True Christianity = a fight

By Dave Henning / December 11, 2022

“There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday, and call themselves Christians.  Their names are on the baptismal register. . . .  But you never see any ‘fight’ about their religion. . . .  Such Christianity . . . is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and the Apostles preached.  True Christianity is ‘a fight.” “- J. C. Ryle, Anglican bishop (1816-1900)

Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 7 of Hidden Christmas with J. C. Ryle’s comment about Christians.  the nineteenth-century Anglican bishop observed that two things mark the child of God.  The child of God is known by his/her:

  1. inward warfare
  2. inward peace

Thus, Pastor Keller states, when you put your faith in Christ, many struggles end – or nearly so.  The struggle to prove yourself, find an identity, have a meaning in life able to handle suffering, and find true satisfaction.

However, faith in Christ also touches off a whole new set of struggles.  Therefore, new peace as well as new conflict characterize a real Christian.  As a result, Pastor Keller considers two ways this rings true.

 1.  God’s peace comes after the inner conflict of repentance.  First, Timothy compares repentance to an antiseptic.  Because you pour antiseptic into a wound and it stings, but it also heals.

Certainly, repentance creates terrible inner turmoil.  Above all, you must admit things you’re loathe to admit.  But, this process provides the only way to the new peace of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Going through that pain brings you into that new peace.

2.  God’s peace comes after the inner conflict entailed by submission.  As a result, Christmas teaches us not to give in to self-pity.  Or take a shortsighted look at our struggles.  The ultimate results of these conflicts = deeper peace and joy.

Consequently, when life thrusts a sword through your soul, don’t shrink back.  Instead, follow Jesus to peace.

Today’s question: Do you agree with J. C. Ryle’s description of true Christianity as a fight?  Please share.

SPECIAL NOTE: I cover Chapter 8 in the Christmas Short Meditation posting 12/19/22.

Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Hidden Christmas

About the author

Dave Henning

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