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At Our Battle Front

by Stanford Chambers

Stanford Chambers (1877-1969)

(From Word & Work 1918, June Edition)

100 Years Ago

 

The sector assigned to Christian soldiers is right over against the “lusts that war in our members.” “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other.” The enemy’s approach to us is through the fleshly self, who has gone over to the enemy, becoming his chief ally, most to be feared and never to be trusted by us. We resist the devil every time we refuse to gratify the fleshly inclinations of self. We defeat the devil when we crucify self. Our victory is lasting and complete if we daily keep self on the cross until he expires there.

On the other hand, every time we let self have his way or gain any mastery over us we suffer defeat. Here then is our storm center and here our great Field Marshal orders us to take our stand, never to retreat. “Stand therefore,” and “having done all to stand” till the foe is vanquished and the field is won. OUR ALLIES. So lacking are we in experience, wisdom and strength, and so experienced in warcraft our foe, that without strong allies we should forever go down in defeat. But thank God, we have such allies. Father, Son, Holy Spirit and the holy angels took up this fight against sin and death, the devil and his angels before us, and they that are for us are mightier than they that are against us. Whatever losses you and I may sustain, our allies will win.

There is not a doubt as to how this war will end. The enemy will be crushed to rise no more; but will you and I have part in the triumph? Not in our strength, for without our allies we can do nothing, “but thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Him we can be “more than conquerors.” Blessed be the name of the Lord. GRANT SELF NO QUARTER. Judge self that ye be not judged.— “But if we discerned ourselves we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

We are entirely too lenient with the enemy, so much so that we have to be disciplined and often punished. All our chastening is due to this leniency to self. How slow we are to realize it, and how lightly we regard the chastening of the Lord! No treaty with self nor show of self-control without self-crucifixion will meet the requirements of our Commander. The only place self can be controlled is on the cross. Here are our instructions: Self must be taken prisoner, court-martialed, sentenced, crucified, denied, mortified, discerned (examined- for any signs of life), crucified afresh daily till he dies. Alas, how much shame we have suffered from not following our instructions! SELF AT THE LORD’S SUPPER. “Let a man examine himself (A.V.) and so let him eat.”

Our initial victory over self is at our conversion. When we believe on, and thereby commit ourselves to, the Lord Jesus Christ, self is judged, sentenced and reckoned dead. In baptism the body, the hitherto vehicle of the fleshly self, is buried out of sight, signifying the final destruction of the flesh. In Bible reading and prayer self is continually under examination; in serving, in giving, in affliction, in all our God-given means and experiences we are closing in on self and bringing his utter defeat nearer. And at the Lord’s Supper, as we sit at the foot of the cross remembering our Lord’s death for our sins, what he suffered in tears and sweat and blood, for me, for you, to save us from Satan, sin and self, here, in a sense, is it easier to abase self than anywhere else. Thank God for this provision for self-examination.

Let us not miss the point. As we sit at the Lord’s table with Calvary’s scene fresh before us we are to bring self under closer discrimination, not in order to discover worthiness to partake, that can never be found, but in order to detect some overlooked sin within, some sign yet that self is still alive, in order to determine where another nail may fasten him the more securely to the cross, that we may drive it there. Sin discovered within as it most certainly will be in some form or tendency, inclination or feeling, is to be judged, condemned, repudiated, nailed to the cross; otherwise we shall be chastened of the Lord. “But if we judged ourselves we should not be judged.” Some think the discovery of evil within (which will certainly follow examining self) disqualifies one as a partaker, but Paul says, “so let him eat.”

Chastening is for failure to obey orders. To fail to judge self, to refuse to partake, to eat to satisfy hunger, to discern not the Lord’s body and blood, to merely go through and trust to a form, that were disobedience. It is letting self have his wav. Much of that and he will come down from the cross and you will have Christ back there crucified afresh. That were shame and defeat for you. By communion, by service, by study, by prayer, by every means of grace and in the strength which He supplieth in the Spirit let us diligently follow His every command. That is to keep self on the cross and Christ on the throne of our lives. For Satan, that is sure defeat. For us it is certain and glorious victory.

   

       Stanford Chambers was Co-Editor of Word & Work 1908-1913; Editor: 1913-1915.




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10