Hymn: In Times Like These

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” II Timothy 3:1-5 (KJV)


In Times Like These

by Ruth Caye Jones *

In times like these you need a Savior,

In times like these you need an anchor;

Be very sure, be very sure,

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


This Rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One,

This Rock is Jesus, the only One;

Be very sure, be very sure,

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

In times like these you need the Bible,

In times like these, O be not idle;

Be very sure, be very sure,

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!


In times like these I have a Savior,

In times like these I have an anchor;

I’m very sure, I’m very sure

My anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!



*  Ruth Caye Jones (1902-1972), a mother of five and wife of a busy pastor in Pennsylvania, was reading 2 Timothy 3:1, which says, “…in the last days perilous times shall come.” As she read the Pittsburgh newspapers in 1943, and saw the World War II casualty lists, and heard reports of the slow progress of Allied troops moving up the boot of Italy, it seemed to her those perilous times had already come. Rationing was hitting those at home hard; discouragement was everywhere. It seemed as if evil was winning!

Ruth took out a small notepad from her apron pocket and began to write down some words. A melody came to her that seemed to fit the words she wrote. She had no formal music training, but she wasn’t trying to write a song that would make her famous, but, it happened to be the right song for the right time and soon, people around the world were singing it!

Years later, when she was watching a Billy Graham crusade on television, she heard George Beverly Shea sing this song…her song…and tears came to her eyes. She said, “I can’t believe I had any part in writing this song. I just feel that God gave it to me, and I gave it to the world.”

“…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,

therewith to be content.”

Philippians 4:11b

The Centurion Chronicles ends this week and this centurion thanks all soldiers who have followed along and given me words of encouragement.

My studies during 2020 have convinced me that I have a lot to learn about how to be content. I would like to share some of those lessons with you in 2021. Our study guide (besides the Bible) will be a little book written by the Puritan preacher, Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646) titled, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, published in 1648.

Please join me as we learn about Christian Contentment together.

Michael Vetter

Redeem the Time

“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light [Sun] to rule the day, and the lesser light [Moon] to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” Genesis 1:14-19

God (who is transcendent and apart from time) created time for human beings to use. He created the sun, moon, and stars for time measurements. Morning and evening as a  one “solar day” has been in existence since before the creation of Adam and Eve.

12-month/4-season Julian agricultural calendar

Around the founding of the Republic in the 8th century BC, the Roman calendar consisted of ten months beginning in spring with March; winter was left as an unassigned (variable) span of days. Feast days marked the passage of time during the year without regard to any fixed date. Julius Caesar realized that his far-reaching empire could not function according to a timekeeping calendar centrally controlled from Rome by priests and astrologers who defined feast days. In 46 BC Julius Caesar created what we know today as the Julian calendar and ordered its use by everyone in the empire. It consisted of 365 solar days with an annual correction. With minor other corrections from time to time, this calendar served the Eastern world for fifteen centuries. Different calendars by new governments proved confusing after the Roman Empire fell and the Julian calendar was finally changed in 1582 AD by the Roman church to add one leap-day every fourth February. God’s original plan since Creation

has been for the heavens to be “signs and seasons, and for days and years.”

“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” Colossians 4:5-6

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians  5:15-16

Time in the Bible is more than just counting solar chronology (from the Greek word for time, CHRONOS) in hours, days, months or years. In the verses above, our life (our walk) is to be continually redeeming the limited, finite time we have. The word redeem means to take full possession of something, to hold it and make it our own. The Greek word KAIROS used in Colossians and Ephesians refers to an opportune time, a “moment” or a “season” such as “harvest time.” God will give us opportunities, KAIROS times, this coming year to make His Name known, to testify of His greatness, to tell others about salvation through His Son, and to serve Him in the local church. May we make the most of every opportunity, no matter what God has in store for us in 2021.


“…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,

therewith to be content.”

Philippians 4:11b

The Centurion Chronicles ends this week and this centurion thanks all soldiers who have followed along and given me words of encouragement.

My studies during 2020 have convinced me that I have a lot to learn about how to be content. I would like to share some of those lessons with you in 2021. Our study guide (besides the Bible) will be a little book written by the Puritan preacher, Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646) titled, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, published in 1648.

Please join me as we learn about Christian Contentment together.

Michael Vetter


Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne and Thy Kingly Crown

“Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD”


Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”  Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)


Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne and Thy Kingly Crown

by Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott (E.E.S. Elliott; 1836-1897) *

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,

When Thou camest to earth for me;

But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room

For Thy holy nativity.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,

Proclaiming Thy royal degree;

But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,

And in great humility.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest

In the shade of the forest tree;

But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,

In the deserts of Galilee.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word

That should set Thy people free;

But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,

They bore Thee to Calvary.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,

There is room in my heart for Thee.

When the heav’ns shall ring, and the angels sing,

At Thy coming to victory,

Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,

There is room at My side for thee.”

My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,

When Thou comest and callest for me.


*  Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott (1836-1897) was the author of Chimes for Daily Service (1880) containing 71 hymns arranged in two parts, the second of which was published separately as a large-print book for hospitals with the title, Under the Pillow. Many of her hymns were written for the choir at St. Mark’s Church, Brighton, England, where her father, the vicar, emphasized Bible prophecy in his sermons. Elliott was also the author of a translation of “Silent Night, Holy Night” from the original German in 1858. Associated with the Evangelical Party of the Anglican Church (also known as the Low Church Party), she spent her life working with rescue missions and children in their Sunday Schools. For six years she edited a magazine called the Church Missionary Juvenile Instructor.

Hallelujah! for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
The Kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.
King of kings, and Lord of lords
and He shall reign for ever and ever.

Revelation 19:6, 11:15, 19:16 (from Handel’s Messiah)






The Incarnation of Jesus Christ

God’s timing is perfect in all that He does! Starting back in the Garden of Eden, when sin entered a perfect creation, God mentioned a Savior who would come one day to rescue mankind and restore God’s kingdom on Earth. (Genesis 3:15) Since that time millennia ago, the human race has looked forward to that moment when God would send His Son to be born in human flesh. The prophet Isaiah predicted of the birth,

“For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

From that time forward, even forever.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

Isaiah 9:6-7

But history seemed to drag on for centuries. Hope still kindled in spite of wars, exile, slavery, and a slow return of God’s people back to the Promised Land. Nobody knew when God’s promise would be fulfilled until Daniel received a revelation from God:

“That from the going forth of the command

To restore and build Jerusalem

Until Messiah the Prince,

There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks

Daniel 9:25a

A “week” here indicates “a group of sevens” and the context interprets it as meaning a time period of seven years and the fulfillment in 69 “weeks”. The prophecy of Messiah’s coming was fulfilled exactly  483 years later. The Greek Empire had come and gone in history and the Roman Empire was at its peak. The Messiah was born in Bethlehem and, by God’s sovereign reckoning, the timing was perfect!

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5

Jesus came exactly when God planned! In His wisdom, the “fullness of the time” was at the peak of the Roman Empire in out-of-the-way province that chafed against the iron hand of far-off Rome. Thus the world that cradled and then crucified Jesus of Nazareth was also the civilization that would help a sprouting Christianity to blossom. By God’s design, the “fullness of the time” was characterized by a wide civilization with a common language (Greek), relative peace (Pax Romana), cross-empire transportation, and enforced laws and rules for citizens and non-slaves.

The baby born in the manger grew up and demonstrated His divine person many times over three and one-half years. The same Roman government—soldiers followed the orders of a governor appointed by another emperor—crucified the promised Messiah. On the cross, God demonstrated “…His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) There, He died for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2) Jesus explained to his apostles in the upper room at His last Passover, “…whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:27-28)

What about us in 2020? For many, this has been a year of sadness, frustration, and desperation. What are we to do when our world seems to be crumbling around us?  A man so desperate that he was about to end his life asked the apostle Paul and his companion Silas a question and their answer was simple, yet profound: “‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’” (Acts 16:30b-31)

Jesus the Christ came to Earth to save the world from our sins at the perfect time in history. Wouldn’t now be the perfect time to believe on God’s Son and ask Him to save you? If you do, He promises to save your soul from eternal condemnation. This is His promise:

“For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’… For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’” (Romans 10:11, 13)


This World is Not My Home

The Celestial City

[Jesus said,] “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:31-34 (NKJV)

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2

Soldiers, we are in difficult times as the Lord’s return draws near. God told us that perilous times would come and evil would grow worse and worse. (II Timothy 3:1-4) Jesus said, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” (Luke 21:28)  Fellow soldiers, when this fight is over we will finally return to the home of beloved brothers and sisters who have gone on before us. Our earthly land will fade into a distant memory when we see our Savior face to face.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in ChristEphesians 1:3


This World is Not My Home

by J.R. Baxter, Jr. (1887-1960) *

This world is not my home I’m just-a-passing through

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue

Angels beckon me to heaven’s open door

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore


Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you

If heaven’s not my home oh Lord what will I do

Angels beckon me to heaven’s open door

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore

They’re all expecting me that’s one thing I know

I fixed it up with Jesus a long time ago

He will take me through though I am weak and poor

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore


Over in glory land there’ll be no dying there

The saints all shouting victory and singing everywhere

I hear the voice of them that’s gone on before

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore



J.R. (Pap) Baxter, Jr. (1887-1960) was a Southern Gospel composer and publisher who grew up in De­Kalb Coun­ty, Al­a­ba­ma. In 1926, he bought part of what be­came the Stamps-Bax­ter Mu­sic and Print­ing Com­pa­ny, one of the most suc­cess­ful Gos­pel mu­sic pub­lish­ers of the ear­ly 20th century. Bax­ter ran the com­pa­ny’s Chat­ta­noo­ga, Ten­nes­see, of­fice un­til Stamps’ death in 1940, then moved to Dall­as, Tex­as, to run the main of­fice. Af­ter Bax­ter’s death, his wife, Clarice, ran the bus­i­ness un­til she died; it was then sold to Zon­der­van Publishing.

Southern Gospel music originated in songs sung by slaves who came to Christ after the Great Awakening. Because of their unimaginably harsh lives under slavery, a common theme of gospel singers was their joyous expectation of freedom from suffering, pain, tears, and poverty when they crossed the Jordan River into the heavenly Promised Land. Hymns such as “This World is Not My Home” were sung with happy anticipation that the slaves’ current misery was only temporary and soon they would see their Savior in that Holy City, New Jerusalem!

 “And I [John] saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

Look up and fight on!


Heavenly Colonists

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21 NKJV)

Readers of Paul’s letter to the Philippians would have appreciated the same term as their citizenship in the city as a Roman colony. Philippi of Macedonia was made a Roman colony after the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. when generals Mark Antony and Octavian released some of their veteran soldiers, probably from Legion XXVIII, to colonize or “Romanize” the area. The Macedonian city was proudly known as “Little Rome” by its inhabitants.

One historian defined a colony as:

“A community of people who share common roots, pursuits, meanings, and values. Even though colonists settle in a distant and sometimes hostile place, they continue to live under the control and in the spirit of their home country. No matter how far away the residents of a colony may be planted, they continue to remember, respect, and repeat the standards and stories of their native land.”

James Moffatt, in his commentary on Philippians 3:20, suggested that Christians should think of themselves as living in “a colony of heaven.” Paul’s application seems to be this: Because of our new birth in Christ we have a new citizenship. We are heavenly colonists placed here by God to live a certain way even though we are in the midst of an unholy culture that is hostile to all that we believe and hold dear. As representatives of another “country” we are ambassadors called to represent the Lord Jesus Christ before our neighbors, coworkers, and anyone we meet.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” II Peter 3:10-13 

Believers are citizens, colonists, of heaven now. Our heavenly passport is genuine, stamped, and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Are we ready to travel as soon as God calls us to our real home?

“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world…Jesus answered [Pilate], ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’” John 17:14; 18:36

I’m a Pilgrim

Abraham the Sojourner in Canaan

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:8-10 (NKJV)

“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5:7-8

Below is the song of a traveler with his eyes set on his true home. He dares not be delayed or stray from the path that leads upward to a place prepared by his Savior who waits to welcome him with open arms. Never forget, fellow soldiers, that this world is not our home. Our earthly citizenship, with its ties to family, friends, church, town, or country, cannot compare to that heavenly city where we will spend eternity together.


I’m a Pilgrim

(First verse and chorus)

I’m a pilgrim, and I’m a stranger;
I can tarry but a night,
Do not detain me, for I am going
To where the fountains are ever flowing.

There the glory is ever shining!
O, my longing heart, my longing heart is there,
Here in this country so dark and dreary,
I long have wandered forlorn and weary:


There’s the city to which I journey;
My Redeemer, my Redeemer is its light!
There is no sorrow nor any sighing.
Nor any tears there, nor any dying.


Farewell, dreary earth, by sin so blighted,
In immortal beauty soon you’ll be arrayed!
He who has formed thee will soon restore thee!
And then thy dread curse shall never more be.


* From The Southern Zion’s Songster; Hymns Designed for Sabbath Schools, Prayer, and Social Meetings, and the Camps. Published by the North Carolina Christian Advocate Publishing Company, 1864.

Originating as hymns of white Protestant churches following the Great Awakening, Southern gospel music expressed a revival of Protestant Christianity in rural areas during the early 19th century before the Civil War. In the South, this movement was spread by horse-riding preachers in camp meetings where the proprieties of polite society gave way to spirited singing and other forms of lively religious behavior. Southern gospel music, although based on Protestant hymnody (hymn singing), blended hymns with folk songs and black gospel music.

The lyrics for I’m a Pilgrim vary in old hymnals, but historians agree that songs of this type were typical of early Southern gospel music after the Great Awakening. The gospel tune popularized on the 1940’s as a bluegrass ballad titled, I am a Pilgrim, was a precursor to country music.

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.’” Revelation 21:2-3

Roman Citizenship in the New Testament

Roman citizenship ceremony

And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”

When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.”

Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”

He said, “Yes.”

The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.”

And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” Acts 22:25-28 (NKJV)

During New Testament times there were many ways to become a Roman citizen (civitas) with the most common being acquired by birth if both parents were Roman citizens. Emperors and generals could also grant citizenship and especially for a price. Soldiers who were not citizens (either conscripts or foreign-born auxiliaries) were awarded citizenship, a land grant, and an annual pension after twenty-five years of service. The official document certifying citizenship was called a diploma, a bronze tablet, composed of two parts, sealed together. On the outside of the front panel was written that the individual had obtained citizenship and on the back were notary seals with the names of witnesses. Inside, to avoid counterfeiting, both tables carried the text of the outside of the plate. Only a magistrate could break the seals and any tampering invalidated the document. A copy of the diploma, also in bronze, was sent to Rome and kept in the Campidoglio archive.

Roman diploma

Beginning in the reign of Julius Caesar (c. 48 B.C.), Roman colonies and free cities were established outside the Italian peninsula and all residents were granted citizenship. Roman civitas had also been extended to provincials of client states who swore allegiance to Rome. Finally, granting Roman citizenship to soldiers and native populations in provinces hastened the pace of Romanization in the Empire.

The Apostle Paul was a Roman citizen by birth, and Tarsus in Cilicia, where Paul was born, was a free city (Acts 21:39). The Emperor Pompey made Cilicia a Roman province in 64 B.C., and the capital, Tarsus, was a free city from the time of Augustus. Although it is unknown exactly how his parents became citizens of Rome, Paul was a Roman citizen by birth, which was a privilege many did not have. Some could buy Roman citizenship, but it was pricey (see Acts 22:28). The privileges of citizenship explain how Paul escaped flogging in Acts 22:25–27 and was able to appeal for a hearing before Emperor Nero in Acts 25:10–11.

Acts 22:25–27

God used the Apostle Paul’s background for His glory, and Paul testified that “God . . . set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace” (Galatians 1:15). With his Jewish upbringing and knowledge of Greek culture and philosophy from his time in Tarsus, Paul was prepared for ministry to both Jews and Gentiles throughout the Roman world. Paul’s status as a Roman citizen by birth benefited him greatly as he traveled on his missionary journeys to fulfill Jesus’ words that he would be a “chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” (Acts 9:15).

As believers we have dual citizenship – an earthly domicile where we have temporary residence and a heavenly home where Jesus promised that we will spend eternity with Him.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3

NEXT WEEK – Heavenly Citizenship


Fight the Good Fight With All Thy Might

Fight the good fight of the faith

“And [Jahaziel] said, ‘Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. II Chronicles 20:15

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10


Fight the Good Fight With All Thy Might

by John S.B. Monsell  *

Fight the good fight with all thy might;

Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right:

lay hold on life, and it shall be

thy joy and crown eternally.

Run the straight race through God’s good grace,

lift up thine eyes, and seek his face;

life with its way before us lies,

Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.

Cast care aside; upon thy Guide

lean, and his mercy will provide;

lean, and the trusting soul shall prove,

Christ is its life and Christ its love.

Faint not, nor fear, his arms are near;

he changeth not, and thou art dear;

only believe, and thou shalt see

that Christ is all in all to thee.

* John Samuel Bewley Monsell (1811-1875) was educated at Trinity College in Dublin and served as a chaplain and rector of several churches in Ireland after his ordination in 1835. Transferred to England in 1853, he became rector of Egham in Surrey and was rector of St. Nicholas Church in Guilford from 1870 until his death (caused by a construction accident at his church). A prolific poet, Monsell published his verse in eleven volumes. He wrote thee hundred hymns including “Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness,” “Christ is the Foundation,” and “Soon, Soon, and Forever Our Union Shall Be.”

Stay alert! Grab your sword! Fight on!


Fight the Good Fight

Fight the good fight of (the) faith

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

II Timothy 4:7 (NKJV)

Fight the good fight of [the] faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

I Timothy 6:12

Whether or not the Apostle Paul meant a military metaphor in the verses above is debatable. He often uses the Greek word “fight” for a literal conflict or struggle. Clearly he means it in both verses above in a figurative sense, but the verse in II Timothy likens the Christian life to a wrestling match because the second half of the verse is about running in an athletic event. The verse in I Timothy is also figurative, but the allusion is less clear.

I believe it is possible for “fight” in both verses to be interpreted as military conflict or battle if Paul is mixing his athletic and military metaphors. An example where he does exactly this is Ephesians 6:12-13:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Ephesians 6:12-13

The writer of these verses in Ephesians, Paul in his own words and literary style under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, compares spiritual warfare to wrestling (v. 12) and in v. 13 tells his readers to take up belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword to wage this warfare. Two metaphors are used to convey the same idea.

Spiritual warfare is a struggle which requires all our energy and strength. God has given us defensive and offensive weapons to fight such as truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. Paul tells Timothy how to fight the good fight of the faith  in I Timothy 6:12 when he follows his command with, “lay hold on eternal life…” Our eternal life began when God saved us by faith alone in His Son. That is a static truth and the result of faith.  But it’s not enough simply to possess eternal life. To fight the good fight, and wrestle our foe to the ground, we have to grasp hold of eternal life with both hands.  “Taking hold” requires faith plus obedience ( 1 Timothy 6:14).

“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” I Timothy 6:17-19

Stay alert! Lay hold of eternal life! Fight the good fight!