Through Conflict to Victory
I am thankful that I have never said to anyone "Trust Christ and life will be a bed of roses". Not only has it not been true in my life, it has never been true for any saint, and it isn't promised in Scripture. Conflict and opposition do not decrease during our spiritual journey, but often they increase in both occasion and intensity. In this chapter, Sibbes tells us that we will experience victory, but first we must pass through conflict, often from within. It takes much trouble to bring Christ into the heart, and to set up a tribunal for him to judge there. There is an army of lusts in mutiny against him. The utmost strength of most men's endeavors and abilities is directed to keeping Christ from ruling in the soul. The flesh still labors to maintain its own government, and therefore it cries down the credit of whatever crosses it, such as God's blessed ordinances, and highly prizes anything, though never so dead and empty, if it allows the liberty of the flesh. (pg. 118-119)
In fact, opposition may be seen as a sign of spiritual strength instead of weakness. It is therefore no sign of a good condition to find all quiet, with no opposition; for can we think that corruption, which is the older element in us, and Satan, the strong man who has many holds over us, will yield possession quietly? No, there is not so much as a thought of goodness discovered by him, but he joins with corruption to kill it in the birth. (pg. 120)
So, we fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and none of them will give up easily, but all of them will be defeated in the end. Our victory in Christ is certain!
Sibbes conclusion to the book, pages 122-128, needs to be often before our eyes. As a result, I will conclude this series of posts on this book in my next post by presenting that material in its entirety. Please read and re-read it as food for your soul.