This article was written by Eugene Clingman of the International Church Council Project
I have been pondering the fact that the Christian life is war. I do not like war, nor did the Psalmist, “I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war” (Psalm 120:7). The Christian life is war because the world is at war with our Master and Lord who commanded us to teach all nations to obey all His commands. The arch enemy of God resists our efforts. The devil and his hosts wage war by spiritual influence, seeking to dissuade, discourage, confuse, and accuse, the people of God; he also insights people to battle against the spread of the message of Christ. Christ’s command to teach the nations to obey all he has commanded is none other than the development of Christ obeying and honoring culture in all the nations. More than a few hate this!
The Christian life is war also because “the world, the flesh, and the devil” are continually at war against the believer. If we do not recognize this, and structure our lives in a corresponding war-time lifestyle, we will be living in deception much like those in Jeremiah’s time who said, “Peace, peace when there is no peace.” Reality is – conquer or be conquered! If you would not be conquered, war is inevitable. John Philpot Curran (1750-1817), the Irish Protestant jurist, in a speech in 1790, on “The right of Election,” said, “It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition, if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” I wish it were not so, but life is something like being on a river in a canoe – down stream is a massive waterfall that portends only destruction for any pulled into its current. If one does not paddle his canoe upstream, over the falls he will go! Stop paddling, and the drift of the current will carry you to destruction. Whether this is likened to your individual life, your family, your church, or the life of your nation, stop fighting, and inevitable destruction is the only expectation. God is able to intervene, and often he does, but he requires us to fight – “…fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck (canoe-wreck) in regard to their faith” (1 Tim. 1:18-19). “…I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle” (Psalm 144:1). The Christian life is war! Unless you would be a slave to the world, the flesh, and the devil, your family a slave to ungodly culture, your church a slave to false teaching and ungodly practices, and your nation a slave to tyrants, you must war! Those who war against you do not rest, neither can you. War or be conquered. If you are indolent, as Mr. Curran says, “servitude” will be “at once the consequence of (your) crime, and the punishment of (your) guilt.”
Where then is the peace of Christianity? Rest and peace are in taking upon ourselves the purpose of Jesus. What is Jesus doing? Where is Jesus going in history? What is Jesus doing now? He has “…sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet” (Hebrews 10:12,13). Jesus is in the process of conquering, and his purpose cannot abort. If we take on Jesus’ purpose, and thus set ourselves in the ranks of Christ’s advancing cause, we find rest. Jesus is the Conqueror, and we follow in his triumphal procession. “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere” (2 Cor. 2:14).
The International Church Council Project is paddling the canoe of the integrity of God’s Word, and orthodox Christian doctrine up stream. There are forces that would drag it back. Please pray for us, and serve with us in financial support. We need to raise approximately $1800 per month to meet the budget for my salary.
In His service,