"Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat."

Holiness!

by J.C. Ryle
(1816—1900)


THE FIGHT!


"Fight the good fight of faith."
1 Timothy 6:12

It is a curious fact that there is no subject about which most people feel such deep interest, as fighting. Young men and maidens, old men and little children, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned — all feel a deep interest in wars, battles and fighting.

A simple inscrutable fact presents itself to us — we are excited when we hear stories of war. Some would consider an Englishman rather boring, if he cared nothing about the story of Waterloo or Inkerman or Balaclava or Lucknow. Many consider the heart cold and stupid, which is not moved and thrilled by the struggles at Sedan and Strasburg and Metz and Paris during the war between France and Germany.

But there is another warfare of far greater importance than any war that was ever waged by man. It is a warfare which concerns not two or three nations only — but every Christian man and woman born into the world. The warfare I speak of, is the spiritual warfare. It is the fight which everyone who would be saved, must fight about his soul.

This warfare, I am aware, is a thing of which many know nothing. Talk to them about it, and they are ready to set you down as a madman, an enthusiast or a fool! And yet it is as real and true as any war the world has ever seen. It has its hand-to-hand conflicts — and its wounds. It has its watchings — and fatigues. It has its sieges — and assaults. It has its victories — and its defeats. Above all, it has consequences which are solemn, tremendous and most peculiar. In earthly warfare, the consequences to nations are often temporary and remediable. In the spiritual warfare, it is very different. Of that warfare, the consequences, when the fight is over, are unchangeable and eternal.

It is of this warfare, that Paul spoke to Timothy, when he wrote those burning words, "Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life." It is of this warfare, that I propose to speak in this message. I hold the subject to be closely connected with that of sanctification and holiness. He who would understand the nature of true holiness — must know that the Christian is "a man of war." If we would be holy — we must fight!

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Those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

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The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The world is crucified to me, and I unto the World. Whoever is born of God, overcomes the world.

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All have by nature a heart full of pride, unbelief, sloth, worldliness and sin! All are living in a world beset with snares, traps and pitfalls for the soul. All have near them a busy, restless, malicious devil.

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Read also: THE COST!

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Eph. 6:12

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you." Isaiah 43:2

We must fight until we die!