How is the Christian perfected (or “adjusted,” Rotherham), established, strengthened and settled in Christ? We realize we have a great work before us. Of necessity, we must be sober, vigilant and steadfast! This is a life work – the mighty foe intrenched in our flesh. The powers without are strong indeed, but the civil war with the powers within is by far the most to be dreaded. If we become in any measure intoxicated with the spirit of the world – even a little, how great is the peril!
We fight against self-gratification, love of ease, pleasure, a little indulgence of any of the old dispositions of envy, malice, pride, vain-glory, promoting of self, headiness, highmindedness, wrath, strife, or any such thing.
Beloved, let us war a good warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil. We arm ourselves by studying, praying, obeying. Then we find daily and hourly fresh supplies of grace. The warfare with the powers intrenched within are referenced when it is said, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32 (NKJV)
Yes, the task is a great one, and represents a noble, effort. Let us fight the good fight of faith along this line. Let our lives be a daily and hourly struggle to overcome the evil that is in ourselves, to purify and beautify our own characters. Thus shall we be the more fully prepared to strive faithfully and steadily against the foes without – to war a good warfare to the end.
It is only through endurance of hardness as good soldiers of Christ that this desirable condition can be attained. This condition is perfect self-control and ability to resist evil, established faith, patience and virtue, settled, abiding rest in Christ, and hope through his word of promise. This undoubtedly was the Apostle’s own experience as he grew old in the Master’s service, and so may it be ours. Let each departing year find us nearer this glorious summit of character!
Out of heartfelt love and sympathy, the Apostle Peter adds this parting benediction – “The God of all grace who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”