The church militant represents the church's efforts throughout its history to share the gospel with the world. It is called militant, not because it employs violent means to fulfill its commission, but because its spiritual life and endeavors have repeatedly brought it into conflict with the ruling powers of darkness on earth (Gal.4:29). In addition, spiritual weaknesses and shortcomings have produced strife, discord, and division in the church militant for many centuries.
In the zeal of His love, God will miraculously accomplish His goal to have a pure church (Eph. 5:27). It is our privilege to understand this goal and cooperate with Him in hastening the fulfillment of His plan.
During the Reformation era, how did the church militant fare spiritually? What lessons can we learn from its experience? Dan. 11:30-35 (compare Rev. 3:1-6).
The valor of God's faithful witnesses, who braved privations, persecution, and death, is beyond human estimate. God strengthened mortals who loved Jesus and His Word beyond all else to perform deeds of omnipotence for the advancement of His kingdom.
With flattering, deceptive promises, much like the honeyed talk of modem ecumenism, the rulers of apostate Christendom deceived some of the Reformers and lured them to compromise, thus stalling the progress of the Reformation. (See The Great Controversy, pp. 118, 119.)
With what promises does God assure us that His church militant will press forward to accomplish its task despite internal weaknesses and outward opposition? Acts 15:13-17; Rom. 16:17-20, 25-27.
"Paul looks forward to the final victory predicted in Gen. 3:15, which is not far off. This ultimate triumph over the forces of evil is foreshadowed by every victory experienced by Christian believers over temptation and deception. Paul is thinking of the victory he hopes the Roman believers will enjoy by 'avoiding' the false teachers who will seek to divide and confuse them." - SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 651.
How willing are you to work for the advancement of God's kingdom in the face of trial and enmity? What part does God's love have in maintaining strength for our task?