Book Review: Victory in Christ

Book of the Month Review

Sometime ago I was challenged to read through the book:  Victory in Christ by Charles Trumbull.  What I found within the pages of this classic book has brought such clarity to what the Christian life is all about.  I sat down to read it once; but found such truth and freedom as I read, I felt compelled to read and re-read it again.  I believe within the last year and a half I have read through this book seven times.  Each time, I am challenged again to confront wrong thinking patterns that have been established in my head.  This book has had such an impact on my life and for that reason I have chosen it for this month’s book review.

I have never believed in a legalistic salvation.  If there is something that I must do in order to be saved – some good work or deed it ceases to be of grace and is not Bible salvation.  I know this to be true.  Salvation is a work of God Himself, a gift to me if I choose to accept it.

However, for a long time in my life I had adopted a legalistic view of sanctification.  While I knew that there was nothing I needed to do in order to be saved from sin; I found myself believing that there was A LOT I needed to do in order to live the Christian life.  While there was no physical list attached to my fridge readily available for me to check off as I complete each task; there was a mental one.  The longer I was saved and trying to live the Christian life, the more checks I kept mentally making on my list – the more tired I became.  I was tired because I was trying to live the Christian life in the strength of my flesh – my effort.  Only Christ can live the Christian life – I cannot in my own effort accomplish such a divine task.

Charles Trumbull really challenges this philosophy and mindset in his book Victory in Christ.   He explains that, “We make the mistake of thinking that we must share in doing what only God can do.  As I read these words I realized I was reading a truth for which I had been searching for a long time; and a piercing question kept coming to my mind:  

“Could it be possible to have a correct view of salvation by faith in Christ alone but have a legalistic view of sanctification?”

“Freedom from the power of sin, just as from the penalty of sin, is received as an outright gift. By faith you let him do it all.”  -Charles Trumbull

In the chapter, ‘Real and Counterfeit Victory’, the author exposes the philosophy that I had adopted as how the Christian life is lived.  This paragraph caught my eye and I marked it in the book as something I needed to mediate upon:

I read not long ago some extracts from a sermon by a well-known preacher, and they were something like this: “We all of us need to do weeding, rooting up the bad weeds in the garden of our own life.  The thing to do is to give your attention to some weed, some sin that has taken root in your life, and with prayer and effort dig it up  It may take you a long time, but keep at it day after day, week after week, month after month if necessary, till you have weeded that sin out  After you have gotten rid of that sin, take another, and keep at that tell you have weeded it out  And then another and another of  the sins of your life, till you have made your garden what it ought to be.”

This pretty much sums up how I viewed the Christian life.  This philosophy is the reason why I was SO tired and defeated as I just kept trying harder and harder to live the Christian life.  (Something that is impossible to do!  You fail all the time).   My eyes started to be opened to the truth of the Christian life.

A legalistic view of sanctification is just as much a false doctrine as a legalistic view of justification!

How much more clearly I understood the verse I have committed to memory years ago as a teenager at summer camp.  “As you therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”  Colossians 2:6.  I loved what Trumbull had to say in regards to this verse:

“We are to walk in Christ.  But how? Just as we received him.  And how did we receive Christ? By setting our teeth and saying, “There, thank God, I am going to help Him get me born again”? No! We received Him by faith.:  We received Him as the gift of God.  That’s the way we are to walk.  “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.

I cannot fully explain in words what freedom and liberty I found in these truths.  I highlighted this quote and reviewed it over and over again: 

“The same faith you exercised for your salvation is the only faith you need for victory.”

If I can trust God for the salvation of my soul from the penalty of sin – I can trust Him for the salvation of my soul from the power of sin.  The Christian life is a life of faith – just like salvation is!  It is not an effort of the flesh – I don’t have to keep trying to impress God and be worthy of Him.  The work is already done.

I HIGHLY recommend this book.  If you have grown up in Christianity (as I have) I think you will be especially challenged by the truths within this book that shed light on the philosophies that are so easily adopted to what it means to live the Christian life. 

The book is a short easy read.  I took one chapter a day and read it during my Bible reading time.  There is a lot of meat in each chapter – so you could take a chapter a week and really have plenty to meditate upon.  I would encourage anyone who calls themselves a Christian to take the time to read this classic book!  There are several places where you can purchase this book; I have found a lot of helpful reading on the subject of the Christian life from Revival Focus.  

The Feast


The text is announced and I realize on hearing the words, “Psalm 23” I will not need to turn in my Bible;   I know the passage by heart and I began in my mind to quote the familiar passage.    I wonder, as I quote, how many times thru the years I have been in a congregation quoted the verses aloud just like I was doing this Sunday morning.  There have been numerous occasions. Each verse has been precious at different times in my life.    

I thought back to the times in my life when I found myself desperate for God’s provision for me or for the needs of my family.  During those times, I have quoted the passage and found great comfort in the promise of that phrase:  “I shall not want…”.  It times of need the verse was quoted in faith – not knowing how or when but resting in the promise that He would provide for the need because He would provide… somehow.   He always has provided and more than once I have quoted with needs met and strengthened faith:  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want!”

Then there are other times when I have quoted the familiar passage with a heavy heart.  I have sat in numerous funerals, emotionally drained, my eyes hot from tears that have fallen from my eyes, and have heard the words: “Valley of the shadow of death…” and found comfort.  I have stood by caskets of various sizes and taken comfort in the fact that I do not have to fear death because “He is with me…”

But on this Sunday the verse of importance was different than it had ever been before. It was the phrase, “Presence of mine enemies…” that stirred my heart this time.  The week had been filled with my ‘enemies’ presence.   The attacks had been real and I was sitting in church that Sunday morning wounded and hurt from a battle waged against me from ‘my enemies’.


We all have enemies.  We have all been attacked.

Have you ever been attacked by the enemy of emotion?  Fear and worry can deal a powerful right clip.  These two enemies are known not to fight fair and to kick you while you are down.  Or there is the enemy of depression.  This is an enemy that has welded his attacks at my heart and mind and caused me to feel like I was going down for the last time on more than one occasion!  Enemies of emotion are powerful enemies to the heart of a Christian; their attacks are real.

Just living in a fallen world of sin can cause us to come under attack.  Surrounded by the world’s system and values can bring attacks that are powerful.  Have you been there?  Have you felt the bullet of materialism hit your heart and upon its entrance found yourself filled with discontent or coveting those things which you cannot have?  I have!  Until this body of sin is redeemed and I am given a new body I will feel the war at times raging right within me!  Battles of the heart can be ruthless.

Sometimes, the enemies are real.  Sometimes, the enemy has a name and knows yours.   Sometimes the enemy is persecution.  In other countries the enemy of persecution has taken from Christian’s all they have on this earth; and they have found themselves living their earthly lives as vagabonds and fugitives. A persecution we have not known here in the United States.  (At least not yet)    Some have found attacks from their own family members; and the persecution has cost those relationships they once held dear.   When the enemies of our lives are those we know, the battle can leave us deeply wounded.

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies…”  The words formed on my lips; and it was if the Holy Spirit said, “These words are for you today!” 


My mind’s eye went to a battle field – much like you would see in a scene from Narnia.  Enemies, with swords drawn are ready for attack. Disarray and rubbish from fighting covers the barren ground.  In my mind’s eye there is the crest flag of the enemy in front of me and I can hear the flag from my own brigade flapping just overhead.  I look in front of me and I see the enemy – big and fierce and ready to take me down.  I look down at my weapons and then look back up again.  As I look up I see something different.   

 A banquet table is sitting in front of me.  I can still see the enemy in the distance; but it appears that they have been frozen in motion; and now I cannot see them clearly because they  are blurred.  The only thing clearly seen is the beautifully set table just a few feet in front of me. 

The wind is blowing over the hill and the fine linen table cloth blows in the wind just a bit.  There are flowers adorning the table and the finest china is set and all appears ready for an elegant dinner.  I look up from the table and I see a figure approaching.  It is Jesus – a clean, starched, white apron is wrapped around His waist.  He is holding a covered silver serving dish in His left hand; and He motions for me to come close and points at the chair at the table setting with his right hand.

It is then that I smell the food.  I breath in deeply and smell the most delicious smell.  (Like the smell of Sunday dinner cooked and ready when you walk through the door of your house after coming home from church.)

I find myself seated at the table and I feel Him right beside me.    He opens the covered serving dish to reveal the most wholesome nutritious food I could possibly have that will strengthen me for the battle that my enemies engage upon me.

When the enemy is fear and worry He pulls back the lid and feeds me from His Word.  He assures me that He is for me and that He will take care of me.  He reminds me how He has never left me and will never leave in the future.  As I partake of this ‘food’ he has placed before me I am strengthened from Him.

When the enemy coming over the horizon is materialism and discontent, He fills me with the truth that this world is not my home – I am just a pilgrim.  As I eat of the feast He has served up for me my eyesight is adjusted and I am able to have an eternal focus.  I am a citizen of heaven, the King of Kings is my Father and this world is not my home.

When the enemies are those who are familiar to me – people who know my name and my weaknesses who persecute me because of my devotion to Christ – He sees my hurt and nourishes me with the truth that “I am His and He is mine”.  He assures me that no one can harm me.  I am safe.  I am His beloved.  I eat of His prepared feast and feel secure in knowing that nothing will separate me from Him. Nothing! 

When Christ is the focus of my life – the enemies stay blurred.  


It is He who prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  He, the Creator of the universe, serves me.    A concept I can’t fathom; but know by experience to be true.

Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world washes feet, prepares feasts and serves those whom He loves.  I know, I have tasted of His meal and been filled.   I have been embraced by His love and been secure.  He has cared for my wounds, and brought healing.   He has searched for me when I was lost and carried me home.  He has loved me when I was unlovable and assured me that He sees me as beautiful.   Fed me in the battle and strengthened me for the war.   

So when you find yourself face to face with your enemy – breathe in deeply and look for the food.  He has prepared a feast just for you.  When you stop and partake of all He has made especially for you - you will find nourishment and strength, (down to the last crumb of luscious dessert).   As the enemy begins moving towards you again, there will be no fear.   He has filled you; and with confidence you will say,

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life -  because the Lord is MY shepherd…” 

Month in Review - Jan and Feb

I cannot believe that we are almost done with the month of February!  At the end of December I had plans of a regularly writing schedule for my blog and was looking forward to writing more.  Then the family got the flu - one at at a time - and then I blinked and realized we are almost done with the second month of the year and I have not posted yet. 

My plan is to post a month in review at the close of each month.   So here is the month in review from January - and February to get the new year going with the scheduled blogging plan.

In December we celebrated Anna's birthday. Hard to believe she is getting so old.  Daily I thank God for bringing her into our family.  I cannot imagine our lives without her.  The sound of her voice is a constant (and I mean this literally and figuratively) reminder of God's gift to us.

In January James got the call that there was a calf for him.  This is his 4-H project for this year.  The calf has been relatively healthy and we have enjoyed having a new animal to take care of.  Zak found it exciting to be able to feed the calf his bottle on a week day when James was gone.  On a funny note, anyone who knows me knows how terrified I am of chickens or anything with wings.  This was one of the reasons I wanted to get chickens - to have to conquer this fear that has been in my heart for years.  Well, on the afternoon Zak had to go feed the calf - I went with him.  I would have you to know, that I was in the barn with the calf, there were chickens walking around all over the place and a peacock strutted her stuff right next to me.  It did not bother me at all.  This is truly miraculous and I left that afternoon feeling like a mission had been accomplished.  While the fear of birds is not GONE - it has diminished.  :)

Rachel and Rob took a trip to South Carolina and visited Bob Jones University.  Rachel believes that God wants her to work in the medical field as a doctor.  She was able to tour the facilities there and meet with advisers to discuss their pre-med program.  She found out the day following their visit that she had been accepted into the program and will start there in fall.  She is busy brushing up on some science classes that she had in high school that she wanted to get a little bit more familiar with before she starts.  

She also was given the opportunity to help during the birth of 11 puppies.  She enjoyed it very much.  There are nine pups remaining and thriving.  She has learned a lot through the process and is planning on selling the pups and putting the money towards college.  Watching her with the little dogs is like watching a Mom with a new born baby.  She is going to have a rough time when they all leave! 

Rob's uncle passes away suddenly this past month.  Rob and I headed to Missouri for the funeral.  I have decided I have attended as many funerals as I care to attend in my life time.  As I sat and looked at the gray casket holding Uncle Davey's body - I told the Lord how much I am looking forward to the day when we will no longer experience death and separation from those we love.  Rob's uncle knew the Lord and we know we will see him again.  What a blessing it is to know and have hope!  It was a blessing to see family while we were there.

We just finished up with special meetings at our church this past week.  What a blessing the messages were to my heart.  I have found myself having so much to meditate upon today as I reviewed over in my head the truths I heard this week.   I hope to blog more next week on some of the truths that God has challenged me with this past week.  So thankful for grace!  

We are in the middle of a cold stretch here in the south.  The houses here are not insulated the way the houses up north are.  I was thankful for the snow - as I love snow - but I must say I really do enjoy living in a climate that is considerably warmer than anywhere else we have lived our entire married lives! 

I hope you are doing well..  Thanks for stopping in and reading my blog.  I am so glad you did.  Lord willing, and the creek don't rise, I will be posting more regularly!  Thanks for stopping by.