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Review by James Jeffery
We frequently hear from prosperity gospel teachers how the Christian life ought to be one of victory and success, specifically with regard to our finances, health, and careers. In our efforts to be faithful to Scripture, many Christians — including myself — have tried to run as far away as we can from these false doctrines by seldom speaking of the Christian life as a life of victory. However, what Alleine reveals in this wonderful work is that the Christian life is indeed a life of conquest, yet not in the way we would expect.
Slaying sin, winning souls for Christ, securing the joy that is ours in Christ, and protecting the gospel are tasks to which every Christian is called, as we are all soldiers fighting for the army of the Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason, we must know how we can be equipped, and with what we ought to be equipped if we are to stand victorious in the battle which rages on.
Knowing the strategies and tactics of your opposition is critical in any battle, and it is no exception when we consider the Christian life.
“The devil is a powerful enemy, having under him principalities, powers, and rulers…These enemies annoy the saints and strive to tempt them to sin” (p. 4)
Alleine challenges us to consider whether the great problem with Christians today is that we underestimate our great foe who is Satan. He shows us that if we are well-acquainted with the tactics and methods of the evil one, we will experience victory over him.
According to Alleine, the devil will use the following three strategies to lead us away from Christ:
How are we to be protected against the devil’s schemes? Thankfully, Alleine reveals to us not only the tactics of the devil, but how Christ has equipped us with everything we need as we are deployed by God to wage war against sin.
Rather than directing us to find our victory in ourselves — the instruction of so many so-called ‘preachers’ — Alleine calls us to utilize the means and instruments God has given us in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Get and exercise all the Christian graces, the whole armor, so that no part is left uncovered and exposed to the weapons of this deadly enemy” (p. 3)
It is through faith in Christ that we are able to conquer the world. It is not a linear, simplistic faith that Alleine calls us to embrace, but that which utilises and takes advantage of all the means of grace God has given us. After all, Alleine understands that if we are to truly have victory in this life, we must declare a state of total war against sin, the world, and the devil.
Victory in this life does not consist in the abundance of possessions and a hale stature, but rather in a deep-seated trust, contentment, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and all His benefits unto us.
“[The Christian] studies the world more and comes to a better understanding of its vanity…The more he knows of God, the more he loves, pants, and longs after Him” (p. 60)
The great strength of this book is Alleine’s acknowledgement that we live in a state of tension. Though we want to be with Christ free from sin and death, yet we continue fighting in this world to be conformed to His likeness, and to witness others repent and trust in Him. It is this nuanced perspective which Alleine argues will lead a Christian to be willing to advance the Kingdom of God here on earth, and yet have his heart set on eternal glory, leading us to be willing to die for Christ (p. 95).
The World Conquered by the Faithful Christian is a military guide for Christians as to how we ought to ‘fight the good fight of the faith,’ and is filled with practical advice for how we can best honour God in this life, for our good and His glory (1 Timothy 6:12). Therefore, it is a suitable book for any Christian to read, whether you consider yourself well-acquainted with your calling as a soldier for Christ, or whether you are still coming to grips with what it means to follow Jesus.