The Fight of Faith
The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” (1Tim.6:12). He was passing on his wisdom as a man of God who had fought a good fight himself over many years and was now finishing his course (2Tim.4:7). As a young gospel minister Timothy needed sound counsel, labouring as he did against much opposition.
Paul’s words also have application to the people of God in general. The fight of which he speaks is one in which all believers are involved by virtue of being called to eternal life. We have an interest in this fight, if we know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and have enlisted in His service. Our passage from this world to the next is not an easy one: there are enemies we must face and obstacles we must encounter before we reach our home in heaven. We cannot afford to sit back or take our ease here. What is there to encourage us in the conflict?
We may say firstly that the cause of Christ is the best cause of all. The fight of faith is a good fight in a way which no other fight is. The Lord approves it, for He has made this known in His Word. The Scriptures reveal God’s eternal purpose to glorify Himself by sending His only begotten Son to save helpless sinners. By suffering the wrath of God in their place, even unto death, Jesus has reconciled the guilty to God. We enjoy salvation by faith in this precious Redeemer and we endeavour to persuade others to turn from their sins and trust in Him too.
Christ’s cause is unique in that it has eternal consequences. There are other ‘good causes’ in this world but their objects are temporal. They aim at relieving hunger, disease, poverty and so on. However nothing is more important than the welfare of men’s souls. We need to remember this in the current climate. People are saying that biblical religion is at best an irrelevance and at worst a hindrance. They label Christians as troublemakers and extreme. Yet to promote the gospel is to do the greatest good for a bad world. Never let the devil persuade you otherwise.
Secondly we may say that if we are for the cause of Christ then Christ will be for us. All Christians are soldiers, clad with spiritual armour and bearing weapons which are mighty through God. All are to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Some Christians are at the front of the battle, preaching and teaching the Word of God. Others serve elsewhere in the ranks, praying and witnessing for the Lord. Wherever the Lord sees a sincere faith and a godly life He will be present in power and will grant His help in time of trouble. “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty” (Zeph.3:17).
Thirdly we may say that the cause of Christ will prevail in the end. At times things appear to go against it. Isaiah once lamented: “judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter” (Isa.59:14). But the Lord saw the situation – and He still does. We need Hezekiah’s confidence: “with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles” (2Chron.32:8).
Our own church is faced with a testing situation. We may be tempted to doubt God’s faithfulness and to be fearful of the future but it is our duty and privilege to trust in the Lord like the Psalmist: “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me” (Psa.57:2).