Mark Alan Williams
Honoring Those Who “Fight the Good Fight Of The Faith”
It’s tough to stand up for God’s Truth.
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Every country thankfully remembers those who battled for their freedom and protection. In the USA, we celebrate Memorial Day to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. We are deeply grateful for their sacrifice. As Christians, we should do something similar regarding those who died for our faith. We should remember those who “Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12a ESV)
Image by Dr Michael D Evans via www.flickr.com with modification.
Fighting isn’t fun. By nature, I’m not a fighter. Most people aren’t. Most prefer peace and harmony. But while standing up for truth isn’t easy, it’s vitally important. We are to “fight the good fight of the faith.”
But what does that mean?
Here’s what I found when I studied how we’re to “fight the good fight of the faith.”
1. Christians are to live in peace, but peace is not always attainable.
Romans 12:8 instructs, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (ESV)
Notice this verse implies that it is not always possible to live peaceably.
It doesn’t say “do anything needed to live in peace.” It just says, “If possible.” Often it isn’t possible.
I’ve been studying the Acts of the Apostles. Much of the time their preaching resulted in conflict and persecution.
Even Jesus couldn’t make peace with everyone. He died a very violent death, because people hated Him and His teaching. The religious leaders despised His direct confrontation of their hypocrisy and false religiosity.
Jesus called them:
blind guides (Matthew 23:16).
fools (Matthew 23:17).
whited sepulchres…full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness (Matthew 23:27).
serpents (Matthew 23:33).
Ye generation of vipers (Matthew 23:33).
hypocrites! (Luke 11:44).
graves which appear not (Luke 11:44).
Did Jesus back off from Truth in the name of “love?” No, He said it like it is.
2. To act lovingly means to speak the truth and correct false teachings.
In John 15:20a Jesus said, “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (ESV)
As a blogger, the “hate mail” I’ve received usually has come when I’ve confronted false teaching and false teachers.
I don’t like hate mail, but quite honestly, I like it a lot better than not speaking God’s Truth. To “fight the good fight ” means that some won’t like what I say. But that’s par for the course. Consider others who spoke out against false teaching in the Bible:
John the Baptist (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7)
The Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 11:12-15; Galatians 2:11-14)
The Apostle Peter (2 Peter 2:1-3)
The Apostle John (2 John 9-11)
The Apostle Jude (Jude 3-4)
Please click the links to read the passages and their example and warnings that believers must speak out against unbiblical teaching.
They didn’t sugar-coat the Truth. They set the example we must follow to “fight the good fight.”
3. In debatable issues, we must follow our personal convictions and tolerate the convictions of others.
To “fight the good fight” doesn’t mean that I fight for my personal preferences and biases. That would be an easy mistake to make, and many have made it.
But Scripture is clear that to “fight the good fight” means to contend for clear biblical teaching. If the Bible isn’t clear, then we follow our own convictions and accept the convictions of others.
This is the clear instruction of several passages: Romans 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33; Colossians 2:16-23
So, one test of a great Bible teacher is that the teacher distinguishes between personal opinions and what the Bible clearly teaches. Some teachers sound like their way, although not clearly stated in the Bible, is God’s way. Be careful of such dogmatism and egoism.
Toward the end of his life, the Apostle Paul could say in the past tense, “I have fought the good fight.” (2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)
I hope to be able to say the same, and I wish the same for you.
Your thoughts are welcome! Please leave your comment below.
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
Video vlog: Twisting Scripture
Podcast: Does salvation come only through faith in Christ? (exclusivism)
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