Active Service With Christ

© 1945  Lt. Gen. Sir William Dobbie, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., D.S.O.

Evangelical Publishers, Toronto, Canada — All Rights Reserved — Used by Permission


1. World War, 1939-1945 — Personal narratives, British. 2. Christian life.

248.4 D632d ~~ OCLC: 877389993 ~~ 104p.

Active Service With Christ is presently held by 11 libraries including Moody Bible Institute and The British Library

Table of Contents

From the Jacket of the Book


I. Enlistment ..... 9

II. Training — General Considerations ..... 16

III. Training — Use of Weapons ..... 23

IV. Training — Use of Defensive Armour ..... 33

V. The Enemy ..... 42

VI. Our Leader ..... 49

VII. The Conduct of the Soldier ..... 58

VIII. Battle ..... 66

IX. Honours and Awards ..... 73

X. Conclusion ..... 79


I. The Deity of Christ ..... 83

II. Man's Need ..... 89

III. God's Remedy ..... 97


IN 1944 I ventured to commit to print some of the lessons I had learned in the spiritual and practical realms from a lifetime spent on the active list in the Army, through all the ranks from 2nd Lieutenant to Lieutenant-General. In the book then published I endeavoured to shew how consistently faithful and gracious God had been to me through varying circumstances and many vicissitudes, in the hope that others would be encouraged to put Him to the test, and enter into similar experiences.

   Since that book was written, my wife and I have had the privilege of travelling many thousands of miles in the great Dominions of our Empire and in the United States of America, and telling to great audiences what God has done for us as a nation and Empire, and what Christ has meant to us as individuals. The experiences we had during those tours we will not lightly forget. The amazing kindness with which we were received by all and sundry touched us deeply — but we were also greatly impressed by the readiness and eagerness to hear of God's help and His deliverances. That eagerness seemed to us to be very significant, and disclosed a widespread sense of need (perhaps very undefined, but none the less real) and a longing for a firm foundation on which to build, as well as a realisation that man's best efforts could not satisfy, nor produce the desired results.

   This surely presents a challenge to all who name the name of Christ, and who have found that He does satisfy, to be up and doing, and tell our fellows that He can meet their need, as He has met ours. To do this effectively we need the enabling power of the Holy Spirit Who alone can

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fit us for the task. The object of this book is to help Christians, and especially the younger ones, who may be members of the fighting services, to realise their responsibilities to their fellows, and then by God's help to fit themselves to carry them out. On all sides the need of presenting Christ to men and women as the only One who can solve their problems is becoming more and more apparent. They realise that the events of the last few years have shaken the foundations on which they were building. They are wistfully groping for firm ground on which they can stand, and not knowing where it may be found. But, by God's mercy, we have found that firm ground, and rejoice in the knowledge that our feet are resting on the Rock. Our task is therefore both obvious and urgent. We must be up and doing. The times are critical. The devil is terribly active and is succeeding in blinding men, so that they will try any remedy but the only one which can meet their need. The opportunity is passing, and unless it is seized, it may be lost. We have really reached the climax of the fight, and it is a fight in which no quarter can be given. The gloves are off, and we see the forces of evil in all their hideous nakedness feverishly striving to neutralise the work of Calvary, since Satan too knows that his time is short.

   It is hoped that the following pages will help us to realise the urgency, and to fit ourselves to take our full share in this grim fight. We will then, armed with all the panoply of God, be able to "fight the good fight with all our might" for the honour of Christ and for the souls of men.

W.G.S. DOBBIE        

Chapter I


THE CHRISTIAN life is constantly likened in the Bible to that of a soldier. Perhaps that type is used more frequently than any other. It is therefore fitting that in considering the great fight in which we are called upon to take part, we should look upon it through the eyes of a soldier, and make use of military conceptions and phraseology as we explore the implications. This is perhaps all the more natural and fitting since the writer has spent his life as a soldier, and since this book may be read by some who are serving their King and Country in the Armed Forces, and who desire at the same time to serve the King of Kings effectively.

   There is no doubt that there is a spiritual warfare to be waged, and that in these latter days, perhaps these last days, the issue is becoming clearer, and the struggle increasingly pronounced. It seems that the adversary is coming more and more into the open — his antagonism to God, the children of God, and the things of God is becoming increasingly evident. It may be because he knows, as Scripture tells us, that his time is short, that he is therefore making desperate efforts to nullify the work of Christ, and by any means to keep men from accepting Him as Saviour. To do this, he uses every device and artifice possible. Sometimes he uses violence — at others he uses guile. He moreover constantly penetrates into the Christians' lines, wearing uniform dangerously like that of the Soldiers of Jesus Christ, and carries on so to speak fifth column activities from the vantage point of a position in the camp of God's people. Many have been deceived by this "Angel of Light", as he so often appears, — and all are in danger of being so

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deceived apart from the Grace and keeping power of God. The warfare is certainly real and is being carried on in many diverse theatres of war to such an extent that all the followers of Christ are (or should be) involved. None can sit back and claim exemption in this fight. There is no discharge in this war.

   In the following pages an attempt is made to find out how we may best fit ourselves to take our part in the struggle, and in this way fulfil God's purposes for us, as well as serve our day and generation.

   In the first place we must notice that in human affairs, when a nation goes to war, it employs as its fighting men those who have been properly and regularly enlisted in or appointed to one or other of the fighting services. It does not use or rely upon those who have not passed through that stage. Even though a man volunteers to help, he still has to go through the formality of enlistment before he is drafted into the fighting service. That is a sine qua non. In the spiritual realm the same holds good. God is not willing to let any one fight His battles who has not regularly enlisted in His service. He makes this an absolute condition because, until a man definitely and voluntarily accepts His offer and enlists in His service, he is really an enemy, and an alien, and a subject of the arch-enemy. He has clearly told us that by nature we are all in that position — "children of wrath even as others" — "dead in sins" — and it his obvious that He cannot use such in His service. Before He can do so, a great change has to take place. He cannot use a dead man. He has first to give him life. He cannot use a servant of the enemy, a citizen of the enemy country. He has to win him from that allegiance and turn his heart to Himself — in fact to give him a new heart. He cannot use one who is under His condemnation for sin, and under its power. He has to free him from such condemnation, and so deliver him both from the penalty and power of sin, before He can use him in His army. It is, in fact, overwhelmingly

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clear that a very definite step has to be taken before anyone can become a "soldier of Jesus Christ." He has to enlist.

   It is a sad fact that this elementary principle is so often disregarded, and that men too often fondly imagine that God will admit them into His service before they have been reconciled to Him. This has caused untold harm to His cause and has brought dishonour to His name. May God keep us from falling into such a grievous error.

   This enlistment must be a voluntary act, and to that extent the analogy is imperfect, since with men enlistments are not necessarily voluntary. But God will not force anyone into His army. They must all enter it of their own free choice, and by the exercise of their own free wills. He puts before men the full facts of the situation. He, through the work of the Holy Spirit, brings to their notice the facts which they need to consider. He points out to them how much they need His salvation. He makes it clear that on account of sin, their sin, they are under the just sentence of death, since "the wages of sin is death" and the "soul which sinneth, it shall die", although the sentence is held in suspense during this day of grace. It is His work to convince of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. But He also shews men that God loves them with a love both amazing and divine — and because of this love has devised a means by which this question of sin can be settled in such a way as to satisfy both His love and His holy justice. He tells them how this has been brought about, by a means which they could never have imagined for themselves. He tells them that the Son of God has taken man's place, and has paid in full his debt, so that man might be delivered from the curse and consequence of sin, and lifted up to where God is, and so become a child of God through faith in Christ. He further shews how unfathomably deep God's love was in that He was willing to give His Son, and the Son was willing to give His life and actually become sin for man,

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and so bear the full penalty of man's guilt. As He shews all this to man, and seeks to bring home to him the reality of these things both as regards his need, and God's amazing remedy, He invites — in fact patiently beseeches man to acknowledge his need, to accept God's remedy and be reconciled to Him and receive from Him the gift of eternal life, and so become by means of the new birth a child of God. It is those, and only those, who respond to this invitation, and by so doing enlist in His service, whom He can use as His soldiers.

   But enlistment is not only a voluntary act, it is a personal and individual matter. That is true in the earthly sphere — and it is equally true in the heavenly and spiritual sphere. Christ makes this quite plain. He told His hearers that "strait (or narrow) is the gate" by which men enter into the way, implying that they have to come in one by one. At Pentecost we are told that three thousand believed after Peter's sermon. But in each case there had to be an individual transaction with God, as each one received the gift of Eternal Life.

   Moreover the enlistment must be done by the person concerned himself. No one else can do it for him. There is no place for a proxy here, and the same holds good in the case of all who enlist in the Army of Jesus Christ. Others may bring the would-be recruit to the place of enlistment, put him in touch with the recruiting official, and perhaps urge him to take the step by telling him of the happiness they have found in "the service" and that they have never regretted the step they took. They can do all this and perhaps much more, but the actual step, as in marriage, must be taken by the one enlisting. It is he who has to say "I will". No one else can say it for him.

   In human affairs enlistment is usually for a definite and limited period, but in the realm of the spirit it is for ever, and in this respect also the analogy is imperfect. When a man comes to Christ and asks Him to receive him, a certain

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transaction takes place which has all the elements of perpetuity. Coming to Christ involves certain things which have no counterpart in ordinary human affairs. It involves a new birth — a passing from death to life. The man becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus, and a child of God through faith in the Son of God, and receives the gift of eternal life. These changes cannot, obviously, be temporary affairs. They must be permanent and eternal, and they undoubtedly are so, and for this we can humbly thank God.

   We have thus seen that enlistment under the banner of the Lord Jesus Christ is a definite act, voluntary, personal, individual and for ever. It may be profitable now to examine somewhat more fully than has hitherto been possible the reason or reasons which lead men to take this step. It seems that there are generally two reasons present in varying proportions. These can be defined in the following words:

(a) A sense of need, embodying fear and other emotions.

(b) Gratitude for what God has done for us through Christ.

   As has been pointed out, the proportions of these two elements may vary in different cases, and perhaps one or other of them may be almost entirely lacking at the beginning. But as one's realisation of the true facts increases, so will the force of these two elements, which will continue to do so until "we know as we are known".

   As regards the sense of need, this is very often the principal motive for the first step. "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick" — and it is as we realise how sick we are and that we cannot by any means cure ourselves, that we turn to the great Physician, and seek from Him the relief we so sorely need. This is, and must be, the basis of any transaction which takes place between the sinner and the Saviour, and until the former reaches this stage it is difficult to see how any saving results can follow.

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Of course the realisation of one's need may vary in intensity. To some it may bring a crushing burden and a sense of fear — to others it may produce a lesser reaction — but it must be there. We are told that the first function of God the Holy Spirit is to convince the world of sin, and it is His gracious ministry to do so. Rather than let men perish because they do not know how sick they are, He strives so to work in their hearts that they will realise the true state of affairs and see themselves as they in fact are, and as God sees them to be. Man is very prone to shut his eyes to facts and to live in a fool's paradise, and the devil is very active in encouraging this state by blinding men's eyes, and persuading them to accept the great delusion that they are not suffering from the mortal disease of sin. Satan, moreover, is terribly successful, and it is only by the work of the Holy Spirit in men's hearts that his evil devices can be frustrated. We little know what a fight goes on in heavenly places for the soul of each individual. The devil is unwilling to lose one of the citizens of his country and strains every nerve to prevent him from taking the first step towards deliverance, that is, by realising his need.

   To bring men to this point the Holy Spirit shews them what God thinks and says about the deep things of life. He uses the Scriptures of Truth to help men to understand these things, and to realise how terribly real is the fact of sin, and how awful its consequences, and He uses the master proof by shewing them how desperately serious their case must be in God's sight when considered in the light of the remedy, which God saw was necessary if man were to be saved. The staggering fact that the Son of God had to die as the atonement for man's sin, and as the only means by which it might be put away, is indeed the master proof both of man's need, and of God's infinite love.

Oh how vile my low estate
Since my ransom was so great.

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   And this action of the Holy Spirit throws into high relief the second of the principal reasons for a man turning to God, that is to say — gratitude. It is probable that this varies with the degree in which man has realised his need. The more a man sees his lost, helpless and hopeless condition and the vileness of his rebellion against God, or indifference to His voice, the more stupendous will the love of God in Christ appear. When we realise that He loves us in spite of all, and with a love so profound as to make Him willing to die for us, then our hearts must be drawn out to Him in love and gratitude, and "we love Him because He first loved us".

   But whatever part the motive of gratitude has in bringing a man to Christ, there is no doubt that it is the main motive for serving Christ after enlistment. It is when we understand, however dimly, how much we owe to Him and what our salvation cost Him, that we desire to shew our gratitude to Him by willingly offering ourselves to Him for His service. As St. Paul, moved by the Holy Spirit, wrote, "I beseech you by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service". Serving God from any other motive can hardly be acceptable to Him, and that is why He is only willing to use those who have experienced His great salvation, and who have "enlisted" in His appointed way. This "enlistment" is thus the first step — and a vitally important one, without which further progress is impossible. But it is only a beginning. It is true that the would-be recruit is now a soldier, with a new outlook, a new loyalty, a new hope and new prospects, and is an entirely different being from what he was before; but he has still a great deal to learn before he can be a really efficient soldier and "do exploits". Some of these things we will consider in the chapters which follow.

Chapter II

Training — General Considerations

ENLISTMENT is the beginning of the soldier's life, but after he has enlisted there is much to be done before he can become really efficient as he would wish to be, and as it is intended he should be. For one thing the life which he has entered is vastly different from the life he has left. Its whole basis has been altered, his outlook has changed, as have his ambitions, hopes and desires. His mind and his heart have a new orientation, and in fact "the old things have passed away and all things have become new". This means that he had to adjust himself to the new situation and so be able to absorb the new lessons which he now must learn.

   In the fighting services of an earthly country one of the chief things which a recruit must learn is the nature and value of discipline. This is probably an entirely new conception to him. Until he enlisted he in all likelihood did just whatever he thought fit to do. He did not consider anything but his own interests and his own desires — but now he has to learn that the Service which he has entered depends for its effectiveness on all its many component parts working harmoniously for the good of the whole. To bring about this state of affairs, each individual of whatever rank has to subordinate himself to others, and obey the orders he receives without hesitation, so that the plans of the supreme commander may not miscarry.

   In spiritual things similar lessons have to be learnt. The recruit in Christ's Army has to learn that he no longer may live to himself. To quote the words of Scripture: "Christ died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again."

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He has to have Him constantly in view as the One to whom he now owes his allegiance and the One on whom he depends for his efficiency, his safety and his eternal well-being. He must learn so to conduct himself that he will "please Him who has chosen him to be a soldier", and he must learn to obey his leader implicitly since it is true that "to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey".

   Obedience is the test of true service. This lesson is not an easy one to learn, either in the natural realm or in the spiritual, but in the latter the soldier of Christ has a special incentive to submit himself to discipline, an incentive which far outweighs any that can apply in natural things. He is called upon to submit himself directly to the great Captain of his Salvation, who stooped so low Himself, and became obedient even unto death for us men and for our salvation. As we keep our eyes on Him, as He calls on us to do, and as we learn more and more what He did for our redemption, we cannot but gladly and unreservedly submit ourselves to Him and count it a privilege to obey His every wish, and live for Him in all the circumstances of life. Each one must surely desire to put Him in the very first place in his life, since it was He who "loved me and gave Himself for me".

   One of the first things which a soldier receives after his enlistment is his uniform. The object of this is to make it clear to friend and foe whose he is and whom he serves. It shews moreover that he is now a member of the great confraternity, actuated by one motive, and aiming at the same object, and in which all the members delight to work together (or should do so) and help each other to fulfill the purposes for which they have been called.

   Moreover, the uniform has many honourable associations. The fighting services of our country have a rich heritage of such associations, and the uniform links the wearer with the great traditions of the Service, which in the past has won for itself so great honour by the exploits which its members

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have accomplished. Wearing such an uniform is indeed a high privilege, and it acts (or should act) as an incentive to the wearer to "walk worthy of his calling". In all these matters there is a close analogy in the spiritual realm. The uniform is issued free to Christ's recruit, as soon as the latter has become a soldier. His old garments which he now sees to be merely a collection of "filthy rags" are taken from him, and he is clothed in a new garment which is none other than the righteousness of Christ. No wonder it is called the "best robe" by the Father on the prodigal's return. And no wonder it is a free issue, since none could afford to buy such a thing, which is literally without price. So the recruit, the sinner saved by Grace, is invited to accept it as an act of grace, without money and without price.

   But if the issue of the uniform is free, the soldier is expected to keep it clean, and to that end must ceaselessly devote his energies. He has to learn at the very outset of his career as a soldier that every spot which stains the uniform brings dishonour on the name of the One of whom the uniform speaks. That is itself a powerful incentive to the Christian soldier to "keep himself unspotted from the world", and in order that we frail and unreliable persons may do so, our great Leader, through the person of the Holy Spirit is ready to help us by garrisoning our hearts and living in us. And He has, in addition, given us His written directions, to that we may experience the constant "washing of water by the Word" and through its guidance avoid the pitfalls which the enemy will put in our path.

   We have noticed that the uniform shews both friend and foe "whose we are and whom we serve". We have also seen that it is nothing less than Christ's Righteousness. It is possible that this latter fact may not be appreciated nor understood by those with whom we rub shoulders in the world. By them the inward relationship between the Christian and God may not be realised. As they look at those who profess the name of Christ, they only judge by

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their lives and actions and "know them simply by their fruits". The Christian claims to be different from what he was, and to be now "a new creature in Christ Jesus". The world judges this claim by what it sees in his life, and, incidentally, watches him closely, ever ready to catch him out by some inconsistency, and so weaken the value of the testimony to the saving and keeping power of Christ. But to God, the fact that the sinner is now clothed in Christ's righteousness means everything. By means of this, the sinner is now able to come into God's presence, unashamed and unafraid, which is impossible on any other ground. It is also a perpetual proof in heaven of the efficacy of the sacrifice of the Son of God, "whom the Father allowed to be made sin for us ... that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him". What joy it must bring to the Father when He sees so many clad in that wonderful garment, and walking in a way well pleasing to Him.

   To the sinner saved by Grace, the recruit of the Army of Christ, this garment also means everything. It gives him the assurance and the certainty of the basis of his new relationship with God. It constantly reminds him of the price which was paid in order that that garment might be his, and he is assured that the price paid when Christ was made sin for him cancels absolutely and entirely and for ever his own sin for which once he stood condemned.

   For all these reasons we need to strive earnestly to keep our uniform so freely given to us, but so costly to the Giver, and which means so much to God and to ourselves, and by which the honour of God is affected in the eyes of the world — to keep such uniform free from spots and stains.

   But the issue of uniform is not all that the soldier needs. It is only the beginning. There is much that he needs to learn before he can become an efficient soldier. He must be trained. This training is all important and cannot be hurried. It does not only consist in the instruction given to the recruit in the early days of his service — but it is a

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progressive and continuous process and does not end until the days of his service are finished. Those of us who have served in an earthly army will know that this is so. There is always more to learn right up to the day when we cease to be on the active list. This is also so in God's Army, with the exception that His servants never cease to be on the active list but are called to serve Him during the whole of their lives on earth, and during the eternity beyond.

   In earthly armies the soldier's training is in two phases, the preliminary while still recognised as a recruit, and the advanced training after he has joined his unit as a "trained soldier". The same holds good to some extent in the spiritual realm. Many of God's most effective servants had a preliminary period of training before they embarked on the special life work for Him to which He had called them, and for which He had been preparing them. This preliminary period varied in length, and in kind. In the case of St. Paul, for instance, it was three years spent in Arabia. In the case of Moses it was no less than forty years when he was acting as a shepherd in Midian before he became the leader and the shepherd of the people of Israel. Joseph spent several years in prison while God fitted him for the great work He had in store for him. With Daniel also the time for preliminary training was three years. And many modern servants of God can look back and see the same process at work when God was fitting them for the special task which He purposed for them. It is certain, moreover, that none who have had this experience will, as they consider it in retrospect, regret the preliminary training and the way in which God prepared them for their life's work. As they look back they are amazed at the wisdom and foresight of God, and at the perfect fitness of the training to which He subjected them. In most cases while the preliminary training was going on, the individual concerned did not have any idea of its ultimate purpose. Joseph and Daniel certainly could not have had an inkling, it is doubtful whether Moses had,

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and it is probable that many of their modern day counterparts have had none either. They just had to accept in faith the circumstances through which God was leading them, confident that He who knew the end from the beginning would make no mistake.

   But before passing on to consider the details of the training which the soldiers of Christ must undergo, there is one point which must be made abundantly clear. The soldier must not and need not wait until his training is complete, before he begins to serve Christ. He should start to do so from the very commencement. There may be much he cannot yet do, and there will be much he does not know, but he can still serve his new Master for all that. He can confess Him before men. He can humbly, but with perfect confidence, tell others, especially those most closely associated with him, what Christ has done for him. He may not be able to explain very fully what has happened. The story of the blind man recorded in the 9th chapter of John's Gospel is an excellent illustration of this. After Christ had healed him, and when the Pharisees were trying to get him out of his depth in philosophical arguments, he took the wind completely out of their sails by saying, in effect: "There are many things I do not know but One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." There was no getting over that. It was a self-evident fact, and the latest joined recruit in Christ's Army can say the same sort of thing, as he tells others what Christ has done for him. Confession with the mouth should follow conversion with as little delay as possible. It is what God expects from those whom He has saved with such a great salvation.

   The blind man in the Gospel story was wise in not letting himself be drawn into argument. He confined himself mainly to giving first-hand evidence of a fact about which he was sure. And we should do the same, avoiding, as Paul told Timothy "foolish and unlearned questions, which do gender strifes" and "profane and vain babblings which

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increase unto more ungodliness", and the "oppositions of science falsely so called". The man of Gadara after his great deliverance was very young in the Faith. In fact he might well have been called the last joined recruit, and yet Christ told him to "go home to thy friends and tell them how great things the Lord has done for thee and has had compassion on thee". And so He says to each one of us. A humble, simple, dignified and confident acknowledgement of what Christ has done for us will never be amiss, and is what God expects from us.

Chapter III

Training — Use of Weapons

ONE OF the most important items in a soldier's training is what is called "weapon training." He is being trained to meet an enemy who is experienced, powerful, skilful, resourceful and utterly ruthless. Such an enemy cannot be met and overcome unless the soldier is provided with the best weapons, and fully trained in their use. It is the weapons he wields which make the difference. In God's Army the same applies. He provides His soldiers with perfect weapons, well tried and most effective. In earthly armies weapons are constantly changing with the advance of science, and are continually becoming out of date. But God's weapons, though very old, are just as effective today as they have ever been; they meet the needs of the Christian soldier in the twentieth century and are therefore completely up to date. The reason is that they are not carnal or material, but spiritual, and therefore effective for the pulling down of the spiritual strongholds against which the Christian has to fight.

   In addition to the defensive protection which God has given us and which is described in the 6th chapter of Ephesians, there are two offensive weapons which He places in our hands, which we can use for the discomfiture of the enemy. These weapons are:

(a) The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. vi: 17).

(b) "All prayer," as Bunyan condensed the Scriptural expression in Eph. vi: 18.

   It will be desirable to consider in some detail these two all important weapons which God has given us.

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   The "Word of God" is a well-tried weapon, which the servants of God have used, and used effectively, right down through the ages, in all sorts of circumstances, and have ever found that it meets their need. Christ used it when He met the tempter, and discomfited him. The Word of God has been written by various men under the direct control and guidance of the Spirit of God, so that He might record in it things which He wishes His followers to know, and by which they may guide their steps, and order their conduct. In it He not only places on record most clearly His mind and His attitude toward the deepest things of life, but He also has recorded for our guidance His dealings with men in past times, and their experiences in varied circumstances of difficulty, and trial, in their efforts to serve Him. The reason why He has given us this wonderful book is summed up in the words of Scripture, as recorded in the fourth verse of the 15th chapter of Romans: "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope". How we should thank God for having made such a wonderful provision for our need, as we travel along the journey of life.

   Of course, in the analogy of the earthly forces, the Bible corresponds with the drill books, training manuals and various regulations which are issued from time to time for the guidance of the earthly soldier. But how vastly does the Bible transcend such publications. They have to be constantly changed, re-written and brought up to date, as the weapons of war and military conceptions change. The Bible is authoritative and utterly adequate for all time. Moreover the Bible has an inherent quality which is entirely lacking in the others. They may provide the latest information and regulations for the guidance of the readers — but they afford no inspiration nor power to put the instructions into effect. They are for the most part (and in the nature of things they must be) remarkably dull, colourless and

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uninspiring, however clearly their contents are worded. But the Bible is a living book. It is powerful, keen, sharper than a two-edged sword, and effective in its impact on those who approach it in the right spirit. In innumerable instances it has, apart from any other agency, influenced and revolutionised the lives of men who have allowed it to speak to them. In this way the Bible is unique. There is no other book like it. It is indeed a wonderful weapon which God has placed in our hands.

   The Bible is of untold value to us in many ways. In the first place, it tells us what God thinks about certain things. It shews us His mind which we could not know in any other way, and of course it is what God thinks that matters. It matters little what man thinks — even the cleverest of men — but it is of vital importance that man should know what the Eternal and Almighty God, the Creator of men and the ultimate Arbiter of all human destiny, thinks, and what He has revealed. How much misery, loss and disaster would be avoided if men would only acquaint themselves with what God has revealed. What a difference it would make if men could see themselves as God sees them, that is as they really are, and then see Christ as God sees Him as the substitute He has accepted in the place of sinful man. All this is revealed to us in the Scriptures.

   Secondly, the Bible tells us how God desires we should conduct ourselves. It lays down new principles on which we should base our life and conduct, principles very different from those which governed our life before we enlisted under His banner. We are now to live to Him and no longer to ourselves. Although we are still in the world, we are no longer to be of it. Our affections are to be set on things above, and not on things of the earth. Our attitude to the other members of the great Christian confraternity is to be that of brothers and sisters in the same family, and by love we are to serve one another.

   In the third place, the Bible discloses to us God's great

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plan — reaching back into the past eternity when it was conceived and right on through time into the future eternity. It shews us that God's great plan of redemption was not a hastily conceived improvisation, but was planned and worked out "before the foundation of the world." It shews us how God's purpose of blessing for the human race has never varied, in spite of all the efforts of Satan and his hosts to frustrate it. It tells us how this plan is to be completed and consummated, so far as this earth is concerned, by the personal return of Christ to reign, and to put things right which cannot be put right in any other way. It looks forward even beyond that time into the endless vistas of eternity, and gives us a glimpse of the new heavens and new earth, when God is all and in all. And, wonder of wonders, it lifts the curtain enough for us to see that in the eternal state we His servants shall serve Him, freed from the disabilities which mar our service now, because we then shall be like Him. This is truly a wonderful revelation which enables us to see things in this present time in their true perspective, and to understand, even if imperfectly, the meaning of the events and tendencies in the world around us.

   Fourthly, the Bible contains records of the experiences of men in past days which are intended to be a help to us in the present time. We, perhaps, find ourselves faced with a certain difficulty. In the Scriptures we find an account of someone who found himself in similar circumstances, and by considering the God-given account of his experiences we may draw the lessons God means us to draw, and so shape our attitude to our own problem accordingly. Sometimes we learn from the others' mistakes and thus see what to avoid, and at other times we learn from their successes, and by the study of the Scriptures extract the secret of their success. For instance, in the siege of Malta when we were very weak, and the enemy was very strong, we gained much encouragement and help from the story of Jehoshaphat recorded in the 20th chapter of II Chronicles, where we are told

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that Jehoshaphat found himself in a predicament similar to ours in Malta 2,700 years later. We are told that Jehoshaphat prayed to God, "We have no might ... neither know we what to do ... but our eyes are upon Thee". We were encouraged to do that in Malta, and we received the same answer that Jehoshaphat received. "Be not afraid ... for the battle is not yours, but God's." That is but one of many instances where the old time events recorded in Scripture have been of untold help, encouragement and blessing to the writer of this book in the twentieth century.

   As we consider all these characteristics of the Word of God, we must realise what a wonderful weapon God has placed in our hands, and how important it is that we should be proficient in its use. Since it helps us to understand the mind of Christ, our great Leader, we need to absorb it, so that we may be able to serve Him and carry out His orders the more intelligently and efficiently. It also helps us to avoid those things which are abhorrent to Him, and which otherwise would prejudice our usefulness to Him. It also helps us to stand on firm ground and to have the certainty and sureness and the ability to say "I know" about many things concerning which others can only say "I think" or "I hope". And this firm ground, which is based on "Thus saith the Lord" is the means by which we can help others to find a sure footing on the "Rock of Ages", and to cease their groping and come into Christ's marvellous light.

   If we are to become proficient in the use of this wonderful weapon, we will need the help of the One who forged it, that is the Holy Spirit. We need to ascertain what it is which He means and what meaning He intends to convey to us. We need to approach it free from all preconceived ideas, so that we may be receptive to His teaching. We need, by His help, to open our hearts and minds to Him, so that He can impart to us the teaching and the message He has for us, and

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which He sees we need. "God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain." {William Cowper}

   In seeking to understand Scripture we need to remember that although there are many human authors of the book, yet in reality there is but one real Author, that is, the Holy Spirit Himself who moved the various men to write what He told them. Therefore, the one Author never contradicts Himself, although passages may seem on the surface to be at variance with each other. In such cases we need humbly and reverently to ask Him to enlighten our minds and wait for Him to do so. Man has always been very prone to criticise the Word of God, and in his senseless pride to assume an attitude of superiority over it, little realising that he will be judged by the book which he now presumes to scorn. For us who name the name of Christ we need to be careful not to fall into anything approaching that grievous error, but rather to let the book judge us and criticise us now, and "by taking heed according to Thy Word, to cleanse our way". If we are really desirous of pleasing Him who has called us to be His soldiers, we will ask God by His Word to "Search me and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting". He will do this, if we ask Him, and we will then be able to walk along life's journey without stumbling, because "Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path" [Psalm 119:105].

   It behooves us, therefore, for all these reasons, and indeed for many others, to leave no stone unturned to become proficient in the use of this weapon. We need constantly to study God's Word, to feed upon it, to dig into its inexhaustible mines of precious things, and to be steeped in it, so that we may be able to use it at all times for the building up of ourselves on the Rock foundation of Christ, and for the pulling down of the enemy's strongholds. We need to let God speak to us by it every day, and we need to avoid the danger of trying to read into it something which will support

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some preconceived idea of our own. May God help us to be in earnest about this part of our training, and to let Him fit us more and more to use this weapon effectively for His honour, for the blessing of those around and for our own lasting good.

   The other weapon is "All Prayer" or, as defined in the passage already referred to (Eph. vi: 18), "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication ..."

   Prayer — real prayer — is a thing about which many misconceptions exist. To some it is nothing but the means by which I can get from God something which I desire for my own selfish ends. To others it is a thing to which one resorts only in an emergency, when all other things have failed — it is, in fact, a sort of "last resource", a kind of talisman against ill fortune.

   But real prayer is something vastly different from such. It is the means by which the soul gets into direct contact with his Maker, his Father in Heaven. To use a military simile, it is the means by which the humblest and most inexperienced soldier may get into immediate contact with the Captain of His Salvation, his great Leader under whom and for whom he is fighting, however feebly. Since by prayer he can always have that contact, he may know that he is never alone, however far away he may seem to be from all earthly companionship and help. When hard pressed by the enemy, he can always call for help from the "One who is mighty". When in doubt he can always ask for and receive the wisdom which comes from above. When cast down he can always look right beyond the circumstances which are depressing him, and speak to the One who has promised "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee" and "Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world". In all these ways the Christian soldier is infinitely better off than his earthly type, who of course cannot enjoy anything approaching such privileges.

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   Prayer, primarily, then, means contact with the Eternal God, whose ear is always listening to hear the voice of His feeblest servant. One cannot exaggerate the value of such a weapon to a soldier engaged in a hard fight. Surely all Christ's soldiers should, by constant use of that weapon, fit themselves to wield it more and more effectively.

   In order that we may do so, God in His mercy to us has given us many clear directions in His Word, and it behooves us to study them carefully, so that we may become good soldiers of Christ. It is not proposed to go exhaustively into the subject here — indeed that would be impossible, because it is so vast, and many books might be written on it (as many have been) without exhausting it. It is, however, desirable to remind ourselves of a few things to which the Scriptures call our attention in regard to prayer. In the first place since prayer is simply having communication with God, sin in our lives if unjudged and unrepented of, will effectually prevent that intercourse. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." We must therefore ensure that no obstruction is permitted between us and our God. What we might consider a very small obstruction may well have this dire result — just as a tiny piece of dirt may interrupt an electric circuit and prevent the current from flowing. Again, prayer simply for our selfish ends is not acceptable with God. He tells us that when we pray in this way we pray amiss. As we pray, just as in every other part of our life, we need to put God and His interests first, so that our lives may fulfil His purposes and in no way hinder them.

   Since prayer is an attitude rather than an act, and is in fact intercourse with God, it should not be confined to stated intervals or isolated occasions, but should be continuous. That is surely what the Holy Spirit means in the passage we have already noticed (Eph. vi: 18), "praying always". If prayer simply consisted of asking God for something, it would not be possible to carry out this injunction and pray always. That would involve leaving

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undone everything else, including any activities to which God may have called us. But we can keep in touch with Him at all times and in all circumstances, and this is what we are called to do. It means we are to be continually in His company, speaking to Him all the time, or listening while He speaks to us. It means doing everything with Him, or in the words of Scripture, being "workers together with Him". One of the most wonderful and delightful thoughts which arise from this conception is that He, the great and Almighty God, is willing to share with us the most trivial thing in our lives, and help us to do even that to His glory. It is a vivid commentary on His love to us, that He is not content unless we are in His company the whole time. This attitude, of course, is also very searching. As we have already seen, such an intimate association is only possible so long as there is no obstruction between us and Him. If this attitude becomes a habit, as it should, it will make us very sensitive to any interruption of our relationship with Him, and we should then be able to take immediate steps to remove the obstruction, whatever it may be.

   Another thing we notice from the verse we have been considering, is that prayer must be "in the Spirit". It is only as the Holy Spirit is filling us and is garrisoning our hearts and minds that we can be in tune with the Lord and have the continuous fellowship of which we have been thinking. He not only "takes of the things of Jesus and shews them to us", but He, who is God, and knows the mind of God, teaches us what we should pray for, and so ensures that the petitions we make are in the line of God's will and therefore acceptable to Him. Without His help real prayer is not possible.

   Then we are urged to persevere in prayer. We need to be dead in earnest when we approach the throne of Grace, and not allow ourselves to be easily diverted from our purpose of getting into real close contact with our Lord. Real prayer may cost us something, in fact it assuredly will.

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We read of our Lord rising up very early to pray, or spending the whole night in prayer. Do we know anything of such prayer which costs us something? If we are really in earnest we will know something of it. The Bible frequently speaks about prayer and fasting. It is possible that, apart from any particular meaning which that expression is intended to convey, it may in general terms signify the sort of prayer we are considering, that is, prayer which costs us something. That was certainly the way in which Christ used this weapon — we surely cannot afford to be less careful about it than He was.

   There is one more point we might briefly consider from the verse we have under review, and that is that prayer should be "for all saints". Contact with our Heavenly Father will enlarge our hearts, widen our vision, and help us to realise more and more that we are all members of His great family. We are exhorted to love each other, to be concerned about each other's interests, and to do all we can to help each other. A narrow-minded, selfish attitude is completely out of place. "All one in Christ Jesus" will not be just a mere slogan, but will become a vivid reality to us, and our warfare will be more effective since our efforts will no longer be disjointed ones, but will fit in harmoniously with those of our fellow Christians in the great plan of our Leader.

   There are many other points we might profitably consider in our study of this matter of prayer, but space will not permit that we should do so here. This weapon which God has placed into our hands is such a wonderful one, so far reaching in its limitless possibilities, and so effective in our warfare if handled aright, that we should study its use more and more, and from the pages of Scripture, as well as through our own experience, and with the help of God the Holy Spirit learn how we may use it effectively. The "weapon training" of the Christian soldier is never complete.

Chapter IV

Training — Use of Defensive Armour

A SOLDIER in battle does not need only to use his offensive weapons against the enemy, but he also needs to be protected against attack so that he may continue to fight. In these days of the widespread revival of armour this conception will be readily understood and appreciated. In all recent military operations, whether on the sea, on land, or in the air, armour plays an increasingly important part, and has drastically affected the course and the outcome of operation. So far as the land forces are concerned, it has enabled the soldier to penetrate the enemy's defences, to go where otherwise he could not go, to maintain his position and continue the fight in circumstances in which otherwise it would be quite impossible. How many a soldier has owed his life to the steel helmet or to the gas respirator with which he has been provided; so much so that orders have frequently been issued forbidding a soldier to go where he is likely to come under fire without his protective equipment.

   God also, in His wisdom and providence, has made a similar provision for His soldiers, and those things which He has provided for their protection have His divine stamp upon them, and mark the wearer as being His servant. This equipment in fact is part of His uniform and is entirely distinct from that carried by all others. This is not to be wondered at, since, as we have already seen, God does not allow any who have not duly enlisted in His army to fight His battles.

   Defensive equipment is necessary because it is terribly true that the enemy is constantly keeping the Christian soldier under fire, with the object both of preventing him

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from carrying out his Leader's orders, and, by bringing about his fall, to bring dishonour on Christ's name. The fire under which the Christian may find himself is both heavy and dangerous, in that it is of a nature against which he cannot naturally defend himself. It is described as "the fiery darts of the wicked one". Moreover, just as the offensive weapons which God has placed into our hands are "not carnal", so also many of the weapons which the great adversary uses against us are not carnal. They are described as "spiritual wickedness", a terribly dangerous thing to those who have not the divine equipment to meet it.

   We must remember also that Satan is very proficient in the use of his weapons. He has certainly had enough practice in their use all down through the ages, to enable him to wield them with the greatest effect. The Christian soldier must recognise this, and not make light of the danger. As in earthly battles many a promising soldier has become a casualty by omitting to wear his defensive equipment, so the same applies in the spiritual realm. But, although we may rightly appreciate the power of the enemy, and the danger to which we are exposed from him, we need not be, and should not be, a prey to fear. The enemy is strong — yet our Leader is stronger. He has conquered Satan once for all in the great victory He won over him and death and hell at Calvary, by His resurrection that first Easter morning. Moreover the equipment He gives us is a perfect protection. Those who wear it, and rely on it, can face the worst attacks of the enemy with perfect confidence. In earthly armies the soldier is encouraged to have confidence in the equipment provided for him. For instance he is assured that the respirator is a perfect protection against gas. If this can be true in the case of an earthly equipment, it is infinitely more so with the equipment provided for His soldiers by the All Wise and all powerful God and Father of us all.

   The defensive armour which God provides and which is described so clearly in the 6th chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians,

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protects the vital parts of the body — the head, the chest, the loins and the feet; while in addition there is one piece, the shield, able to protect any part: it is styled the most important piece. As regards the feet it may be objected that they cannot be considered a really vital part, but a soldier who has not the use of his feet cannot fulfil his functions. He cannot go where God sends him, perhaps to carry help where help is needed, or for some other purpose. He can certainly be rendered ineffective through his feet, especially as the enemy may set snares for them, and he may be called upon to "tread upon serpents and scorpions". Against such he surely needs protection, and God in His mercy has provided it. Further, the protection to his feet has perhaps in addition a special significance which we will consider a little later.

   The piece of armour which protects the head is called "Salvation", that for the chest and heart "righteousness" and that the loins "truth". While no doubt each of these has a special significance which the Holy Spirit would have us ponder, it is proposed here to consider them collectively as what we may term the "Assurance of Salvation". It is only as the soldier of Christ has complete confidence in what His Saviour has done for him, and what His Lord is still willing and able to do for him and with him, that he can fight effectively. If he has any doubt, for instance, in the efficacy of Christ's salvation, he will be of little use in bringing the good news to others, and in pulling down the enemy's strongholds in which these may be kept captive. Nor must he have any doubts about the keeping power of His Lord, who is able to "keep Him from falling", even in the difficult and slippery places in which he may find himself, and in fact "hold up his goings in His paths, that his footsteps slip not". God wants His soldiers, not so much to be sure of themselves, but rather to be sure of Him, realising as they should that it is He Who does everything, from the beginning and right on to the end, and that

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He is One on Whom the soldier may most confidently rely in every conceivable circumstance.

   The protective armour covers, as we have seen, both the head and the heart, that is the seat of the intellect and will as well as that of the affections and emotions. In both of these the soldier may enjoy and shew the certainty and the assurance of the Salvation (in its fullest sense) which God has given him. There are some that say that it is presumptuous for any man to express such a certainty. They assert that it savours of pride, and that, in fact, it is an agreeable sign of Christian humility and grace for a person to express doubts about his eternal salvation. It would seem that such conceptions are not only entirely at variance with the Word of God, but expose a fundamental non-realisation of the basic facts. If the eternal well-being of a man depended in the slightest degree on what he himself has done, or has got to do, or on any contribution which he can or may make to what has been done for him by Another — then it might be reasonable to adopt the attitude we are now discussing, and to disclaim any certainty as to the eventual outcome. If that were so, the soldier would find himself at a terrible disadvantage when facing the enemy, and the message of hope which he is called upon to carry to others could hardly be styled the Gospel or Good News of the Grace of God. But, thank God, all this is very different from the truth which God has revealed to us. Our Salvation depends only and entirely on what Christ has done for us. The work He has accomplished in our redemption is a perfect work, to which He neither invites nor allows man to make any contribution whatever. In the nature of things man could not make any contribution which could be acceptable to God, since he is bankrupt, is lifeless, is helpless, and is under the just condemnation of God. And it is when he, man, realises his hopeless state, and humbly and gratefully accepts from God the free gift He offers (made possible by the sacrifice of the Son of God) that man can enter into

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the possession and enjoyment of God's salvation. This being so, it is surely not presumption for man to be sure of what God has given him. It is no symptom of self-righteousness and pride. But surely it is presumption, even if one does not use a stronger word, to express doubt as to the reality of the Salvation God has given and for which man has done nothing beyond accepting it. Such doubt is a reflection on the efficacy of Christ's work. It suggests that what He has done is not sufficient to satisfy God's just claims against man, although God has said that He is completely satisfied, and has clearly indicated His satisfaction for all to see and understand, by raising Christ from the dead after the work at Calvary was completed. Such an attitude surely indicates a sad lack of realisation of the infinite value of Christ's sacrifice, when He, Who knew no sin, voluntarily took our place in order to expiate once and for all the penalty that God's holiness demanded for our sin. No, the Christian soldier, who has accepted such a great salvation, can have no doubt about its reality or its efficacy, and he need not enter into battle handicapped by any doubt about God's attitude to his past, his present or his future. The "helmet of salvation" seems to be a very appropriate term for that piece of armour which covers the seat of the will and intellect.

   But it is not only in the head that we can have assurance, but the heart also may enjoy it as well. The heart is protected by the breastplate of righteousness, and we are reminded of what we have considered in another chapter, that in God's sight His soldiers are clothed in Christ's righteousness. Such a conception is beyond the bounds of human understanding, as is the means by which God made it possible. Perhaps one of the most amazing verses in the whole of God's word is to be found in II Corinthians v. 21, which reads: "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God". Words

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fail to comment adequately on that statement, but we may reverently and humbly accept and enjoy the position in which God has placed us, and believe the statement which He has made that, because of what Christ has done for us, when He looks on us, He sees Christ's righteousness. But as we accept this position, we can never forget the means by which it has been brought about. Difficult as it is for us to realise that we sinners could be made "the righteousness of God in Christ", yet it is certainly no less difficult for us to grasp the tremendous fact that Christ, who know no sin and to whom it was utterly abhorrent, should have actually been "made sin for us". That seems to go far beyond the statement that He paid the penalty for my sin. It opens up vistas of what He had to go through, into which the human mind cannot follow. We cannot even faintly begin to grasp what the Cross meant to Christ, when He was "bearing our sins in His own body on the Tree", and when as a result His Father had to hide His face, and to forsake Him. All this is beyond our ken (one's range of knowledge or sight) — and it will take all eternity for us to learn what it meant, but here and now we can understand one thing — that it must have been "love amazing and divine" which prompted Him to undertake the task and steeled Him to go through with it. And as we contemplate the "breastplate of righteousness" which covers the heart, and realise something of the cost at which that righteousness was procured for us, then surely our hearts must be touched and we will in some little way love Him because He first loved us.

   We can, on this ground, as well as on the other grounds referred to earlier, have complete confidence in the "Lover of our Souls" and say with assurance "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep". The soldier of Christ may undoubtedly have confidence based on what His Saviour has done for him, and he may also be sure that he can count on His constant presence and help in all the circumstances of life and dangers of battle.

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In view of the tremendous price which has been paid for his redemption, God will not let him fall by the way, but for His own honour will succour him and deliver him from all attacks of the enemy.

   But the soldier needs to be specially on the watch against one particular danger. The enemy is very subtle and may suggest to him that just because his standing in Christ is so sure, it does not matter how he comports himself, since his salvation is not a matter of works but entirely of grace. Satan thus seeks to turn even this "blessed assurance" into a snare, and by so doing to bring dishonour on the Name of Christ. But thank God, He has foreseen that danger, and has provided His soldier with protection against it, and has given him a covering for his feet.

   As one walks along the path of life, one's feet may easily become defiled by the uncleanness of the way, and it is important that as well as being delivered from the guilt of sin, we should be constantly delivered from its power, and whenever we have succumbed (as alas too often happens) we should be cleansed from its defilement. It is not a question of our standing before God, but rather of our being enabled to "walk worthy of our calling". If we do become defiled, the fact is noticed at once by those that observe us, and our usefulness as witnesses for Christ is correspondingly compromised. It is to be feared that soldiers of Christ realise only too imperfectly how vitally important it is in their service for HIm that they should avoid such defilement, or as Scripture puts it, "keep themselves unspotted from the world". God has given us His Holy Spirit who will dwell in us as a garrison of our hearts, and His written Word which will shew us the dangers to which we are exposed, and the way by which they may be avoided. Surely this is what He means by the expression, "The washing of water by the Word", and was in our Lord's mind when He said to Peter, "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet".

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   There are, of course, other dangers to which our feet are exposed beyond the ordinary defilement of the way. We may easily become infected by some deadly poison through treading on some "serpent or scorpion" or some other dangerous thing. The covering to the feet which God provides is a protection against all such dangers, and he promises, as we have already seen, that we will be able to tread even on such deadly things with impunity, as we walk along the path of service for Him.

   We notice that we are bidden to put on the shoes which the Holy Spirit describes as "the preparation of the Gospel of Peace", or, as sometimes translated, the "alacrity" or readiness to carry the Gospel of Peace to those to whom He sends us. It is a high honour that He should use us as His messengers for such a purpose, and we can well echo the statement of the prophet "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings". Our feet will not be beautiful, even though we may ostensibly be engaged on that honourable task, unless they are undefiled in the way, and "walk in the law of the Lord". May God give us grace to be more and more in earnest about this all important matter, so that we may not weaken or neutralise our usefulness to Him, by careless and unworthy living.

   But the defensive equipment to which the Spirit of God gives the chief place in the list is Faith: "Above all taking the shield of faith." A shield can be used to protect any part, and to intercept the blows of the enemy wherever they are aimed. It is therefore of the greatest importance, and since it is given the name "Faith", we can understand how far-reaching and how comprehensive is its scope, since it is by faith, and by faith alone, we can make use of the wonderful provision God has made for us, and wield the weapons which He has placed in our hands. But faith is not just an abstract quality which has some, so to speak, magic power. It depends for its value and its potency on the object towards which it is directed. If our faith depends

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on something or on someone who is not reliable, it certainly will not produce the results we are encouraged to expect. It will not, for instance, quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. If we are resting our faith on our own powers, on our own keenness, on our own experience in the Christian fight, or on any such thing, we will have a sad disillusionment. Neither we, nor any of the powers which we think we possess, will be able to stand against the skill, the wiles, and the strength of the arch-enemy. Nor will it suffice to have faith in our cause, and imagine that because we are fighting in a worthy cause and for a God-given object, that for that reason we will be able to stand. But it is only as we repose our faith, that is our trust and reliance, on the person of the Strong Son of God will we prevail. May God give us grace to keep our eyes always upon Him, the great Captain of our Salvation, and by constantly looking away from ourselves and all others to Jesus who is the author and will be the finisher of our faith, to fight the good fight, and allow Him to produce in us and through us the results He desires. By that means, and by no other, will victory be reached and it will be victory all along the line, even where the fight has been hardest.

   It is realised that much of what has been written in these chapters is couched in terms which may be considered vague and indefinite. In dealing with principles it is difficult to avoid such a thing, but it is the responsibility of each individual soldier of Christ earnestly to seek, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to translate the general principles which He has given us in His Word, into the definite and concrete line of action in the case of each of the practical problems with which we are faced. That is a thing which the individual must do alone with God. It is his responsibility to do so, and it is a responsibility which no other human being can share, but it is a wonderfully happy exercise, and a very fruitful experience which helps us to know our God and His will, and then to do exploits for Him.

Chapter V

The Enemy

IT IS important that a soldier, before he is required to take part in battle should be taught something about the enemy whom he will be called upon to face. He needs to know just who he is, his characteristics, his methods of fighting, the tactics he favours and the weapons he employs. He needs also to know the reason why a state of war exists with the enemy, and what is his (the enemy's) object for which he is fighting. He needs to know moreover what allies the enemy has, who are helping him to gain his object. In addition, whenever the soldier is called upon to undertake any particular operation, he is given all the information available about the enemy, his strength, the position of his defences and many other things. Without this information the soldier is greatly handicapped, and so to speak enters into the battle blindfolded.

   There was a notable example of this in the siege of Malta. The enemy made a raid with small naval vessels against the Grand Harbour of Valetta, with the object of destroying our ships in the harbour. The raid was an entire failure (not a single boat got into the Harbour and not a single one got away) although the sailors which manned the little boats were gallant men. One of the reasons for this result was that the Italian Higher Command ignored the principle we are considering. In the operation order issued and which we captured, no information was given to those taking part in the enterprise about us, their enemy. They therefore entered the fight blindfolded, with results disastrous to themselves.

   In the spiritual conflict similar instruction is necessary, and provision has been made for it in the Scriptures, which

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deal with the questions enumerated above and which contain many accounts of the warfare that has been waged in times past. The Bible is, in fact, in a sense a military history, which is of the greatest value to the Christian soldier today, in that it gives much instruction on the matter we are now considering, and makes him wise about many vital things about which otherwise he would be in ignorance. This is, after all, what one would expect, since the warfare in which we are engaged is no new thing, but has been going on unremittingly right down through the ages; and the protagonists have been unchanged, God on the one hand and Satan on the other. In the purposes of God this warfare will eventually come to an end, when Satan will be destroyed, and his power irrevocably shattered, but until that day comes, the warfare continues without any truce or armistice and is becoming more and more fierce as the end approaches.

   In considering the causes of this war, we find ourselves dealing with matters beyond the human ken, except in so far as God has chosen to lift the veil. The root causes go back into the dim past, and are largely shrouded in obscurity. It is not intended in this book to probe very deeply into these matters, but to confine ourselves to those things which are more easily grasped by our finite minds, and which are of direct help to us as soldiers of Jesus Christ.

   Satan is filled with an intense hatred of God, apparently on account of his deposition from the high place he once filled, and has set himself by all means to thwart God's plans, and so to bring discredit on Him in the eyes of the Heavenly beings.

   Satan knows, and has known from the beginning, the love which God has for His human creation, and the purposes for which God brought the human race into existence. He knows that God created man for His pleasure (Rev. iv: 11), and Satan has bent his energies to prevent the fulfilment of that purpose, and by spoiling God's handiwork to prevent Him enjoying the pleasure He intended man should be to

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Him. Hence Satan's first recorded activity in Eden, resulting in the Fall of Man, and the introduction of sin into the human race, thereby creating an effective barrier between sinful man and a Holy God.

   But God foresaw this even before the foundation of the world, and the Godhead devised the remedy, which not only completely met the needs of sinful man, but also brought untold Glory to God in the eyes of "principalities and powers in the heavens" who saw with awestruck amazement how God in His wisdom and His unspeakable grace had devised a means by which even sinful men might be fitted for God's presence and for His pleasure. But Satan on his part has been consistently endeavouring to neutralise this great work of redemption by preventing man from accepting God's offer. He has constantly aimed at keeping men from taking the one vital step of accepting Christ as their Saviour, and by that step passing from death to life and from the power of Satan to God. That is the object to which he is bending all his subtlety and energy, and he seeks to achieve it by any means possible. His methods may vary, but they always have this one end in view, of bringing dishonour to God, and of keeping Him from the enjoyment of a redeemed human race which He desires, and for which He paid so great a price. And so Satan is ever active trying to keep men and women from closing with God's wonderful offer of a full and free pardon through Christ's propitiatory Sacrifice, and thus becoming Children of God, who will be with Him for all eternity, and who will be like Him. That is the crowning triumph of God which Satan is striving at all costs to prevent.

   To achieve his objects, Satan uses many methods. It will only be possible to notice a few of them here. In one way or another he tries to obscure the simple issue that man is a sinner, and that God by the Sacrifice of His Son has provided a perfect remedy for man's need, as an act of pure grace. Sometimes he tells men that God certainly has

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provided a remedy, but that man must make some contribution himself before it can become effective. To this end perhaps he plays upon man's pride, suggesting to man that it is intolerable that he should do nothing towards his own salvation. Man is a sentient being, capable of high achievement. Of course he can and should do something to work out his own salvation (Philippians 2:12). Satan may mis-quote Scripture to lure the unwary into thinking that God needs man's help to effect salvation. By methods of this nature which pander to the innate pride of man, he has succeeded in turning untold millions out of the way, and has prevented them from accepting God's offer on the only terms acceptable to Him.

   Another artifice which Satan uses, and is using apparently very much in the present day, is to blind men to their need of Salvation. He does what he can to keep men from responding to the sense of sin of which the Holy Spirit in His mercy is striving to convince them. Man is, in reality, desperately sick, but Satan tries to blind him to that fact, and to lure him into a comfortable theory that he is not really ill at all — or at any rate not very bad; His trouble is not at all serious, and is nothing with which he is unable to deal himself. As Christ said "they that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick", and it is equally true that those who think they are whole, or pretend that they are, will not send for the physician. In this matter also the enemy has been terribly successful.

   He sometimes goes to the other extreme and tells a man, in flat contradiction of Scripture, that he is too bad for the Grace of God to reach. When a man comes strongly under the conviction of sin through the operation of the Holy Spirit, Satan may make this desperate attempt to prevent him, when he seems to be near the Kingdom of God, from slipping through his clutches, by making him believe this lie. Or he may try and persuade his victim to try some other method by which he may find the peace he longs for. Any method will serve his purpose so long as it is not the simple

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story that Christ died for sinners. It may be some strange cult to which he directs the man's attention, or a philosophy which may appeal to him, or some other thing to which a distracted man may be persuaded to turn.

   Another very common method by which Satan seeks to neutralise the work of Christ is to turn a man's mind and thoughts right away from spiritual things, and concentrate them on material things and things of the world. To this end he usually calls in his two helpers — the World and the Flesh. These have been constantly his fellow conspirators and have worked with him and have helped him to achieve his nefarious ends. They first came on the scene in Eden, and helped to bring about the fall of man, and they have been constantly in evidence ever since, and never more so than in the present day. They seek to persuade man that this life is the only thing that matters. They tell him there is no life beyond the grave — or at any rate it is highly doubtful, and that a wise man should consequently concentrate on his enjoyment of this life. They say in effect "let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die", and have persuaded millions to live only and entirely for the present. To achieve this result they paint the present life in glowing colours, and they stress the satisfaction which pandering to the lusts of the world or the flesh can give them. They persuade men to leave God out of their reckoning entirely and to live as if He did not exist. They blind men to many evidences of their senses, so that they do not or will not see the numerous indications of the reverse which are before their eyes. They persuade men to live entirely for the things which are seen, and ignore the things which are not seen, although the former are temporal while the latter are eternal.

   They sometimes also try to make their dupes think that whatever may or may not happen in a future life (if there is such a thing), yet a life on this earth if controlled by Christ is a very miserable thing. They say He will snatch away from them the things which they so much enjoy — in fact

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all the things which make life (as they understand the term) worth living. The fact that this is an absolute travesty of fact and that it has been and is being constantly disproved by millions, matters to them nothing at all. If only it will serve its purpose and prevent some from putting Christ to the test, it is worth trying. It is strange that so many will believe such a lie, when Christ has come to give priceless gifts to men, and give them a joy and a satisfaction even here and now of which they have not the slightest conception. How far the followers of Christ are responsible for this sad fact that so many men and women are prepared to believe the devil's lie, is a solemn question which we may well ponder over ourselves.

   One of the most dangerous methods which the enemy uses in the war is that of disguise. He is adept in that art, and we are told he is able to make himself up so as to look like an Angel of Light. He has constantly used this artifice and has wrought much havoc thereby. We are so apt to think of him as a "roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" that we do not think of looking for him as a sheep, even though the sheep's clothing may hide from view the ravenous beast beneath, and we look for him still less in the Assemblies of God's people. But he has insinuated himself even there, and has deceived the very Elect. How can we guard against so great a danger from such a plausible foe. We can only do so by applying the methods laid down for our guidance in God's Word. We are warned not to believe every spirit, but to test the spirits (1 John iv:1). How are we to test the spirits, so as to make certain that they are of God? Surely the only test is by God's Word. If what the spirit says, however specious he may be and however like an angel of light, is contrary to what God has revealed in the Scripture, that messenger is not from God — but is an emissary of the evil one. Even if he performs wonders, yet — if his teaching is contrary to God's word, we are bidden to have nothing to do with him or with what he urges (see Deut. xiii: 1-3).

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The Word of God is the acid test. May we be wise to use it aright, and so avoid the deadly dangers to which we are otherwise exposed.

   God has been at pains to shew us how dangerous is our foe, how insidious are his methods and how deadly is his object. He has recorded for our warning how he has in the past destroyed those who gave heed to Satan's lies, and refused to avail themselves of the help and deliverance which God was ready to give them. He has recorded these things so that we may not despise the powers of the adversary but may, by diligent study of the instructions He has given us, fit ourselves for the fight.

   But although our enemy is so formidable, yet God does not mean us to be afraid. If we were to be left to our own resources we would have much reason to fear, but thank God we are not so left. Not only can we count upon His presence and His unfailing help, but we can also rejoice in the fact that our Great Leader has already conquered Satan, having won His victory for all time when He defeated him at Calvary and robbed him of his power. We can rejoice in the knowledge of this fact, and be free from fear, so long as we keep our eyes fixed upon the Captain of our Salvation, placing complete reliance upon Him, and none upon ourselves. We need to know ourselves, to know our enemy, and above all, to know our God. Then, and then only, will we be strong and able to fight His battles to which He calls us, and which we desire to do.

Chapter VI

Our Leader

IN THE concluding sentences of the last chapter we saw that if we were to be successful soldiers we needed to know ourselves, our enemy, and our Leader. If our knowledge of ourselves is to be of value we must know ourselves as we really are, that is as God sees us to be, and not as we fondly imagine ourselves. A true knowledge of ourselves of that kind engenders, amongst other things, distrust of ourselves, which is what God desires, because we will then be all the more ready to rely upon Him in the conflict. In the last chapter we have sought to find out something about the great adversary of our souls, whom we are called upon to resist.

   We will now seek to know more of our Lord and Saviour, whose soldiers we are, and under whose leadership we fight. This is, of course, a matter which we must approach humbly and with reverence and godly fear, since we are contemplating God himself. But such knowledge, which is entirely beyond the natural human powers, is held up to us as being that for which we should most earnestly seek. We are told that zknowing Christ means Eternal Life. Paul said it was his great aim "that I may know Him" for which he strove, and when he was nearing the end of his life, he was able to write to Timothy "I know whom I have believed". Of course there is all the difference between knowing about a person, and knowing the person. There is much we can learn about Christ with a sort of head knowledge, both from the Scriptures and from the experiences of others. In fact the theme is inexhaustible. But knowing Him even in the smallest degree is only possible as we make and maintain

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close, intimate and personal contact with Him, and spend much time in His company. No amount of study about Him can take the place of that, however earnest that study may be. It is, of course, an unbelievable privilege that we are not only permitted but encouraged and urged to spend our time in the company of the Son of God, and it is even more amazing that we avail ourselves so little of such a privilege. We will have occasion to return to this matter later on.

   But it is right, nevertheless, that we should seek to learn all we can about Him, especially as God has made provision for that very thing. He has given us His written word, in which we see the Living Word portrayed, and He has given us also the Holy Spirit, who not only helps us to understand the Scriptures generally but more particularly "takes of the things of Jesus and shews them unto us". Of course the subject is an inexhaustible one. As we contemplate, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the great Son of God, we see fresh wonders and beauties in Him, and will continue to do so through all eternity. One cannot begin to do justice to such a subject in the pages of any earthly book. In fact, as John tells us, "the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" on such a subject. But it may still be advantageous to study certain aspects of our Leader's life and character, so that we may learn the things which God would have us know about Him, and which He has recorded for our enlightenment, so that what we apprehend with the head may sink down into the heart.

   We will consider what is revealed to us about Him regarding the following matters:

(a) Who He is.

(b) What He has done.

(c) What He is going to do.

   With regard to the first question "Who is He?", we can thank God that we are not left in any doubt. All three

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Persons of the Godhead both severally and unitedly state in no uncertain terms that the man known on earth as Jesus of Nazareth is both the Son of God and God Himself. The deity which is claimed for Him and which He claimed for Himself is no vague attribute of a sort which might be loosely applied to the sons of men as being children of God by virtue of creation. The deity He claimed is absolute and inherent, and as perfect and complete as that attributed to God the Father. This matter, which is of the most vital importance is further dealt with in more detail in Appendix I, and therefore will not be considered in greater length here.

   We will now turn to the second question — "What has He done?" Here again we immediately are confronted with the immensity of the question and the impossibility of propounding an adequate answer. The final verse of the Gospel of John, to which reference has already been made, makes this clear. But we may profitably consider in broad outline the nature of His work as it directly affects the question of man's salvation.

   We must notice, in the first place, that the redemptive work of Christ was no afterthought, nor was it a remedy improvised suddenly to meet an unexpected and unforeseen need. It was planned and ordained in the dim recesses of the past eternity, long before the need arose. As Peter tells us in his first Epistle, Christ (the Lamb of Sacrifice) was "preordained before the foundation of the world" or as John puts it in the 13th chapter of the Revelation "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the Word". It is good for us to realise this, as this fact both enhances the wonderful love of God and at the same time establishes our confidence in the efficacy of Christ's work.

   Secondly, the work of Christ was planned as the direct result of man's tremendous need, and was designed to meet that need in the only way in which it could be met, a way which satisfied the love of God and at the same time vindicated His Holiness and Justice. How little do we take

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in the immensity of men's need and the awful and inevitable consequences of sin, of which man is inclined to think so lightly. Man is so blind to this, and the devil is striving so ceaselessly to keep him blind, that the Holy Spirit is making it His first task to open man's eyes to his true state as God sees him and to "convince him of sin". This question of man's need is of the utmost importance not only because it affects man's well-being so deeply, but also because it gave rise to the redemptive work of Christ, which otherwise would not have been necessary. It therefore behooves us to seek, with the help of the Holy Spirit to know God's mind about it. Some notes dealing with this subject will be found in Appendix II.

   Having thus seen why the redeeming work of Christ became necessary we may with deep reverence and godly fear consider the nature of that work. As we do so we are immediately amazed and confounded by the facts which are revealed to us. The Plan which was devised in the past eternity is so wonderful that we realise that man could never have thought of it himself. It could never have crossed his mind that God the Creator, "the high and lofty One Who inhabits eternity" could actually offer himself as the substitute for sinful man, and suffer the Just for the unjust to the length of giving His life as the atonement for man's sin. Such a thing transcends human comprehension, but it is true. We can only contemplate it with amazement and awe.

   But there is another thing which we cannot but notice as we contemplate God's plan of redemption in the Work of Christ, and that is the perfect way in which the remedy fits the need, and the complete answer it provides for the question "How can a man be justified with God?" We see how the two conflicting claims can be and have been met — the claims of God's love, the God "who desireth not the death of the sinner", and the claims of His holy justice, which demand that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die";

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and Christ has so fully met both claims, of love and justice, that God now can be "just, and at the same time the Justifier of those who believe in Jesus".

   The plan devised and carried out for our redemption is indeed a wonderful one, and is one which we should reverently and gratefully study. Some further notes which may help in that study are to be found in Appendix III.

   But God's plan for man was not confined to delivering him from the penalty of sin, it was designed also to enable man to live in "newness of life", and by overcoming sin in his daily life to prove to the world around the wonderful power of God. Christ's work meets this need as well. To this end He Who is God, became man, and "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" so that we might realise that He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities and in that "He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted". The path that we are called upon to tread has been trodden by Him before us, and in this way He has been made "in all things like unto His brethren", so that He might be looked upon by them as their "merciful and faithful High Priest". Thank God we have One Who understands our problems and our needs through and through, and Who sympathises with us.

   By His work He has both conquered the enemy, and at the same time has shewn us how we also may triumph over him. He has shewn us how He so effectively used the weapons which He has now put into our hands, the Sword of the Spirit, and prayer. And He Who has fought the fight and won it and has overcome the evil one and robbed him of his power, is the One Who has promised to be with us as we travel on through the enemy's territory, and has said "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee".

   Countless thousands of His servants all down through the ages have proved and can confidently assert that this is so, and that He Who has delivered from the penalty of sin

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is able also to deliver from its power all those who allow Him to rule their lives. The writer is one who can humbly and thankfully record his evidence, that in spite of his own many failures, the mighty Son of God has been true to His promise and has never left him alone.

   It is, of course, because Christ is with us that we can fulfil His purposes for us, and serve Him acceptably. It is only as he dwells in us, and works out of us that we can be efficient soldiers of His and win victories in His Name. And this condition will continue all through this present period, and we can count on and enjoy His constant presence — until the time comes when we follow the many others who have crossed the frontier into the heavenly land, and continue our service for Him without the limitations which hamper our service here.

   Thus the work of Christ deals in a very wonderful way with the past and with the present.

   But there are also wonderful things which He is going to do in the future — perhaps now not far distant. These things are so grand and so wonderful that they are described in the Scriptures as "The blessed hope". He is going to return to this earth, and reign here as God has all along intended that He should. He is going to come and do what man has proved himself quite incapable of doing, that is to ensure righteousness, peace and prosperity, in His conduct of affairs on this earth. Man has tried by many different means to achieve this result, but has signally failed. Things have gone from bad to worse, and there seems no prospect of man being able to right what is so obviously wrong. But Christ can and He is coming to do it, and that constitutes the real hope, and the only hope, for this poor distracted world. He can do it because He so perfectly combines righteousness, power and love. No wonder that that prospect is called "the blessed hope". As we look round upon the world today and notice the fear, perplexity and despair on all sides, we must realise that Christ's return is the only solution to the

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terrible problems with which the world is faced. He has in His mercy given us certain signs that will indicate the nearness of His return, and has told us that when we see these things begin to come to pass, to look up, and hold our heads high, as good soldiers should, for "our redemption draweth nigh". The earth will then for the first time in the long history of man enjoy the peace and prosperity which God intended should be enjoyed. Sin and the consequences of it will be kept in control by the power of Christ, and righteousness with the resulting quietness and assurance will be the prevailing characteristic of that millennial day. It is indeed a wonderful prospect, and He is surely coming Who will bring it about.

   But His coming has also a special meaning for His own people — that is His soldiers who have enlisted in His Army. He intends that they shall be with Him when He returns to this earth in Power and great Glory, and therefore has promised that He will specially come to fetch them. He has said "I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also". And when we meet Him then we shall "ever be with the Lord". And not only we who are living but the dead in Christ who have gone before, and who are now "sleeping in Jesus" will join in that great gathering. What a reunion that will be, and how right it is that in view of this wonderful prospect we should "comfort one another". How sure and certain is the hope set before the Children of God, whether living or dead, and how utterly content we should be with what He has prepared for us.

   And this blessed hope encourages us to endure even when things may be difficult and the fight hard. As the garrison of a beleaguered fortress is heartened to hold on by the knowledge that relief is coming and coming soon, so can we determine to continue the fight without faltering because we know that "our redemption draweth nigh".

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   But, as we saw earlier, it is not enough to know all these things about Him. We need to know Him in our personal experience, and by close and continuous contact with Him. The facts which are recorded in the Bible about Him can be learned with the intellect, but that is not knowing Him in the true and vital sense. Our personal experiences of Him are of the greatest importance, both for establishing our own selves in the faith, and for encouraging others to whom we speak of Him. We who are His soldiers should constantly be learning more of Him through being in His company, and then we should speak of Him to others. It is a joy as well as a privilege to tell our fellow soldiers what our great Leader has been to us; to let them know what a difference He has made in our lives; what wonderful deliverance we have received from Him — how uniformly faithful He has been to us even though we have been most unfaithful to Him. We are glad to speak of the amazing interest He takes in all that concerns us, however small it may be. We gladly tell of the unerring way He leads — He Who can see the end from the beginning, even though the path seems very dark to us. The more we speak of Him, the more our hearts are warmed towards Him, and it is ever true, as it was in the case of those two who were walking to Emmaus that first Easter Day that "while they communed together and reasoned Jesus Himself drew near and went with them"; and what a difference His presence makes.

   And the more we know Him the more we will be like Him, and the more effectively will we be able to fight His battles. We will begin to see things through His eyes, and in a truer perspective than ever before. But how defective is our vision, how warped is our perspective and how wrong is our sense of values. But as we look at Him and learn of Him, what a change he can make. We read that when He saw the multitudes He had compassion on them. It is only as we see things through His eyes that His compassion for others will be stirred up in our hearts, and we will realise

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something of the value of an immortal soul. The service we render to Him will then have a new degree of earnestness, and we will be more ready to be faithful even unto death.

   May God the Holy Spirit lead us to know Him in this sort of way, so that we may fulfil His purposes Who has called us to be His soldiers.

Chapter VII

The Conduct of the Soldier

THE FIGHTING services of the British Empire are enriched and strengthened by great traditions based on their past achievements, traditions in some cases spread over several centuries, and in others covering a shorter period. Each service is very proud of its traditions, and rightly so. They form a highly honourable record of great exploits carried out in the past either collectively or individually, and they constitute a strong incentive to the members of the present day to emulate those exploits and to carry on and even enhance the old traditions. On account of these all who belong to the service in question consider it a high privilege (or should do so) and they are taught that the honour of the service, which has been built up in the past at a great cost, is in their hands, and for that reason it behooves them so to conduct themselves both on the battlefield and in the more ordinary circumstances of peace-time life, that that honour is not tarnished. The recruit in an earthly army, for instance, spends much time learning "regimental history"; and by studying what his predecessors have accomplished in the past, and absorbing the lessons learnt, becomes a good soldier in the realm of "morale" as well as in the more material things. This study produces what is called Esprit de Corps, an intangible but extremely real and effective factor in establishing the highest efficiency of the Unit or Service concerned.

   All this is true also in the spiritual realm, and in the Army of the Lord Jesus Christ. His soldiers have to be taught similar lessons. They have to realise in the first place that it is a tremendously high privilege to be chosen

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to be a soldier of Christ, a privilege which has nothing whatever to do with their own deserts, but bestowed even in spite of their unworthiness. They have to understand that becoming a soldier of His links them up, not with any earthly monarch but with God Himself, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; that it is His uniform they wear, and HIS name they carry. They find that their "regimental history" is contained in God's Word, in which are recorded the achievements, the successes, as well as the failures, of the body corporate to which they now belong, and of many of the individuals which have made up that body in the past. It is to be noted that the failures are recorded as well as the successes, which is not the practice in earthly armies. But God means His soldiers to learn vital lessons even from failures, and so has recorded instances where even His choicest servants have on occasion come to grief. He does this so that we who follow after may realise how impossible it is for us to succeed except by the Grace of God and by His help, and that we may be warned to avoid the pitfalls into which other better men have fallen.

   Moreover, the study of this "regimental history" brings home to the soldier of Christ that he is now a member of a great fellowship, which will one day justify its description as "a great multitude which no man could number of all nations, kindreds, peoples and tongues ... clothed with white robes". He will learn that the bond which unites all the members of this great brotherhood is a very strong and real thing. He will see that its strength is so great because each member is united directly to his Great Commander, and in this way the union with other members is brought about. It is like the spokes of a wheel — all joined to the central hub, and radiating from it. The nearer the spokes are to the hub — the closer do they approach one another. And so it is in the great Army of Jesus Christ. It is literally true that "all are one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).

   When the soldier of Christ has mastered these two great

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lessons, i.e. the untold privilege of being a soldier of His, and the wonderful fellowship of the great brotherhood of which he is now a humble member, he must surely realise that a high standard of living is required of him. Here again the wording of Scripture will be found to describe most aptly the situation in which he finds himself. As Paul said when writing to the Christians at Ephesus, and after describing in glowing terms their standing before God and the wonderful position in which He had placed them, — "I therefore ... beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called'. (Eph. iv: 1). He then fills the next three chapters of his letter with practical instructions how best to produce this result. This is a thing which God the Holy Spirit emphasises over and over again, because the honour of Christ's name is affected.

   In earthly armies the good conduct of the soldiers is considered highly important, and steps are taken to ensure it, so far as that is possible. Quite apart from the penalties which are imposed for failures to come up to the required standard, soldiers are encouraged to conduct themselves well. They are awarded badges for good conduct, badges which may carry with them additional pay; their promotion depends on it, and this provides an additional incentive to good behaviour. But the incentives to the Christian soldier are infinitely stronger than these. As we have seen, the honour of Christ is directly involved, because the world largely forms its opinion of Christ from the conduct of His professed followers. The emissaries of the enemy are constantly looking out for occasion to discredit Him, and with this end in view scrutinise the lives of Christians and seize upon every inconsistency they find. The Christian has to be extremely careful not to give a chance to the "enemies of the Lord to blaspheme". David must have been aware of this danger, since in two Psalms (the 5th and 27th) he prays that God will lead him in His Righteousness, and in a plain path "because of mine enemies", and it is

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significant that the marginal rendering for enemies is "those that observe me". We probably little realise how closely the lives of professing Christians are watched by the enemies of God, the principalities and powers which are such formidable foes, as well as by the ordinary man of the world. So intent are they on discrediting Christ by any means, that they are eager to seize on anything which even by distortion and misrepresentation will serve their purpose. It is, therefore, necessary for the Christian not only to abstain from evil, but to abstain from all appearance of evil. This consideration will frequently provide the answer to some problem of conduct which may be puzzling us. God may call upon us, for this reason, to forego something which is not intrinsically wrong, but which in the circumstances may be undesirable.

   The Christian soldier has, moreover, another incentive to walk worthy of his calling. Not only will careless living on his part dishonour his Lord but it will also, so to speak, "Let the side down" — that wonderful fellowship to which it is such a privilege to belong, and still further it may do serious injury to some brother in Christ, who may be turned aside from the straight path, and caused to wander in devious by-paths, to his great loss. He may be one of the "weak brethren" of whom Paul speaks in the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians and the 8th chapter, who is, so he reminds us, none the less one of those for whom Christ died, just as we are.

   And there is still a further motive for a godly life. We are told that Christ has "left us an example that we should follow His steps". We may be thankful that unregenerate man is not called upon to follow such an example. If he were told that his eternal well-being depended on his attaining that standard, he might well be filled with despair. Such a thing would be completely impossible. No, unregenerate man is more concerned with the death of Christ than with the example of His sinless life. But to those who by grace

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have accepted the free gift offered as the result of His death, to them He issues a call to walk in newness of life, and to tread in His steps. We need, therefore, to study and to ponder upon that perfect life, so that we may seek by His help to become more and more like Him, and that the world in looking on us may increasingly obtain glimpses of Him. We need to remember that the Lord Jesus during His earthly life lived it in dependence on God, and drew from Him the strength required for each day. He made use of and depended on the same source of strength which is available to us. We can with much profit study the constant use He made of those two weapons which God has placed in our hands, and which we have considered in an earlier chapter, viz: The Scriptures — and Prayer. They both meant much to Him, and He wielded them constantly. May they mean much to us, and may we make the fullest use of them, even as He did!

   So important is this question of our conduct, that the Holy Spirit has given us in the Epistles much detailed instruction regarding it. Many chapters are devoted to this subject, and contain practical precepts which we need to study carefully; and it is necessary for us constantly to refer back to these chapters and review our lives in the light of their contents. The following are some of the chapters referred to: Romans xii, I Corinthians xiii, Ephesians iv and v, Colossians iii, I Thessalonians v, 2 Timothy ii, I Peter v. These chapters and many others contain practical injunctions which we do well constantly to study. They deal with our conduct from three aspects.

(a) Our attitude towards God.

(b) Our attitude towards our fellow Christians.

(c) Our attitude towards the world around us.

   As regards the first, it must be made clear to all whom we meet that we are servants of God, who rejoice to serve Him

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because of the incalculable debt which we owe to Him. He is the Leader, we are His humble and willing followers, ready to obey His every order without hesitation. That is the picture of our attitude to God which we should present to the world , but how often does the world get a totally different impression from our lives.

   But our attitude towards our fellow Christians is also of the greatest importance, because it intimately affects the world's attitude to Christ. In our Lord's wonderful prayer, recorded in the 17th chapter of John, He specifically mentions this matter, praying that the disciples may "all be one ... that the world may believe that Thou has sent me". In view of the tremendous consequences arising out of our relationship with our fellow believers, as clearly expressed by Christ, we need very closely to examine our position and our conduct in this matter. We find much instruction about this in the chapters mentioned above. We are exhorted that our attitude to our brothers in Christ should be governed by real love for them. We should think more of them and their interests (both spiritual and material) than we do of ourselves. We are to esteem them more highly than we do ourselves, "in honour preferring one another". We are to treat them as God for Christ's sake has treated us, and thus be kind and tender-hearted to them. If there is any matter in which we consider they need our forgiveness, we must give it readily, always remembering how much God has forgiven us. In a word our attitude to other Christians is to be characterised by humbleness, unselfishness, kindness and love, and in all things we should seek to shew to them that forbearance which God, for Christ's sake, has shewn to us.

   We also will find much instruction in God's Word about our attitude to the world around us. We have, perhaps, a very hazy idea of the importance of this, although it is dealt with at considerable length in the Scriptures. As we have already noticed, the world largely forms its opinion of Christ from the lives of His followers. The men of the

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world may not read the Bible, but they can and do read us. And since their opinion of, and attitude to Christ is what matters to them more than anything, since on it their eternal destiny depends (although they may not realise it), it is obviously of the first importance that the picture of Him which we present to them is a correct one. Just as God expects that His soldiers after their enlistment in His Army shall walk in "newness of life", so the world expects it too.

   It is a fact, and a sad one at that, that the world often has a higher standard for Christians than they have for themselves. One of the things of which the world takes special notice is the behaviour of Christians towards each other, a matter which we have been considering earlier in this chapter. When Christians have shewn real self-denying love to their fellows, the world has always been impressed, and individuals drawn towards Christ as the result, as He foretold in John xvii: 21. In other matters we have got to be absolutely "straight" and scrupulously honest. Our standards have got to be on an infinitely higher level than they were before — and have to be maintained even to our own detriment. Psalm xv, and especially the fourth verse should be pondered over prayerfully in this connection.

   A Christian is also instructed about the way in which he should do his work — that is to say, the calling to which God has called him. He is reminded that all he does, he should do "in the name of the Lord Jesus" (see Col. iii: 17), i.e. as His representative. This applies to all the small things as well as the large things of life. As a consequence we are bidden "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. x: 31). This lends a dignity and a purpose to our work which were sadly lacking before, and reminds us that we must seek to satisfy God, and not only our earthly superiors. Incidentally we may be sure that if we come up to His standard, there will be nothing in our work which man can rightly find fault with. As a consequence we are further exhorted to do our work "with our might", "thankfully"

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and "heartily". There seems to be no place for deliberately restricted output in a Christian's workshop — just as there is no place for withholding from employees that which is "just and equal". It must follow, surely, that a Christian ought to be a better workman and more efficient at his job than he was before. He not only has new motives and new incentives, but he also has at his disposal unlimited resources from which he can draw God's help and God's wisdom. This help and wisdom God is ever ready to supply, since His own honour is affected.

   It is thus clear that the instructions which God has given us as a guide for our conduct are by no means all negative. We are not told simply to abstain from doing certain things, but rather to ensure that our activities should reflect the fullness of life which by His Grace we enjoy. For instance, we are told in Ephesians iv: 28: "Let him that stole steal no more"; that is the negative side, but the positive and fuller side follows at once — "but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth". This is clearly an infinitely higher conception of work than that which obtained before. And there are many other similar injunctions, which may be summed up in the words recorded in the 4th chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians: "that ye put off ... the old man (negative) ... and put on the new man" (positive) — or, as in Romans xiii, "Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of Light", and, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof". The danger of "putting off" without at the  same time "putting on" is emphasised by Christ, in Matthew xii: 43-45. Reformation without regeneration is useless, and worse than useless.

   May God help us to make full use of the provision He has made for our needs, and allow Christ so to "dwell in our hearts by faith" and so to control our lives that they will honour Him and attract others to Him.

Chapter VIII


THE TRAINING through which the soldier has to go, be it short or long, is designed for one purpose and one purpose only, that is to make him fit to play his part effectively on the battlefield. In earthly armies, it is true, some soldiers may never be called upon to meet the enemy face to face in battle. Perhaps during the period of their service no state of war exists — or if it does, the soldier in question may be serving in some area far removed from the battle zone. The advent of air power has of course greatly affected the security and peacefulness of areas which in former times would have been immune from hostile attack, and there may be now but few places which are really "out of the war". In fact the possibility of hostile troops being dropped from the air raises unpleasantly serious problems in places where such disquieting contingencies could never have arisen before. However that may be in earthly things, it is certainly true that in the spiritual realm all soldiers of Christ, without any exceptions whatever, are called upon to meet the enemy and do their part in fighting the good fight of faith. Since this is so, the main object of the training which God gives to them is to fit them for just that one thing.

   God, in His inscrutable wisdom, has chosen to carry out His work on earth mainly through human instruments. These instruments are feeble and useless by nature, and it is necessary for Him, by training them, to make them fit to carry out His purposes and serve Him effectively. This training is all the more necessary in view of the strength, skill and resourcefulness of the enemy with whom His soldiers will have to contend in battle. We who are called

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to the high honour of being His soldiers and wearing His uniform must recognise this fact, and not shrink from its implications. He has not called us simply that we may enjoy the peace, and rest and freedom from fear which He promises to those who love Him, but He has called us to "endure hardness" to "fight the good fight of faith" and face the hardships and dangers inherent in Active Service. He does, however, even in the midst of such circumstances, give us the peace of heart, the rest of mind, and the freedom from fear, which may be our experience even in the heat of battle; and of course in the life to come, when we are with Him in Heaven, we will enjoy these things to the full. But at present we are left here by Him to fight for Him and He has promised that He will ever be with us in the fight, to guide, protect, and help us.

   In earthly things, during a campaign and especially in battle, all other considerations have to give way to the prime objective of defeating the enemy. All questions of ease, rest, family ties and even sleep and food, have to be put on one side, and the soldier is expected to be ready to subordinate himself entirely to the requirements of the military situation, even to the giving of his life. Christ's claim on His soldiers is no less complete. He tells us "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me". Paul, His servant, realised something of this when he wrote to the Corinthian Christians — "troubled on every side ... perplexed ... persecuted ... cast down ... always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus"; and again, "In labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft, ... thrice beaten ... once stoned, thrice suffered shipwreck ... in journeyings often, in perils of waters, of robbers, of my own countrymen, of the heathen, in the city, in the wilderness, in the sea, among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness" — (2 Cor. iv and xi).

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As we realise how that honoured servant of God regarded his vocation we cannot but be humbled. Paul, at the end of his life, was able to say "I have fought a good fight". May God help us one and all so to live and to act now that, when we come to the end of our service on earth, we may be able to say the same.

   But the Christian soldier has another motive, to give of his best, which has no counterpart in earthly armies. We can never forget to what lengths our great Leader was prepared to go, and actually did go, in His fight for our redemption. We read that "though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor" and that "He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and ... humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross". Surely, then, He has the absolute right to call upon His soldiers to spend themselves to the limit in His service, and to put His interests far before their own comfort and pleasure. This is the motive that has served so many of His honoured servants to dare and to accomplish feats which would to many of us have seemed impossible, or demanded too great a price. The time for rest is coming, but it has not come yet.

   Another thing which we should notice is that the soldier does not choose either the nature or the place of his service. That is decided for him, and he has to go where he is sent, and carry out those duties which are imposed upon him. In earthly armies any other system would lead to hopeless confusion. It is unthinkable that each individual soldier should be free to decide where or how he fights. All military operations must be carried out in conformity with a general and comprehensive plan. This plan is made by the Commander, and all the formations and units under his command receive his clear and definite orders as to what they are to do. These in their turn give the necessary instructions to the sub-units, until eventually each individual man receives his particular orders from his immediate superior.

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In this way all the component parts of the military machine work harmoniously towards one common end, that is the execution of the great plan devised by the Supreme Commander. After all, this is the only way by which that result can be achieved. He, and he alone, can see the whole picture. To all others the horizon is limited in varying degrees, until the private soldier only sees the very small part of the battlefield in which he finds himself. It is possible that he will not fully understand the significance of the little bit which he is called upon to do, nor how it reacts on the success of other parts of the Army. But he has confidence in the wisdom and skill of the Supreme Commander, and knows that his little bit is necessary for the success of the whole, even though he cannot see why. He therefore does his very best to ensure that his little task is completed, and is prepared to go to any length to bring this about. This is the way by which victories are won by armies on earth, by the framing by the Commander of a good plan, and by the faithful and loyal carrying out of his orders by all his subordinates down to the humblest private soldier. Battles also are lost by the failure of one or the other. However good the plan of the Commander may be, it will be of no avail unless his soldiers do their part. It is a big responsibility which even the most junior soldier has to carry in battle. Tremendous issues may hang on the way in which he carries out the task allotted to him.

   All this applies with even greater force in the spiritual realm. For one thing the issues involved are infinitely greater than any earthly ones, which are at most but temporary. These, however, impinge on the eternal and are of terribly deep significance. The Christian soldier, then, must not lightly undertake his tasks but must face up to the implications, and in all seriousness ensure that he is adequately equipped to carry it out. The issues at stake must be a burden on him, and force him to deal with this burden, as he is bidden to deal with all burdens, and share them with

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the strong Son of God. Paul felt the burden — he says he just had to preach the Gospel (the task allotted to him): "Woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel," and other servants of God who have accomplished great things for Him have felt the same.

   But the Christian soldier has one great advantage over his earthly counterpart. The latter is under the command of leaders who are human, and therefore liable to make mistakes. The plan of the Supreme Commander which we have been considering above may be a bad one. It may be based on inaccurate information — he may be in complete ignorance of some relevant fact, and may as a consequence make a completely incorrect "appreciation of the situation". In fact it is true that all commanders are hampered by the fog of war, and they have to frame their plans under this great handicap. But for us in Christ's Army it is very different. Our great Leader is not prone to make mistakes, nor is He subject to those limitations by which earthly Commanders are so greatly handicapped. He is all-wise — in fact, He is wisdom. He is all-seeing — He knows the end from the beginning, and His plan is a perfect one. I like to think that in heaven He will explain His plan to us, and help us to understand the reasons for certain things which perhaps puzzled and perplexed us down here.

   And, meanwhile, we can implicitly trust Him and be sure that His plan, even for the humblest of His servants, is the best one, and that no factor has been overlooked by Him. Therefore the soldier of Christ will gladly accept His decision and undertake the task He assigns him, whether it be great or small. He will realise that all tasks are important, and that the failure of any will react prejudicially on others, and so affect the success of the great plan. He should, therefore, not let himself be influenced by the glamour or lack of glamour (in his eyes) of the work assigned to him. To human eyes some tasks are much more spectacular than others, and therefore are more attractive. A keen soldier in

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an earthly army naturally prefers serving in an active role with the field army, to performing equally important, though less showy, duties on the lines of communication or the Home Base. But all are vitally important, and failure at the Home Base, for instance, may well bring disaster to the Army in the Field.

   God, too, needs His servants everywhere and allots them to the tasks which He sees to be best, and most calculated to fulfil His purposes. Some He calls to serve Him in what may seem to be the forefront of the battle, perhaps as His missionaries in heathen lands — or as His representatives in specially difficult spheres at home. Those whom God honours in this way must realise what a great honour and privilege God has conferred upon them, and must accept the commission from Him, with true gratitude and humbleness. They must remember that in themselves they will be totally unable to stand in the difficult places in which they will find themselves, let alone execute the task assigned to them. They must constantly remind themselves that it is only as He will "hold up their goings in His paths that their footsteps will not slip", and only as His presence is with them, and as He lives in them, that they will be able to do what He bids them do. In fact, it is only as He is the doer of it that it will be done. They, on their part, must be prepared to place themselves unreservedly in His hands, and to trust Him and obey Him implicitly. They will then find that, however great the dangers and difficulties may be, they will be able to face them fearlessly and confidently. "Be not afraid of their faces," says God, "for I am with thee to deliver thee" (Jeremiah 1:8).

   But God needs His servants in other places as well, and although they may not seem to us to be so attractive, yet they mean just as much to Him, and to Him are equally important. He looks for faithful service rather than spectacular service from His soldiers, and the non-spectacular tasks may, on account of their very nature, be more difficult to carry out

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than the others. To those who are called upon to serve Him in such a way God gives the privilege of shewing real faithfulness in difficult surroundings, a faithfulness which will earn His "Well done" equally with the others. David certainly established and acted on this principle: "The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike." (I Samuel 30:24). Service of this kind may well require qualities which are all too rare, patience and perseverance which are maintained without the stimulus of excitement and achievement. Some of His servants God deliberately "lays aside" so that they can exercise the Ministry of Intercession, a ministry which is very precious to Him. These spend themselves in bearing up those fellow soldiers of theirs to whom are allotted the more active roles; and the influence which they exert upon the fight is far greater than many realise, but it will be made clear in that day, when service will be appraised at its true value, and many that are first shall be last, and the last first. When Joshua was fighting and overcoming Amalek as recorded in the 17th chapter of Exodus, he probably little realised at the time what he was owing to those three — Moses, Aaron and Hur who were doing their part on the top of the hill, outside the limits of the actual battlefield.

   We should, therefore, gladly accept from God any commission He entrusts to us, rejoice in the privilege of fighting under His orders, and faithfully and patiently obey His instructions, and by His help ensure that that part of His plan committed to us does not miscarry. May God help us so to do, and by subordinating ourselves entirely to Him, and seeking not our own satisfaction nor honour, but only His glory, to give to Him the "acceptable service" He seeks from us.

Chapter IX

Honours and Awards

WHEN the last battle has been fought and the victory won, and when a state of peace prevails in the land — then it is that due recognition is paid to those who have fought and conquered. Their services are recognised and rewarded in one or more ways. In the first place, all who took part in the campaign receive a war medal, as a sign that they "did their bit". This medal is awarded to all of them without any distinction of rank. The General receives the same medal as the private soldier. But to some who have rendered specially valuable service, an additional award is made by the King. It may take the form of promotion, or of a decoration; but whatever it is, it is the expression by the King of gratitude to the recipient for his devotion to His cause. These special honours may be conferred on the battlefield as a reward for some outstanding act of gallantry, or they may be awarded after peace has been regained. But whenever possible, the award is made publicly, so that others may take note of "the man whom the King delighteth to honour".

   A keen soldier, however, does not attempt to do great exploits simply for the purpose of earning a reward. The needs of his country, the safety of his comrades as well as his loyalty to his Commander, are more likely to provide the motives which lead to his achievements. The thought of reward probably never enters into his head, and when he receives it, no one is more surprised than he is himself. He considers that he has just done his duty, and that that is all there is to it. He therefore looks upon the award as an act of grace of the Sovereign

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whom he is now determined to serve more faithfully than ever.

   The foregoing has its counterpart in the spiritual realm, and in the spiritual warfare to which the soldier of Christ is called. Christ does give rewards for faithful service. These rewards are more certainly an act of grace on His part, than any earthly reward can be; and they have this distinctive characteristic that those who earn them have only been able to do so because of the help, counsel and protection which He has given them. In fact it is He who has wrought the exploits for which He rewards His servants. Their part has simply been to allow Him to dwell in them, and do the work. In this respect the analogy of the earthly army fails completely, and Christ's service is entirely unique. Moreover, in earthly armies, many deeds of valour pass unrewarded because they have not come under the notice of the Commander, but in Christ's army this cannot happen. Every act of every individual soldier is seen and appraised at its true value by the all-seeing eye of our great Commander. As we are reminded in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do". He does not overlook the feeblest effort of the humblest of His servants. Furthermore, in the Army of Christ, rewards are given to individuals, for individual service faithfully performed. They are given to His soldiers of all ranks without distinction, provided only that they are faithful. They may be won by any.

   Just as war medals are awarded and worn after the fighting has come to an end, so the soldier of Christ looks forward to the peaceful haven to which He will come when his warfare is accomplished. Till then, however, he must be in the thick of the fight and needs to concentrate all his efforts on the defeat of the enemy. But even so, although the peace of Heaven is in one sense still in the future, yet even now, while in the hottest part of the battle, he may enjoy a foretaste of it. The peace of God which passeth all understanding

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may be a very real experience even now, and this peace is quite independent of circumstances and is very different from anything the world knows. Christ told His disciples that the peace He was leaving with them, even while they were in the world where they must have tribulation, had nothing in common with that which the world gives. As a consequence, He bid them not to let their hearts be troubled, nor were they to be afraid. Habakkuk knew something of this when he said that in spite of one major disaster after another "yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my Salvation".

   But not only does God hold out to us this amazing prospect of spending Eternity with Him in the peace of heaven, but, in addition, He tells us that He will give rewards for faithful service. When we consider all that He has already done for us in Christ, having blessed us with all spiritual blessings and having made us His Children — and when we remember all He is still going to do for us, as the fellow heirs with His dear Son — it seems almost unbelievable that He should, in addition, offer us rewards for our service. We are told that entire devotion to Him is our reasonable service, and so it undoubtedly is, yet He makes this wonderful gesture to us which we are now considering. It would seem that His Love to us is so profound that He is ever seeking ways by which He can express it, and this is one of these ways.

   What are the rewards He holds out to us? In the first place, He tells us that He will say "Well done" to those who have given Him faithful service. It must be repeated that it is faithful service He looks for — not successful service — and faithful service is within the competence of the humblest of His servants to render. The hearing of those words will surely be the crowning joy for those to whom they are addressed. They will certainly cause their "cup to run over". Our imagination staggers as we try to visualise the feelings of some humble follower of His, when He utters those wonderful words to him. How paltry will seem the

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difficulties and hardships of the way, when compared with this wonderful, and perhaps unexpected, reward. As Paul said the "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us", and those wonderful words of commendation spoken by our Lord will be part of that glory. As the hymn puts it:

Oh how will recompense His smile

The sufferings of this little while.

Again, how infinitely more desirable will be this reward than the highest honour which we can receive on earth from any earthly source, and this Heavenly honour is within the reach of all soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ, provided only that they are faithful.

   We might well have thought that this expression of commendation from the lips of Our Lord would provide an adequate (and indeed far more than adequate) reward. But, wonder of wonders, God goes even further than that in His purposes of love and grace towards us. He speaks of honours which He will confer on us. He revealed to Paul that when his warfare was accomplished he was going to award him a "Crown of Righteousness". Paul also calls it an "incorruptible crown". Peter speaks about a "Crown of Glory", and to the Church at Smyrna is held out the prospect of a "Crown of Life" as a reward for faithfulness even unto death. These expressions all surely indicate honours conferred which shall be seen and wondered at by all the Hosts of Heaven. This is in keeping with Our Lord's words "If any man serve Me, him will my Father honour" (John 12:26), and with God's message to Daniel (12:3) "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever".

   This conception of what God intends to do for those who serve Him faithfully down here is hard for finite minds to grasp.

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These purposes of His as revealed to us in Scripture give us a little glimpse of the depth of His love and grace towards us. No wonder Paul said that "the love of Christ passeth knowledge". He not only saves us when we are rebels against Him, and redeems us at the cost of His life, He not only effects a complete change in us, makes us His children and translates us into His Kingdom; He not only confers upon us the privilege and honour of serving Him, of being fellow workers with Him, and of being His representatives before men; He not only helps us in our service and gives us the victory by dwelling in us, or lifts us up when we fall and restores us to full fellowship with Himself; but in addition to all this and much more, He actually gives the wonderful rewards we have been considering — simply for faithful service. We surely feel constrained to say: "We are unprofitable servants, we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke xvii. 10); and how few of us can really say that! We cannot but be amazed at the Grace of God, and stand dumbfounded as we contemplate the riches of that Grace.

   There is, however, one further aspect of this matter. God does not award honours such as those we have been considering in order that the recipients may enjoy them in what the world might call a well-earned retirement. That is not God's purpose at all. He intends that we should continue to serve Him, and that in spite of all the imperfections of our service here, and of all the many disappointments we must have caused Him. "His servants shall serve Him" in the eternal state. It is likely that part of the reward which He gives for faithful service on earth, will be reflected in the position of authority and responsibility allotted in our Service in Heaven. We will then see that many that are last will be first and the first last, as God's grading of His servants becomes apparent. It is, however, good to remember that our service for Him then, in whatever grade we may be, will be free of the limitations which hamper

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our service for Him here. We will then not only be freed from the penalty of sin (as we are now), and from its power (as we may be now), but from its very presence, because "there shall in no wise enter in anything that defileth", and "we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is" (1 John iii: 1-3).

Chapter X


WE HAVE now considered some aspects of the life of one who becomes a soldier of Jesus Christ. Our survey has been far from complete but perhaps it has sufficed to enable us to come to some conclusion regarding the worth-whileness of the life. We have examined the motives which prompted us to enter that life, and we realise that the attractiveness of that life, as we now know it, was not the only, and not even the chief factor in our decision. We became soldiers of Jesus Christ because, in a greater or lesser degree, we realised our desperate need, and that He was the only one who could meet that need. We desired at all costs to be freed from the ruthless domination of Satan before it was too late, and saw that Christ, and He alone, could set us free.

   Having taken that initial step we have been ever learning in increasing measure the wonder of our new Leader, under whose banner we have taken service. We are constantly seeing more indications of His wonderful love, and of His grace. We have proved something of His faithfulness at all times, of His forbearance, His kindness and His ever ready help. As a result of these experiences and of a closer acquaintance with Himself, our love for Him has grown, and we desire more and more to please Him and to serve Him, as a very small return for what He had done for us, and for what He still intends to do for us. We have, therefore, gladly tried to fit ourselves for His service by making use of those means of grace He has provided for our training, realising as we do that we have no natural fitness in ourselves, but that He has to impart His fitness to us. We are glad also to fight His battles, and to spend ourselves and to be

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spent for His sake, and all the more so as we realise the dire need of all around us, and seek to shew some of the compassion towards them with which He looks upon them. After all it is not very long ago since we ourselves were the objects of that compassion, and by His grace were snatched by Him from the power of Satan and translated into the Kingdom of God. We have studied, so far as we were able, the ways by which we can become good soldiers of His, and thus be able to fulfil the purposes which He has for us as part of His great plan. We have also had a glimpse into the future and have seen something of His eternal purpose for us, when we have left this scene and are with Him for ever.

   In view of all this there can be no doubt as the answer to our question, "Is the life of a soldier of Jesus Christ worth while?" All who have had any experience of that life say emphatically that it is indeed worth while. A life with God (for that is what it is) cannot be compared with a life without God (for that is the alternative). A life without God is a life without hope and a life without purpose. It is sad to see so many persons today, including many young people, who have no purpose in life, and who seem to be wandering about aimlessly and finding no satisfaction anywhere. A life with God is a life full of purpose as we seek to fill the role He assigns even to the humblest of us.

   Again, is the life lived with Christ a practical thing? Many assert that it is not, but that it belongs to the realms of fancy. But all who have tried it, and who have allowed the Lord Jesus to come into their lives and control them, know without a shadow of doubt that it is an intensely practical thing. I certainly have found it so, both as regards my profession, and the personal problems of my private life. Multitudes of others can say the same, and are glad to give their first-hand evidence to the practical help Jesus Christ has constantly given them in the humdrum affairs of ordinary life.

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   Is it a happy life? Again the answer is an emphatic "Yes". Those who have lived the life would not exchange it for any other. Christians of course are not exempt from the impact of sorrow and trouble, but through all their sorrows and troubles, they have a settled peace and a sure hope which cannot be affected by circumstances. They know that these troubles are but passing experiences and that beyond them they see the shining light which heralds the perfect day. There is no real joy or lasting happiness apart from Christ:

Solid joys and lasting treasure

None but Zion's children know.

   Finally, is it a useful life, i.e., useful to others? Once more we can confidently assert that it is, or will be in proportion as Christ controls it. As we have already seen, the world is in desperate need. Men and women are feverishly groping for something, anything, which will meet that need. The Christian knows that Christ can do just that thing, and Christ commissions His followers to bring that good news to those around and by all means to get their fellow men to seek for the remedy where only it can be found. It is not possible to imagine anything more practically useful than that, because Christ's work does not merely touch the surface of the trouble but gets right down to the root of it. It is sin which gives rise to all the evil symptoms which ruin men's lives. He removes the cancer and enables them to live new lives.

   Yes, the life lived with Christ is certainly worth while; practical, happy and useful. If that is so, what should our attitude be, as those whom He has called to share His life? We must surely ensure that our life is in very truth lived with Christ — that nothing is allowed to creep in which makes it impossible for Him to be with us. It is only as He is with us that our lives can have the qualities mentioned above. May God help us, one and all, constantly to be on the watch

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lest anything is admitted which would grieve Him, and hinder our usefulness to Him. Moreover, we must be diligent to make ourselves efficient soldiers, so that we may play our part effectively in His battles, and win the trophies which we will so gladly lay at His feet. May we all, who name the name of Christ, do so, and in this way serve our day and generation, and fulfil the purpose for which God has called us to His high calling.

Appendix I

The Deity of Christ

(Reproduced by permission of the Officers' Christian Union)

IN THE Scriptures the mystery of the Godhead is revealed to us, in that in the Godhead there are three Persons, co-equal, and co-existent. The three Persons of the Trinity are:

God the Father
God the Son
God the Holy Spirit.

It seems hardly necessary to stress the Deity of the first Person of the Trinity. That is conceded by all, except by "the fool who says in his heart 'There is no God' ". The First Person of the Trinity is usually regarded as the Supreme Being, omnipotent, omniscient, the Creator of the Universe. Although the Scriptures clearly teach that the Godhead consists of Three Persons — all co-equal, and that the work of creation was the work of all Three — we can, however, for the moment, leave the matter there and pass on to the consideration of the Second Person, Jesus Christ.

   Here we are on ground where there is greater difference of opinion, although we claim no less reason for certainty. There are some who say that Jesus Christ was not essentially different from us, although He was the greatest and best man that ever lived. He was, however, man, and no more — He certainly was not God (so they say). Others assert that he occupies an intermediate position — something more than man — but less than God. The Christian Faith teaches that He is God. What grounds are there for these different beliefs — and does it really matter which of them we do believe? We will

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endeavour to answer these two questions, and it is hoped that the answer to the first will also provide an answer to the second, and make it abundantly clear that it certainly does matter which of these beliefs we accept in our heart.

   What witnesses can we call who can give evidence on this subject? We will in the first place, and with all reverence, call Jesus Christ Himself. There is no vestige of doubt that He claimed deity for Himself, with all that that word implies, including absolute equality with God the Father. He did not merely claim a limited form of divinity such as might in certain circumstances be applied to the sons of men — but absolute, inherent and essential deity, in fact, that He was God. And the fact that He voluntarily laid aside His glory and subjected Himself to God the Father in all that concerned His life on earth in no way invalidates this statement, since He existed from all eternity. The following passages from the Gospels throw light on this claim of His: Matthew xvi: 16 and 17; Mark xiv: 62; John iv: 26; vi: 69; ix: 37; x: 30; xiv: 9; xvii: 5, and many others as well. In these Christ either makes the claim to Deity Himself, or accepts without rebuke the statement made by others. In the first passage quoted, Christ commends Peter for his statement. Moreover, in John's Gospel especially, though not exclusively, Christ frequently uses, and applies to Himself, the name chosen by God for Himself: "I AM." Two instances may be quoted, though there are many others — and they all deserve close scrutiny: John viii: 58, and xviii: 5 and 6. In the latter passage the words "I AM" mean far more than mere acquiescence. They would not have been used if that was all Christ intended to convey. The effect of these words on His hearers makes this clear — and it must be remembered that the hearers were Jews, on whom the significance of the words would not be lost.

   In addition to direct statements, there are many veiled statements contained in His parables. For instance, the reference in Matthew xxi: 37 was obviously to Himself — and

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this constituted a claim to Deity, as did also other parables. Then again Jesus frequently claimed Divine powers — such as forgiveness of sins (e.g., Mark ii: 5, etc.). He accepted worship as His right, and never rebuked any person for offering it to Him. It seems unnecessary to elaborate this matter further. There is no doubt at all that the Jews of His time recognised that He made a claim to be God. See John v: 18; x: 30; and xix: 7. In fact, it was on the strength of this claim of His that they condemned Him to death, as the last reference shows specially clearly.

   It seems, therefore, to be clear beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ did actually claim to be God. Was this claim justified? If not, the Jews were perfectly right in condemning Him to death on a charge of the grossest blasphemy. For us the alternatives are simple, and they are three in number:

(a) He was an Impostor — and deliberately made claims which He knew to be untrue.

(b) He genuinely thought He was God — but was mistaken.

(c) His claim was right, and He was God.

   Which of these are we to accept? As regards the first, is such a solution compatible with what we know of Him? Can we for one moment believe that He was a liar, and that the whole of His teaching was founded on fraud? Could something based on fraud have produced such marvellous results from the days of the Early Church to the present day? All these questions call for a most emphatic "No".

   The second solution is equally untenable. If His teaching had one characteristic more in evidence than any other, it was the assurance, certainty and authority with which He spoke. It is also impossible to believe that the Christian Church could have developed as it did if it had been based on a fraud, even though the latter was unintentional.

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   No, in this, as in all other matters, Christ knew what He was talking about, and we cannot accept this solution. As we consider the evidence of this, our first witness, we are irresistibly forced to the conclusion that His is good evidence, worthy of complete acceptance, and that, when He claimed to be God, He was speaking the literal truth.

   Although the evidence of the first witness whom we have called may be considered to be absolutely conclusive, we will yet call another. Our second witness is the Bible other than he Gospels. We will have more to say about the credibility of this witness in a subsequent chapter, when it will be shown that the evidence of the Bible is the evidence of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. For the moment we will be content to show that the evidence of other parts of the Bible corroborates the claim of Christ to Deity, as recorded in the Gospels.

   We will satisfy ourselves with two statements. The first is in Hebrews i: 2 and 3, a statement of outstanding clearness and tremendous significance. That this is intended to refer to Jesus Christ there can be no manner of doubt, and that it can mean anything but that He is God is impossible to believe. The association of Him with the creative act, and the identification of Him with God the Father leave no room for doubt on this score. Another statement we will select from the Old Testament. It is found in Isaiah ix: 6, in which the Messiah is called "The Mighty God — the Everlasting Father". Here again there can be no doubt that these words were a prophetic reference to Jesus Christ. This is but one of many passages in the Old Testament in which the identity between the promised Messiah and the Deity was established. It is hardly necessary in this pamphlet to set out elaborate proofs that Jesus was the promised Messiah. It will suffice simply to refer to Christ's own explicit statement to the Woman of Samaria: "I who speak to you am He" (John iv: 26). We can therefore agree that the evidence of the second witness entirely corroborates that of the first.

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   The facts of history also provide evidence on this subject, and in passing it may be profitable very briefly to consider it. The influence that Jesus Christ has had on the world requires explanation. That influence is not confined to the period immediately following His life on earth, but extends over all the centuries right down to the present day. It is an influence of a totally different kind to that of Mohammed or other human founders of various religions. It is a moral influence, which in the case of nations uplifts them and makes for progress and freedom, which in the case of individuals it produces a vital power over sin and a personal devotion to Him which are just as potent today as they were 1,900 years ago. Is this the work of a mere man? Common sense emphatically replies "No", while the changes wrought in the lives of sinful men by the power of the Name equally emphatically assert that it is the work of God.

   Earlier in this chapter we propounded two questions:

(a) What grounds have we for belief that Jesus Christ is God?

(b) Does it really matter whether we believe this or not?

   The three witnesses whom we have called have, we claim, answered the first question in a way which cannot be gain-said. We will now turn to the second question. Does it matter? It most certainly does. Does it matter that Jesus Christ based all His teaching on a claim which was false? Does it matter that He on whom I base all my hopes for time and for eternity was either an impostor or an ignorant and mistaken man who did not know what He was saying? To the question put in this way there can be but one answer. If His claim to Godhead is rejected, it is also impossible to attribute to Him both goodness and wisdom. But the matter goes deeper still. Our attitude to Christ not only matters, but ultimately in God's sight it is the only thing that really does matter. "What think ye of Christ?" is the question

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before which all other questions pale into insignificance, and on our answer to it our eternal destiny depends. God the Father spoke of Christ as His well-beloved Son. If we reject the testimony of the Three Persons of the Trinity, we make God a liar.

   The Devil certainly appreciates the importance of this matter. There are two things to which he is always attempting to blind men's eyes — the Divinity of Christ and the efficacy of His death. We will see in a later chapter that the Cross of Christ loses its significance, and indeed its value, if Christ is not God. Although the two things (the divinity of Christ and His atoning work) really go together, we are at the moment only concerned with the former. If we examine the many false cults of spurious Christianity which have sprung up through the ages, and especially in recent years, we cannot help being struck with the fact that the divinity of Jesus Christ is attacked, directly or indirectly, in nearly all of them. It is indeed one of the tests by which we may know the spirit of a cult, and it is well that we should invariably apply that test (I John iv: 1-3).

   It will not be possible to do more than touch upon the question of the Deity of the Third Person of the Trinity, but that is not so often called in question. The Bible clearly teaches that He is co-equal with the other two Persons. We see Him engaged in the work of Creation with the Father and with the Son, and we see His handiwork in the world and in the Church today. The mystery of the Trinity is one which our finite minds cannot properly understand, though one day it will become clear to us when we "know as we are known".

Appendix II

Man's Need

(Reproduced by permission of the Officers' Christian Union)

IN APPENDIX I we considered chiefly the Divinity of Christ, as being perhaps the most fundamental pillar of the Christian Faith. We must now turn to a very different subject and one which is naturally much less pleasing to men, although its true realisation is equally important — Man's need.

   It is a subject about which there is today much confused thinking, and in some quarters a disinclination to face the issue. The very ugliness of the picture of man's state, as portrayed in Scripture, no doubt accounts for the disinclination to dwell upon it, though this is no reason for a wise man to refuse to face facts, and to continue to dwell in a fool's paradise. Moreover, this ugliness magnifies the wonderful grace and power of God, Who is able out of such unpromising material to produce results which glorify Him.

   The problem is really a simple one. If man has no need, he requires nothing from Christ. If that is so, or if man's need is such that he can meet it himself, Christ's life and death on earth are inexplicable. But if man has a need, a great need, entirely beyond his powers to meet himself, what has Christ to offer? Can He meet that need? Can anyone else meet it? The subject is one of the highest practical importance to individual men; indeed it is difficult to conceive one with which we are more intimately and deeply concerned. We will, therefore, in the following pages endeavour to find out what man's need really is, both as regards its nature and its extent.

   In considering the diagnosis of man's case, it may be as well if we first of all consult the patient himself, and find out

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what he has to say about his need. We find he frequently states that he has no need, or at any rate, nothing with which he cannot deal himself. He believes that he has the germ of good in him, and that in favourable circumstances, it can be developed. He says that his business is to produce the favourable circumstances, to create the needed atmosphere, to prepare the soil, to cultivate and fertilise it so that the seed may grow and produce good fruit. He considers that he is quite able to do all this, especially as scientific knowledge and education are increasing so rapidly, and clear thinking is the order of the day. In fact, he is quite able to work out his own salvation without any outside help, and to make a useful contribution to the Kingdom of God. Any other conclusion would be an admission of failure, which in these enlightened days could not be tolerated, and would be an affront to his self-respect and dignity.

   Sometimes, however, the patient apparently has qualms, and is not satisfied that all is well. These qualms may be the result of the operation of the Spirit of God, who in love to man, seeks to rouse him to a realisation of his true condition. But man is anxious to stifle the voice of God, and to lull himself again into a sense of security. To this end, he calls in another opinion, hoping that it may administer comfort and set his fears at rest. He is consequently very careful to select as a consultant one who will give a comfortable verdict. He consults the "god of this world", who to him may appear as an angel of light, and he finds that his fears are allayed and his former opinions confirmed and strengthened. The phenomenon of man's extraordinary self-complacency as to his condition requires some such explanation as this. He appears wilfully to blind himself or to allow himself to be blinded. The Devil, the great enemy of our souls, has always made it his business to blind men's eyes as to their condition. So long as they were satisfied with their position, they would not be likely to turn to a Saviour — and thus in this way he seeks to neutralise the work of Christ. He did

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this in the case of our first parents, making them believe that the situation was not so serious as God had said, and persuading them that if they followed his (the Devil's) advice they could satisfy all their deepest longings. He has been doing this ever since, always with the same object of encompassing man's ruin and neutralising the work of Christ (see 2 Cor. iv: 4). In his efforts, he has been extraordinarily successful, and today has so completely blinded men's eyes that many have no sense of sin and no realisation of their great need. In this respect his work is exactly the opposite of that of the Holy Spirit, whose function is to convince men of sin (John xvi: 8). If men have no sin, they need no Saviour — and no Atonement — and thus the Cross of Christ is stultified. It is very remarkable to notice how many of the present-day cults, some of them so-called Christian, lay much stress on this very point, denying both sin and the Atonement. In this, surely the hand of the devil can be seen.

   We have now heard what the patient and his chosen advisers have to say. We will now see what Almighty God says on this subject of man's need. As we do so, we do well to remember two things. The first is that God is man's Creator, and although He created him innocent, and intended that he should remain so, yet He must know man through and through (see John ii: 24 and 25). The second point is that He loves man, even in his fallen state, and desires man's good. His diagnosis, therefore, deserves reverent and close attention.

   God says three things about man's state, which we will examine one by one. He says that:

(a) Man is steeped in sin, both by nature and practice, and that the germ that is in him is evil and not good.

(b) The inevitable end of man's condition is "Death" and eternal separation from God.

(c) Man can do nothing himself to improve his condition.

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   This is a terrible picture, but there is no doubt that it is the picture which God paints of man. No wonder that man does not care to contemplate it, but prefers to shut his eyes to it, and to turn with readiness to anyone who will conjure up a more pleasing fancy. The wise man, however, prefers to face facts, and not to go on living in a fool's paradise. May God give us all that wisdom.

   To consider the first point. We notice that God says that by nature man is steeped in sin, that the germ in man is evil, and not good, that the evil seed or root can only produce death. It cannot possibly produce good fruit (see Matthew vii: 18). In other words, that to rely upon one's own nature is a false and insecure foundation on which to build a fair superstructure (Matthew vii: 24-27). This sinful and evil condition was not man's original state, and God never intended that it should be his state. But it is the state into which he has fallen as the result of our first parents' sin. the fall of man is a terrible reality, and is the only explanation of what we see around us today. Many would deny it these days, but unfortunately, it is only too true. The Spirit of God most definitely affirms that it is so. The fifth chapter of Romans deals with this subject with the utmost clearness, and especially verses 12 and 19. These are not isolated verses on which it is unfair to base an important doctrine. The whole burden of the first few chapters of this Epistle is to the same effect, and they are in entire keeping with the rest of Scripture. The following few references, chosen from many others, will perhaps make this clear — Psalm xiv: 2-3; li: 5; Isaiah i: 6; Jeremiah xvii: 9; Romans iii: 9, 19, 23. The whole history of the Children of Israel shows that in spite of tremendous advantages, they consistently preferred evil to good, and they are surely typical of mankind generally. Christ said that men loved darkness rather than light (John iii: 19).

   That man is by nature a sinner is also evident from our own experience. A child has not to be taught to do evil:

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he or she has to be taught to do good because they have in them a natural tendency to do evil. This tendency shows itself in unmistakable fashion in very early years, and unless it is corrected by discipline and sound teaching, grows more and more pronounced in a truly alarming manner. How true were the words which Christ spoke: Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, etc." (Matthew xv: 19), and how they bear out the statement already quoted in Jeremiah xvii: 9, "The heart is ... desperately wicked." With such a nature, man's need must assuredly be great.

   But it is not only by nature that man is a sinner, for he is one by practice also, and there is no exception to this rule. One would think that so self-evident a fact is an axiom which must be accepted by all, and yet strange to say, there are found some who do deny it. They are completely satisfied with their lives, and do not acknowledge that they are stained with sins — or, at any rate, not so much so as the majority of others. Such blindness is astounding, and can only be the work of the devil, to whose interest it is that men should remain blind to this important fact. If we have any doubt as to our sinfulness, we surely have only to ask our next-door neighbours, who certainly will have no illusions on the subject! And here it may be remarked in passing, that it is not a question of comparison. It is whether I am a sinner or sinless. Anything short of perfect sinlessness is sin (see James ii: 10 and Gal. iii: 10). Probably one reason for our mistaken ideas is that we have a totally different and far lower standard for sin than God has. We are apt to confine our ideas of sin to the perpetration of the grosser faults, such as murder, theft, etc., and to limit it more or less to sins of commission. But God, whose holiness we cannot even faintly comprehend, and whose hatred of sin is, in consequence, immeasurably intense, has very different views. He requires His own standard of perfection in us (Matthew v: 48). He bids us love Him with the whole of our being, and our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew xxii: 37-39). Moreover, He

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tells us many things about sin. He says that "All unrighteousness is sin" (I John v: 17); "the thought of foolishness is sin" (Proverbs xxiv: 9); a man is a sinner when "God is not in all his thought" (Psalm x: 4); it is sin not to glorify God (Daniel v: 23 and Acts xii: 23); or to fail to make God one's strength (Psalm lii: 7; it is sin not to choose the fear of the Lord (Proverbs i: 29); it is not only the act but the motive and the thought that count (Matthew v: 22 and 28). We may say that God's standard is impossibly high — but it is the standard He has set. Moreover, He has set it for the very purpose of bringing home to men the fundamental fact that they are sinners (see Romans v: 20; and iii: 19). It is instructive to note the effect on men of a vision of God in His holiness.... they then realised their own sinfulness. See Job xlii: 5 and 6; Isaiah vi: 5; Daniel x: 5-11; Revelation i: 17.

   God also says that sin produces death and separates men from Him — and that it will ultimately do so irrevocably and eternally. We are told that "the soul that sinneth — it shall die: (Ezek. xviii: 4); that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans vi: 23); that "to be carnally minded is death", and that the carnal or natural mind is enmity against God (Romans viii: 6 and 7). We have referred to God's awful Holiness. He says He is "of purer eyes than to behold iniquity" (Hab. i: 13) and that it is only the pure in heart and the holy who can see God (Matthew v: 8; Psalm xxiv: 4; Hebrews xii: 14). It follows then that man, in his natural state, which is the reverse of pure and holy, must be shut out from God by that very sinfulness of which perhaps he thinks so little. Revelation xxi: 27, is a solemn and striking commentary on this. This eternal separation from God is not only to be regarded as a punishment for sin (it is a punishment for the rejection of God's Saviour), but also as the inevitable consequence of sin. It is the wages paid (Romans vi: 23), the fruit which must result eventually from the seed sown. Nothing but the destruction of the root can prevent the fruit sooner or later coming into being. Let us not make light of the consequences of sin,

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as is the fashion in some quarters today. Nearly all we know about the fate of the ungodly — as revealed in Scripture — comes to us from the lips of the Saviour, Who loved us and Who gave Himself for us in order to deliver us from that awful fate.

   This brings us to our third point, that man can do nothing by himself to extricate himself from his terrible position. This is evident when we consider how fundamental sin is — how it is inextricably woven into our nature and how there is not one of us who has not sinned. Men sometimes think that a good action will be set off against a bad one, and that by living "good" lives in the future, our past sins will be cancelled. There is not a word in Scripture to support this view — rather the reverse. God says that they that are in the flesh cannot please Him (Romans viii: 8), and no amount of so-called "good" deeds by an unregenerate man can be accepted by Him. Moreover, such an idea overlooks the fact that even if we lived perfect lives in the future we would only be doing the bare minimum which God demands. There would be nothing left over wherewith to wipe out the old debt. That can only be wiped out by the Precious Blood of Christ.

   In conclusion, it is desirable to draw attention to the one sin, of all others, for which God will hold us accountable. Since Christ came as God's remedy for sin, all other sins pale into insignificance beside the sin of rejecting Him. It is no longer a question of whether I have committed this or that sin, e.g., murder, theft, or something of that kind, but rather whether I have ignored and spurned the Saviour God has provided at such a cost to Himself "This is the condemnation," Christ said, "that light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light" (John iii: 19). If we reject God's only way of salvation, there is no other (Hebrews ii: 3; and x: 26 and 29) and we must bear the consequences, terrible though they are. Thus, as we saw in Chapter I, it is our attitude to Christ which matters.

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   In Appendix III we are considering God's remedy for man's need. We can, however, anticipate it in one respect — "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son". Is it conceivable that He would have adopted that plan if man's need had not been desperate? The very nature of God's remedy can only be regarded as another proof of man's great need.

Appendix III

God's Remedy

(Reproduced by permission of the Officers' Christian Union)

WE HAVE already considered Man's need — and have seen how great that need is. We are now to consider God's Remedy. And since we found that man's need is immensely great, so must the remedy be even more so, if it is to be effective. We can thank God that this is abundantly true, and that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans v: 20), so that God's provision is able to meet fully the deepest need of the worst sinner.

   The subject of God's Remedy is such a vast one, and there are so many aspects of it, each of which is profoundly deep, that it is not possible within the limits of this chapter to do more than touch on the fringe of it. The whole conception is so immeasurably higher than anything which the mind of man could have conceived, that one's imagination is literally staggered when it dawns on one what God has really done. The plan of Redemption will never cease to be the wonder of saints and angels throughout eternity, and will always be the chief instrument for bringing glory to God (Ephesians iii: 10; Rev. v: 9). We therefore do well to study it, and to seek by the aid of the Holy Spirit to enter into the meaning of it in some measure.

   We have seen that man's very nature is sinful; that his sin produces death, and that he himself was completely powerless to improve his condition. That being so, it follows that the remedy, if it is to be effective, must be quite apart from and outside man, and this is in fact the essence of the plan

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which God has devised. Because man is powerless to help himself, God has stepped in and has done for man what man could not do for himself. Moreover, God has done the whole thing, and He does not call in man to contribute anything to this work. Man is bankrupt, and could not contribute anything acceptable to God. Man is dead and needs life — in fact it is "not of works" (Eph. ii: 5 and 9). Man does not care to acknowledge this — he likes to think that he can do something towards his salvation. But God, Who knows man better than man knows himself, says that salvation must be completely of grace, or not at all. Man's only qualification for salvation is his acknowledged need, and all God calls upon him to do, or allows him to do, is to acknowledge the need and accept the remedy. This is an absolutely fundamental condition. It is not only on account of man's actual inability to do anything towards his salvation, but also on account of Christ's honour. Any attempt by man to contribute towards the work of redemption implies that what God has done in Christ is not enough. Such efforts consequently dishonour Christ, and that is a thing which God can never tolerate. Scripture is abundantly clear on this point, as will be seen from the following passages, selected from many more: Romans iii: 20, 28; Eph. ii: 8-9; Titus iii: 5; nor does the Epistle of James affect this question, since the "works" referred to there are merely the proof of the existence of the necessary faith.

   God's remedy is like God — in that it harmonises in a truly wonderful way the various parts of His character. It is a perfect blend — not one is outraged in any way. If we may reverently analyse God's nature as revealed to us in the Scriptures, and especially by the Lord Jesus Christ, we will find that the following four are the chief of the component parts: Holiness, Wisdom, Power, Love. And as we now consider His Remedy, we will find that all these four are perfectly satisfied, a fact which enables

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the sinner to enjoy the supremest confidence in the Plan.

   Sin is an offence against the Holiness of God. It therefore follows that the Remedy must satisfy the claims of that Holiness. If God had said that he was prepared to forgive and overlook man's sin, He would have been outraging His Holiness, the claims of which could never be satisfied in that way. A salvation based on such a foundation would be most imperfect, and the sinner accepting it could not have a perfect assurance that the question of his sin had really been settled once for all. But God most certainly does intend us to have such an assurance. The metaphors which He uses in describing the manner in which He deals with our sin leave no room for doubt on that score. He says he has separated our sins from us as far as the East is from the West (Psalm ciii: 12). He says He has cast them into the depths of the sea (Micah vii: 19) and behind His back (Isaiah xxxviii: 17). He also says that He has blotted them out (Isaiah xliv: 22). But thank God we know that the claims of His holiness have been fully met, since He is able to say that He can at one and the same time be just and the justifier of Him which believeth in Jesus (Romans iii: 26), and that He can be faithful and just to forgive us our sins (I John i: 9). All through Scripture we find that our salvation is based on this double foundation: the love and the justice of God. We can assuredly, then, have absolute confidence in such a salvation, which is independent of our own efforts, but which satisfies both the love and the holiness of God.

   Now God's Holiness demands that sin shall be punished by death. This, again, is fundamental. "Without shedding of blood there is no remission" (Hebrews ix: 22), and "the soul that sinneth it shall die". Therefore, in His Remedy, provision had to be made for the satisfaction of this demand. No man could supply this need. No man could die for the sins of other men, since each man had his own sins to bear. The death of an angel or other created being would not suffice

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either. The debt incurred by man was too vast to be liquidated in that manner. No; it required a more precious life even than that of an archangel. It required the most precious life in the Universe, the life of God Himself, and such was His love for man that this He willingly gave. Great as were the physical suffering and the indignity of the crucifixion, these were completely overshadowed by the suffering involved in the alienation of the Son of God from His Father when Christ the Holy One became sin for us. This was so stupendous a thing that it more than balanced the sum total of the penalty incurred by the whole human race on account of sin. As one contemplates this stupendous fact, one is overwhelmed by two things: the vastness of the love of God and the greatness of man's need.

Oh, how vile my low estate

If the ransom was so great.

The willingness of God Himself to offer Himself as the expiation of His creatures' sin is so astounding as to be entirely beyond the power of man to understand. But though we cannot understand it, it is nevertheless a fact, and we can enjoy all that results from it. It is the basis on which God meets our need, and we can say: "He loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians ii: 20; John iii: 16).

   Now God's plan of salvation not only proves God's Holiness, but, as we have just seen, it proves His love as well. In fact, it is the crowning proof of the Love of God. In this connection see I John iii: 16; and iv: 9 and 10. Doubts as to the reality or greatness of God's love must for ever be silenced by a vision of Calvary, as must also doubts as to the security of the children of God (Romans viii: 32). Thus the salvation enjoyed by the child of God is not only based on the perfect justice of God so that he can no longer be justly charged with his sins, but it brings him into touch with One

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who loves him with a love entirely beyond human conception. The love that prompted the Holy Creator to take the place of the sinful creature, and by dying for him not only to bear the punishment of his sins, but actually to become sin for him (2 Cor. v: 21) so that he might be raised from the hopeless position into which he had got himself — such love is indeed beyond knowledge (Eph. iii: 19). But it may be experienced and enjoyed by any sinful child of man.

   From the above, it is clear that the Death of Christ was an essential part of God's plan; in fact, it may be said to be the very essence of that plan. Although Christ lived a perfectly sinless life while on earth, yet it is not His life which saves man. His life condemned man, since it exemplified in an unmistakable manner the standard which God demanded and which man could never hope to reach. Christ did not come to be an example to an unregenerate man. Such an example could only fill him with despair. But Christ came to die for me — and by His Death to make atonement for their sins. His perfect life was a necessary prelude to that death, since it needed a perfect sacrifice to meet God's claims; but the object for which He came into the world was to give His life for us men and for our redemption. See Matthew xx: 28; I John iv: 10; etc. There is much loose thinking and talking on this subject nowadays. We do well to bring our thoughts into line with God's clear teaching in this all-important matter.

   But God's salvation does not only exemplify His Holiness and Love in saving us from the guilt of sin — it shows His power and wisdom by keeping us from its power in our daily life. It not only refers to the past, but it is as well a present salvation which can be continually experienced by us day by day. It is this part of our salvation which can be seen by other men, and which consequently glorifies God in their eyes. They cannot tell whether a man has been relieved of the guilt of his sin, but they can see whether he

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has got a new power in his life which enables him to overcome sins which before held him captive. It is this change of life which brings glory to God in the eyes of men, and gives to them a proof of the reality of the salvation which Christians claim to enjoy. Moreover, it is not only in the eyes of men that God's plan of salvation brings glory; but "to principalities and powers in heavenly places it makes known the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. iii: 10). The power which can transform guilty, vile and helpless sinners into beings fit to be the Body or the Bride of Christ must be wonderful indeed.

   This brings us to the Resurrection of Christ. A dying Substitute may make atonement for our sins, but it needs a living Savior to give us power to live new lives. Christ's resurrection was the earnest of a new life for those who trust in Him, and it is the same power which raised Him from the dead which operates in the life of the regenerate man (Eph. i: 19-20). For just as Christ rose from the dead, so the believer, who has vicariously died in Christ, also rises with Him into newness of life (Romans vi: 4). This new life into which he now enters is in no way a development of the old life. He has become an entirely new creature, and enjoys a completely new life (2 Cor. v: 17). He has been reborn and is regenerate (John iii: 3). His nature is new, as are his tastes and desires (Psalm li: 10). He has become a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians iii: 26; and John i: 12). The old things have passed away, and all things have become new.

   Enough has been said to show how radically God's Remedy as depicted in the Gospel message differs from the messages of other religions of the world. They bid men raise themselves; but Christ stoops to man's level and lifts him up. They make no provision for the past; but Christ, by His death, blots it out. They lay down a standard for man to reach; but Christ gives him power to overcome sin. They cater for the respectable religious man; Christ came to seek

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and to save the lost. They bring no message of hope to the outcast; Christ bids the vilest sinner come to Him and transforms him into a saint.

   How is one to enter into the enjoyment of this so great salvation? It is appropriated by simple faith. It is the Holy Spirit Who convicts men of sin and shows them their need of a Saviour (John xvi: 8-9). That must always be the first step. It is He Who speaks to us of Christ (John xvi: 14), and shows us Christ as being the Saviour Whom we need. We are thus enabled to put our trust in Christ, and by so doing we become children of God. It is, moreover, the Holy Spirit Who takes up His abode in us, and gives us power to overcome sin and to "will and do His good pleasure". It is the Holy Spirit Who illumines the written Word of God so that it veritably becomes a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.

   God's plan of salvation is thus complete, so far as both the past and present are concerned. It also reaches out into the future, since in God's purpose we will one day be freed from the presence of sin, just as we have been delivered from its penalty and are being kept from its power. Christ will one day present us faultless before the Throne of God, and our limitation and weaknesses will all be gone for ever (Jude 24).

   With such a salvation as this, what manner of persons ought we to be? Undoubtedly there lies on every child of God a tremendous obligation to put God first in this life and to live a life of obedience to His commands and one which will please and glorify Him. It is not enough to accept Christ as Saviour — we need to crown Him as Lord in our life as well. Those who fail to do so not only lose all the joy and happiness which God means His children to enjoy, but also hinder others from coming to Christ and experiencing His blessing. Those who have learnt what Christ has done for them are under a definite obligation to pass the news on to others; and in order to ensure that

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our message carries conviction, our lives must agree with what we profess. This can only be so when the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us, and ruling and controlling our lives. We therefore must crown Him Lord, and submit ourselves to His control.

From the Jacket of the Book

   "General Dobbie, whose name will always be associated with the heroic defence of Malta, is in the line of a number of English soldiers who have been eminent for the simplicity and sincerity of their faith in God." — Yorkshire Post.

   This book is written primarily for members of the Services, in a language which they understand. It shows that the first step in the Christian life must be "enlistment," and then outlines the steps necessary to fit oneself for life-long service in the ever-present spiritual warfare.

   In his previous volume, A Very Present Help, "General Dobbie ... sets forth the evangelical faith that undoubtedly sustained him throughout a terrible ordeal, and made him a source of strength to others." — Daily Telegraph.

   "He has a unique capacity for spiritual expression, splendidly evidenced in this book." — Daily Sketch.

Photo of General Dobbie from Page 2 of Active Service with Christ

Faith & Fortitude : The Life & Work of General Sir William Dobbie (1879-1964)

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