This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Spiritual Warfare

[While it is true] that Christ proposes to free the believer in this world not only from acts of sin, but from the sinful disposition inherent in fallen humanity, [it is also true that there are] certain ills which are the effects of sin, and wear its appearance, but have not its moral character, and are not in the catalogue of things from which Jesus promises us deliverance in the present life.

These [include:] Spiritual warfare.

[Spiritual warfare] implies temptations. Jesus warred with temptations. "As he is, so are ye in this world." "The disciple is not above his Lord." The Christian life is a long battle, for which we are to draw arms from the arsenal of Christ's promised presence and from the power of his word, and from the endowment of his Holy Spirit.

But we do assert that we may be delivered from the most distressing and perilous form of war — a civil war; a confederacy against Christ raging in every believer's bosom. This civil war is disquieting the souls of many who have accepted Christ with a feeble faith. They are living in the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. This, as we proved [elsewhere], was never designed to be the ideal Christian life, but is rather the portrayal of the struggles of a convicted sinner seeking justification by the works of the law. The ideal Christian life is found in the sixth chapter — "But being now made free from sin, and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life;" also in the eighth chapter: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

An objector here queries whether the flesh, one of the triad of foes to the soul trusting in Jesus Christ, is not an inward foe, a traitor within the citadel. Certainly it is such a foe in the first part of the spiritual campaign. But the promise is, "Ye shall be cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." The commandment is, "Crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts." The ideal Christian life in the eighth of Romans is of this kind. It is a death unto sin, so that he who fully apprehends Christ, the life, is as free from the movements of sin within him as the corpses in yonder grave-yard are free from the cares which bustle at midday through the market-place. "If ye do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." To mortify is to slay. The Gospel contemplates the extirpation of all antagonisms to Christ within the believing soul.

But does not St. Paul say, "I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection, lest, after having preached the Gospel to others I should become a castaway!" Christ would not bless, but curse us, if he should free us from the innocent appetites which our Creator has implanted in us for the preservation of the individual and of the race. These blind and instinctive impulses must be controlled by reason and conscience. Neither St. Paul nor any other saint was so holy that his hands would instinctively drop his knife and fork the instant he had eaten exactly enough, without the intervention of the will directed by the judgment. Christ does not propose to emancipate any person from the necessity of exercising his judgment in regard to his innocent appetites. 

— edited from Love Enthroned, Chapter 6.

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