• Pastor Bowler

Forward by Faith

The Bible says in Hebrews 7:25, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” In Ephesians 1:19, Paul describes the exceeding greatness of God's power to us, a power which was wrought in Christ when He was raised from the dead. In Ephesians chapter 2, we read that we have been raised together with Christ to sit with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). This is our position in Him.

The battle is described in Exodus 17:10-13—“So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” This is a picture of what is taking place on our behalf. When Joshua was fighting the battle in the valley, Moses was making intercession to the Father. As Moses continued to pray, the battle was won. The Lord Jesus is at the right hand of the Father praying for us that we might be victorious.

Israel’s victory over Amalek required two things. It required the aggressive warfare of Israel led by Joshua and the faithful intercession of Moses. The one without the other was not sufficient. So it is in our spiritual warfare. We have the assurance of the intercession of our Saviour and the responsibility is to walk in faith and obedience to the Word under the control of the Holy Spirit and to fight the fight of faith. With this combination, victory is certain.

The Bible teaches that a Christian has a threefold enemy: the flesh, the world and the devil. The flesh is the old self-life, the fallen nature in each one of us. The world is the world of mankind around us alienated from God and opposed to His rulership. The devil or Satan includes also the fallen angels he controls.

The basis for our victory over this threefold enemy has already been laid for us in Christ. Regarding the flesh, Romans 6:6-7 says, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

With regard to the world, we read in Galatians 6:14, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” This is why Jesus said in John 16:33, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Our victory over the flesh and the world is based on what Christ has done for us.

This is also true with regard to our victory over Satan and his evil forces in the heavenlies. According to the Ephesians 2:5-6, we have been seated together with Christ in heavenly places. The defeat of Satan can also be traced to the cross of Christ. Our Lord said in John 12:31 “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” That the Cross was in our Saviour’s mind when He said this, is evident in the next two verses: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

If we are to avoid a stalemate in our Christian lives, an experience similar to Israel's 40 years in the desert, we will have to choose to become spiritually aggressive. As believers we need encouragement to move out in aggressive spiritual warfare, because we are inclined to look on the Christian life as a hard life to live. Many Christians, though delivered from their spiritual Egypt, still live in bondage to the old life. When the Israelites were in Egypt they had no choice as to how they could live. They were under the the bondage to the Egyptians and had to submit. But there is no call for us as believers to be enslaved to the world.

There is another parallel in the experience of Israel and Christians. While the Israelites were in the desert, they were largely controlled by the flesh or the old self-life. Consequently they were always on the defensive. Murmuring and quarrelling characterized their experience. A Christian who is marked by the same qualities, or a church that is noted for its murmuring and quarrelling, is not on the offensive for the Lord. Their’s is a desert-life experience.

A third aspect of Israel's experience was when they entered the land. It was then they faced the need of entering into offensive warfare. They came in as invaders with the objective of conquering. It was necessary that they destroy the enemy if they were to take possession of the land for themselves and their posterity.

We need to ask ourselves where we stand with regard to these three experiences. Are we still in the world enduring its bondage? Are we caught up in worldliness? Or are we in a desert experience in which we are on the defensive, making no headway? Or have we entered into spiritual warfare seeking to take possession of the things the Lord has for us?

We are called to take possession of our inheritance: to drive out, to put to death the deeds of the flesh. We are to kill and put off the sin which so easily besets us. We are either slaves to our flesh or our flesh is a slave to us. We must, through Christ, eradicate from our lives all that would tempt us to sin, just as Israel was to destroy that which was in Canaan. If we don’t it will dominate us and ruin our lives.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

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