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Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 10

The Cross of Calvary # 10

For crucified with Christ is Paul's invariable declaration, and from whichever point of view he speaks of the results of the death of Christ, he uniformly keeps Calvary as the basal fact; in all his unfolding of truth never going beyond the radius of the Cross. The Greek word which the Apostle uses in Galatians 2:20, signifies "To crucify together", and "crucified together with Christ" must be the fact upon which our faith must rest, if we are to know continuous deliverance, for the eyes of the heart must be focused upon the crucified Christ, and not be turned inward upon the subjective experience.

"Looking unto Jesus" is the way of deliverance as every stage of the spiritual life. We "look" at the Christ upon His Cross, just as the Israelites looked away from their dire condition to the serpent lifted up in the wilderness - look away from ourselves in the death of sin to Calvary, and as we look we live. Again we "look" and see ourselves crucified with Christ, and in the faith which unites us to Him, we reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, and cast away every known sin, refusing to let it reign over us, and - in so far as we honestly desire and expect the victory - the Holy Spirit seals our faith with real deliverance.

Once more we look to Calvary, and see that we have died to the law, for God no longer says, "Thou shalt" to those who are in Christ. As we yield obedience to the law of Christ, He sends forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, whereby we cry "Abba Father", and learn to look to Him to supply our every need.

Again, we "look" to Calvary, and with clearer vision see ourselves - "I" crucified with Him. As the Spirit illuminates the message, we marvel that we did not understand the wondrous secret long before. We have but to make way for the Living Christ, by taking His Cross as ours, and He will manifest Himself through us.

And is that all? Nay. As He Who died and rose again occupies the throne within, in His light we shall see light, and as new departments of our complex beings are brought into the searchlight of His Presence, we shall discover every deeper depths of our need, and find Calvary again and again the place of life.

"Crucified with Christ!" His Cross is mine. I am there with Him. I consent to share His Cross, and meet all things with "No longer I!"  "I have no longer a separate existence. I am merged in Christ," so He the Living One, will move forth through me, working in me that which is well-pleasing in His sight.

The Cross and the Living Christ

"He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe" (1 Thessalonians 1).

"I have been crucified with Christ ... no longer I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20).

"It was the good pleasure of God to reveal His Son in me," writes the Apostle earlier in his epistle to the Galatians. The "mystery which hath been hid from all ages ... now manifested in His saints", he writes to the Colossians; a mystery which God is pleased to make known to His children; "the riches of the glory of this mystery ... which is Christ in you the hope of glory."

This is the end, or purpose of the Cross. We are crucified with Christ, to make room for Him to dwell in our hearts by faith, and this indwelling of the Lord Christ is called a "mystery" - a word signifying "secret", something hid from our understanding until revealed to us.

This mystery was not made known under the dispensation of law. Then every man stood by his own "works" before God, except a few like Abraham, who in the Spirit foresaw the "day" of Christ, and were glad; they saw the promises afar off, and embraced them. But during the dispensation of grace it is God's purpose that the "mystery" should be proclaimed to all nations, that those who are "obedient" to the faith" may share its glory.

Paul said he was made a minister to "fulfill the word (or purpose) of God, even the mystery; and his burden of heart was that others should "gain in all its richness the full assurance of understanding; truly to know the mystery of God", which "by revelation was made known" to him. Especially the eternal purpose of God that men of every tongue, and tribe, and nation, were to share in the unsearchable riches of Christ. Paul said it was a special gift of grace to him, that he should be chosen of God to bear among all nations such glad tidings, and to bring "light to all", that each might behold the "stewardship of the mystery" - the trust given to each to whom it is revealed to carry the message to all people, "to the intent that to the principalities and powers" in the heavenly realm (who are watching the dealings of God with a fallen creation), may be made known "through the Church" the manifold wisdom of God.

The revelation of Christ in Paul was given that he might "preach Him", he declares to the Galatians, and he precedes his testimony, "Christ liveth in me", by the words, "I have been crucified with Christ", showing clearly that the revelation of the mystery of Christ living in us depends upon a true and real planting into His death.

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 11)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 9

The Cross of Calvary # 9

"To this end Christ died, and lived again, that He might be Lord" (Romans 14:9)

Crucified With Christ

"I through the law died unto the law, that I might live unto God, I have been crucified with Christ ... no longer I, but Christ" (Galatians 2:19-20).

Paul does not hesitate to refer to his own experience, for he does not preach a gospel to the Romans or to the Galatians which he has not proved himself, and all the he has written to the Romans concerning the death with Christ, he turns up in this passage in his epistle to the Galatians.

To the Romans he said "we" and "our", but to the Galatians he said "I"! "I" died unto the law", "I have been crucified with Christ."

In these words we have embodied the deepest meaning of the deliverance of Calvary, and the more simply we take the message, the more quickly shall we prove the word of the Cross as the power of God to deliver.

This "I" which has been the central spring of every human life since the fall; this "I" cries Paul, was "crucified with Christ", and the law was the means of bringing me to that place of death - the place where I acknowledged my hopeless condition; the place where I found out that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing; the place where I ceased from my struggles,and cried out for help from another; the "law" brought me to that place where I died to the law by sheer inability to obey it, and from there I fled to hide myself in the death of Christ, and now I have died with Him.

We need to remember that no word of God is exhausted in one application. As we are led on by him, find the message of the Cross opening out with an ever widening meaning, to meet an every deepening need. At first we apprehend out death with Christ simply in relation to the bondage of sin. With our eyes on the crucified Lord dying for us, we listen to the declaration of Paul in Romans 6, "our old man was crucified with Him", and reckon ourselves dead unto sin, and cast away" anger, passion and malice ... evil-speaking, and reviling", and all the manifest "works of the flesh". Then we prove with joy that the word of the Cross is the power of God to all who believe, and find that the living Christ is "able to save completely them that draw near to God through Him".

But sooner or later we find out that we need a deeper deliverance. Our lives are still in some measure self-centered, although we reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin, and find deliverance from the manifest works of the flesh. Self-energy, or self-complacency in service; self-pity when we are suffering; self-seeking in desiring the praise of men; self-introspection and self-judgment in hours of trial;self-sensitiveness in contact with others; self-defense when we are injured, and sometimes, above all and through all a self-consciousness that makes life almost a burden, are some of the indications of the self=center within.

In the energy of self, desiring to be wholly the Lord's, we may sometimes consecrate ourselves to Him, and with new vigor seek to work for Him, oblivious of the source of our activities, until we are spent out, or, finding little spiritual fruit from all our labor, our eyes are opened to see the uselessness of all our "creaturely activity" for Him.

It is at this point that the Spirit of God brings the word of the Cross with a fresh and blessed message of deliverance. A deliverance that, to some lives, has meant greater consequences than the freedom from the bondage of sin which they proved in earlier days.

The Lord Jesus in His call to the Cross, touched the core of the trouble in every life when He said, "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself." The Lord did not say his sins, nor certain exterior things, but He Who knew what was in man, struck deeper than actions to the very center of a man, and said "himself."

Let a man renounce himself and see himself as crucified with Christ, and quickly another Himself - the Lord Christ - will take the central place in the heart, and quietly bring all things under His sway.

"Each one of you saith I," wrote Paul to the Corinthians about the cause of the contention in the Church; and instance after instance is given in the Scriptures of the "I" in its various forms.

"Is not this great Babylon which I have built?" cries Nebuchadnezzar. "I will say to my soul ... take thine ease," says the one whose delight was in earthly treasure. "I am not as the rest of men," is the self-estimation of the moral man. "I am holier than thou," the inner thought of the self-righteous. "I am rich... and have need of nothing," the attitude of the self-satisfied; and "I am" of this one or that one, the "I" of the Christian who walks "after the manner of men." "For when one saith, I am of Paul; and another I am of Apollos; are ye not men?" writes the Apostle.

But "I" crucified with Christ, was Paul's charter of freedom. With the message of the Cross he met every difficulty of the Christians of his day. "We who died." "All died." "For ye died," was his reiterated statement, as he dealt practically with the children of God, about their attitude to sin, and the elements of the world in the Church of God. And the souls to whom he wrote, knew that he lived it out in his own life. He did not say "I have been crucified with Christ", and seek the highest place, even when he might have "claimed honor" as an Apostle of Christ.

"I am nothing" he wrote to the Corinthians, and I "am less than the least of all saints", to the Ephesians. "No longer I" was the whole spirit of his life, as he counted all things loss for Christ, and became as it were, the off-scouring of all things for His sake.

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(Continued with # 10)

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 8

The Cross of Calvary # 8

The Law was given to Show the sinfulness of Sin

"The law is holy ... righteous, and good (That) through the commandment sin might become exceeding sinful". (v. 12, 13)

"Sin ... shown to be sin" by the holiness of the law! How wonderful the plan devised by the Creator to teach the creature - who has no conception of sin - what sin is, and still more to make him know his need of salvation.

Sin must become "exceeding sinful" ere it is loathed, and the desire aroused to have it put away, and deliverance known from its bonds.

The need of a Saviour must be felt before the Saviour Himself can be welcomed.

The depth of the fall must be seen ere the height, and depth, and breadth, and length of salvation can be understood.

"Through the commandment," holy, righteous, and good, and his vain efforts to fulfill it, God brings a man to know himself, and his condition.

The Law Bringing to the helplessness of death

"Sin, ... working death to me..."
"Sold under sin ..."
"In me, that is, in my flesh: dwelleth no good thing." (v. 13, 14, 18).

How bitter the strife! How humiliating to the pride of man. "The law is spiritual," cries the man, "but I - am carnal, sold under sin." I am practically a slave, for "what I hate, that I do" (v. 15)

The very fact that I hate sin, proves that my eyes are opened to the beauty and goodness of God's will (v. 16), so that I seem to be like two persons. In my will I desire to do right, but I am utterly unable to "do that which is good" (v. 18). Therefore in one sense it is not I that work the wrong, but the sin which reigns, and tyrannies over me (v. 17).

I am truly a slave! What slavery is like unto this? At all events I know now, that "in me ... dwelleth no good thing" (v. 18). I see no man on earth blacker than myself. I can never think again that "I am not as other men". Was ever soul in such bonds before? The "good" I want to do, I do not do, and the "evil" which I abhor, I practice (v. 19)!

To sum it all up, I find that "to me who would do good, evil is present" (v. 21). I am in the condition that "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (v. 22), but I see a different law in my members A"warring against the law of my mind)" (v. 23). I am held as a slave under the tyranny of sin.

The Point of Deliverance

"O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me out of this body of death!" (v. 24).

"I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord". (v. 25).

Yes, there is deliverance when the soul is ready to be delivered. The wretched man has cried out for help,and in his cry has confessed that he is unable to deliver himself! The pride of life have been broken down.

The "inward man", desiring to obey the law, has not been able to conquer himself or his sins, notwithstanding all his efforts to do that which is good in the sight of God. He has failed as yet to apprehend the full message of the Cross. He has not seen his death with Christ, and his freedom in Christ  from the tyranny of sin, and the claims of the law;and in this bitter conflict he has had to find out his need.

Maybe he thought that the "inward man" assisted  by the grace of God, would be able to please God. Having begun in the Spirit, by reconciliation with God through the blood of the Cross, he could be "perfected" (or grow in grace) by the aid of the flesh!

Nay, thou "wretched man," turn thee again to Calvary. Thou needest another force within thee - the power of the Holy Spirit, and the "law of the Spirit of life in Christ" alone can make thee free through the work of Jesus Christ on Calvary.

The "law" which thou hast been struggling to obey in thine own strength, "hath dominion over a man" only for "so long a time as he liveth."

Thou were crucified with thy Saviour, thou hast died with Him, and thou art "made dead to the law", through the body of Christ.

By faith in the working of God, believest thou this? Then thou art discharged from the claims of the law, having died! Thou art joined to Him Who was raised from the dead, and as thou reliest upon Him to work in thee, the law of the Spirit of Life in Him will make thee free, and if the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Thou shalt find that what the law could not do, by commanding thee from without, God's own Son, sent in thy likeness to die in thy place, can do within thee; and the very requirement of the law which thou hast so utterly failed to obey, shall not be fulfilled in thee, as thou yieldest to the Spirit of God, and walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Oh soul, thou hast lived in ceaseless condemnation; but to those who have cried for deliverance through Jesus Christ our Lord, and had the answer of death within themselves that they should not trust in themselves, but in God which raiseth the dead, there is no condemnation for in Christ Jesus they experience for force of a new law, an inworking Spirit of life, making them free from the old law of the reign of sin, and the powerlessness of death.

"For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage." See that thou walkest step by step in the Spirit, minding the things of the Spirit. By the power of the Spirit of life which dwelleth in thee, take heed that thou dost make to die the doings of the body. Thus shalt thou live, and be led by the Spirit of God day by day. All slavish fear of God shall pass away,and thou shalt know that thou art a child of the Father, and if a child, then an heir, and heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ, if so be thou wilt suffer with Him, that thou mayest be glorified together.

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 9)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 7

The Cross of Calvary # 7

The Cross and the Law

"Ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ, now we have been discharged from the law, having died to that wherein we were holden" (Romans 7:4-6)

Deliverance through death is still the message of the Apostle. The Cross of Calvary is the place of reconciliation with God, and of freedom from the power of sin, but he who is crucified with Christ, dies with Him, not only to the bondage of sin, but to the bondage of the "law" which demanded from a helpless sinner an obedience it could not get, and brought him deeper and deeper into the powerlessness of death.

The Apostle's trend of thought in Romans 5, 6, 7, and 8 is marvelously in accord with the facts of actual experience in the Christian life; and the group of chapters can only be clearly understood from the inside, that is by having, in some measure, passed through the stages of experience, so as to be able to see from the standpoint of Paul as he wrote to the Roman Christians.

The "law came in" he writes, "that the trespass might abound." But God only purposed to reveal the "abounding" of the sin and its heinousness, that His grace might be shown to "abound more exceedingly."

That "as sin reigned" over the poor sinner, even so might "grace" - the free gift of righteousness - "reign" and triumph in the redeemed man.

The way that grace might come in and reign is then shown to be by death, for nought but death could release the sinner from his chains. The wages of sin is death, the penalty of sin must be paid; the verdict of death must be carried out, and in the death of Christ as the Representative Man, the penalty was carried out, and the reign of sin ends in all who have died with their crucified Lord.

The believer also dies to the "law" which condemned him to death. United to Christ in His death, he is "made dead to the law through the body of Christ", and is therefore "discharged" from the claims of the law "having died" to that which held him in bondage.

The law can no longer say to one who has died, "thou shalt", for he has passed through the gateway of death to another sphere, where the law cannot follow him; a sphere "in Christ Jesus", wherein he serves God in a new way, with a new spirit of glad obedience, and not, as heretofore, by a compulsory slavish obedience to the "letter" of the law.

Another question occurs at this point. Are we then to say that the law given by God is sin? Once more the Apostle answers "God forbid", and proceeds to show the reason why the law was given, and the practical working of the law, in bringing the soul to the place where he is ready to be delivered by the crucified and risen Lord; for the message of deliverance through death with Christ comes as glad tidings only to those who are at an end of themselves. The law is our school-master, to bring us to Christ.

After speaking of the discharge from the claims of the law, the Apostle breaks out into vivid description of the bitter conflict in the soul who delights in the will of God in his inward man, but has failed to apprehend the deliverance through the death of Christ, which Paul has been describing.

Whatever primary object Paul may have had in mind when he wrote the much debated seventh of Romans, at least we may safely say that it is a powerful picture of a man under the tyranny of sin, roused to activity by his desire to fulfill the will of God.

It is the law that brings the soul to the place of death, for "death" is simply a cessation from struggling - the point at which the soul arrives when it can battle no more, and cries in despair, "Who shall deliver me?"

"I through the law, died unto the law," writes Paul, "that I might live unto God."

It is easy to discuss the seventh of Romans from the academic point of view, but let us set ourselves in earnest to break our own bonds, and we will soon learn the reality of the picture, and the bitterness of the experience it describes.

Let us look briefly at the passage, and see how the law works in bringing souls to an end of themselves, ready to be delivered by Jesus Christ our Lord.

The law was given to make us know what sin is.

"I had not known sin, except through the law." (v. 7).

For instance, unless God had given a law, and said, "Thou shalt not covet", how could we know that to covet was a sin?

The law was given to show the antagonism of sin.

"Sin, finding occasion, wrought in me ... coveting: for apart from the law sin is dead." (v. 8).

How actually true in every human heart the picture is! If we are told not to covet we find ourselves doing it once the very thing we are forbidden to do.

"Thou shalt not" arouses all the antagonism that is in fallen nature against the holy will of God, for "the mind of the flesh is enmity against God".

Apart from the commands of the law "sin is dead", i.e., there is no antagonism or fight. Let men go their own way, and fulfill the desires of their flesh, and of their mind, and there is no battle; but let them come face to face with the law of God and try to obey it, then sin rouses up, and works all manner of things in them contrary to the commandment of God.

The law therefore given to show the man himself the antagonism that is within him to the law of God.

The law was given to bring us to death.

"I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." (v. 9).

Once upon a time I knew nothing of the claims of God, "I was alive, apart from the law."

I thought all was well, when suddenly I came face to face with the "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not" of my Creator. Something within me woke up, and fought against God's law; "sin revived" where it had been dormant. I found I could not obey the law, for I was helpless.

Sin took its opportunity, and asserted its power and claim upon me, through the very commandment of God. I actually found it stronger than myself. It beguiled me! I had to yield to its temptations, knowing the consequences to be death. So to speak sin "slew me" (v.11) by showing me that I had nothing before me but the wages of sin - death.

God's commandment should have led me to live a better life, but instead it made me sink deeper into the helplessness of death (v. 10), and in hopeless despair, "I died."

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 8)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Zeal, Love Ablaze!

Zeal, Love Ablaze!

The present lethargy in the Church is almost unpardonable. The Jehovah's Witnesses have zeal. The Mormons claim they are gaining more people from the evangelicals than we are gaining from them. The cultists zealously persist in getting a hearing in the streets.

Saul of Tarsus had fanatical zeal. He threw men and women in prison and broke up their families, persecuting them from city to city. Miraculously God cleansed him, baptized him with fire, and made him a model for His Kingdom.

It is not enough in these days of such vast worldliness in the Church to say that we are fundamental or uncompromising in "doctrine". We must be ablaze with Holy Spirit-born anger. (Be angry,and yet do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26). We must feel the hurt of God over the devil's domination of this age. We must apologize to the Almighty that we have turned to our own way,and have been more loyal to a man-made theology than to the exceedingly sober words of our Master. Like Paul, we must be able to say in His holy presence, This one thing I do. "I bear a broken heart over the coldness in the Church (including my own!). True, the zealous man of God lives for one thing only: to please God. He is impervious to the opinions of others,about his zeal. He cares not what it costs him to burn out for God. In sickness or in health, in poverty or in wealth, whether he is esteemed or despised, flattered or flattened, considered a fool or a philosopher, through evil report or good report, kisses or curses, he is set to do the will of God!

This man sees the Church today fouled with showmanship, bingo and bake sales,dances, tinsel and trivia, "holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. (1 Timothy 3:5). He sees the ministers condoning divorce in high places. Maybe his minister is divorced and remarried himself.

Jesus today sees His Church unclean and disobedience by a watered-down gospel. We do not obey His commandments to "love one another," or rejoice to act out Matthew 23:11 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant." If there comes a man into the assembly with a gold ring, we do give him honor (James 2:2). If he has great wealth but little spirituality, he is still welcomed as a member of the board. We do not insist that our young preacher boys tarry (until they get a seminary diploma? No!) until they are endued with power from on high.

The Pharisee's Prayer

The Pharisee who prayed in the temple said, "God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people; swindlers, unjust,adulterers." There are many so-called Spirit-filled men today, who cannot even pray that prayer! Unjust they are for sure, they pay low wages and tell their workers that they are "doing this sacrifice for Jesus." Adulterers - there are famous preachers in this awful category. They, of course, have an explanation for their infidelity, yet many are accepted at conferences as keynote speakers. Extortioners - the radio preachers almost have this as a monopoly. A $25 Bible (God's Holy Word) is offered for a $100 gift! Other books are offered at five times their cost. "You are judging!" someone will say. Correct! I am told to judge (John 7:24). Jesus says, "Judge with righteous judgment." Also I, along with other true preachers of the Gospel, am a watchman and so have to warn others. Also, "judgment must begin at the house of the Lord." This bait to get money is an abomination. Preachers whine for money over the radio and television. "For this ministry" they say, and yet much of it is to sustain their extravagant lifestyle, costly airplanes, and fixing up luxury Bible conference grounds. And now they have joined the Pharisees who "rob widows' houses. After emptying your pockets while you live, they ask for your house and estate after you die. What next?!

Stealing the Glory

This is a day of the personality cult. Men on TV gospel shows are presented as having given up so much for the Lord. All they gave up with their retirement from stardom was hell and eternal punishment. Let it be shouted from the housetops that no man does God a favor! Elegant living, etc., for the rich evangelists proves nothing except they they have not left all to follow Him. The Spirit-filled need no status symbols.

The flattering introduction for gospel preachers is another great piece of blockage to revival. John 5:41 and 44 need soul-searching consideration. My heart is burdened and burning. God's house is polluted. The sinners scoff and say of the rich preachers,"Their creed is greed and their god is gold." We need a baptism of holy zeal to get us back to holy indignation that the money grabbers are back in the temple, and that God's heart is hurting.

The Church began in the Spirit, now She is operating in the flesh. There is no pillar of fire over the sanctuary. There are no preachers who can hold the hell-bound, spell-bound. I am not sure that it can be proved that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. It can be proved that the Church is fiddling while the world is burning! The one reason that we do not have revival today is that we are content to live without it!

O for a generation of believers who can honestly say, Zeal for Thy house will consume Me."

~Leonard Ravenhill~

(The End)

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 6

The Cross of Calvary # 6

The Cross and the Bondage of Sin

"Crucified with Him ... that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin" (Romans 6:6).

"Reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved in His life," writes Paul to the Romans, as he goes on to show the wondrous plan of God, that all who are thus reconciled, and recipients of the gift of righteousness should" reign in life". As sin had once reigned over them, even so might grace through Jesus Christ.

But someone may question, "shall we continue in sin" that God may show His abounding grace: God forbid! bursts forth the Apostle. The death of Christ, and the free grace of God abounding therefrom, can never be meant to minister to sin!

It is true that God's abounding grace is given to sinners through the death of His Son, but with the Son of God we "died", then how shall we who have died to sin, live any longer therein?

The Apostle of the Cross is deeply moved as he writes! By "revelation of Jesus Christ" he had been shown the meaning of Calvary, and in the light of the Cross had seen the depth of the Fall, and the exceeding sinfulness of sin, which demanded nothing less than the death of the Son of God Himself, in unparalleled suffering and shame, to rescue the doomed sinner.

"Continue in sin" when Christ had died to deliver from sin! God forbid! Sin has abounded, but "grace did abound more exceedingly" to save the sinner from his bonds.

In the light shining upon Calvary as unveiled to him by Christ, the Apostle shows the meaning of that death, so that none in Rome could be ignorant any longer of the purpose for which Christ died.

"Our old man was crucified with Him" is the message of Calvary to the fallen sinner, and is the secret of deliverance from the bondage of sin. All who were baptized into Christ "were baptized into His death". Through "baptism into death" they were buried into His grave for the express purpose" that like as Christ was raised from the dead", they might look upon His Cross and grave as a great gulf fixed between them and their past,and with the Risen Christ emerge to "walk in newness of life".

This, of course, was if they were really and intimately united with the Lord in His death! A mental assent alone would not produce a real union with the Risen Lord. They must by the Holy Spirit be so vitally united with the crucified One, that they shared the very likeness of His death.

And if this union existed, then they would realize the power of His resurrection, and know that they were crucified with Him. So they would no longer be in bondage to sin - slaves of sin - for "he that hath died is justified from sin". Sin has no longer a claim to reign - its tyranny is over.

Moreover, the death of Christ meant more than negative deliverance. They were set free from the reign of sin, not only by death, but by life. The life of Christ which triumphed over death and the grave, would be manifested in them; for if they truly died to the old they would live with Christ, and share the life that He now liveth - a new life, a life "unto God".

Abundant life; a reigning in life; was the purpose of Calvary. The death of Christ died He died unto sin for us, and He died "once for all". Even so they were to reckon themselves dead unto sin with Him, and utterly refuse to let it reign over them, for they were "alive unto God in Christ Jesus". Abiding in Him as their very life, they would reign in life in Jesus Christ their Lord.

But they must not forget that this must be lived out in practice! They cannot be truly crucified with Christ, and at the same time yield to sin, or hand over the members of their body as instruments of unrighteousness; else they would be making" void the grace of God". If they desired to realize the full deliverance of Calvary, they must not only gladly recognize their death with the Crucified One, but they must present themselves unto God as "men living after death", and in "newness of life" yield the members of their bodies unto God as weapons of righteousness.

But another question arises here. Will not the grace that sets us free bring in a danger of license beyond the bounds of liberty?

"God forbid!" again cries the Apostle. Did they not know that the things brought about by union with Christ in His death and resurrection meant a revolution deep down in the center of a man's being? That those who had thus proved the power of Christ's death, became "obedient from the heart" in that pattern where unto they were delivered. In newness of life they gladly became servants of God instead of servants to sin,and of their own free choice, chose day by day to present their bodies as bond-servants of righteousness in joyous obedience unto God.

In this chapter in Romans the severing power of the Cross is clearly seen. The work of deliverance from the guilt and bondage of sin was wrought out at Calvary, and the Apostle calls upon the Roman Christians to enter upon the fruit of Christ's death, by a decisive act of faith. With Christ upon the Cross they died, and in His death they were cut off from their old life. "United with Him by the likeness of His death," they were to account themselves crucified with Him, "dead indeed unto sin", and living unto God in Him.

"But I have reckoned thus, and it seems nought but reckoning a lie," cries some longing heart.

Ah, soul, maybe your eyes are in the wrong direction. You are looking within, occupied more with your "reckoning" than with the work of your Saviour. The Holy Spirit will not bear witness to your "reckon", apart from the object of your reckoning.

Look away to Calvary. The Lord Jesus died on you behalf, and as your Representative carried you with Him to His Cross. Are you honestly determined to part with every known sin, and willing for the death with Christ to be wrought out in your experience? Then from this crucial moment see yourself as nailed to the tree with your crucified Lord.

Relying upon the Holy Spirit, and in faith in the word of God, "Let not sin therefore reign", for God has said that through Christ's death, and your sharing of that death, "Sin shall not have the mastery over you."

Hidden in Christ upon His Cross, and joined to Him in His life, thy part, O child of God, is the continual choice of thy will, for to whom ye yield, His servants ye are. In the hour of sore temptation, in the center of the being thou must promptly retire, so to speak, to the Cross, and hiding in Him Who carried thee there, refuse to be drawn out of thy place in Him. Do not struggle with might that comes to thee, but hand over all to Him Whose life thou dost share, and thou shalt find that He is able to deliver and to keep thee day by day.

But now, being freed from the bondage of sin, and enslaved to the service of God, thou must deal honestly with sin, calling sin, sin; and be steadfastly purposed to walk in obedience to thy Lord, counting upon Him to work in thee to will, and to do of His good pleasure.

Let every stress of trial, or temptation, drive thee to the searchlight of His face that thou mayest see all things in His light; so shall thou walk in the light, as He is in the light, with the precious blood of Jesus Christ cleansing thee from all sin. "And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous" - He who is "the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world."

But if we crave deliverance we need feel the weight of our chains. At this point we come to the purpose of the law unfolded in the seventh chapter of Romans.

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 7)