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Book One of Three
Born with Him
"Except a man [or woman] be born again [or from above],
he [or she] cannot see the kingdom of God".
THE FACTS OF CHRISTIAN LIFE
"birds and bees"
(How to stop being a sinner)
We should be constantly "looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith", for in Him is the secret of finishing with sin. Hebrews 12:2. We are told that Jesus is both the beginner and ender of our faith, but first we want to show you just how He is the beginner - just how He sets before us His method of re-creation whereby we have power over sin.
The problem of temptation of the Christian is the subject of Book Two.
"What shall I do to be saved" is a question as old as time, therefore God has recorded the answer for us in His word. He asked Joseph to call Mary's baby by the name of "Jesus", because He saves His people "FROM their sins". Matthew 1:21. (Please note, there is a world of difference between "from" and "in"!)
We find that the everlasting gospel, or the good news, is called "the power of God to salvation to everyone that believes". Romans 1:16. In the light of the Saviour's name, we can also say that the gospel is the power of God to salvation FROM sin (or selfishness) to everyone that believes.
This gospel is not described as a belief or a set of doctrines, but as a POWER, and that power as the POWER OF GOD, which is infinite and capable of saving His people from anything at all.
He or she who really believes, believes that Jesus can save them from ALL sin. So it is said that "the just" [the justified one] shall live by his or her faith. Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17. This means that the power of God can "keep him [or her] from falling". Jude 24.
But how ???
The "HOW" of it
It is one thing to hear that the power of God as supplied through Jesus Christ can keep you from sin, and another thing to do it. It helps if you know HOW you obtained that power. Our purpose in this book is to show you simply and clearly HOW you believed and received if you do not already know it, for the Holy Spirit tells us through the apostle John that, "as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God". John 1:12.
The easiest way to learn how something is done is to go to someone who has had experience in that thing and ask him to tell you. The apostle Paul told the Christians at Rome of his experience in salvation from sin in his letter to them.
He described the experiences he had before meeting his LORD while on a trip to Damascus to persecute Christians. When Paul finally met Jesus he was told, "I am Jesus whom you persecute. It is hard for you to kick against the pricks [of conscience]". Acts 9:5-22. When the astonished man asked what he should do he was directed to a Christian living in the city who would explain the "way" of Christianity to him. This man, Ananias, did not tell him that he needed to get a new heart, but how he had already received it and what that meant. Immediately Paul was baptised and went out to tell others of his past experience. This is what we shall look at.
First, Pauls words:- (well come back and look at them in detail later). If you haven't already read it, then we suggest that you look at Waggoner's "Bible Studies in Romans" whenever you can.
(Modified and modernised)
The two laws
"1 Know you not, brothers [and sisters], (for I speak to them that know the Law,) how that the Law [The Ten Commandments] has dominion over a man [or woman] as long as he [or she] lives?
2 For [example], the woman which has an husband is bound by the Law [The Ten Commandments] to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband is dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from [the condemnation of] that Law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
4 Because of this, my brothers [and sisters], you also are become dead to the law [of the old husband] by the body of Christ; that you should be married to Another, even to Him who is raised from the dead [and now you come under His Law], that we should bring forth fruit [good actions] to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh [acknowledging no Guide], the motions of sins [or sinful passion], which were [aroused] by the [effect of the old husbands] law, worked in our members [or bodies] to bring forth fruit [results] to death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law [of sin and death, the old husband], being dead [to that] wherein we were [once] held; that we should [now] serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? [or to be done away with]?
God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the Law: for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, "You shall not covet". 8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of desires. For without the Law sin was dead [or unknown to me], 9 for I was alive without the Law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be to death, 11 for sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
12 Wherefore the Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13 Was then that which is good made death to me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
14 For we know that the Law is spiritual: but [as a sinner] I am carnal, sold [as a slave] under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not:
for what I would, that do I not;
but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent to the Law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin [the sinmaster] that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it,
but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law [or principle], that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man [in my mind]: 23 but I see another law in my members [or body], warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity [and making me a slave] to the "law of sin" which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am!
Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the [new] mind I myself serve the Law of God; but with the flesh [which is the old mind, I serve] the "law of sin". See Philippians 2:4-5.
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh [human nature under the control of sin], but after the Spirit [or under His guidance], 2 for the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the "law of sin and death".
3 For what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God [did by] sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for [or on account of] sin, condemned [to death] sin in the flesh [human nature under the control of sin]: 4 that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh [the things of this world]; but they that are after [or follow] the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally [or selfishly] minded is [spiritual] death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, 7 because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh [human nature under the control of sin] cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness [and you will be in the first resurrection].
Note very definitely that this "law of sin and death" is NOT Satan.
He is a created being like the rest of us and therefore CANNOT be inside of each one of us. He too has had a "sinmaster" since his fall and he has learnt very well how to tempt and annoy every other creature. Our "sinmaster" is an hereditary principle which has been handed down to us by Adam and Eve. When they chose to sin they "twisted" a very good thing inside each of them which then became the "sinmaster", their controller, and part of their gene stock.
Every one of Adam and Eves descendants has been born with a compelling tendency to evil as it is written,
"There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable. There is none that does good, no, not one". Romans 3:10-12.
As a result, it is our Father who seeks after us. Jesus, the great Shepherd, illustrated this completely when He said He came to this earth to "seek and save that which was lost". Matthew 18:11-14; Luke 19:9-28. We cannot save ourselves, we need a Saviour, and this book is an effort to describe how He does it, so that you, as a reborn son or daughter, may know how you came to be.
Starting in verse 9 Paul wrote, "I was alive without the Law once". This is the original experience of each man or woman since birth. This state remains until one comes to an understanding of the Commandments, and then normal practice is to join a church and become a professed Christian.
Paul continued by telling us that "when the commandment came" into his understanding he then discovered that he was "dead"! Spiritually dead.
The purpose of the Law of God
He was "dead in trespasses and sins" Ephesians 2:1 ........ He had no conviction of sin ..........
But the Law entered....................... .............. The Holy Spirit convicted of sin
He found he was dead in sin there .................................. and alive to sin here
He was outside the church there ......................................................... He was inside a church here
and none of it was any use to him!
One of the desired effects of the Ten Commandments is to show us that when they are impossible to keep, it is because we are dead to the Spirit. Paul was very careful to point out in verse 12 that this was no reason to do away with the Law, for it is "holy, and just, and good". Not the Law, but something else was responsible for his "deadness".
This other thing is called "sin" in verse 13, and is not just the action of sin but something far more serious — the sinmaster - the spirit of disobedience which is in each of us.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he wrote, "For we know that the Law is spiritual", and with this statement he admitted that in his mind he knew that he should do good. For instance, Paul knew the principle illustrated in the action of one who looks upon a woman to lust after her in his heart. That person "has committed adultery already" in his mind, Jesus said, therefore it is not necessary for the physical action to follow the thought for harm to come to us. Matthew 5:28.
Paul clearly understood the spiritual nature of the Law. Note carefully his next word; "BUT"!! "But I am carnal, sold under sin". Paul also wrote that to be "carnally minded is death", which explained his knowledge of his condition of "death". He says that the carnal or earthly mind is enmity against God, it "is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be!"
The proof that he was carnal, or opposed to Gods ways, he gives in verse 15 "For that which I do, I allow not", he says, "for what I would, that do I not, but what I hate, that do I". He knew that he was carnally or worldly minded because it was shown by what he was doing. He knew that there is no greater truth in all the Bible than the fact that what you are is shown by what you do.
If only all professed Christians would believe that too!
He had commenced his experience of the Law with the thought that he could do what God required of him in his own strength. He soon found to his dismay that he just could not do the acts which his mind told him he should do to keep the Law. In the end he was forced to admit to himself that what he hated had more control over him than that which he loved!
He saw that his life had been a series of ups and downs, trying hard and not getting anywhere. Of sinning and confessing, sinning and confessing, sinning and confessing, the same old sins time after time. Each time asking the LORD to forgive him and promising to do better next time.
Was, or is, this your experience, dear reader?
Paul was an honest man and admitted that this was his experience - do you remember it also? He stated in verse 17 that it was no more he that did it but sin that dwelt in him. It is our purpose to identify that sin and call it by its right name.
While we do this it will be good for us to remember that our sins do not hurt God, except that He has to "die" to save us from them. We are not soothing an angry God, but being helped by One who knows that sin hurts us, or some one we love.
A Great Discovery
The Law enters our consciousness and we attempt to keep it
But we are sinning and confessing and asking for forgiveness, and getting nowhere!
In Romans we find Paul made this humble confession: "For I know that in me dwells no good thing, for to will is present with me, but HOW to perform that which is good I find not!".
Does this describe YOUR past or present experience, knowing and trying hard to do some good thing, and failing utterly to do it? Not just once, but over and over and over and over again, trying hard and failing often? Sometimes overcoming by sheer willpower, but then failing again later?
All this describes a son or daughter of Satan!
Are you a child of sin, or are you a child of God?
God wants us to be honest, to face our lives at this moment and ask the question, "Does this describe me?", for no greater truth does the Bible teach than the one that what you ARE is shown by what you DO! Jesus does not condemn you if you are in this situation, but if you are then He needs you to see it so that He can be your Saviour from sin. John 8:11.
The "law of sin"
We read that "It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells IN me".
This was the root cause of the problem.
Was Paul a church member? Yes. He was a devoted Jew - a Sabbath-keeper.
Was he a believer? Yes. He believed in God and the Ten Commandments.
And yet he himself stated that although he thought and hoped that he was saved, he found he was actually "carnal", or of this world. "Sold under sin", a slave to sin which was his master. And in the very nature of the case, at enmity with God! A murderer no less!! He confessed this later to king Agrippa while trying to warn him. Acts 8:3 and 26:9-11.
What a soul-shaking discovery this must have been to Paul, and none who have not yet come to this understanding can have any conception of the turmoil it causes. See Acts 9:3-9.
All this was proved by what he had been doing, as he said, "For the good that I would, I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do".
Paul summed up the experience of the carnal man, a man under the influence of the Holy Spirit (for who could see all this without God's leading?), and yet the experience of a man who is at enmity with God.
"For I delight in the Law of God after the inward man [in his mind], but I see another law in my members [in his body] warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the "law of sin" which is in my members".
The "law of sin" warred against the "law of his mind" and the result was that he became a prisoner of war, in which state he could do nothing of his own desire.
In this picture he has plainly set before us the three aspects of human nature - the body, the mind and the character; or the physical, the mental, and the spiritual natures of man. 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
.... ....... .......
.......physical .................. mental ...........................spiritual
.... "members" ........... "law of mind" ................... "law of sin"
He loved the Law of God but could not keep it as he admitted in despair. "O wretched man that I am ...". His mind knew the truth, yet his body was controlled by his mind which was itself under the compulsion of the spirit of disobedience. His mind wanted his body to do a certain action, but the "law of sin" said "no". He had no option but to obey and so his body did the action of sin, for he was a prisoner and not free.
This agrees exactly with the words of Jesus where He said,
"An evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil, for of [or from] the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks". Luke 6:45.
Here an "evil treasure" in his heart is named as the cause of sin and identified as the evil character of sin within the sinner.
This was in those whom we would call respectable church members and professed believers in Christ, for what is evil in God's sight is not always recognised to be evil in man's dim vision.
The right prayer
"O wretched man that I am", was Paul's despairing cry for salvation, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?".
"Who shall deliver me?"
This time he did not ask for forgiveness, but for deliverance, and the quickness of the reply showed the evidence of an anxious Saviour. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord", Paul continued, for his request was granted immediately. Every request for healing from leprosy, which is a symbol of this indwelling sinmaster, was answered immediately, and so is this. God knows that this malignant growth will eventually take our lives if not halted and cleansed from us by the loving hand of Jesus, and He wastes no time over it.
We are beginning to see that sin is not only the transgression, or act of breaking the Law of God, but that it is also a principle, a "master" as well. Forgiveness for the ACTION of sin is God's remedy, but no amount of forgiveness could change the NATURE of a slave-master. The only remedy for it is removal, and this is what He does.
The physical body - the actions
The mind - the thoughts - the will
The "law of sin" - the controller
The "filthy rags - self righteousness
"Sold under sin" means being a servant of sin. A person who is a slave to "sin" cannot be a servant of God at the same time. That would not be salvation FROM sin but salvation IN sin, for which God has made no provision. Remember, this is not to say that a person in this condition is automatically a servant of Satan. He is a creature like the rest of us, a fallen angel, while this is an inward condition, and therefore he must persuade humans to follow his ways. However, he has had a lot of practice.
(Christians sometimes choose to become servants of Satan, but that is another story which is dealt with in Book Two. You could ask us for the booklet "How to Struggle with Righteousness").
A terrible deception
This is where countless thousands of professed Christians have made a terrible and fatal mistake.
They have never come to Jesus and asked for deliverance from the POWER of sin in their lives. They may often have confessed their failure to obey, even wept tears of repentance as Esau did, and sworn to do better next time. But all to no avail! Hebrews 12:17. Only the repentance that does not need to be repented of again will stand in God's sight. 2 Corinthians 7:10. [Comment].
The whole purpose of this experience with the Ten Commandments is to bring us, as it did Paul, to the foot of the cross of Calvary to see the Crucified One and His gift. The Law of God has been our schoolmaster, bringing us to Christ the Saviour that we may learn the science of salvation. Galatians 3:24.
Those who are really without Christ often comfort themselves by mis-understanding Pauls words, "So then, with the mind I myself serve the Law of God, but with the flesh, the "law of sin", but no one can really serve two masters, for one must be loved and the other hated, as Jesus said. Matthew 6:24. Therefore He steps in with His offer of salvation FROM sin, from the power of sin in YOUR life, from the condemnation of the broken Law of love.
Dear reader, will you accept now if you have not already done so?
Whichever is the case, read on to know what it means to be set free "in deed" as well as in mind.
Back at the beginning of the seventh chapter of Romans we may see a perfect illustration of this life of trying to serve two masters, and the result of it.
Verse 1 tells us that the Law of God has dominion over a man or woman as long as they live. Verse 2 explains that this same Law binds a wife to the law of her husband (a second law), for the length of their marriage. This is, in Bible understanding, to be to the end of their physical lives. Mark 10:9. When her husband is dead she is released from his law although still under the general control of the Ten Commandments. This is a plain, simple, and very positive illustration. One that can be understood by anyone who desires to know the truth.
The Law of marriage, God's Law, is obviously NOT the law of the husband, but the woman is bound by both of these laws. She should respect them both. So then, if she marries another man while her first husband is still alive, the Law of marriage would condemn her, and she would be known as an adulteress. Mark 10:12.
She may not have two husbands at the same time in God's sight.
But this same Law will NOT condemn her for having another husband AFTER the first has died, for it is written in verse 3, "If her husband be dead, she is free from that Law, so that she is no adulteress though she be married to another man".
Now there is no condemnation.
When the would-be Christian (whether male or female) understands this principle then he or she knows that there must be a remarriage, (sometimes called a rebirth John 3:1-10). He or she has fallen "in love" with Christ and wants to be with Him forever, but there is the problem of the "old" husband! He still lives.
How then can the woman in our illustration get married to another man? Without breaking the Law of marriage which says, "Till death do you part?"
The only possible way is for her husband to die! She cannot, so he must. But if he is a fit man, a young man, one not likely to die of old age, can she help towards this end? No, definitely not, for then the Law of God would condemn her as a murderer, so she must wait for the natural course of events, helpless, with not the slightest ability to help herself.
What a wretched existence if she no longer loves her husband and at the same time loves another who would love her in return.
What a perfect example of one, who, seeing in the Law of God a portrait of His character, wants desperately to be one with Him. What a terribly accurate picture of the helplessness of the would-be Christian in his or her situation.
The old husband The woman Another Man
If he is the honourable man that she needs, he will not be able to help in her husband's death either, but must wait along with her. However, the whole situation is changed if there should come along a policeman with a charge of murder against the husband. He would then be taken away to court and tried for his life. If he is found guilty and condemned to die, may the woman then marry the other man? No, you say! Why not? Because he is not yet dead - not until the execution is over may she marry again. Not until he takes his last breath is she free.
This is most important to understand, for upon this point hangs your eternal destiny, dear reader. Now read the next verse in Romans 7,
"Because of this, my brothers [and sisters], you also are become dead to the law [of the husband] by the body of Christ. That you should be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit to God".
Here it is stated that WE also are to become dead - this means "dead" in that part of our nature which has caused all the trouble - the spiritual character that we have possessed since birth, called not only the "old husband", but the "old man", the "evil heart", the "stony heart", and many other names in various places in the Scriptures. For example, Romans 6:6; Luke 6:45; Ezekiel 36:26.
"Dead to the law" - not the holy, just and good Law of God, but the "law of sin and death", the law of the "husband", that overpowering master of sin which dwells within us and controls our actions unless we are saved FROM sin!
This is what the sacrifice of Calvary should mean to us, for there we may see the new man in the form of Christ Jesus and there we are to cease from being Mrs. Sinner and become Mrs. Christian!
How only can it be done? How only can we have a new Husband?
Oh, the illustration is so clear, so simple, so perfect, that the veriest babe cries out, "ONLY by the death of the old husband!"
We need a new life altogether. Can we wait for the "law of sin" to die of old age? No! Can we put our "self" to death? No! The authority of God must come upon the "law of sin" and He must pronounce sentence against it. But condemnation alone is not sufficient as you have just seen. The "law of sin" MUST be put to death to us, by being removed IN FACT from us. It must be permanently extracted from us and deposited safely with Jesus until the day of reckoning, for He is the only One who can handle it. What He does is to "swap" with us - a life for a life.
The heart transplant
To use another illustration, it is through a spiritual "heart transplant" that we receive His character of righteousness while He takes our "evil heart".
This is how essential it is to ask for deliverance from sin.
Asking for forgiveness alone is not sufficient. If you have never asked for deliverance from the master of sin within, you have never become a Christian - this is how serious it is!
"You should be married to Another ... that we should bring forth fruit to God". The fruit of an earthly marriage is children, and a particular father will bring forth like-minded children. So, in this case, to bring forth deeds of righteousness we must have the right Husband and Father - Jesus Christ. The "law of sin" is to be removed out of our lives altogether, replaced with the "Law of life", and Jesus is to guide our minds through His Spirit, and so guide our actions.
The Vine illustration
"I am the vine", said Christ, "You are the branches". John 15:5. The closest possible connection is here represented. Graft the leafless twig on to the flourishing vine stock, and it becomes a living branch, drawing sap and nourishment from the vine. Fibre by fibre, vein by vein, the sapling clings, until it buds and blossoms and bears fruit.
The sapless twig represents the sinner.
But when united to Christ, life is joined to life, the feeble and finite to the holy and infinite, and the man or woman becomes one with Christ. The apparently dry branch, by being connected with the living vine, becomes a part of it. The sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, must experience a similar process. As the graft receives life when united to the vine, so the sinner partakes of the divine nature when connected with Christ. 2 Peter 1:4. Finite human is united with infinite God. When thus united, the words of Christ abide in us, become real, and then we are actuated not by spasmodic feeling, but by a living, abiding principle.
In the case of a woman being married again, she would be required to learn a new series of habits in order to please her new husband, and at the same time, she would need to cease from many old habits for the same reason. This she would not find hard or tedious for the labour of love is sweet and easy. Matthew 11:30.
Therefore it is written under inspiration by one who knew that love:-
"The test of the genuineness of our love for God's family lies in this question - Do we love God Himself and do we obey His commands? For loving God means obeying His commands, and these commands of His are not burdensome, for God's 'heredity' within us will ALWAYS conquer the world outside us". 1 John 5:2-4 J B Phillips' translation.
We as Christians will have to learn a whole life of new habits, putting away the old ones in the power of our new Husband, for His "Law of life" is infinitely stronger than the "law of sin and death". (There is a good book by A T Jones "Shall it be Grace or Sin" available.)
The law of marriage = The Law of new Husband
Need we fear that we shall go back to the old ways? Never! Does a woman in love have to fear that she might commit adultery? Why her very love would exclude such a thought from her mind entirely even if one should make an advance. Her strength is in her love and in her husband's power.
The good news is the POWER OF GOD within and the word of God without! Spiritual life is not supported from within ourselves, but draws its food from the word of God, as the branch does from the vine. We are dependent upon God every moment. He, through His Spirit, is our source of supply. All our outside forms, prayers, fastings, and offerings cannot take the place of the inward work of the Spirit on our hearts through the Bible.
The end of sinning
The reason that some professed Christians so carelessly indulge in actions of sin is that they do not see Jesus as He really is. We would not lightly regard sinful actions if we truly appreciated the fact that our sins wound our LORD. Try reading "The Continuing Sacrifice". Harshness, rough words or manner, evil-speaking, passionate words, cannot exist in the soul that is looking to Jesus. He or she who abides in Christ is in an atmosphere that stifles evil, and therefore does not have the slightest excuse for anything of this kind.
Let us now read another portion of Gods word, "Shall we continue in sin? God forbid! How shall we that are dead TO sin [not IN sin] live any longer therein?" (See Appendix B again).
"Know you not, that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into His death? Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life". Romans 6:3-4.
The point of time when we realise that of ourselves we can do no good at all because of the presence of the indwelling sinmaster, and cry out for deliverance from it, is the point of TRUE baptism. Baptism INTO Jesus Christ and His death. It is the point of our spiritual death and burial, and should be followed by the literal water baptism, for baptism by immersion is a symbol of burial as we have just read. Before a burial there should be a "death", but unfortunately there have been many who have been buried "alive" in the waters of baptism, for they did not know that the death of the old man is required, not just his condemnation.
And after the death and burial?
Why, then, a resurrection to the new life, for it is written in verse 5,
"For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection ... that henceforth we should not serve sin, for he that is dead is freed FROM sin!"
The truth shall make you free indeed.
But it all depends on and waits for us to make the choice!
child of God "by adoption"
also "by nature" though "Christ our righteousness"
God has set before us life and death, the new Husband or the old, and we must choose intelligently. "Come now, and let us reason together, says the LORD"." Isaiah 1:18. .... .................. . Deliverance or bondage.
The choice is YOURS, the waters of baptism await your decision.
How often should we "die"?
"Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more, death has no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died to sin ONCE; but in that He lives, He lives to God. LIKEWISE in the same way reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our LORD". Romans 6:9-11.
How often did Jesus die at Calvary? Once.
And therefore only once at the beginning of our Christian life are we reborn from our state of spiritual death. A normal human baby is only born once and then it lives its life growing and growing day by day. Likewise, we are reborn and then grow in grace day by day (not grace in us).
Remember, "For in that He died, He died to sin ONCE".
"Let not sin [the sinmaster] therefore, reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts of it. Neither YIELD you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but YIELD yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin [the law of the old husband] shall NOT have dominion over you: for you are not under the law [of the old husband], but under grace [the law of the new Husband]". Romans 6:12-14.
There is no compulsion here but a pleading, "Yield yourselves". The newly married woman still has control over her own body and it must be willingly given to her new husband. She may at any time yield to another man, but sheer love of her husband will make it impossible for her to do so. Nothing else but love can do this. When Mrs. Sinner becomes Mrs. Christian she stays faithful to Him through her own choice, for the "old man" is dead and buried.
This then, is the science of salvation:-
"Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey,
his servants you are to whom you obey;
whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?" Romans 6:16.
1. To whom you yield yourself (freedom of choice)
2. But that which I do I allow not (compulsion).
Here are two opposing principles, in only one of which is there any choice.
In the experience described in chapter 7 you were a slave, an unwilling sinner, but once delivered you have every choice as described in chapter 6.
"But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine that was delivered you. Being then made FREE FROM SIN, you became the servants of righteousness". Romans 6:17-18.
....................... The righteousness of Jesus Christ
Made free from sin! Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ indeed, for this is what He does when He saves a person from their sinmaster. Any person at all who ever comes to Him (it does not matter by what name they call Him), and asks for deliverance from the power and authority of the sinmaster within will find instant freedom - if they really want it. For this is the only requirement - we must really want to be saved from our sinful nature. Unfortunately, many would like to be free from the guilt and sorrow of sin while still retaining a secret desire for it! But if we see what is being offered and really want it there is no power in heaven or earth that can stop us from obtaining it, for salvation is a free gift, given by the love of God. Romans 6:23.
dead in sin = Mrs. Sinner ........... alive in Christ = Mrs. Christian
Freedom of choice
In the same way, there is no power in heaven or earth that can make a Christian commit the action of sin if he or she cries to Jesus to be protected. No power at all, for the power of Jesus Christ is the power of God to salvation. 1 Corinthians 10:13. All this is summed up in Romans 6:20; "When you were the servants of sin, you were free from [or had] no righteousness". This tells us that THEN there was NO righteousness at all. (See Appendix C).
"What fruit had you then in those things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But NOW, being made free from sin and become servants to God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting life, for the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD". Romans 6:21-23.
This way of life is offered to every one of us when we will admit that we have not been able to stop sinning in our own strength.
"There is therefore NOW no condemnation to them which are IN Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit". In another place it is written, "Christ IN you", which completes the picture of the married couple. Colossians 1:27.
Before, there was nothing but condemnation and the certainty of death; now there is no condemnation at all and the certainty of life. "For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."
What made the difference? Jesus taking away your old life and giving you a portion of His. Replacing the old husband with a new one.
"God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and by a sacrifice, condemned the "law of sin" in the flesh, that the righteousness of the Law of God might be fulfilled in us ... "
"For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace because the carnal mind is enmity against God. For it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be".
There is no hope whatever of our keeping the Law of God while we have the carnal mind for that is an impossibility as we have just read.
"So then, they that are in the flesh [they that have the mind of the flesh] cannot please God, but you are not in the flesh but in [the mind of ] the Spirit, IF SO BE that the Spirit of God dwell in you".
"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His". Who guides your actions? This is where you must be honest with yourself, for you and you alone can answer this question. "Do you have the Spirit of Christ and are you overcoming your sin problems?" It is written,
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God, for you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, 'Abba, that is, Father'". Romans 8:14-15.
Book Two deals with this subject in greater detail.
Let us turn back to the illustration of the woman and her husband. He is condemned to death and executed. Along comes the new man whom she loves and asks her to marry him. She says, "Yes". Are they married? No. The agreement has been made but they are not yet married. They set a date, and there he is at the altar, but what if she should fail to arrive? Are they married? No, again. Not until they are there together at the altar and the vows are exchanged and the consummation of the marriage takes place are they actually married.
Therefore, it is not enough to desire to be a Christian.
It is not enough even to accept Christ's request to be your Husband.
There has to be the actual act of giving yourself to Him. There has to be consummation of the Christian union. There has to be the walk with Him thereafter. The obedience to His authority; the power of His life in yours for evermore. There has to be the change of old habits one by one, day by day, after the initial ceremony, and then you KNOW that you are married.
You may KNOW that you are the "wife" of Jesus by what you do. It is not a supposed hope, but a living reality. It is a life of experimental religion, trying out and proving His power in your life, not in history!
The daily walk
The obstacles, provocations, and hardships that we meet from that day on may also prove to be to us, not a curse but the greatest blessings of our lives, for the grandest characters are formed amidst hardships and trials. But these must be received as practical lessons in the school of Christ as His partner. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne in His strength, gives us a new experience and advances us in the work of character building through the power of our Saviour.
Thus we will gain a better knowledge of the workings of Satan, and of our own ability to overcome him through divine grace. In the probationary time granted us here in this world we are each building a structure that is to have the inspection of the Judge of all the earth. See 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. This work is the moulding and growth of our characters. Every act of our lives is a block in that building; every act is a blow for good or evil.
The words of inspiration warn us to take heed to how we build, to see that our Foundation is sure. Isaiah 28:16; 2 Timothy 2:19. If we build upon the solid Rock, Christ Jesus, with pure and upright deeds, the structure will go up beautiful and straight, a fit temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
"Know you not that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16.
Do you know this?
Not by trying --- but by dying!
It is not "once saved always saved", for at any time during the union you are free to break your vows, but the power of love should make it impossible for you to do so. If you should make a mistake in ignorance you will only too quickly admit it when enlightened, and ask for cleansing from that particular area of ignorance. 1 John 1:8-9. But we must always remember that this involves asking for the power to change A HABIT, not a husband!
What is not right in your life will be gently pointed out by your new Husband and you will find it easy to obey His request. He says, "If you love Me, keep My commandments". John 14:15. And His beloved disciple also says, "And hereby we do know that we know Him IF we keep His commandments". 1 John 2:3.
You can tell whether you are a Christian or not by what you must do!
"He that says, 'I know Him' and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him", John continued. And a liar is a child of Satan! So the simple test to apply to your own life is this, "Can I keep the commandments?" Don't worry about how you FEEL. Don't worry about whether you THINK that you are a Christian. Apply the test and be honest and sincere with yourself.
"Can I keep the commandments?"
"Whoever keeps His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected. Hereby know we that we are in Him. He that says he abides in Him, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked". 1 John 2:5-6.
And in another place:-
"Whoever commits sin transgresses also the Law, for sin is the transgression of the Law. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin. Whoever abides in Him sins not. Whoever sins [without being able to stop] has not seen Him, neither known Him".
"Little children, let no man deceive you - he that DOES righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that commits sin [by doing what he does not want to do] is of the devil, for the devil sins from the beginning".
"For THIS purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil".
"Whoever is born of God does not commit sin [unless it is by his choice], for His seed remains in him. And he cannot sin [like a woman in love] because he is born of God".
"In THIS the children of God are manifest [or made very clear] and the children of the devil". 1 John 3:4-10.
Does a woman in love have to resist and struggle with the thought and desire to commit adultery? It is easy for her to say "No!" to any such suggestion, for it is against every fibre of her being. So it is with the Christian who is in love with Christ.
Be honest with yourself now. On which side of the cross of Calvary do you stand? Do you love Jesus Christ so much that the very thought of committing a sin, something that you know is wrong, terrifies you because of the effect it will have on Him? Do you have a renewed nature?
The old way
This experience is no new one established only since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Calvary. It has always been the way of salvation as John goes on to say, "For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another".
Let us go back to the times before the New Testament and read it there as well. Jesus said,
"For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be clean. From all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you". Ezekiel 36:24-25.
This was not meant to be understood as applying only to literal things because He goes on to tell us that "A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you".
Here Jesus is talking about the experience of rebirth, and describing the old experience as the LAND of sin and death, the land of the heathen, the lands of the godless. "I will gather you out of all those countries", He says, "and will bring you into your own land". The land of obedience, the promised land of the kingdom of heaven, the spiritual land where all are righteous is what He means.
And so He continues, "A new heart will I give you; and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh; and I will give you a heart of flesh; and I will put My Spirit within you; and cause you to walk in My statutes; and you shall keep My judgments and do them. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people and I will be your God". Ezekiel 36:26-28.
How much does Jesus ask you to do? How much does He say He will do?
The emphasis is all on what He will do for you if you will only allow Him, for He will not do this without your earnest desire. All He asks from you is the authority to do it! All He asks from us is that we make the decision to become Christians; that we ask Him to deliver us from the power of the "law of sin". He would like us to ask Him in a prayer where not only He can hear us, but also the angels, for are they not "ministering spirits" to the heirs of salvation? Hebrews 1:14. If you have not already done this, then come to Jesus and ask Him and He will do it for you right now!
Then He continues by saying,
"I will also save you from all your uncleanesses, and I will call for the corn and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that you shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen". Ezekiel 36:29-30.
He will not only deliver you into a new life but will continue to bless you in both physical and spiritual foods so that you are an inspiration to the godless. The Bible will become a new Book to you and you will find that your hunger and thirst after righteousness will be satisfied, so that you may eat often and grow in grace. Matthew 5:6.
From that moment on, to be cleansed of ALL "the uncleanesses" or habits of the old life which we have carried over with us, we need a new process called "sanctification". This is discussed in the next book.
"This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and [still] walk in darkness, we lie, and DO not the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from ALL sin [actions]. If we say that we have no sin [actions], we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we CONFESS our sins, He is faithful and just to FORGIVE us our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness". 1 John 1:5-9.
We must not think that because we have accepted Jesus Christ and become Mrs. Christian that we have no actions of sin left, but as we acknowledge and confess them when they come to our notice, we will do ONE thing while our Saviour does TWO things. Then we will find that those actions of sin will drop out of our lives completely.
But please note this point with care.
Where there is no cleansing from sin, there is no forgiveness for it, for Jesus has to do both together.
The sure evidence of forgiveness of sin is the fact of cleansing.
When we are dead to the desire for the actions of our past life then we may know that we have been forgiven for the past acts of transgression on this point.
Back there Jesus said, "THEN". "Then shall you remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations". Ezekiel 36:31.
As you look back on what you used to be, and the miry pit from which you have been saved, you will have nothing to glory of in yourself. You will give all the glory to Jesus Christ your Saviour, and will say every day, "Thank You, LORD". You will think of yourself as the chief of sinners saved by grace, for only the power of the indwelling Spirit separates you from the old land of sin and shame.
By now you have seen clearly and plainly the WAY of salvation, the WAY to begin to stop sinning.
Not until you do this will you receive that deliverance, but having once received it you will have the power available to you to overcome EVERY TIME without ever falling at all again. Philippians 4:13.
Nothing can separate you from your Saviour, except your own choice, for it is written:-
"In the face of all this, what is there left to say? If God is for us, who can be against us? He that did not hesitate to spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all - can we not trust such a God to give us, with Him, everything else that we can need? Who would dare to accuse us, whom God has chosen? The Judge Himself has declared us free from sin [the sinmaster]. Who is in a position to condemn?"
"Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ directs our prayers for us!"
"Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, pain or persecution? Can lack of clothes or food, danger to life and limb, the threat of the force of arms? Indeed some of us know the truth of that ancient/ text:-
For Your sake we are killed all the day long,
we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
"No, in all these things we win an overwhelming victory through Him, who has proved His love for us."
"I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what might happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God's whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our LORD!" Romans 8:31-39. J B Phillips' translation.
We must come down from our height of self-righteousness to the level of our Example, as it is written, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to humble yourself to walk with Your God?" Micah 6:8 margin.
And again, "Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me", says Jesus, "for I am meek and lowly in heart ... " Matthew 11:29.
"And this I pray, that your love may yet abound more and more in knowledge and in all judgment, that you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God". Philippians 1:9-11.
"We know that the true child of God does not sin, because he is in the charge of God's own Son and the evil one must keep his distance. We know that we ourselves are children of God, and we also know that the world around us is under the power of the evil one. We know too that the Son of God has actually come to this world, and has shown us the way to know the One who is true. We know that our real life is in the True One, and in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the real God and this is real, eternal life. But be on your guard, my dear children, against every false god!". 1 John 5:18-21 J B Phillips' translation.
The education begun here will not be completed in this life; it will be going forward through all eternity, ever progressing, never completed.
But right now, in the light that shines from the heavenly throne mysteries will disappear and we will be filled with astonishment at the simplicity of the things that were never before comprehended. By beholding Christ, by talking of Him, by beholding the loveliness of His character we become changed.
"Changed from glory to glory" 2 Corinthians 3:18.
And what is glory? Depth of character. Therefore in this way we become changed from one depth of character to another depth of character. Thus we may see that there is a deeper work of purification that goes on by beholding Jesus.
Our life-work here is a preparation for the life eternal: may you progress rapidly with it.
To Book Two to see the work of the Spirit.....
"The apostle [Paul] showed that religion does not consist in rites and ceremonies, creeds and theories. If it did, the unconverted man or woman could understand it by investigation, as he or she understands worldly things. Paul taught that Christianity is a practical, saving energy, a principle wholly from God, a personal experience of Gods renewing power upon the individual". Acts of the Apostles 451. See also Acts 26:1-29 and 28:21-30.
"The spirit of liberality [free giving] is the spirit of heaven. This spirit finds its highest manifestation in Christs sacrifice on the cross. In our behalf, the Father gave His only-begotten Son; and Christ, having given all that He had, then gave Himself that men and women might be saved. The picture of the cross of Calvary should appeal to the benevolence of every follower of the Saviour. The principle there illustrated is give, give. "He that says he abides in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked". Acts of the Apostles 339. See also 1 John 2:6.
THAT WHICH MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.
ROMANS 7 ....... ROMANS 8
dead IN sin ........ dead TO sin
in bondage .......... free man
always defeated ............................. more than conqueror
always condemned ........... no condemnation
disobedient ........... obedient
carnal ................. spiritual
warring ................ peaceable
wretched ........... joyful
body of death .................. Spirit of life
unjustified ......................... justified
"I" - selfish ........................... "He" - Christ
spirit of bondage ..................................... spirit of adoption
CHILD OF SATAN ........................... CHILD OF GOD
"CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE".
"Give to God the most precious offering it is possible for you to make; give Him your heart. He speaks to you saying, 'My son, My daughter, give Me your heart. Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow, for I will cleanse you with My own blood. I will make you members of My family, children of the heavenly King. Take My forgiveness, My peace which I freely give you. I will clothe you with My own righteousness - the wedding garment - and make you fit for the marriage supper of the Lamb. When clothed in My righteousness, through prayer, through watchfulness, through diligent study of My word, you will be able to reach a high standard. You will understand the truth, and your character will be moulded by a divine influence'." Youth's Instructor, 30 Jun 1892 (Sons & Daughters page 98).
To Book Two
To ancient SDA's ............. To "What's New?"