by Mike Ratliff
For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:22-24 ESV)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV)
Both passages above were written by the Apostle Paul. The former was written early in his ministry while the latter was written as he prepared to be executed by the Romans. This spiritual maturity should be our goal as Christians. To mature this radically requires a lifelong process of knowing and defeating the enemy each of has within. As many of you know, I am a big fan of Puritan John Owen and his works Indwelling Sin and The Mortification of Sin. I have recommended these works to many of those reading this right now. However, there is a problem. John Owen, unlike John Bunyan of the same era, wrote in a form of Seventeenth Century English that could best be described as ponderous. However, God is good to His people. In 1998 Kris Lundgaard was given the task of writing a comparable teaching volume to these great works, but in modern day English. That work is titled The Enemy Within. It has a subtitle of “Straight Talk About The Power And Defeat of Sin.”
This book was recommended to me by my pastor. It was on the book table in the foyer of our church. He told me he had read it dozens of times. I bought it and have been devouring it ever since. The premise of the book is built around four key truths.
- Sin living in us is a “law.”
- We find this law inside us.
- We find this law when we’re at our best.
- This law never rests.
This book is not for those who have a problem with Christian obedience. Nor is it for those who approach this Christian walk from a “mystical” or “humanistic” direction. No, this book is for Christians who want the victory over the sin that seems to plague them at every turn. I highly recommend this book to you. I would like to close this very short review with an excerpt from the last page (149) of the text.
You will win. You will fight, and you will see your flesh crumble. It is God’s pleasure not only to rescue you from hell, but to glorify you with Christ by making you like him. You will see through your flesh’s most deadly deception. You will turn your eyes away from its most appealing idols. And you will grow in self-discipline and courage.
But this is no time to puff our your chest. It’s Christ’s blood, tenderness, and mercy on you. It’s his Spirit’s power filling you every step of the way. In every victory lift your hands to heaven and give thanks—rejoice with a grateful heart in your Deliverer. He is faithful.
Soli Deo gloria.
As I read this book I did recognize much of Owen in the insight, however, Lundgaard’s work is uniquely his. My brethren, I intend, like my pastor, to devour this book many times just has I have The Mortification of Sin.
Soli Deo Gloria!