War, in its essence, has never been good. No doubt, it is an absolute necessity in many cases- to procure the liberty of nations, contain evil, preserve lives, and protect the weak. However, war has always involved damages, casualties, and suffering.
War brings out the worst of humanity. It never has good endings for those who get involved. The long and dreadful war in Afghanistan has brought suffering and destruction to the people of Afghanistan and failed to achieve peace. In short, war is evil. Yet, in 1 Timothy 6:12, Paul writes, “Fight the good fight of faith.”
There is only one good fight, and it is the Christian warfare. It is the fight of the soul. Here are three reasons why the Christian warfare is good.
1. We fight the enemies within and without
It is good to fight because if we don’t, the enemies will destroy us. We are fighting on two fronts: the outer front and the inner front. On the inner front, we are battling against our flesh. In 1 Peter 2:11, Peter writes, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
Peter personifies “the passions of the flesh” as an army of rebels or guerrillas who search out and try to destroy our joy and usefulness. Therefore, as a soldier of the army of the gospel, we must abstain from the desires of the flesh to impact the world with the word of God. John Owen writes, “Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.”
We fight not only the battle within but also the battle outside of us or the outer front. It is the battle “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians chapter 6 verse 12).
This enemy is cunning and crafty. It has its schemes to deceive us (Ephesians chapter 6 verse 11). It “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter chapter 5 verse 8). Therefore, we must fight.
2. We fight with the best weapon
It is a good fight because we fight with the best weapons. The weapons of our warfare are “not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 4). We have the armor of God that can enable us to stand against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians chapter 6 verse 13).
We have the sword of truth, which is “living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Jesus used the word of God as the weapon against the temptation of Satan, and He succeeded (Matthew chapter 4). Millions of sinners like you and me have used spiritual weapons, and they have never failed.
Therefore, let us operate the best weapons that God gives us against the lies and schemes of the devils.
3. We fight the war in which victory is assured
We fight under the command of our Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will lead us to the final victory, and the Chief Shepherd (First Peter chapter 5 verse 4). Let me remind you of the words of Martin Luther in A Mighty Fortress is Our God:
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our Striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth is His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
No doubt, the battle is going to be raging, painful, and costly. There will be wounds, bruises, and struggles. However, Jesus shall win the battle for us, and “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8 verse 37).
What should motivate us in this fight is the promise of final victory. God will make His enemies a footstool (Psalm 110 verse 1). “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians chapter 1 verse 6). Nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus said, “Of those whom You gave me, I have lost none” (John 18:9). No soldiers of Christ shall be lost or left dead on the battlefield. Therefore, we can be confident that this fight is good for those who participate in it.
Brothers and sisters, we are fighting an irreconcilable war, but it is a war where victory is assured. Press on.
Note: The article is inspired by The Fight in Holiness by J.C. Ryle.
Dat Nguyen is a student at the Master’s Seminary and a member of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, California. His desire is to be a faithful minister of the Word of God. He loves playing basketball and watching movies.