Build and Fight
What is our goal anyway? Is it to fight against all evil? Indeed this is a task we must perform, even though it may be a very distasteful one to any who truly try to imitate Christ. It is quite inconceivable that one of his disciples would delight in any kind of fight. Yet it is so necessary. If we fail, sin and false doctrine will tread down the influence of righteousness. If we refuse to fight, Satan will run loose without restraint. We must ever remember that the only soldiers God has, the only fighters against the devil, are true Christians. We are God's army. Fight we must!
But is fighting our objective? Have we been redeemed to fight? Were we purchased with the precious blood of Jesus to be warriors? Contrariwise, "We are laborers together with God" (1 Cor. 3:9). We are "Created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Eph. 2:10). We are builders. Indeed we must take heed how we build (1 Cor. 3:10), but we must not fail to build. In the lesson of the vine and the branches (John. 15), Jesus did not portray the disciple as a fighter but as a builder. He did not say that one must fight to stay on the vine, but he did say if we fail to bear fruit we will be cut off.
In their efforts to build the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah and his companions "Every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon" Neh. 4:17). There was no use for them to work hard if they did not keep the enemy driven off. On the other hand, their work was building! The Bible does not say, "And so fought they;" but it does say, "So built we the wall" (Neh. 4:6). Let us not fail to put the emphasis in the proper place. If the church prospers in our eyes but is not kept pure and true, all our work is in vain. If the church is not exactly what the Lord expects it to be, all our labor is useless. On the other hand, let us not fight for the sake of fighting. Let us not be prevented in the work of building, by an antagonistic spirit that only keeps us in a fight and ever keeps us out of work!
When the forces of denominationalism threaten, when the power of infidelity strikes and even when sectarianism, modernism and institutionalism appear in the church, fight we must, but to build is still our primary task. If all the evil forces could be overcome (and they cannot be), the harvest of saved souls cannot be gathered in unless we have sown the good seed and cultivated it well. A great and mighty people have emerged from years of fighting error. Our strength is now challenged for "The harvest is great and the laborers are few" (Lk. 10:2). Workmen-- builders--are needed today. Sometimes they may have to fight while they build, but everywhere and under every circumstance they must build!
Truth Magazine VII: 8, pp. 9a