Remembering the Saints (5)
Weakened hath been
the might of the Devil
with his dark despicable host;
ever abides in perfection the strong might of our King.
If we should run under His diadem,
His part will come:
since He is not slow (or) feeble,
there will be no inability there.
Let our will be firm,
let us strive after what is dearer:
since ‘tis this that is nobler,
let us all love Jesus!
- Oengus mac Oengobann, The Martyrology of Oengus
“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.”
- Matthew 12.28, 29
For Oengus, the achievements of those who preceded him in the Celtic Revival were proof of one thing above all: The Kingdom of God had come, and the rule of the devil was done.
“The whole world was lost in the darkness of sin./The Light of the world is Jesus!” From the time of His coming to earth, the light of God’s truth began to shine in the world, driving away the darkness of sin and unbelief, and putting into effect the work of making all things new. The apostle John saw that light as increasing in his day, and the darkness of the devil completely unable to stop its spread (1 Jn. 2.8). Doubtless John saw the same thing Oengus did – multitudes coming to faith in Jesus, new churches being started for making disciples and propagating the Gospel, and people’s lives being transformed dramatically.
If we run our race under the diadem and rule of King Jesus, looking to Him as the Author and Finisher of our faith, we will know His all-things-new power at work within us making us willing and able to do what pleases Him (Heb. 12.1, 2; 2 Cor. 5.17; Phil. 2.12, 13). Jesus is neither slow nor feeble, Oengus observed. Neither are those who follow Him: “there will be no inability there.” We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us, whatever He calls us to be or do (Phil. 4.13)!
The new regime of King Jesus has been advancing since the day Jesus bound the devil and, later, when the Holy Spirit first fell upon the Church of the Lord. Souls by the billions have been plundered from the grip of Satan. Cultures have been reformed and renewed. Good works of beauty and love abound wherever the Kingdom advances. And we must not fail to remember and give thanks for those in and through whom Jesus has made such powerful Kingdom progress.
We who have been conveyed into that Kingdom are called to seek it as the defining priority of our lives, and to pray earnestly for its coming on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6.33, 10). By remembering the saints of previous generations, we can learn to make our will firm and to strive mightily for that which is most dear and most noble, the love of Jesus Christ and the fullness of life in His Kingdom.
If you ever doubt that the Kingdom of God is real, that it has come and is advancing in the world, and that it brings transforming power for making all things new, read a little Church history. Study the life of a great saint from the past. Their lives and achievements are the proof from God that He is riding forth, conquering and to conquer (Rev. 6.1, 2; cf. Ps. 45.4, 5), building His Church (Matt. 16.18), and bringing His rule of Light into every nook and cranny of moral and spiritual darkness, both in our lives and in the world.
We are called to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12), and we will be better equipped to realize this calling as we look to our forebears in the faith and learn from them how to love Jesus with all our soul and strength. Remember the saints of old. Rejoice in the reality of the Kingdom. Live each day as the next link in that historical chain that is plundering the devil and advancing the Kingdom and glory of God.
1. Is there a saint from the past who inspires you? What about that person’s life most encourages you in your daily walk with the Lord?
2. How should the achievements of the saints feature in your prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord?
Sing Psalm 133.1-3.
(Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara: Children of the Heavenly Father)
O behold, how sweet, how pleasant, when the brethren dwell together.
All in unity abiding find God’s blessing there presiding.
Like the precious oil of blessing flowing down on Aaron’s vestment,
God’s anointing rests forever where His people dwell together.
Like the dew of Hermon’s fountain falling down on Zion’s mountain,
so the blessing of the Savior dwells where unity finds favor.
Lord, let that great cloud of witnesses from throughout our Christian past be for me an encouragement to…
Resources about Celtic Christians
To learn more about the Celtic Revival, order a free PDF copy of our book, The Celtic Revival: A Brief Introduction, by clicking here. You might also order a free copy of our book, The Legacy of Patrick, by clicking here. For longer excerpts of writings from the Celtic Revival, visit our Celtic Legacy webpage by clicking here. And, in the historical theology installments of our InVerse Theology Project, we’re exploring saints’ lives in more detail. You can begin listening by clicking here (scroll through to find more).
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T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.