John Gill: Christian Fortitude ‘In Defence Of The Cause of God And Truth’

Though saints are to be humble, self-denying, submissive to the will of God, and patient towards all men, and in all things; yet they are not to indulge to pusillanimity and to a meanness of spirit; but to show firmness of mind, resolution, an undaunted courage, and fortitude of soul, a manly spirit, which is not at all unbecoming the Christian; “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7), they should play the man, act the manly part, show themselves to be men, as of wisdom, so of courage; “Quit you like men, and be strong;” which respects not strength of body, but fortitude of mind (1 Cor. 16:13)…

Christian fortitude appears in the spiritual warfare of the saints. There is a warfare for men on earth, and especially for good men, who are soldiers, and must endure hardness, as good soldiers of Christ, and to which Christian fortitude is necessary; and therefore should be, as Joshua was exhorted to be, “strong and of a good courage,” when he was called to fight the Lord’s battles, and against the enemies of the people of Israel; and as Joab said to Abishai his brother; “Be of good courage, and let us play the man, for our people, and for the cities of our God” (2 Sam. 10:12). And Christian fortitude will show itself,

In the defence of the cause of God and truth, in appearing for, and on the behalf of the church of God: “the bed which is Solomon’s” which seems to design the church of Christ, “threescore valiant men” are said to be “about it, of the valiant of Israel” (Song of Sol. 3:7), who are valiant for the truth on earth, who are concerned for the welfare of the church, and for the protection of it from errors and heresies; and will not give way, no not for an hour, that the truth of the gospel may continue with the church, and its ordinances remain pure and incorrupt; and these are not only the ministers of the word, who are set for the defence of the gospel, and who war a good warfare, and fight the good fight of faith, and speak with the enemy in the gate, and are bold in their God to preach the gospel of Christ, as it ought to be spoken; but all professors of religion, and members of the church of Christ, should “stand fast in one Spirit, striving together for the faith of the gospel, and should contend earnestly, eve to an agony, for the faith once delivered to the saints;” and in so doing they show a fortitude of mind.

This also appears in fighting against spiritual enemies; as sin, and the lusts of it, which war against the soul; the law in the members warring against the law of the mind; the flesh lusting against the spirit; which are, as it were, a company of two armies. Now one of Christian fortitude will strive against sin, be an antagonist to it, and act the manly part against it; and will wrestle against Satan, and his principalities and powers, and give no place to the devil; but by faith resist him, who, when resisted, will flee, for he is an arrant coward, and does not care to be handled with the armor of Christians; and those young men who are strong, possessed of Christian fortitude, and in whom the word of God dwells, overcome the wicked one: the world also with all its flattering lusts and frowning fury, is overcome by the saints in the exercise of faith (1 John 5:4, 5).

The saints have great reason, in their militant state, to be of good courage; since more are they that are for them, than they that are against them; and if God be for them, as he is, who can be against them? and through God they shall do valiantly: the Christian has a good cause, in which he is engaged; he wars a good warfare, and fights the good fight of faith; he has a good Captain, under whose banner he fights, the great Captain of salvation: saints have good weapons, with which they are accoutered; the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit; which weapons are not carnal, but spiritual and mighty, through God, and are such as are proved, and may, with confidence, be made use of; and they are sure of victory beforehand; for all their enemies are conquered, sin is made an end of, Satan, who had the power of death, is destroyed, the world is overcome by Christ, the warfare is accomplished, and believers are made more than conquerors, through him that has loved them; and therefore may be sure of the crown of life, righteousness and glory, laid up for all that love the appearing of Christ. All which may serve to fill them with an holy fortitude in their spiritual warfare.

From Body of Practical Divinity



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