Monday, June 21, 2010

To overcome and subdue

Not unfrequently the apostle compares our spiritual life to a boxing match, and the terms in the original Greek if they were translated into pure vernacular English, would remind us very much of a boxing ring and of the place where wrestlers strive for the mastery. To wit, in that notable
passage, “I keep under my body,” we are told by scholars that the Greek word alludes to the getting of the antagonist’s head under the arm, and dealing it heavy blows. So the flesh must be mortified. Now the wrestlers in the Greek and Roman games strained every muscle and sinew, there was no part of the body that was not brought into action to overthrow their adversary. For this they agonised till often blood would spurt from the nostrils, and veins would burst. Such in a spiritual sense must be the agony of a Christian if he is to overcome temptation, and subdue the power of sin. Ah brethren! it is no child’s play to win heaven. Saved, as I repeat it, through the power of Christ’s blood and with the energy of his Holy Spirit within us, yet we have no time to loiter, no space in which to trifle; we must labor, striving according to his working who worketh in us mightily.

From a sermon entitled "Work In Us And Work By Us," delivered. Image by Richard Taylor under Creative Commons License.

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