A Jagged Contention: The Sanctifying Battle

“Beware of those who promise a sweet, calm, tranquility in this life from God by perfecting your commitment to spiritual exercises. They did not work for Luther in the monastery and they will not work for us. Do not believe that we can reach a lofty level of sanctification where we can be free of the battles that rage in our minds and hearts in this life. We walk by faith and hope for the better day that is coming when eternity blesses us with the full fruits of Christ’s victory at His Heavenly Banquet. For now, we join Christ in His battle against the powers of darkness within and without as very much a junior partner.”

-Steven A Hein, The Christian Life: Cross or Glory? Pg. 100


Question:

Dr. Hein warns us against viewing sanctification as victorious Christian living. What are the dangers that arise when one views the Christian life in terms of victory as opposed to warfare? How should one understand Paul’s words in Romans 8:37 that tell us we are more than conquerors even while we live in a battle with the powers and principalities (Ephesians 6:11-20)?

Share your thoughts in the comments below

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One comment

  1. In my experience, the great danger that arises when one views the Christian life in terms of victory (as opposed to warfare) is that of despair and disillusionment. I grew up holding to a view that “victory” was proof of the Holy Spirit’s presence and proof that I belonged to Christ (who was stronger than all my sin). When I didn’t see the victory (which was nearly all the time), I feared that I didn’t have the Spirit’s presence and that I didn’t belong to Christ. My understanding now is that Christ has already conquered (Romans 8:37) this “old man” that still clings to me in his life (active obedience), death, burial and resurrection, and that the main battle I am facing against the principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:11-20) is the battle of faith. In other words…to cling to the promise that, inspire of what I see in my own life (sin, struggle, defeat, etc), yet Christ still tells me I am his. It is from that word of promise that I am able to try to serve my neighbour, and persevere in the faith. It’s a fight everyday to hold fast to the gospel and keep perspective. I’m grateful that it’s not up to me (Jude :24-25). That’s how I see it now.

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