12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
As I studied this verse that I have heard many times throughout the years I wondered what I used to think it meant before I received the knowledge of the grace of God. I used to think fighting the good fight of faith meant right living, obedience to the law. I had heard that seeking first His righteousness meant seeking out His ways of doing things right and then doing things right, in other words self righteousness. You have to remember that it is only the grace of God (God’s unmerited favor) through Jesus Christ that removes the veil (2 Corinthians 3:14). It is only under grace that we are led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:18). And “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” – John 1:17 Then it is only under grace that we can read the word of God with unveiled minds and be led by the Spirit into all truth in Christ. God’s grace will always point us to Jesus Christ, His fullness and His finished work. Without the knowledge of His grace and us receiving His constant outpouring of His grace we are under the law (knowledge of good and evil) and living in the flesh (self effort, self righteousness). The enemy wants us veiled under the law and living in the flesh that points to anything but the fullness of Jesus. It is this mixing of covenants (grace and law) that places believers at war with themselves. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” – Galatians 5:17.
As I meditated on this the Lord said “Your fight is not against the world, your fight is not against the enemy, your fight is not against your flesh. Your fight is to believe.” The only way we can fight the good fight of faith, believe and rest in His finished work is to continually receive His abundance of grace. Otherwise the law makes us self focused, trying to live a self righteous life but unable to do the things that we wish to do. Let’s remember that the enemy is called a liar,deceiver and accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-10), his only weapon is to lie to us and accuse us . To lie to us and make us focus on ourselves and our sin so that we are not receiving His abundance of grace and His gift of righteousness. Without us receiving His grace and our knowledge that we are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21) we fall back to the law. Under the law we are guaranteed to be full of guilt and condemnation, living as though we are under the curse (Hebrews 6:7-8). We are veiled from the truth, unable to believe and enter into His rest. This life makes believers focus on the wrong things, they live fighting against the world (condemning the worlds sins), fighting against the enemy (arming him with the law) and they fight against their flesh (continually trying to not sin and live right but unable to do the things that they wish). It is only under His grace that we can receive His fullness, His finished work, fight the good fight of faith and believe and rest. This is the only way we can live being led by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:18)
Our Fight is Not Against The World
Our fight is not against the world because God Himself does not fight against the world. Jesus says in John 3:17 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. In the story of the woman caught in adultery He tells her “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” – John 8:10-11. In fact, for now God does not judge the world. It is His mercy that covers them, “the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering” is what He shows the world (Romans 2:4). The law makes people judges, boasting in the law (their works) as though their works earned them salvation. But He did not send Jesus to condemn the world, but to save. Therefore our fight is not against the world. Our fight is to believe in Him and His finished work. To enter into His rest. And the world will believe in Him (repent) because of His goodness.
Our Fight is Not Against The Flesh
Our fight is not against our flesh, how can we fight against something that is dead and was crucified with Christ. Romans 6:1-14 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. In fact, God doesn’t see us in the flesh any longer. We are a new creation, sanctified and full of the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. The law speaks to the flesh for the strength of sin is the law (1 Corinthians 15:56). Grace speaks to the Spirit, it is no longer obedience by works of the flesh but obedience to the promptings of the Spirit (Romans 7:6 AMP). Living a life led by the Spirit, producing the fruits of the Spirit. And knowing that it’s no longer us who live but Christ in us. Galatians 2:20 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Our Fight is Not Against The Enemy
Our fight is not against the enemy, he has been disarmed. His only weapon was to accuse us of our sin, our failures. To place us under guilt and condemnation. But we are no longer under the ministry of condemnation, we are now under the ministry of righteousness (2 Corinthians 3:9). God has forgiven all of our trespasses and wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us. The law has been removed from us, being nailed to the cross. He has disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:11-15). “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. – Revelations 12:10 The enemy’s deception is to lie to us and accuse us as though the law is still in effect. He can no longer accuse us before God, but he lies to us by pointing to our sins, failures and circumstances. Trying to get us under guilt and condemnation, knowing that condemnation is a trap to get us back under the law, living in our weak flesh and into sin. “The strength of sin is the law.” – 1 Corinthians 15:56 But without a weapon (the law) he is powerless. That is why he walks about like a roaring lion. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5: 8-11 Notice that what he is after is your believing, your faith. The way you resist him is by being steadfast in the faith by receiving His grace that will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you. In John 10:10 it says “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” How does he do this. By deceiving us to be sin focused, to fall into condemnation and stop us from receiving His abundance of grace and gift of righteousness. It says in Hebrews 6:7-8 that the heart that doesn’t receive His constant raining of grace, produces guilt and condemnation and lives a life as though they are under the curse. The enemy has no power to create things. Only God is a creator and we are created in His likeness and His image. Therefore we can create things. The enemy is after our believing so that what we think and speak create corrupted things in our lives. Do not arm the enemy with the law, Jesus fulfilled the law and freed you from the bondage of sin and into His righteousness forever.
Our Only Fight is to Believe
Our only fight is to believe, but don’t think this good fight of faith is self effort believing. If I asked believers how hard they tried to be saved I can guarantee that they would all say that they didn’t try hard at all. Our believing to be saved comes effortlessly, it is most likely a peaceful moment as the Holy Spirit convinces you to believe in the savior of the world, Jesus Christ. If the greatest miracle of salvation comes with effortless believing, why does living in His finished work seem like it requires a lot of effort to believe. It shouldn’t, don’t let the enemy deceive you into fighting the wrong fight that will point you to wrong believing (sin consciousness / the ministry of condemnation). In Hebrews 3 and 4 it talks about the Israelite’s not believing and not entering into His rest (the promised land) because of unbelief. Today for us it says “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.” – Hebrews 4:11 But the Lord is not saying you must have more will power than they did to believe in the finished work. He says in Hebrews 4:15-16 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. How was Jesus tempted to sin? When Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted by the devil, He was tempted to not believe. The only temptation the enemy brings against us is to not believe in the finished work of Jesus. To not receive His grace and gift of righteousness. This places us back under the law (knowledge of good and evil), guilty and condemned as though we were under the curse and living in the weak flesh that only knows sin. But God says that it is not will power to believe that overcomes this temptation, it is His grace. We can come boldly to the throne of grace in these times of need to find mercy and grace. Your fight is to rest in His finished work! Put on the full armor of God ” above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” – Ephesians 6:16 The enemy’s fiery darts are his lies, his temptations to get us to not believe. But you have been given the full armor of God (Jesus himself) and especially His faith to quench all the fiery darts.
Fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith (2 Timothy 4:7) and believe in Jesus and His finished work by continually receiving His grace. It’s time for us to simply enter into His rest and live victoriously.