Monday, September 08, 2008

...quotes by William Gurnall

There is a profound reality to spiritual warfare. Most contemporary books and teachings about "standing against the wiles of the devil" are more based on superstition than the truth of God's Word (binding and loosing Satan; shouting to the devil in prayer; casting Lucifer out of buildings and sanctuaries before a time of ministry, etc.). Those kinds of antics do not represent biblical Christianity or spiritual courage. It's really doubt looking for proof and they call it faith. It's just comic-book Christianity (like watching some Carman videos). In the end it has no effect in real spiritual warfare.

William Gurnall has written the quintessential book about our daily battle with the enemy of our soul. His book, thoroughly enriched from the truth of Scripture, will bring give you strength, hope, and encouragement in what it means to "put on the whole armor of God" (Eph. 6:10-18). If you don't have this excellent tome I would highly recommend it to you as being a staple volume in your "Berean" library.

Here are some powerful quotes taken from Gurnall's classic, "The Christian in Complete Armour." All of us are indebted to Mark Reynold's for assembling these excellent highlights. May they be nourishment for your heart and soul.

"Submit yourselves therefore to God; 
resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). 
In spiritual warfare, our primary duty is not to fight demons... 
but to live for Christ!

"Paul was Nero's prisoner, but Nero was much more God's. (I:9)

No, the Christian must stand fixed to his principles, and not change his habit; but freely show what countryman he is by his holy constancy in the truth. (I:14)

Take heart therefore, O ye saints, and be strong; your cause is good, God himself espouseth your quarrel, who hath appointed you his own Son, General of the field, called 'the Captain of our salvation,' Heb 2:10. (I:16)

Blind zeal is soon put to a shameful retreat, while holy resolution, built on fast principles, lifts up its head like a rock in the midst of the waves. (I:17)

O take heed of this squint eye to our profit, pleasure, honour, or anything beneath Christ and heaven; for they will take away your heart ... that is, our love, and if our love be taken away, there will be little courage left for Christ. (I:18)

We must not confide in the armour of God, but in the God of this armour, because all our weapons are only 'mighty through God,' 2 Cor 10:4 (I:53)

Thus you see it is not armour as armour, but as armour of God, that makes the soul impregnable. (I:54)

I do not bid thee try the truth of thy grace by such a power as is peculiar to stronger grace, but by that power which will distinguish it from false [grace]. (I:57)

Whihle the Christian commits a sin he hates it; whereas the [hypocrite] loves it while he forbears it. (I:57)

If thou beest never so exact in thy morals, and not a worshipper of God, then thou art an atheist. (I:60)

In heaven we shall appear, not in armour, but in robes of glory. But here these are to be worn night and day; we must walk, work, and sleep in them, or else we are not true soldiers of Christ. (I:64)

The longer a soul hath neglected duty, the more ado there is to get it taken up.... (I:65)

Grace is of a stirring nature, and not such a dead thing, like an image, which you may lock up in a chest, and none shall know what God you worship. No, grace will show itself; it will walk with you into all places and companies; it will buy with you, and sell for you; it will have a hand in all your enterprises .... (I:69)

And doth not God deserve the best service thou canst do him in thy generation? (I:70)

Therefore it should be our care, if we would not yield to the sin, not towalk by, or sit at, the door of the occasion. (I:74)

Truth with self-denial [is] a better pennyworth, than error with all its flesh-pleasing. (I:82)

As you love your peace, Christian, be plain-hearted with God and man, and keep the king's highway. (I:83)

The proper seat of sin is the will, of comfort the conscience. (I:85)

It is true, Christian, the debt thou owest to God must be paid in good and lawful money, but, for thy comfort, here Christ is thy paymaster. (I:89)

Love refuseth nothing that love sends. (I:89)

A rent garment is catched by every nail, and the rent made wider. Renew therefore thy repentance speedily, whereby this breach may be made up, and worse prevented... (I:95)

Again, [Satan] will ask the Christian what was the time of his conversion. Art thou a Christian, will he say, and dost thou not know when thou commencedst? Now ... content thyself with this, that thou seest the streams of grace, ....; you may know the sun is up, though you did not observe when it rose. (I:96)

Behold therefore thy God at work, and promise thyself that what he is about, will be an excellent piece. (I:110)

Love cannot think any evil of God, nor endure to hear any speak evil of him, but it must take God's part.... (I:118)

Mercy should make us ashamed, wrath afraid to sin. (I:118)

Few are made better by prosperity, whom afflictions make worse. (I:118)

It is no policy to let thy lusts have arms, which are sure to rise and declare against thee when thine enemy comes. (I:124)

Take heed thou makest not the least child thine enemy by offering wrong to him; God will right the wicked even upon the saint. (I:126)

Thou hast no life to lose, because thou hast given it already to Christ, nor can man take away that without God's leave. (I:127)

Sin disabled man to keep God's law, but it doth not enfranchise or disoblige him that he need not keep it. (I:132)

His subject thou art whom thou crownest in thy heart, and not whom thou flatterest with thy lips. (I:134)

Christ will bear no equal, and Satan no superior; and therefore, hold in with both thou canst not. (I:134)

No, it is some noble enterprise I would have thee think upon, how thou mayst advance the name of Christ higher in thy heart, and [in the] world too, as much as in thee lies. (I:138)

Therefore tremble, O man, at any power thou hast, except thou usest it for God. Art [thou] strong in body; who hath thy strength? God, or thy lusts? (I:144)

When Satan finds the good man asleep, then he finds our good God awake; therefore thou art not consumed, because he changeth not. (I:146)

Bid faith look through the key-hole of the promise, and tell thee what it sees there laid up for him that overcomes; bid it listen and tell thee whether it cannot hear the shout of those crowned saints, as of those that are dividing the spoil, and receiving the reward of all their services and sufferings here on earth. (I:150)

Christ counts it his honour, that he is a king of a willing people, and not of slaves. (I:155)

All his commands are acts of grace, it is a favour to be employed about them. (I:155)

How can God stoop lower than to come and dwell with a poor humble soul? which is more than if he had said, such a one should dwell with him; for a beggar to live at court is not so much as the king to dwell with him in his cottage. (I:161)

O if once our hearts were but filled with zeal for God, and compassion to our people's souls, we would up and be doing, though we could but lay a brick a day, and God would be with us. (I:167)

And when God comes to reckon with his workmen, the ploughman and the sower shall have his penny, as well as the harvest-man and the reaper. (I:167)"


Bhedr said...

You qouted:Blind zeal is soon put to a shameful retreat, while holy resolution, built on fast principles, lifts up its head like a rock in the midst of the waves. (I:17)

This is a helpful quote. Allowing transparencey in my life has made me vunerable; but it is to this purpose that I have. Thank you as well as thank you Steve(not Campi) for helping me sharpen my sword. I will not retreat though. Truth is too important to worry about my weaknesses.

Campi? Been watchin' Carmen videos lately? I hear ya and get the point. Blind emotional zeal.

Rick said...

There is more meat in each of those quotes than whole books that are out these days!

SJ Camp said...

i agree Rick:

They feared God, reverenced Him and did not write about Him in a casual and frivolous way as many today do. Oh to return to the days of sola scriptura again.

SJ Camp
Col. 1:9-14

Anonymous said...


Thank you for this much meat in a blogosphere that seems content with milk!

God Bless,


Anonymous said...

Would that be the abridged or unabridged version?

My wife went through the abridged version 15 or so years ago and it is marked up pretty thoroughly.

Should I get the unabridged version?

My money. Your call.

Kuya Kevin said...

I remember a sermon Paul Ravenhill preached on the subject of spiritual warfare. He mentioned some of the nonsense that goes on.

Here's something he noted about the Old Testament: When God's people were obedient to His word, they didn't have any trouble defeating their enemies.

An obedient life=victory over the enemy.

probity said...

Might I offer a word of caution against throwing the baby out with the bathwater here?

There is indeed such a thing as spiritual warfare against the very real havoc wrecked by the demonic. As scripture testifies, the demonic are very real and nothing to be tangled with lightly. I've witnessed very real spiritual warfare and can testify that the believer must have his armor on, know how to use it, and be walking right with God. The fool who dabbles with spiritual warfare while unarmed is a casualty waiting to happen. Very few who are part of the church in America are more than babes who seek milk. In Africa the ambulance goes first to the church for healing, it goes to the hospital second... when there is no healing. What a shame that the body of Christ in America doesn't have the faith for such miracles... but it doesn't have the warriors for the battle either.

S.J. Walker said...


Good old Gurnall. I'm still waiting for my folks to finish up their copies so I can steal them and read them more. What i have read though is so very good.

Spirtual warfare is likely one of the most discussed and least respected truths. Many romanticize too much, many more down grade it to something almost, if not completely, non-existent.

Thank for this Steve.Thanks also for the concert last week in Grand Junction. It was a real blessing to me and my wife.

God Bless,

Susan said...

Thanks Steve for sharing this.

Many years ago I heard David Wilkerson share how God used this book to totally transform his life and it was the because of it he started his ministry in New York.

I bought the book back then, I think it's time to pick up, shake off the dust and get busy reading it once more.


SJ Camp said...

sj walker
Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. Great to meet you as well this past Lord's Day.

I also really appreciate Gurnall. What a treasure this book has been in my life and to so many in the body of Christ.

Grace and peace to you,

SJ Camp said...

Would that be the abridged or unabridged version?

Unabridged - always. I find that the edited versions of these classics lose something in the translation.

Personally, I try to keep with the original...

SJ Camp said...

Might I offer a word of caution against throwing the baby out with the bathwater here?

Point taken and I hope this article and the quotes by Gurnall were doing just that - offering the balance.

So much in the spiritual warfare movement has been based on superstition rather than biblical truth. And our greatest weapons in spiritual warfare are the Word of God and prayer. This is what James 4:7 and 2 Cor. 10:1-5 really are teaching us.

We submit to God, live according to His truth, and that life submitted to His Word in faithful obedience can resist the enemy and he will flee.

I think today, so many elevate Satan to a place of more authority and power than he actually deserves. He is not to be treated casually; but he is not to be taken seriously. The Lord crushed the serpents head and so thoroughly conquered him on the cross (Heb. 2:14-16) that he is rendered defeated!

Thanks for your comment and your word of caution here.


The Spokesman said...

Amen Steve! It seems that many in our day are either oblivious to the reality of our spiritual warfare or are superstitious concerning it. Some don't want to take a stand against anything while others who think they are taking a stand aren't really standing at all. If we are ignorant of the schemes of the devil then we cannot stand against them.

E. M. Bounds also wrote an excellent book in this area entitled Guide to Spiritual Warfare in which he exposed many of the devil's schemes to deceive, divert, and deprave.

One short quote on how Satan substitutes material elements of strength for spiritual ones: This is one of the Devil's most insidious and successful methods to deceive, divert, and deprave. He parades the most attractive material results. He praises the power of human planning before church leaders until they are dazzled and ensnared. Then the church becomes thoroughly worldly while boasting of her spirituality....The local church that defines its strength in this way is on the highway to apostasy (page 43).

Grace and peace,

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve.

I've added the unabridged version to my Wish List.