The War Within is Proof That You Are Alive

One of the ways that we can assure others of their salvation is to ask them, “Do you feel the war for holiness?” Meaning, do you want to be like Christ but find it, at times, to be your greatest battle – as if there is real opposition? When I then hear a reply that uses language of battle fatigue, I smile. Not because I’m happy that someone is weary in well doing, but that they are in the fight for holiness and that is a good thing.

J.C. Ryle put it this way:

“Sanctification . . . does not prevent a man having a great deal of inward spiritual conflict. By conflict I mean a struggle within the heart between the old nature and the new, the flesh and the Spirit, which are to be found together in every believer (Gal. 5:17). A deep sense of that struggle, and a vast amount of mental discomfort from it, are no proof that man is not sanctified. Nay, rather, I believe they are healthy symptoms of our condition, and prove that we are not dead, but alive.” (Holiness, p. 21)

If the pursuit of godliness in Christ feels at times like a fight, then do not be discouraged into doubt about your salvation, but know that the Spirit within and your flesh are at war. Keeping in step with the Spirit’s fruit-bearing (Gal. 5:17-23) means doing the things that produce Love, Joy, Peace and so on. Keep up your prayers, your time in the Word, your worship with the saints, your good deeds to others and wait . . . wait on what the Spirit alone can produce through pruning and time.

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