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“The Company of Two Armies”
Song of Solomon 6:13
Being convinced of her own sin, being full of shame, the church of Christ confesses her frustration with herself. She thinks that there is no beauty in her, nothing in her that her Beloved could want to see. — “What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.”
She is saying, “There is nothing in me but conflict and confusion. In my heart two armies are at war. If you look upon me, you will see a raging battle, good fighting evil, light contending with darkness. I am not worth looking upon. I am a house divided against itself.” Is there something in that language that you can relate to, something that is true to your experience?
This is a true and accurate description of God’s people. All God’s elect experience inward conflicts between the flesh and the Spirit continually.
Old and New
There is within me two natures, two hearts, and two wills that are mutual enemies: the old man and the new, sin and holiness, Adam and Christ. The one hates God; the other loves him. The one hates the law of God; the other loves it. The one is of the earth, earthy; the other is of heaven, heavenly.
All believers have a new, holy, righteous, heavenly nature. — “I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Romans 7:22). Grace does make a difference in a person. The man who is born of God is not the same as the man who is dead in sin. He has an entirely new nature within him. And this new nature is what he truly is.
That new nature may be weak and seem to struggle for existence, but it is there; and it reigns over the passions of the flesh. The passions of the flesh are as great as ever; but they no longer control the believer. Grace has made us kings over the enemies that dwell in our hearts.
The flesh and the spirit are constantly at war with one another. Paul wrote, “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind.” “The flesh lusteth against the spirit.” The lion will not lie down with the Lamb in our hearts. Fire will not be at peace with water. Death will not sign a truce with life. Sin will not submit to holiness. — “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
Though Satan has been bound and Christ enthroned in our hearts, Satan’s loyal servants within us, though they are under the sentence of death, put their heads together and constantly plot to recapture the throne of our hearts.
The lusts of the flesh are the traitors who live within us. They wait until you are quiet, peaceful, and secure. Then, they suddenly lay hold of you with all hellish power, flooding your soul with every evil imagination! The flesh will give you great ease, comfort, and security in the outward deeds of religious service, and make you content with the mere form of religion. The flesh loves law and seeks to turn us to legal works. The flesh is never more dangerous to your soul than when it appears to be completely subdued!