Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

December 17, 1908

The Conflict and the Victory

Mrs. E. G. White

There are many who do not understand the conflict that is going on between Christ and Satan over the souls of men. They do not realize that if they would stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel, they must be willing to be partakers of his conflicts, and wage a determined war against the powers of darkness.

When thinking on the conflict, Paul writes to his Ephesian brethren exhorting them to “be strong,” not feeble, not wavering, tossed to and fro like the waves of the sea. But in what are they to be strong? In their own might?—No. “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” He says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

The gaining of eternal life will ever involve a struggle, a conflict. We are continually to be found fighting the good fight of faith. We are soldiers of Christ; and those who enlist in his army are expected to do difficult work, work which will tax their energies to the utmost. We must understand that a soldier's life is one of aggressive warfare, of perseverance and endurance. For Christ's sake we are to endure trials.

Victories are not gained by ceremonies or display, but by simple obedience to the highest General, the Lord God of heaven. He who trusts in this Leader will never know defeat. Obedience to God is liberty from the thraldom of sin, deliverance from human passion and impulse. Man may stand conqueror of himself, conqueror of his own inclinations, conqueror of principalities and powers, and of the “rulers of the darkness of this world,” and of “spiritual wickedness in high places.”

From the days of Adam to our own time, our great enemy has been exercising his power to oppress and destroy. He is now preparing for his last campaign against the church. All who seek to follow Jesus will be brought into conflict with this relentless foe. The more nearly the Christian imitates the divine Pattern, the more surely will he make himself a mark for the attacks of Satan. All who are actively engaged in the cause of God, seeking to unveil the deceptions of the evil one, and to present Christ before the people, will be able to join in the testimony of Paul, in which he speaks of serving the Lord with all humility of mind, with many tears and temptations.

Satan assailed Christ with the fiercest and most subtle temptations; but he was repulsed in every conflict. Those battles were fought in our behalf; those victories made it possible for us to conquer. Christ will give strength to all who seek it. No man without his own consent can be overcome by Satan. The tempter has no power to control the will or force the soul to sin. He may distress, but he can not contaminate. He can cause agony, but not defilement. The fact that Christ has conquered should inspire his followers with courage to fight manfully the battle against sin and Satan.

Now the church is militant, now we are confronted with a world in midnight darkness, almost wholly given over to idolatry. But the day is coming in which the battle will have been fought, the victory won. The will of God is to be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. Then the nations will own no other law than the law of heaven. All will be a happy, united family, clothed with the garments of praise and thanksgiving,—the robe of Christ's righteousness. All nature in its surpassing loveliness will offer to God a constant tribute of praise and adoration. The world will be bathed in the light of heaven. The years will move on in gladness. The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold greater than it is now. Over the scene the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy, while Christ and God will unite in proclaiming, “There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death.”

This is the scene that is presented to me. But the church must and will fight against seen and unseen foes. Satanic agencies in human form are on the ground. Men have confederated to oppose the Lord of hosts. These confederacies will continue until Christ shall leave his place of intercession before the mercy-seat, and shall put on the garments of vengeance. Satanic agencies are in every city, busily organizing into parties those opposed to the law of God. Professed saints and avowed unbelievers take their stand with these parties. This is no time for the people of God to be weaklings. We can not afford to be off our guard for one moment.

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

“Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: ... stand fast in one spirit, ... striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

There are revealed in these last days visions of future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God, and these should be dear to his church. What sustained the Son of God in his betrayal and trial?—He saw of the travail of his soul, and was satisfied. He caught a view of the expanse of eternity, and saw the happiness of those who through his humiliation should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon him, and with his stripes they were healed. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.

We must have a view of the future, and of the blessedness of heaven. Stand on the threshold of eternity, and hear the gracious welcome given to those who in this life co-operated with Christ, regarding it as a privilege and an honor to suffer for his sake. As they unite with the angels, they cast their crowns at the feet of their Redeemer, exclaiming, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.... Honor and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.”

There the redeemed ones greet those who directed them to the uplifted Saviour. They unite in praising him who died that human beings might have the life that measures with the life of God. The conflict is over. All tribulation and strife are at an end. Songs of victory fill all the heaven as the redeemed stand around the throne of God. All take up the joyful strain, “Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again, a triumphant conqueror.”

“I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth upon the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” “And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Will you catch the inspiration of the vision? Will you let your mind dwell upon the picture?

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