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.
(continued with # 9)