Background of Victory (continued)
The Background of Victory (continued)
Again, the scope of victory has been limited by thinking of it only in terms of personal victory, which one usually regards as optional, rather than grasping its tremendous collective significance - that the defeat or victory of on Christian spells to that degree the defeat or victory of the entire Church. To admit this as fact makes victory obligatory.
In reading through the Bible to trace the causes and consequences of defeat, I was terrified to see the relation between personal sin and collective defeat. Achan's sin of covetousness caused the humiliating defeat of all Israel, when the "wrath [of God] fell on all the congregation of Israel, and that man perished not alone in his iniquity" (Josh. 22:20). Miriam's sin of jealousy, with its consequent murmuring against her own brother Moses, held up the journeying of all Israel for a whole week. The sin of unbelief and rebellion of the ten spies caused the Israel of that generation to wander forty years in the wilderness and die there. It is written of one king after another following the reign of Jeroboam that they "walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin (1 Kings 15:34). The greatest tragedy in human history was Adam's sin against humanity when by one sin of disobedience he took with him into sin and death the whole human race. Stop for one moment to look out over the present-day world strewn with human wreckage; then look back over the centuries, tracing that black trail of sin over human history to its origin in the garden of Eden, and contemplate the frightful, the ghastly harvest of one man's one disobedience. "No man liveth unto himself," and that is speaking of you and of me. Personal sin on the part of one Christian spells collective defeat for the whole Church.
A pastor was defending himself for being a movie fan on the ground that he went only to "good movies." When asked about his influence upon the young people in his church who had not such capacity for discrimination (?) and who went to "good" and bad alike, his reply was that he took no responsibility for his influence in such cases, for the mother was responsible for making such choices for her child. But God says that "no man liveth unto himself" and that at the judgment seat of Christ that pastor will be "judged" according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10).
But I was thrilled beyond expression to see also the relation between personal and collective victory. Caleb "wholly followed the Lord." With what result? Marvelous personal victory! Out of Israel's hundreds of thousands, he was one of the two who survived the wilderness, entered Canaan and possessed his inheritance there. Was it is personal victory only? Oh, no! At eighty-five years of age he conquered the toughest crowd in Canaan - those giants, the sons of Anak who terrified and overwhelmed the younger men forty years before. He took the walled cities and gained a magnificent collective victory for all Israel. Is that all? No, he secured the possession of the land for his seed. His victory brought blessing to his children and his children's children. Joshua, the other of the two overcomers in the wilderness, also came into Canaan as a conqueror, to conquer thirty-five kings: to take the whole land and give it for an inheritance unto Israel. Of several kings who came after David it was said: "And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the ways of David his father." Paul, imprisoned, beaten, bruised, and with his feet in the stocks, at midnight sang the song of victory and of praise to the Lord. Personal victory of the most glorious caliber! What a trail of victories followed the salvation of the jailer and his household - the founding of the Church at Philippi! The greatest triumph of history was Christ's sacrifice for all humanity when by one act of obedience He purchased salvation for the whole human race and provided the way of deliverance from the bondslavery of satan and sin.
(continued with # 8)