Background of Victory (continued)
Victory the Paramount Necessity of the Christian
No truly earnest Christian is devoid of the sense of defeat. There is the consciousness of conflict with forces of evil, both without and within, that are overwhelming and overpowering. The real Christian knows that he has enemies for whom he is no match, and with deep shame and humiliation he acknowledged that too often he goes down before them in shameless defeat, in tragic and repeated failure. Countless Christians down through the ages have uttered with Paul that poignant, anguished cry:
"O wretched man that I am!"
Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). Has God no answer to such a piercing cry for deliverance from an intolerable bondage? He assuredly has: "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord." In fact, declares throughout the Bible from beginning to end that victory is not only a possibility but a necessity; that it is not merely something humanly desired, but something divinely required. The Word reveals with crystal clearness that victory for the saint is as integral a part of God's eternal purpose as salvation is for the sinner. As salvation through the blood shed on Calvary runs like a scarlet cord through the Word, so victory through the sovereign Lord on the throne runs as a golden cord. The Lamb of God who lays down His life on the Cross is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, receiving the worship and adoration of thousands of thousands around the throne (Revelation 5:6, 11, 12).
But what answer does the Church give in its preaching and teaching to this anguished cry from those longing for deliverance? Very largely it remains silent. Even those who are faithful and fearless as messengers of deliverance from the penalty of sin have no message whatever on deliverance from the power of sin.
In fact, the Church is pathetically divided on this great truth. Some preachers and teachers deny, yes, even oppose it. Some are afraid of it both for themselves and for others, because of its demands and consequences. Some hunger to know the pathway to victory and would walk in it if they knew how. Some seek victory along unscriptural lines which lead into unbiblical teaching and experience. Some know the theory but do not know how it works out in practice. Some have a head knowledge of victory as a doctrine but little or no manifestation of it in daily life, so tat their teaching and testimony are nullified by a nonvictorious life. Some know the truth of victory over satan, sin, and self through the Spirit's revelation of it to them and in them, and the truth has made them gloriously free.
Dear reader, just where are in in relation to this precious truth, both as to the knowledge and to the experience of it? Do not go further until you have given an honest consideration to this question.
(continued with # 3)