You are Not Alone in Waging the Good Warfare
Concerning the sermon from this last Sunday on 1 Tim 1:18-20 – Wage the Good Warfare, there was one critical element that I would add, and should have added, that is we are not alone in “waging the good warfare”. I am writing to reinforce that point as it would be incorrect, even harmful, to walk away from a message on “fighting the good fight” thinking that this is something that we do on our own or something we must muster up our own resources to fight or a war in which Jesus is on the sidelines waiting to see if we’ll make it or not. Clearly it is something that we do, but not alone. Though saving faith is a faith that perseveres, it is NOT a faith that perserves alone on its own resources. Jesus did not die for us and then stand back to see if we’d survive the battle that is the Christian life. I want to make sure that is overwhelmingly clear.
We believe in the perseverance of the saints
All those who are truly saved will endure to the end – but that does not remove us from the fight of faith. Knowing this removes any notion that to believe in “once saved always saved” means we can place our faith on cruise control. Cruise control and waging war have little to do with one another.
Keep the context in mind
Whenever we are reading the Scripture we must keep in mind the context and, in this case, not forget that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1:15) Jesus came to rescue us, forgive us, make us new and continue to walk alongside of us as an ally, as our shepherd (Ps 23:1). He will bring to completion what he has already begun in all of us who follow him (Phil 1:6).
Jesus is with us
Knowing that Jesus is with us, for us and will not forsake us provides the only adequate motivation, empowerment and confidence to actually wage the good warfare. In a way we’re waging a war that has already been won, but our enemies have not yet fully surrendered, thus the battle continues to be fought – but its end is in sight.
Kept in persevering
The Bible is very clear that we must perservere until the end to be saved yet, at the very same time, it is also clear that God will keep those who are genuinely saved. Here are two scriptures that reflect both sides:
We must perserve in faith, until the end, if we are to be finally saved. i.e. Saving faith is a persevering faith.
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 1 Cor 15:1-2
Additional scriptures: Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:11-13; Mk 13:13
Yet, at the very same time, the Bible is also clear that those who have been justified (or saved) by God, in Christ, will be faithfully kept, protected, empowered by God until the end.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Rom 8:28-32
Additional scriptures: Jn 10:26-30; 1 Pet 1:3-5; 1 Pet 5:8-10; Jude 1:24-25; 1 Thess 5:23-24; 1 Cor 1:8-9; Eph 1:13-14; Jer 32:40; Phil 1:6; Phil 2:12-13; Heb 13:20-21; 2 Tim 4:18
So, in other words, in your war waging, remember that you are not alone. Fight the fight of faith confident that he will bring to perfection what he has already begun in you. Wage war knowing that He died for you which is ample cause to depend, trust, rest, and rely on him. He is good and does good.
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