Fighting…but not really

Fighting…but not really.
Posted on May 4, 2015  in Blog, Christian Classics, Spritual Disciplines, Temptation, William Gurnall
The possibility exists that you might seem to be fighting against the enemy of your soul when in fact you may not be.  Here’s some gold from Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour that paints the picture:
Sometimes indeed there appears to be a scuffle between Satan and a carnal heart, but it is a mere cheat, like the fighting of two fencers on a stage.  You would think at first they were in earnest, but observing how wary they are, [and] where they hit one another, you may soon know they do not mean to kill; and that which puts all out of doubt, when the prize is done you shall see them making merry together with what they have got of their spectators, which was all they fought for.  When a carnal heart makes the greatest bustle against sin by complaining of it, or praying against it, follow him but off the stage of duty, where he hath gained the reputation of a saint – the prize he fights for – and you shall see them sit as friendly together in a corner as ever.
The reason for this, he suggests, is that the heart of the one who fights against Satan may not actually be a heart of flesh but remains a heart of stone.  He explains,
The state of unregeneracy is a state of friendship with sin and Satan.  If it be enmity against God, as it is, then friendship with Satan.  Now it will be hard to make that soul fight in earnest against his friend.
To fight without being born again through faith in Christ is to remain in a state of “alienation from God…a state of ignorance…[and] a state of impotency.”  In that condition there’s no true desire or ability to engage in battle against such a foe as the devil, and we are foolish to try.  In fact, to extend the illustration, I wouldn’t put it past the father of lies to make it appear as though we’re winning at times, allowing a certain contentment with the moral progress we have achieved so as to lull us deeper into a Christ-less state, and eventually, eternity.
So two questions emerge.  First, why do we fight in our resistance against the devil?  For the praises of people?  Or, with a desire to be holy as God is holy?  Second, how do we fight in our resistance against the devil?  As new creatures in Christ clothed with the armour of God?  Or, with an outward appearance of morality that has absolutely nothing to do with the power of the gospel?
 
Sean

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