The Christian life is WAR! If you don’t know that or don’t agree with that, then you are not a Christian. Every Christian knows from God’s Word and from personal experience that there is a war going on! It is a war over your soul. The flesh against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh (Galatians 5:17). This is why so many times in the Bible we are called to “fight.” To be a Christian is to be perpetually committed to, and engaged in a life-time battle against sin and the devil. Thank God, we don’t have to fight alone or in our own strength. The battle is the LORD’s (1 Samuel 17:47). It is the LORD who works in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
However, we are called to “fight” (1 Timothy 6:12); to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12); and we called to “make our calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). God fights for us but we must also fight. God did not make humans to function like robots or computers. You press this button and it does whatever you want it to do. No, God made man a free moral agent. Man’s free moral agency did not end with the Fall when Adam and Eve sinned against the LORD and ate the forbidden fruit. Even after the Fall, man was and is still responsible for His actions. God is sovereign over all things but man remains responsible. In fact with the Fall came greater accountability and responsibility on man’s part with respect to sin and righteousness. Why? Because “the eyes of them both were opened” (Genesis 3:7). Remember, they had eaten from “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:9). So, after the Fall man become even more responsible to the LORD for His actions. And for those of us who are in Christ, the responsibility is even greater because Christ is “the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). In Him “are hidden all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom” (Colossians 2:3).
This is where fighting for our faith comes in – and fight we must. We must fight against remaining sin in us and fight for growth into Christlikeness. In short, we need to fight for our sanctification. What is sanctification, you ask? According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness” (WSC, Q & A 35). This is different from justification which is a-once for all, unilateral act of God on behalf of the elect. Sanctification is different in the sense that man must cooperate with God to make it happen. We must be killing sin before it kills us. “For if you life according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).
So, then we must fight. How do we fight? Well, the weapons for this war are given to us in the Scriptures especially in Ephesians 6:10-18. Take some time to go through this passage today and pray for illumination by the Spirit of God so that you may understand this better and identify the “battle grounds” (the strongholds) in your life and get on with the battle in the strength that the LORD provides. Do not despair child of God! Do not grow weary. “Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:3-4). In Christ, you are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). Others have gone before you and have fought the battle(s) against sin and temptation by faith in God (see the list in Hebrews 11). In His strength, you will too. Therefore, “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Alpha and Omega of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Hallelujah!