hated. That is the work of regeneration that this man lacked.
The unregenerate, as this young man, are wrapped up in the things of self; their affections are on the things of this world and exalt self. The demands under the law of love in the gospel to take up our cross and follow the footsteps of Jesus are more than flesh and blood can endure. Jesus told the young man, "One thing thou lackest..." He was not able to sell all he had and give to the poor because he lacked something.
What was it that he lacked? The work of regeneration, i.e., The new birth by the Spirit of God; that change of affections whereby our hatred for God and love for sin is broken, and we love God and delight to do His will. The rich young rulers affections were still on self and the things of this world; he lacked that change of heart. He had faith; he came to Jesus and fell on his knees. He called Jesus, "Master." He knew Jesus was the Messiah, but he lacked saving faith and the work of regeneration. He was not able to make the sacrifice that it took to walk in way of the cross because his affections had not changed.
TIT 3:5 says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." You and I are not able to change our affections; we need the washing of regeneration. The regeneration of the Holy Ghost is giving us new desires and a new heart; it is creating a new man within us so that we delight to do the will of God. The will of God becomes our chief delight. The rich young ruler lacked that change of heart.
Our Saviours Parable of the Great Supper teaches how the "the good fight of faith" is an internal warfare of the affections. We must battle the old man of sin daily; we must search our affections, then do the will of God. That is the exercise of saving faith. We see the demonstration of this in this parable. LUK 14:16-17 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready." Now see where the affections became an obstacle to coming.
LUK 14:18-20 says, "And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." Notice that in every excuse made, something was of a higher priority. This is the fight of faith. What are our priorities? What holds the highest value in our life? Are we able to give up those things which pleases the flesh, and self. Are we able to put these things in second place?
The Parable of the Great Supper shows us that the unregenerate have their priorities mixed up. They do not understand the fight of faith. The first purchased land; it was of more value to him than to attend the great feast. We are talking about the great gospel feast. Does something else pre-empt it? What has the greater priority in our life? What sacrifice are we willing to make to see Christ enthroned upon our heart?
Another had purchased oxen; each person had their own thing that was more important, but the result is the same. They prayed to be excused. The last example is the man who married a wife. Each one had a greater priority than the kingship of God.
Millions are willing to accept Christ to be saved upon their own terms; any one of those would have been willing to come if He would have just changed the date or time. They are asking for it on their own terms and they will come. Millions are able and willing to accept Christ on their terms, but not on His, i.e., setting Christ on the throne of a humble and a contrite heart. That means to humble yourself and be obedient unto death. That is the exercise of saving faith. We must sort out our priorities and determine what price we are willing to pay.
Sometimes the Lord calls for a bigger sacrifice for one than for another. Abraham had to put his son and his salvation on the altar to obey. Then the angel called from heaven, "And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me," GEN 22:12. In other words, God knew that Abraham held His will above his own salvation. "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice," GEN 22:17-18. That is the trial of saving faith: will we obey?
Christs terms call for crucifixion of the old man of sin and self. This will be the test of every person who has Christ upon the throne of His heart. Look at LUK 14:26-27. "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." As I have pointed out before, the word "hate" in the original Greek means "love less than." I may love my wife, children, and brethren. It is a God-given command, but I must love them less than I love God.
Abraham loved his Isaac with all his heart, but he loved him less than he loved God. It must have torn his heart to lay his own son on the altar and take his life. It isnt that he didnt love his son; he loved him less than he loved God. He was able to obey God because his love for God was greater than his love for his family, and even his own spiritual life. His salvation was in Isaac because the Messiah was to descend through him.. He was able to believe that God could raise Isaac up again that the promised Messiah would still be born from the descendants of Isaac. This faith of Abraham is recorded in HEB 11:17-19 "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure."
Jesus said, "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple," LUK 14:27. Do you see the good fight of faith? It is the fight of saving faith that God brings upon the exercised soul. Satan wants to either deceive men into thinking there is merit in works, or that Gods grace is not to be sought or laboured for. Satan is so crafty; he would have us believe we merit something by these sacrifices, or he will pursue the opposite having us fatalistically pleading the inability of man. In that mode he would have us believe we are not able to do it, and therefore we are justified in continuing to live in sin. We are not to sit by waiting for God to act. Satan is a master mind who would have us fall into that trap.
JOH 6:27 says, "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed." We are to labor for the meat that endures forever. We may not sit in fatalism and wait for the Lord to do the work of regeneration. Are we able to do it? No, but we are to labor before the throne of grace. We labor and strive in every way, praying with our eyes unto the Lord. Yes, we plead our inability; we are not able to change our own heart, but asking and pleading for God to do it.
So, does this teach salvation by works? No and Yes! We must watch this. We may not be so fatalistic that we say we are unable. This does not teach works for merit, but yes in the sense that we are to wholeheartedly seek to know and do the will of God. That is the exercise of saving faith. We must seek and strive with every fiber in our body to know and do the will of God, but we do not do it to merit anything. We must be motivated by love, desiring to do that which is pleasing unto the Lord.
Scripture does not justify a fatalistic attitude under any circumstances. There is no time that we are justified in saying that God must do it because we cant. We know we cant quicken our dead soul; that is why we need to pray for God to do it. HEB 4:11 says, "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." What example of unbelief? This is speaking of the children of Israel who perished by unbelief. Unbelief is a damning sin because it refuses to believe in Christ enough to be willing to obey Him. We must strive by the exercise of saving faith to seek to know the will of God and pleading with the Lord to give us the grace to do His will.
Magnifying Gods grace in a fatalistic spirit makes Him the Minister of sin. There are those people who would make the grace of God so rich that everything is done, and there is nothing left for you to do. It sounds beautiful; it sounds truthful; it sounds Scriptural. We will not add one thing to the merits of Christ. Now we need to read ROM 6:1-2. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" How can we continue to live in sin if we are dead to it, claiming we have faith? That is not magnifying the grace of God, it is a damning sin. It makes Christ the minister of sin. We are putting the blame on Him for the fact that we are continuing in sin that grace may abound. Therefore, we make it Christs fault that we live in sin.
Scriptures clearly teaches that the work of repentance must precede any pardon. ISA 55:7 conveys this beautifully, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
Did that verse begin with a pardon? No, it starts with repentance. An unrighteous man is one who is in transgression against the second table of the law. He is to stop his evil thoughts about his neighbour, about his fellow man, and then turn to the Lord. There are three things already that precede the pardon. Pardon is the last word in the verse.
Turning from wicked ways, forsaking evil thoughts, and returning to the Lord all come before the pardon. To preach pardon to people who are living in open transgression is not the gospel. We need to preach repentance; that is where the Lord Jesus Christ started His preaching. Repentance, turning from evil ways, turning from unrighteous thoughts, and then turning to the Lord in an exercise of saving faith brings us to a pardon.
Fighting the good fight of faith is crucifying self, and returning unto God with the whole heart. See this in LUK 14:33, "So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." We need to do more than forsake our evil ways; everything that is of self must go. Everything that builds and exalts oneself must be forsaken or one cannot be His disciple.
This does not teach that the work of Christ needs to be assisted by something from the creature, but it teaches what His work was designed to accomplish. What did Christ come to accomplish? If that is not understood, you dont understand salvation. We must first understand the purpose of Christs coming and what He came to accomplish. Without that knowledge, we have missed salvation.
Jesus came to be the Shepherd of His sheep to lead them in the way He Himself prepared. A real shepherd goes before his flock; they follow. If you are dealing with cattle, you are behind them to drive them. You drive cattle, but you lead sheep. The Lord Jesus came to be a Shepherd; that means He came to lead them in His way. He will not ask you or I to take one step in a place that He has not trod.
JOH 10:4 says, "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." We must understand that Jesus came to be the Shepherd of His sheep. He goes before them, but we must follow His footsteps. We are to tread the path He trod.
The way which Jesus leads is in the way of the cross, setting an example for His sheep. HEB 10:19-22 tells us, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." Those few verses contain a tremendously important message.
He has consecrated a place for us through the veil; in other words, through the crucifixion of His flesh, i.e., He consecrated our way or path of life so that we may crucify the old man of sin so that we may be raised again into a newness of life. That is the way of the cross. We are to act in the full assurance of faith. Do you see the good fight? It is striving against all the things of the flesh.
Jesus came to call men to walk in the law of love by His preaching in words and by His example. His ministry is two-fold. The words of the Lord Jesus Christ would be of no effect if it wasnt for His preaching by example. It was by His example, His walk of life, that He put the power into the preaching of His words. The example of Christ, void of His teaching, would not be as powerful, but the teaching of His words, if they did not correspond to His life, would have no effect. Jesus told you and me to pray for our enemies, love those who curse us. If He would have struck out against His enemies contrary to His teachings, His example would have destroyed His teaching.
Jesus was reviled, but He did not revile in return. By His example, His preaching has become ours. See this in 1PE 2:21, "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps." There is the ministry of Christ; He went out before us as our Shepherd. He prepared the way. He does not ask you or I to make one sacrifice that He has not made. The Lord does not ask us to resist one temptation that He did not have to resist. He does not ask one thing of you or I that our Saviour has not done before us. We are not asked to humble ourselves to a death that is deeper than what He did. He died unto sin that He might live unto God, Cf. ROM 6:10. These are the footsteps that you and I must follow. Jesus knew no sin but He was made to be sin when He took our debt upon Himself, Cf. 2CO 5:21.
We must understand the purpose of Christs coming. Jesus work was designed to accomplish the purpose of Gods creation, i.e., that the true character of God might be reflected in our human nature. What is the exercise of saving faith? It is that we might reflect the character of God; it was the purpose of our creation. Too many people have the impression that saving faith is for the sole purpose of escaping hell. That is not it at all. It is that we might reflect the character of God, "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person," HEB 1:3. The purpose of Jesus coming was to restore the intent of Gods creation of man that was marred in Paradise.
It is through our blessed Forerunners image that God is able to look upon His followers with delight. With Jesus as our Shepherd, going on before us, He prepares and opens a way by reflecting the true character of God. It is through this image that God is able to look to His followers with delight. Now the Lord can look upon you and I as having fulfilled perfectly the purpose of His creation because of the imputed righteousness of Christ.
How is it that through the imputed righteousness of Christ we can be looked upon by God as truly reflecting the character of God? ROM 8:29 says, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." That is the purpose of God the Father in us. He has foreordained, predestined, that we will again fulfill the purpose of our creation. We will be conformed to the perfect image of the Son. Jesus was the first born of the human race who fully reflected the true character of God. The exercise of saving faith is to fulfill the purpose for which we were created. We are to be the reflection of the true character of God. We come short, dont we? That is why God today must look upon us in the perfection of Christ, in that perfect reflection of God in Christ. In Christ He beholds us as being conformed.
Jesus lived and died that through His Spirit dead sinners should be quickened unto a newness of life, causing then to become sojourners in this world because their hearts have already departed from it. A sojourner is one who is merely passing through an area. If you and I understand the exercise of living faith, your heart became dead and was raised again into a newness of life centered in Christ. Our desire is to be a reflector of the perfect character of God. Our hearts have ascended, and they are no longer of this world; nothing in this world can attract our heart away from God. The world is not interested in the reflection of God; that is why our hearts are no longer here.
There are constant questions rising in our hearts as we fight the good fight of faith. What are my desires? Do I really want to be saved from this or that sin? Or does my heart still love and serve it? Of necessity you and I must examine our hearts each day so we do not allow some lust to start ruling in our heart. Do I want to be saved from the big empire I want to build in this world? That great empire would enhance my stature among other people. Am I willing for the Lord to remove that empire? Do I really want to be saved, or am I like the rich young ruler? Isnt it true that these questions raise their ugly head daily in our good fight of faith? We have to fight against those ugly desires that keep rising in our hearts to plant stakes in this world. Our hearts have departed from this world, but the ugly monster, "I," wants to bring them back.
Do I really want to be saved from sin, or just from its penalty? Isnt that a constant questioning that arises in our hearts? It is a struggle that becomes a good fight of faith. We must guard against just trying to escape the penalty of sin, but we must actually come to the point where we hate sin. Satan has such a power of fascination that tries to lure us into some sin that becomes pleasant to us.
Have I entered the kingdom of heaven? Has the prince of this world been judged in my soul? These are also questions that arise in our hearts providing more continual warfare. That is fighting the good fight of faith.
Have I truly become weary of serving my old master, the Devil, sin, the lust of the eye, and the pride of this life? Do these things wear me down so that I become weary of my life, or are these things that I must watch so they do not control my life? These are the questions we must deal with daily to fight the good fight of faith.
1TI 6:11-12 says, "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." Do you see where the good fight of faith comes from? We must be vigilant and aware that these things are pursuing us; we must flee for our life to the Lord Jesus Christ because we have no might against this great enemy. He is the only place of safety in these matters.
Did you ever stop to realize that there is not a time when your mind is idle? Something always traffics your mind. If you find your mind is allowing a dialog with the Devil, the only way to get rid of it is to stop holding a dialog with the Devil. Resist Satan and he will flee from you. You do that by following after righteousness. That means a right attitude toward our fellow man.
Often Satan will come in the middle of a dialog with gossip. Then we begin to have wrong thoughts in our heart. To get rid of them we seek righteousness, which is a right attitude toward our fellow man. We begin asking the Lord to spare us from this dialog with old Satan. We are to flee from them, remove them, by filling our mind with something of more value. You cannot just turn the plug, wanting all that to drain out, and leave the mind in a vacuum. If we are not thinking of things of righteousness, we might be entertaining thoughts of unrighteousness. If we are not entertaining thoughts of Godliness, the first table of the law, we might be entertaining thoughts of coveting something ungodly.
Truly seeking after righteousness and Godliness is to seek after love, patience, meekness. My dear old mother used to have such a fight of faith. Many times I would come to her when her soul was so bogged down and grieved over many things. Then I found that very thing I was just explaining. I would tell her to turn the page and look at our blessings and what the Lord has done. In just a few minutes her heart would be just as involved and filled with the praises of God for what He has done as she was so bogged down under the load of her own evil nature. We are to follow after righteousness, Godliness, patience, faith, love, and meekness; flee the other things. That is fighting the good fight of faith; it is the exercise of saving faith. It is how we lay hold of eternal life.
Many people think the word salvation means to be saved from hell. Nothing is further from the truth! That is the effect or reward of salvation, but salvation is to be saved from sin. It is to be saved from the power of sin and be restored to the image of God. Salvation is to be reconciled with God. The fruit of that reconciliation is to dwell with Him. The threat of hell is removed by reconciliation, by being delivered from the power of sin, by fleeing from these things.
The desire of one who has learned to see the leprosy of sin will come fleeing to Jesus saying, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean," MAT 8:2. Do you see the true hunger and thirst of that soul? It was to be made clean. If he is clean, he can come and dwell within the camp; it was his uncleanness that put him outside the camp. The remedy that person sought was to be made clean. That is the exercise of saving faith; it is a desire to have the Lord cleanse us from the leprosy of sin so we may come to dwell within the camp.
This is not a legal repentance, attempting to escape the penalty of sin while still cherishing sin! They saw their uncleanness and the pollution of sin. It was filthy and abominable, and they desired to be cleansed. It was nothing to be cherished, and their desire was not primarily to escape punishment, but defilement.
When this becomes the cry of the heart, we need our hearts touched by those crucified hands of Jesus as we hear Him say, "I will; be thou clean," We see that in MAT 8:3. "And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." That is salvation. When the Lord Jesus Christ will reach forth to touch your heart with those crucified hands, we will see that it was our sin that made those terrible scares in His crucified hands. Before we can come pleading for cleansing, we must see the pollution, corruption, and the filthiness of sin. It was our sin that nailed Him to the cross. When our hearts are touched with those crucified hands, He will speak to our soul, saying, "I will; be thou clean." There is salvation and the exercise of saving faith; it is not trying to flee the consequences of sin.
Oh beloved, what a delusion to think God frees any from condemnation who are not cleansed by Christ. It is so important that we understand this if we are to understand saving faith. It is the cleansing that frees us from condemnation; it sets us free. See this in ROM 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Do you see where we obtain deliverance from condemnation? It is in sanctification. It is by being in Christ and having the touch of His crucified hand that cleanses and sets us free from condemnation. Can any person who walks after the flesh claim they are free from condemnation? It is a delusion; it is Satans gospel, and I say that reverently.
2CO 5:17 says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are [not will be in heaven, but are] passed away; behold, all things are become new." There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. Old things are gone; we do not wait to go to heaven to be cleansed. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ because if they are in Christ, they are a new creature who does not walk after the flesh. The work of sanctification is the conduit through which we come unto the obedience of faith, and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ on a guilty conscience, Cf. 1PE 1:2. We are free from condemnation through the work of sanctification. It is by becoming a new creature in Christ.
Those who fight the good fight of faith come to Christ with a real soul-thirst to drink of the living waters of His sanctifying Spirit. We see this in JOH 7:38-39, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
To love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to pray for those who despitefully use us requires the good fight of faith. Our Saviour has not only assigned us such a task, but He has gone before us in that very way of the cross, setting us an example. 1PE 2:17-25 says, "Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."
We see David fought the good fight of faith, which is evidenced by PSA 119:174-176. "I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Our text says, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses, 1TI 6:12. Amen.
These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.
We pray this sermon has been a blessing to those who read it. If you share this sermon with a friend, please let us know. Thank you.