The Christian Warfare
By Ellen White
FINALLY, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the
whole armour 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 armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the
evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:10-13.
Every Christian must take a part in the warfare against sin. The enemies of God would
crush His Law. They hate it because it reproves their sins. A profligate man once said
that he wished all evidences of the truth to be destroyed; for they were so convincing
that they could not be controverted. So today many cry, "Away with the Law of
God!" for the same reason that the Jews, in condemning Jesus, cried, "Away with
this man!" The Word of God rebukes iniquity, and His Law condemns the lawbreaker.
"Sin is the transgression of the law," John declares. 1 John 3:4. The Law is the
sin-detector, and therefore the very mention of the Commandments of God stirs up the evil
attributes of him who is wilfully sinning against God.
A single mention of God's Law is a sting to the conscience of such men. A single
sentence of Holy Writ, which expresses the binding claims and the immutability of the Law
of God, drives them beside themselves with rage. The words, "The law of the Lord is
perfect, converting the soul" (Psalm 19:7); "Then shall I not be ashamed, when I
have respect unto all thy commandments" (chapter 119:6); "Open thou mine eyes,
that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law" (verse 18), cause them to be
stirred to madness. They make no such prayer, but close the eyes of their understanding,
lest they shall see, and be convinced and converted.
During our recent camp meeting at Adelaide, two men took their stand on the street just
outside the entrance to the camp ground, and preached against the truth. They were men who
had before fought like tigers against the truth, and had exulted in their supposed
victory; and now the evidence for the truth was so strong that they wished to storm it
down. They interrupted the meetings, and made a tirade against the truth. The people were
indignant at these interruptions; they wished to hear what was said in the tent; and
finally the police took the matter in hand, and there were no more outbreaks. But though
these disorderly elements were at work, we knew that the Lord had a work to be done, and
we went right on, making no reference to the persistent opposition. Our work was to preach
From hour to hour those who work to promulgate the truth must depend on the blessing
which comes from God, and from God only. And just in proportion as we have faith and trust
in God, we shall receive blessings in rich abundance. The blessing of the Holy Spirit will
be on the truth, which is proclaimed in the sight of the heavenly universe, and heaven's
light will shine forth to elevate and ennoble.
Many things were said against Mrs. White during the Adelaide meeting. Soon after my
work there commenced, an article appeared in one of the papers, representing me as among
the greatest fanatics. But these things disturbed me not. God is our Refuge and Strength.
He teaches us where we may hide from the strife of tongues; if we will let Him, He will
lead us into His pavilion. Our lives, hid with Christ in God, will be refreshed and
Those who hate the Law of Jehovah reveal that they have carnal minds, which are not
subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. This is not for want of proof, but
because of the stubborn resistance of their unbelieving hearts--not because of ignorance,
but because they have set their feet in the path of transgression. It is not evidence that
they need; for they have had evidence piled upon evidence, and it has only rendered them
more desperate, abusive, and cruel in their denunciations. They are determined not to turn
their feet out of the path of sin into the path of holiness; they will not run in the way
of God's Commandments. They have cast the Lord's instruction behind their backs, and they
manifest the attributes of the destroyer. This is the root and groundwork of all the
terrible hatred against the Law of Jehovah. We have this hatred to meet, but if we arm
ourselves against our assailants with, "It is written," we are in no peril. It
was thus that Christ met the foe, and He says, "Without me ye can do nothing."
John 15:5. We must have the mind which was in Jesus. Read what composes the Christian's
armour. See Ephesians 6:11-18. Take this armour and put it on, trusting in God to give you
When the Lord Jesus visited our earth, He brought with Him renovating energy. He put
enmity between the seed of the woman and the serpent. But there is no enmity between
fallen angels and fallen men. Both, through apostasy, are evil; and wherever there is
evil, with no disposition to repent, it will always league with Satan against God. Fallen
men and fallen angels unite in a desperate struggle to destroy God's Great Standard of
Righteousness. There was a bond of sympathy among the angels that Satan succeeded in
drawing into rebellion, and he made them his allies in the effort to dethrone God and to
abolish His Law. Satan's work in our world today is to destroy the moral image of God in
man, by making void the Divine Law; and our enemies are inspired by his spirit. By casting
aside God's Great Standard of Character, he can deprave human nature, and win men and
women to his standard; for, "Where no law is, there is no transgression." Romans
4:15. With what triumph, then, he watches the professedly Christian world, as they
earnestly do the very work he is doing.
As God's servants strive to fight against the enemy of God, Christ must be to each one
of them a personal Saviour. Each one must experience His pardoning grace. The tree of life
is a representation of the preserving care of Christ for His children. As Adam and Eve ate
of this tree, they acknowledged their dependence upon God. The tree of life possessed the
power to perpetuate life, and as long as they ate of it, they could not die. The lives of
the antediluvians were protracted because of the life-giving power of this tree, which was
transmitted to them from Adam and Eve.
Christ is the Source of our life, the Source of our immortality. He is the Tree of
Life, and to all who come to Him He gives spiritual life. "Verily, verily, I say unto
you," He declared, "Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father
giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from
heaven, and giveth life unto the world. . . . I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me
shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. . . . Verily, verily,
I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. . . . I am the living bread
which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the
bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews
therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son
of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh
my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat
indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,
dwelleth in me, and I in him. . . . It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John
6:32-33, 35, 47, 51-56, 63.
Christ also speaks of the relation existing between Himself and His followers under the
symbol of the vine and its branches. "I am the true vine," He says, "and my
Father is the husbandman. . . . Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit
of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."
Chapter 15:1, 4.
My brother, my sister, Jesus is inviting you to become a branch of the Living Vine. He
is calling upon you to connect with Him, that in His strength you may do His Commandments.
You have tried to sever yourself from Him, but you have not succeeded. God loves you, and
would have you sit at His feet and learn of Him. His forgiveness, compassion, and
long-suffering are represented to the world in Christ. If Christ had not paid the ransom
for our souls, we would not have had a probation in which to develop characters of
obedience to God's Commandments. Then do not disappoint Christ by perversity and unbelief.
Appreciate God's Gift to man. Show that you understand what your probation means. It means
life or death to each one of us. By our daily conduct we are deciding our eternal destiny.
It is not toil that degrades men, or that ranks them among the outcasts of society; it
is sin. Adam, pure and innocent and fresh from the hand of God, was given his work. This
work did not degrade him. While he was engaged in his appointed work, he never thought of
hiding from God, but responded as soon he heard His footsteps in the garden, and hastened
to shorten the distance between him and his Maker. What precious communings he had with
God! But after he sinned, he feared that every sound was the footstep of God. He did not
want to see God, and when he heard Him coming, he did not hasten to meet Him, but hid
himself. "And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And
he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid
myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree,
whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" Genesis 3:9-11. This, then,
was the reason. He had broken the command of God; and the light of righteousness that had
encompassed him as a garment had disappeared, leaving him naked, and he was afraid to meet
God. Sin is the only nakedness, the only degradation, the only dishonour, that we can
know; it is the only thing that will make us afraid to meet God. After transgressing God's
commands, man was excluded from the tree of life; for by eating of it, he would only
prolong a life of sin. But Christ has promised, "To him that overcometh will I give
to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Revelation
2:7. "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree
of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Chapter 22:14.
God sent Christ into the world to redeem men from sin. Shall we not, then, accept the
society of the only begotten Son of God? The sinner is privileged to recognise Christ as
his divine and adorable Brother, but this relationship cannot be claimed while he
continues to cherish sin. If you will cast your burden upon Christ, the Sin-bearer, He
will remove your sins, and irradiate your mind with the bright beams of His righteousness.
Then you will no longer look upon the requirements of God as briers and thorns which
pierce the flesh. When you consider thoughtfully the Commandments of God, when you behold
God in Jesus Christ, you will turn from the deceptions of Satan. You will acknowledge the
truth which sanctifies the receiver, and a marvellous change will be wrought in you. The
prejudices and jealousies which have proved your stumbling block and spoiled your life
Religion does not consist in observing mere forms. A religion that has been handed down
to us by our teachers, and which we have received only as a part of our education, will
not stand against the devices of Satan. Religion must be conviction, deep and penetrating,
crucifying the flesh. As the blood circulates through the body in a vitalising current, so
Christ must be received into the heart. What will avail any soul unless Christ is received
into the heart by faith? Of all who thus receive Him the Word declares, "To them gave
he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John
The Commandments of God are not the dry theories and maxims growing on the trunk of
Phariseeism. Every jot and tittle of the Law of God is a pledge of perfect rest and
assurance in obedience. If you will obey these Commandments, you will find, in every
specification, a most precious promise. Take Jesus as your Partner. Ask of Him help to
keep God's Law. He will be to you a Safeguard and Counsellor, a Guide that will never
There is no safe armour for the Christian but truth. This will be our safeguard in our
associations with our fellow men. Our convictions must be true; our feelings must be true.
We need to make sure that we are on the Lord's side in the warfare that is going forward
on this earth. Truth must become our personal property, a part of our individual selves,
if we would fight manfully the good fight of faith. If God's truth is cherished as an
abiding principle, it will keep watch over our souls, and will send an alarm if danger
threatens, summoning us to action against every enemy. But no power but truth--steadfast,
pure truth--can keep us loyal to God. The simple truth of God, as it is in Jesus, brought
into the practical life, will elevate and refine; but if it is not rooted in the heart, we
cannot stand against evil. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ alone can make us steadfast
to true principles and keep us so. Review and Herald, January 26, 1897.