A Confidential Word With a Penitent

 Ellet J. Waggoner

Advent Review and Sabbath Herald : October 14, 1902 

You say that you cannot overcome your besetting sin; that you have tried, and failed; that the temptation comes so unexpectedly and so strong that you cannot resist it. Let me tell you what that sort of talk really means, and perhaps you will change your tone. You are virtually saying that Satan is more powerful than Christ; “for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” The controversy is between Christ and Satan over your soul. You belong to the Lord; but Satan claims you, and you have been serving him, and he has no mind to give you up. Christ will not arbitrarily claim even his own; he has all power in heaven and in earth, but he will not control you without your consent. All he asks of you, and that which he earnestly longs for, is that you unreservedly give yourself into His hand, acknowledging him as your sole Master and Lord. When you do that, and as long as you continue it, He holds Himself responsible for your salvation
Now you say that you long for freedom from sin, and that you accept the Lord as your Saviour. Now if that is really so, can you not see that when you say that you cannot overcome you are really saying that the devil has more power than Christ? But that is not so. Christ has “all power.” It is, however, a fact, if we are overcome by sin, that Satan has more power in us, than Christ has, for Satan is the one that works in the children of disobedience. “Whosoever commits sin is of the devil;” but the Son of God was manifested for the sole purpose “that He might destroy the works of the devil,” and, thanks be to God, He is abundantly able to do it. God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is the victory that He has already won. We wrestle “with principalities and powers,” but Christ has “spoiled” them, disarmed them. Colossians 2:15. Therefore “this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4, R.V. Now to whom do you intend henceforth to give the credit for having supreme power—to Christ, or to Satan? That is the question for you to answer. Decide definitely and finally who is the mightiest monarch, and then serve that one. Which shall it be?