What does it really mean to be BORN AGAIN – Positions of Salvation

I have studied the Bible on this subject and have found that much that is preached and taught seems to miss some of what  the Bible teaches regarding the subject.  Before a person accepts Christ, or believes, repents of their sins, commits their life to God or any number of other things that are described in the Bible, they are unsaved, or lost.  They have a selfish end in view for their motive for living.  At that time they own their own life, follow their own will, and are spiritually dead in sin.  The day a person accepts Christ,  they need to realize that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are facts, but when the new believer exercises a heart faith and confidence which in effect passes ownership of his life over to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Bible says in John 3:16 that “…whosoever believeth in him…” and when we look at the Greek for that phrase, the word inis a Greek word eis which actually means into. The Greek prepositions are placed on a chart to show just how they affect the subject in a sentence.  The diagram for eis appears as presented below:

As one can see, there is movement from one side to the other.  No one that believes in Jesus Christ stays where they were prior to salvation and no one loves the same things.  The meaning of believing in Jesus actually is more accurately said believing into Jesus Christ.  It is being immersed in the love of God as Finney told in his conversion experience.  It is definitely life changing.  It is not mental acknowledgement but life changing waves of the love of God.  The after effect is a new outlook on all that you had once held dear in life.  Nothing looks the same and peace floods your soul.  You are definitely born again, born into a new world and dead to the old one once and for all.  The old man is crucified and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ comes to dwell in the new believer, he is now a new creation in Christ Jesus.

What I found in studying this further is an astounding fact.  The Dana and Mantey Greek Grammar of the New Testament had an interesting footnote in the definition of the word.  It said, essentially, that to believe into or to be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ was to renounce ones self, selfishness and self-gratification, and consider ones self a life-time servant of Jesus Christ.  Nothing is clearer by way of illustration than the testimony of Charles G. Finney in this respect.  The circle on the right, in the illustration above, represents all that Christ stands for.  When a person is regenerated, they pass from the left-hand to the right-hand circle.  They are placing themselves in the hands of God, Jesus Christ specifically, by faith.  When you view the chart you can picture in your mind all the things that we have been saying in this book, the attributes of selfishness on the left, and all the things that relate to disinterested benevolence are on the right.  The left circle is the world of the unsaved; all things are viewed from a self-centered viewpoint.  The right circle is a new world of knowing God through Jesus Christ.  As Charles Finney indicated, there are baptisms of love that no one can describe that come over a new Christian.  He can never be the same.  His position has changed.  He has moved from the left, sometimes without even realizing it, over to the right.  The left feels most uncomfortable now and the right seems most peaceful and tranquil.  On the left a person feels that his life is owned by himself; on the right the person feels that his life is owned now by God.  On the left the person has self as lord; on the right, Christ is now Lord with no problem.  Some seem to cringe at the term “Lordship Salvation” but that is precisely what happens whether there is conscious thought of it or not.  A new Christian is slain by the Love of God and He is Lord of the heart by that same love.  The truth is that regeneration is a drastic change, it is being born again.  The position has changed, as far as the perspective that one has concerning his place in the world and in his place in his relationship to God.  That is just a fact of regeneration that cannot be denied, it is a fact that cannot be otherwise if a person comes to know God.  Is it any wonder that the moral law has this, knowing God, as the number one goal of every human being and of every being in the universe?  There is nothing that can substitute for the thrill and yet the peace and contentment that comes from having a personal relationship with the God of love, the lover of our souls.  So as we have said above, there is a part that the sinner plays, as Charles Finney testifies in his book, and there is a part that God plays as well.  It has happened to all that have come to know God, their perspective is altered in such a way that they can never return to the old life.  Truly old things have passed away and all things have become new.  Here is a list of things from the Bible that show conditions that existed in the left circle and what they are changed to in the right circle:

BEING SAVED – MOVING FROM ONE WORLD TO THE OTHER

Unsaved/Selfish Saved/Benevolence
Owned by me Genesis 3:1-6 Owned by God I Corinthians 6:19,20
Self the lord Psalm 49:18; 81:12; Proverbs 14:12; Zechariah 7:6; Matthew 19:21; II Corinthians 5:15; Philippians 2:21; II Timothy 3:2-4 Christ the Lord Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Psalms 2:6; 24:8; Isaiah 6:1; 11:10 33:17; 40:10; Jeremiah 23:5,6; 30:9; Daniel 7:13,14; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9,10; Matthew 2:2,6; Matthew 12:6; 19:28; 21:5; 26:64; 28:18; Luke 2:11; 10:22; 23:42; John 1:49; 3:31; 12:13; 18:36,37; Acts 3:15; 5:31; 10:36; Romans 5:9; 14:9; I Corinthians 15:23-28; Ephesians 1:19-22; Philippians 2:9-11; I Timothy 6:15,16; II Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 2:7,8; I Peter 3:22
In the World Ephesians 2:12; II Peter 1:4; I John 2:15,16; 4:3-5; 5:4,5; 5:19; In Christ Jesus Romans 3:24; 8:1,2; 8:39; I Corinthians 1:30; 3:11; 4:15; 15:22; II Corinthians 2:14; 5:17; Galatians 2:4; 3:26; 3:28; 6:15; Ephesians 1:1-3,10; 2:6; 2:8-10; 2:13; 3:11; Philippians 2:5; 3:3; 3:9; 3:14; Colossians 1:28; 2:6; I Thessalonians 4:16; 5:18; I Timothy 1:14; II Timothy 1:1; II Timothy 1:9; 1:13; 2:1; 2:10; 3:12; 3:15; Phileman 1:6; I John 5:20.
Servant of sin Romans 6:17,20 Servant of Righteousness Romans 6:18
Walk in the flesh Romans 8:12,13; Galatians 6:8 Walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:16,25
Lost Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:4-9,24; 19:10; John 17:12; II Corinthians 4:3,4 Saved Matthew 10:22; 19:25; 24:13; Mark 16:16; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:12; John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30,31; Romans 5:9,10; 8:24; 10:9,10,13; I Corinthians 1:18; 3:15; 5:5; 15:1-6; Ephesians 2:5-10; II Thessalonians 2:10; I Timothy 2:4; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:20,21; I Peter 4:18;
Dead in Sin Ephesians 2:1,5; Dead to Sin I Peter 2:24: Romans 6; Galatians 2:20
Love the World I John 2:15 Love the Lord Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:13; 30:6,10; Psalms 97:10; 116:1; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27
Sin is the Master Jeremiah 17:1-3; Ezekiel 3:20,21; John 8:34; 9:41; Romans 3:9; Romans 6:12,16,17,20; 7:17; I Corinthians 15:56; Galatians 2:17; II Peter 2:14; I John 3:8,9 Christ is the Master Matthew 10:24,25; 23:8-10; Mark 13:35; Luke 13:25; 14:21; John 13:13,14; Romans 14:4; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1; II Timothy 2:21
Yoke of sin Leviticus 26:13; Deuteronomy 28:48; Isaiah 10:27; 58:6-9; Ezekiel 34:27; Hosea 11:4; Galatians 5:1; Christ’s Yoke is Easy Matthew 11:28-30
Eternal death Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; I John 3:15; Eternal Life Daniel 12:2; Matthew 19:29; 25:46; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18-23,30; John 3:15,16,36,; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40,47; 10:28; 12:25; 17:2,3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; 5:21; 6:22,23; Galatians 6:8; I Timothy 6:12,19; Titus 1:2, 3:7; I John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11-13; 5:20; Jude 1:21.
Reject Christ Mark 7:9 Accept Christ John 1:11,12
Hell the home Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11,24; 23:14; 27:20; Isaiah 5:14; 14:15; Matthew 5:22,29,20; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; II Peter 2:4; 20:13,14; 21:8 Heaven the home Psalms 14:2; Matthew 4:17; 5:3,10,12,16,18,19,20,48; 6:20; 7:21; 10:7,32,33; 18:3,4,10,14,18; 19:14,21,23; 28:18; I Corinthians 15:47; II Corinthians 15:2; Ephesians 3:15; Philippians 2:10; 3:20; Colossians 1:5; I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:16,17; 9:24; 10:34; I Peter 1:4; 3:22; I John 5:7; Revelation 3:12; 4:1,2; 5:13; 11:19; 15:5; 21:1,2,3,10.
Spiritual death Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:6; Ephesians 4:18; James 1:15; James 5:20; Revelation 21:8 Spiritual Life Matthew 7:14; Matthew 10:39; 16:25-26; 19:17; John 1:4; 3:15,16,36; 5:24,26,29,39,40; 6:27; 6:35,48; 6:63,68; 8:12; 10:10; 11:25; 12:25; 17:3; 20:31; Acts 5:20; 11:18; Romans 5:10; 5:18; 6:4; 8:2,6,10; II Corinthians 2:16; 3:6; 4:10,11,12; 5:4; Galatians 2:20; 3:21; 6:8; Colossians 3:3; II Timothy 1:1,10; James 1:12; II Peter 1:3; I John 1:1,2; 3:14; 5:12;
Spirit is dead Ephesians 2:1-10 Spirit is alive by the Holy Spirit Romans 8:10; Ephesians 2:1-10
No Holy Spirit Jude 1:19 Holy Spirit indwells believer II Timothy 1:14; James 4:5;
Physical birth only John 1:13; 3:6 Born Again of the Spirit of God John 1:13; 3:3; 3:5,-8
Doing their own works Matthew 7:22,23; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:4,5 Hebrews 4:10 Enter into HIS REST Exodus 33:14; Psalms 116:7; Isaiah 28:12; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-9
Self the motive Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 Christ and others the motive Matthew 22:27-40; Philippians 1:21,23-24
Selfishness the mind set Proverbs 12:15; 20:6; Jeremiah 2:35; II Corinthians 10:12 Agape love the mind set Matthew 22:27-40; John 13:35; 15:9,12,13; 21:15-17; I Corinthians 13; I Thessalonians 3:12; I Peter 1:22
Works of the flesh Galatians 5:19-23 Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:16-18,25
Man’s will is sovereign John 1:13; II Peter 1:21 God’s will is sovereign Psalms 40:8; 143:10; Matthew 12:50; Ephesians 6:6
Spiritually blind John 9:41 Spiritual sight II Kings 6:17; Job 42:5; Matthew 5:8; John 14:19; 16:14,15; Hebrews 2:9; 11:27;
Unbelief Deuteronomy 32:20; Romans 3:3; Faith and belief foundation Habakkuk 2:4; Matthew 8:10; 9:2,22,29; 15:29; 17:20; 21:21; Mark 5:34; 10:52; 11:22; Acts 3:16; 6:7; 14:9,22,27; 20:21; 26:18; Romans 1:5,8,17; 3:22,25,27-31; 4:5; 5:1,2; 10:6-13,17; I Corinthians 2:5; 15:1-17; 16:13; II Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:20; 3:11,24,25,26; 5:5,6,22,23; Ephesians 2:8,9; 3:12,17,18; 6:16; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 1:23; 2:12; I Timothy 6:12; II Timothy 3:15,16; Hebrews 4:2; 10:22,23,28; 11:1ff;
Draw back to perdition Hebrews 10:38,39 Commitment to Christ Psalms 37:3,5; 118:8; Proverbs 3:5,6; Isaiah 26:4; 50:10; II Timothy 1:12;
Believe in the mind James 2:19,20 Believe in the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9,10
End and scope of life is self Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 End and scope of life is God Deuteronomy 6:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13
Does not seek God with whole heart Ezekiel 33:9; Luke 14:18; Acts 24:25; 28:27; Hebrews 2:3; 12:25 Seeks after God with whole heart Psalms 119:2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12
Sin unto death Romans 6:16 Obedience unto righteousness Romans 6:16
Love self Luke 12:19,20; 18:10-14 Love God with all the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Romans 8:28; I Corinthians 8:3; I John 4:20,21; 5:2,3;
Hate or compete with neighbor Matthew 25:41-46; Romans 13:10 Love neighbor as self Matthew 5:44; 19:19; 22:29; 25:34-40; Mark 12:31,33; Luke 10:25-37; Romans 12:20; 13:9,10; 15:1; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8
Hold truth in unrighteousness Romans 1:18ff Hold truth in Word of God Psalms 119:72,127,162; Proverbs 23:23; John 1:1-3,14; 14:6; 18:37; Ephesians 4:25; 6:14
Will chooses selfish goals Proverbs 18:2; Romans 3:23 Will chooses glory of God John 11:40; Acts 7:55; Romans 5:2; I Corinthians 10:31; II Corinthians 1:20; 4:6; 4:15; Philippians 2:9-11,
Continue in sin Romans 6:1-7 Dead unto sin Romans 6:1-7
Old man is alive and well I Peter 4:2-6; II Peter 1:9,10 Old man is crucified Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20; II Timothy 2:11
Free from righteousness Romans 6:20 Free from sin Romans 6:18,22
Life of habitual sin I John 3:8 Cannot habitually sin I John 3:9
Living in continuous sin I John 3:8 Occasional sin I John 2:1
Save their life now but lose it at endMatthew 16:25,26 Lose life now but save it in eternity Matthew 16:25,26
Regret when they sin Luke 16:30-31; II Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 12:17 Repent from their sin Matthew 4:17; 9:13; Mark 1:15; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 5:32; 13:3-5; 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:10; II Timothy 2:25; II Peter 3:9
Sorrow of the world (being caught) II Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow (see sin as God sees it) II Corinthians 7:10
Reject Christ as Lord & Savior Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46; Hebrews 10:38 Accept Christ in ALL THAT HE IS! Romans 10:13; I Corinthians 1:30,31
Selfish love (lust) James 1:13-15 Agape sacrificial love I Corinthians 13
Gain the world Matthew 16:26 Lose the World Matthew 16:26
Lose their soul Matthew 16:26 Save the Soul Matthew 16:26

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DELIVERANCE

Scripture Reading: Rom. 7:15—8:2

“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”  (Romans 7:15-25)

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  (Romans 8:1-2)

It is possible for a person to be free from sin immediately after he has believed in the Lord. However, this may not be the common experience of all believers. After believing in the Lord, many people fall back into sin instead of being freed from sin. It is true that they are saved. They belong to the Lord and possess eternal life. However, they are still troubled by sin and are unable to serve the Lord as they wish.

It is a very painful experience for a person to be continually troubled by sin after he has believed in the Lord. A person who has been enlightened by God has a sensitive conscience. He is sensitive toward sin and has a life that condemns sin. However, he may still be bothered by sin. This results in much frustration and even discouragement. It is indeed a very painful experience.

Many Christians try to overcome sin. Some think that if they try hard enough to renounce sin, they will eventually be free from sin. As a result, they try their best to reject the temptations of sin. Some realize that sin should be overcome, and they continually wrestle with sin in the hope of overcoming it. Others think that sin has made them a captive and that they must strive hard to free themselves from its bondage. However, all these are man’s thoughts; they are not God’s word or teaching. None of these methods lead to victory. God’s Word does not tell us to struggle with sin by our own efforts. It says that we should be delivered from sin, that is, be released or freed from sin. Sin is a power which enslaves man. The way to deal with this power is not by destroying it ourselves but by allowing the Lord to free us from it. We have sin, and there is no way to separate ourselves from it. The Lord’s way is not to vanquish sin. He is saving us from sin’s power by moving us away from it. New believers should know from the start the right way to be delivered from sin. There is no need to travel a long and tortuous path to find deliverance from sin. We can take the way of freedom as soon as we believe. Now let us try to deal with this matter according to Romans 7 and 8.

I. SIN BEING A LAW

Romans 7:15-25 says, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

In verses 15 through 20, Paul repeatedly uses the word will and the phrase do not will. The emphasis is on willing or not willing, resolving or not resolving. In verses 21 to 25, there is another emphasis on the law. These two things are the keys to this passage of the Word.

First, we need to understand the term law. The common understanding of a law is that it is something that remains the same all the time, something that allows no exceptions. Moreover, there is power in a law. This power is a natural power, not an artificial power. All laws have power. For example, gravity is a law. If you throw something up, it will eventually fall back to the ground. You do not have to pull the object down with your hands; the earth has a force that pulls it down for you. If you throw a stone up, it will fall. If you throw an iron up, it also will fall. If you throw something up in China, it will fall. If you throw the same thing up in other countries, it will fall. An object in the air will fall the same today and tomorrow. Any object in the air, as long as nothing is holding it, will fall regardless of time and space. A law remains the same all the time and allows no exceptions. It is a natural force which requires no human effort for its perpetuation.

Romans 7 shows us that Paul was trying to be victorious. He was trying to free himself from sin. He wanted to please God. He did not want to sin or to fail. However, he eventually admitted that his resolutions were all futile. He said, “for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”  He did not want to sin, yet he sinned. He wanted to do good and walk according to God’s law, yet he could not do it. In other words, what he willed he could not do, and what he resolved to do, he was unable to accomplish. Paul willed again and again, but the result was only repeated failure. This shows us that the way to victory lies not in the human will or human resolution. Paul willed and resolved again and again, but he still failed and sinned. Obviously, to will is present, but to work out the good is not. The best that a man can do is make resolutions.

The willing is present but not the good, because sin is a law. Following verse 21 Paul showed us that he remained defeated even after he made numerous resolutions. This is because sin is a law. This law of sin was present with him every time he resolved to do good. He was subject to the law of God in his heart, but his flesh yielded to the law of sin. Whenever he willed to obey God’s law, a different law rose up in his members, subjecting him to the law of sin.

Paul was the first person in the Bible to point out that sin is a law. This was a very important discovery! It is a pity that many who have been Christians for years still do not realize that sin is a law. Many people know that gravity is a law and thermal expansion of objects is another law. But they do not know that sin is a law. Paul did not know this at first. After sinning repeatedly, not voluntarily but involuntarily by a potent force in his body, Paul discovered that sin is a law.

Our history of failure tells us that whenever temptations come, we try to resist them. But we are never successful in this resistance. When temptations come again, we again try to resist them, only to end up in another defeat. This experience repeats itself ten times, a hundred times, or a thousand times, and we still find ourselves defeated. This is the story of our failure. We fail again and again. This is not something that happens by chance; it is a law. If a person committed only one sin in a lifetime, he could consider sin as something incidental. However, those who have sinned a hundred or a thousand times will say that sin is a law; it is something that continually drives them on.

II. MAN’S WILL BEING UNABLE
TO OVERCOME THE LAW OF SIN

Paul failed because he exercised his will to make resolutions. After verse 21, Paul’s eyes were opened. He saw that the enemy he was dealing with—sin—was nothing less than a law. When he saw that sin was a law, he could only sigh and say, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” He realized that it was impossible for him to prevail over sin by his will.

What is the will? The will is man’s own volition. It is what man wants, determines, and decides to do. It is man’s opinions and judgments. Once a man’s will resolves to do something, he begins to carry it out. Man’s will can produce some power. Therefore, there is power in the will.

But herein lies the problem. When the will comes in conflict with the law of sin, which one prevails? The will usually prevails at the beginning, but ultimately sin prevails. Suppose you hold up a book that weighs one catty [a Chinese measure of weight] with your hand. Gravity is pulling it down while you are trying your best to hold it up. But the unceasing operation of the law of gravity will eventually prevail, and the book will fall to the floor. You may try to hold it up with your hand. You may prevail for an hour, but after two hours you will feel tired, and after another hour your hand will no longer obey you. Eventually, you will let go of it. Gravity never tires out, but your hand does. The law of gravity is pulling the book down continuously, every hour, every minute, and even every second. Your hand cannot fight against the law of gravity forever. The longer you hold the book, the heavier it feels. The book has not become heavier, but the law of gravity has triumphed over the power of your hand, and you feel as if the book has become heavier and heavier. The same principle applies when you try to overcome sin with your will. The will can stand against sin for a while. But the power of sin far exceeds the power of the will. Sin is a law; it is not destroyed by the resistance of man’s will. Whenever the power of the will slackens, the law of sin surfaces. The human will cannot persist forever, but the law of sin is always active. The will may prevail for a little while, but in the end it will always be overcome by the law of sin.

Before we see that sin is a law, we keep trying to overcome it by our own will. When temptation comes, we hold our breath and try to overcome, only to find that it has overcome us instead. When temptation comes again, we make a stronger resolution because we think that our last failure was caused by a faulty resolution. We tell ourselves that we will not sin this time and that we will overcome. But the result is the same—we fail again. We do not know why our resolution cannot bring us victory over sin. We do not realize that overcoming sin by the will never works.

It is easy to see that temper is a sin. When someone says something unkind, you feel hurt and upset. If he continues to speak unpleasant words, you may hit your desk, blow up, exchange words, or do anything. Afterwards, you may feel that as a Christian you should not have lost your temper, and you may resolve to control your temper the next time. You pray and believe that God has forgiven you. You confess your sin to others, and your heart is once again filled with joy. You think that you will never lose your temper again. But a little later, you hear more unkind words and become upset once again. When these words come to you the second time, you begin to murmur within. By the third time, your temper explodes. Afterwards, you realize that you were wrong again, and you ask the Lord for forgiveness, promising Him that you will never lose your temper again. But the same thing happens the next time you hear unkind words; after a while, your temper flares up again. You exercise your will again and again, only to find that you fail again and again. This proves that sin is not an accidental mistake; it is not something that happens only once. It is something that happens repeatedly, something that haunts you all your life. Those who lie continue to lie, and those who lose their temper continue to lose their temper. This is a law; no human power can overcome it. Paul did not learn this lesson at first, so he exercised his will repeatedly to no avail. It is impossible for man to try to overcome the law of sin by his will.

Once the Lord grants you mercy and shows you that sin is a law, you will not be far from victory. If you continue to think that sin is an occasional act and that victory can be secured through additional prayers and struggles against temptations, you are far from victory. Paul’s story shows us that sin is a law. The power of sin is strong; our own power is weak. The power of sin always prevails, while our own power always fails. As soon as Paul realized that sin is a law, he knew that none of his methods would work. His determination was useless; he would never overcome the law of sin by his will. This was a great discovery, a great revelation to him.

Paul saw that a man cannot experience deliverance by the exercise of the will. As long as a man trusts in the power of his own will, he will not turn to God’s way of deliverance. The day will come when you will prostrate yourself before God and acknowledge that you can do nothing and henceforth will do nothing. That will be the day you find deliverance. Only then will you understand Romans 8. Brothers and sisters, please do not belittle Romans 7. We must first have the knowledge of chapter seven before we can have the experience of chapter eight. The problem is not whether you understand the doctrine in Romans 8 but whether or not you have emerged from Romans 7. Many have buried themselves in Romans 7; they are still trying to deal with sin by their will. The result is nothing but failure. If you have not seen that sin is a law and that your will can never overcome this law, you are trapped in Romans 7; you will never arrive at Romans 8. Our newly saved brothers and sisters must accept God’s Word as it is written. If you try to find your own way out, you will end up with nothing but sin. You will sin again and again, and your eyes will continue to be veiled. You will remain in your blindness. Your eyes need to be opened to see that all your willing and struggling is in vain.

Since sin is a law and the will cannot overcome this law, what is the way of victory?

III. THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE
FREEING US FROM THE LAW OF SIN

Romans 8:1-2 says, “There is now then no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and of death.” The way to victory is to be freed from the law of sin and of death. This verse does not say, “The Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus from sin and death.” (I am afraid that many Christians think this way.) Rather, it says, “The law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and of death.” Many Christians see the Spirit of life setting them free from only sin and death. They do not see the law of the Spirit of life freeing them from the law of sin and of death. It takes many years for some Christians to realize that sin and death are a law in them and that the Holy Spirit is another law in them. When the Lord opens their eyes, they will see that sin and death are a law and that the Holy Spirit is a law as well. The realization of the Holy Spirit as a law is a great discovery. When we realize that the life-giving Spirit is a law, we will jump up and exclaim, “Thank God, Hallelujah!” Man’s will cannot overcome the law of sin, but the law of the Spirit of life has freed us from the law of sin and of death. Only the law of the Spirit of life can free man from the law of sin.

Once we realize that sin is a law, we will no longer try to do anything by our will. When God grants us mercy to see that the Holy Spirit is a law, we will experience a great change. Many people only see the Spirit of life giving us life. They do not see that the Holy Spirit is another law in us, and that we can be freed spontaneously from the law of sin and of death when we trust in this law. There is no effort involved for this law to deliver us from the other law. We do not need to will, to do anything, or to hold on to the Holy Spirit. We do not need to be that busy when the Lord’s Spirit is in us. If we fear that the Lord’s Spirit will not work in us unless we rush in to help Him in times of temptation, we have not seen the Spirit as a law within us yet. May we see that the Holy Spirit is a spontaneous law within us. The way of deliverance from sin is not through the exercise of the will. If we exercise our will, we will end up in failure. God has given us another law which spontaneously frees us from the law of sin and of death. The problem of one law can only be resolved by another law.

There is no effort involved when we try to overcome one law with another law. We have mentioned before that gravity is a law. It pulls every object down to the ground. But helium is a gas which is lighter than air. If we seal it in a tight balloon, the balloon will rise up. It will rise spontaneously; there is no need to fan it or support it by any force. As soon as we let go, the balloon will rise. The rising is a law, and we do not need to do anything about it. In the same way, no effort is involved when we deal with the law of sin and of death by the law of the Spirit of life.

Suppose someone scolds you or strikes you without cause. It is possible for you to overcome the situation even without realizing what has happened. After the whole thing is over, you may wonder how you did not get angry when you were scolded. You should have been very angry at the other person’s word. But surprisingly you overcame the situation without even realizing it! Indeed, all victories are unconscious victories because the law of the Holy Spirit is operating and upholding us, not our own will. This kind of spontaneous victory is genuine victory. Once you experience this, you will realize that only the indwelling Spirit can keep you from sin; you do not have to will not to sin. It is also the indwelling Holy Spirit who is enabling you to overcome; you do not have to will to overcome. Since this law dwells in you, you are delivered from the law of sin and of death. You are in Christ Jesus, and the law of the Spirit of life is in you. Spontaneously, you are free. As long as you do not rely on your own will and effort, the Holy Spirit will bring you into victory.

Hence, victory over sin has nothing to do with our effort. We did not exert any effort when the law of sin directed us to sin. Similarly, we do not need to exert any effort in order for the law of the Holy Spirit to free us from sin. Genuine victory is one that requires no effort on our part. There is nothing for us to do. We can lift up our eyes and say to the Lord, “All is well.” Our past failures were the result of a law and today’s victories are also a result of a law. The former law is powerful, but the present law is more powerful. The former law is indeed potent in bringing us to sin, but the present law is more absolute in saving us from condemnation. When the law of the Spirit of life is expressed through us, its power is far greater than that of the law of sin and of death.

If we see this, we will truly be freed from sin. The Bible does not say that we can overcome sin with our will. It speaks only of freedom from sin: “The law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and of death.” The law of the life-giving Spirit has pulled us out of the realm of the law of sin and of death. The law of sin and of death is still present, but the one on whom it worked is no longer there.

(Note – Remember the illustration in the first lesson with the two circles, one black on the left and the gold on the right?  In this lesson the LAW OF SIN AND DEATH is in the circle on the left and the LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS is in the circle on the right.  You who are saved are no longer in the world but IN CHRIST, and because of that you have the victory.)

Every saved person should be clear about the way to deliverance. First, we must see that sin is a law in us. If we do not see this, we cannot go on. Second, we need to see that the will cannot overcome the law of sin. Third, we need to see that the Holy Spirit is a law, and this law frees us from the law of sin.

The sooner a new believer realizes this way of deliverance, the better it is. In fact, no one needs to wait for many years before seeing the way of deliverance. You do not need to suffer many hardships before experiencing freedom. Many brothers and sisters have wasted their time unnecessarily; they have shed many tears of defeat. If you want to experience less pain and tears, you should realize from the start that the way to deliverance lies in these words: “The law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus.” This law is so perfect and powerful that it will save you to the uttermost; there is no need to do anything to help it. This law frees you from sin completely, sanctifies you wholly, and fills you with life spontaneously.

Brothers and sisters, do not think that the Holy Spirit within us only expresses His life through us occasionally. If we think this way, it proves that we only know the Spirit; we do not know the law of the Spirit. The law of the Spirit expresses His life continuously. It remains the same at all times and in all places. We do not have to tell this law to behave in a certain way; it behaves the way it does without our guidance. Once the Lord opens our eyes, we will see that the treasure within is not just the Holy Spirit or a life, but a law as well. Then we will be released, and the problem of sin will be over.

May God open our eyes to see this way of deliverance. May He open our eyes to see this secret to victory, and may we have a good start on this straight path.

WANT TO KNOW JESUS PERSONALLY?  CLICK HERE
The very first book I ever read by Watchman Nee was called “The Normal Christian Life.”  It deals with this very issue and it completely changed my life and that of my wife who read it while we were dating.  It was the truths of deliverance that brought us together spiritually and eventually we were married because our marriage was based upon the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.  If you ever bought a book that would change your life it is this.  You should go to a Christian book store and ask them for THE NORMAL CHRISTIAN LIFE by Watchman Nee.

IF ANYONE SINS

Scripture Reading: John 5:14; 8:11; Rom. 6:1-2; Num. 19:1-10, 12-13, 17-19; 1 John 1:7-10;2:1-2

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.  (John 5:14)

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.  (John 8:11)

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2)

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke: And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face: And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times: And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn: And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even. And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even. And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin. And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever. (Numbers 19:1-10)

He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean. Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him. (Numbers 19:12-13)

And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel: And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave: And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even. (Numbers 19:17-19)

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 cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, 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. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

(1 John 1:7-10)  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2)

After we are saved, we should sin no more. John 5 records the incident of the Lord Jesus healing one who had been sick for thirty-eight years near the pool in Bethesda. After the man was healed the Lord met him in the temple and said to him, ” Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” (v. 14). John 8 speaks of the Lord Jesus forgiving a woman who had committed adultery. He said to her then and there, ” Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more ” (v. 11). Once we are saved, we are charged by the Lord to sin no more! As saved ones, we surely should not continue in sin.

I. SINNING AFTER BEING SAVED

Since a Christian should not sin and should not continue in sins, is it then possible for a Christian not to sin? The answer is yes! It is possible for Christians not to sin because we have God’s life within us. This life does not sin. It cannot tolerate any trace of sin. This life is as holy as God is holy. The life within us makes us very sensitive to sin. If we walk according to the sense of this life and if we live by this life, we will not sin.

However, it is possible for Christians to sin. We are still in the flesh. If we do not walk according to the Spirit and live in life of the flesh, we can sin at any time. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” First John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” It is possible for Christians to be overtaken by sins. There is still the possibility of sinning. First John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Verse 10 says, ” If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar…” Hence, our experience shows us that it is possible for Christians to fall accidentally into sin.

 

Will a saved person who has fallen accidentally into sin still perish? No! The Lord said, ” And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28). In other words, once a person is saved, he is saved forever. “They shall by no means perish forever.” Nothing can be surer than this! First Corinthians 5 speaks of a brother who had committed fornication. Paul said, “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (v. 5). Even though the flesh of a believer who sins may be destroyed, his spirit will still be saved.

Does this therefore mean that after a person is saved, it does not matter whether he sins? No! If a person sins after he is saved, there will be two terrible consequences. First, he will suffer in this life. If you sin after you are saved, you will suffer the consequence of your sin. The person in 1 Corinthians 5 was delivered to Satan. This is a great suffering. After a person has repented and confessed to the Lord, God will forgive him and the blood will cleanse him. With some sins, however, there are further consequences that one must face. Although Jehovah removed David’s sin of taking Uriah’s wife, the sword never departed from his house forever (2 Sam. 12:9-13). Brothers and sisters, sin is like a venomous serpent; it is not an amusing plaything. If you are bitten by it, you will suffer.

Second, if a man sins he will be punished in the coming age. If a Christian sins and does not deal with it properly in this age, he will have to deal with it in the coming age. When the Lord comes again, ” For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matt. 16:27). Paul said, ” For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10). (Note – this is only speaking about receiving rewards or not receiving rewards.  There is no teaching in the Bible about any kind of punishment for any Christian for any reason other than loss of rewards.)

Besides these two terrible consequences, there is another immediate result of sin—the breaking down of fellowship with God. To a Christian, fellowship with God is a most glorious privilege. Such fellowship is the greatest blessing he can have. However, if he sins, he will immediately lose his fellowship with God. The Holy Spirit within him will grieve for him, and the life in him will feel uncomfortable about his sin. He will lose his joy as well as his fellowship with God. Formerly, when he saw God’s children, he was warmly attracted to them, but now he no longer feels that warmth; there seems to be a barrier between him and them. Formerly, prayer and Bible reading were sweet. But now they have lost their sweetness; he can no longer touch God. Formerly, he treasured the church meetings very much; when he missed one meeting, he felt that he had suffered a great loss. But now the meetings are tasteless to him; it no longer makes a difference whether or not he goes. When he sees God’s children, he wants to run away instead of meeting. them. Everything has changed.

It is a serious thing for a person to sin after he is saved! We must never be loose in our conduct. We must never tolerate sin and must never give ground to it.

But what do we do “if anyone sins”? If a Christian becomes careless and sins by mistake, if he is overtaken by sins, what should he do? How can he come back to the Lord? How can he recover his fellowship with God? This is a very important subject, and we have to study it carefully.

II. THE LORD HAVING BORNE ALL OUR SINS

To take care of this matter, we must first realize that the Lord Jesus has borne all our sins on the cross. All the sins which we have committed, as well as those we are committing and will commit during our whole life, were borne by the Lord on the cross.

However, on the day we believed in the Lord, under God’s light we only saw the sins that we had committed before we had believed. A man can only be conscious of the sins which God shines His light upon; he cannot feel the sins which he has not yet committed. Therefore, the actual sins the Lord Jesus bore on the cross are more than the sins that we see. The Lord Jesus bore all of our sins on the cross, but we see only the sins which we have committed.

You may have been saved at the age of sixteen, or you may have been saved at the age of thirty-two. All the sins you committed before your salvation are absolutely and totally forgiven by the Lord. However, at the time of your forgiveness, the number of sins that you were conscious of was actually much less than the actual number of sins which the Lord bore for you. Your experience of the Lord’s grace went only so far as your personal experience of your sin. But the Lord’s work on our behalf was based on His knowledge of our sins. We must realize that even the sins that we are not conscious of are included in the Lord Jesus’ redemption.

Perhaps you were saved at the age of sixteen. Suppose you had committed a thousand sins during the first sixteen years of your life. You might have said at the time you believed in the Lord, “I thank You. My sins have been forgiven because You have taken away all my sins.” In saying that the Lord had taken your sins away, you meant that the Lord had dealt with your one thousand sins. What would have happened if you had been saved at the age of thirty-two instead? Proportionally, you probably would have committed two thousand sins by the age of thirty-two. You might have said the same thing: “O Lord, You have borne all my sins.” If you were saved at sixty-four years of age, you would have said the same thing: “O Lord, You have borne all my sins.” It is quite clear then that the Lord has dealt with the sins that were committed during the first sixteen years of your life as well as the sins that were committed from age sixteen to age sixty-four. The Lord dealt with all of your sins on the cross. The criminal on the cross did not believe in the Lord until just before he died, but the Lord took away all his sins (Luke 23:39-43). In other words, the Lord took away the sins of our whole life on the cross. Although, when we first believed in the Lord, we only felt the forgiveness of our past sins, in actuality, the Lord took away all our sins, even those we commit after we are saved. We must understand this fact before we can understand how to recover our fellowship with God.

III. THE TYPE OF THE ASHES OF THE RED HEIFER

We have a picture of the Lord’s vicarious death for our sins in the type of the ashes of the red heifer.

Numbers 19 is a very special chapter in the Old Testament. A heifer was used, which speaks of something special. This heifer was used not to meet a need at that moment but to meet a need in the future. This, too, is very significant.

In verse 2 God told Moses and Aaron, ” Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:” A heifer, not a bull, was offered here. In the Bible gender is very meaningful. Male signifies everything related to the testimony of the truth, while female signifies everything related to the experience of life. This is a principle we should be familiar with in reading our Bible. Abraham speaks of justification by faith, while Sarah speaks of obedience. Justification by faith is objective; it has to do with truth and testimony. Obedience is subjective; it has to do with life and experience. Throughout the Bible the church is symbolized by females, because the church is subjective, being related to the Lord’s work in man. A heifer is used here instead of a bull because it represents another aspect of the Lord’s work—His work toward man. The red heifer signifies a work that is subjective rather than objective.

What happened to the heifer? It was slaughtered, and its blood was taken and sprinkled seven times directly in front of the tent of meeting. In other words, the blood was offered to God because the work of the blood is always for God. The heifer’s blood was sprinkled seven times in front of the tent of meeting, signifying that it was for God and for the redemption of sin.

After the red heifer was killed, it was burned. The skin, the flesh, the blood, and the dung were all burned. The whole red heifer was burned. As it was being burned, the priest cast cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet into the midst of the fire. What do cedar wood and hyssop signify? First Kings 4:33 said that Solomon discoursed about trees, from the cedar to the hyssop. Cedar wood and hyssop therefore signify all the trees. In other words, they signify the whole world. What does scarlet signify? This word is also translated scarlet in Isaiah 1:18, which says, “… though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;” Scarlet, therefore, signifies our sins. For the cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet to be burned together means that the sins of the whole world were gathered together with the red heifer when it was offered up to God; they were all burned together. Here, we see a picture of the cross. The Lord Jesus offered Himself up to God. He embraced all our sins. The gross sins were there as well as the lesser sins. The sins of the past, the present, and the future were also there. The sins for which man feels the need of forgiveness, as well as the sins for which man does not feel the need of forgiveness, were there. All sins were upon the heifer, and they were all burned with it.

After they were burned, what was done next? Numbers 19:9 says, ” And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.” What does this mean? This is what makes the red heifer so distinct. After the cedar wood, the hyssop, and the scarlet were burned with the heifer, the ashes were gathered up and kept in a clean place. Thereafter, if any of the Israelites touched something unclean and became unclean before God, another clean person could mix the water for impurity with the ashes and sprinkle it on the unclean person. This would remove the person’s uncleanness. In other words, the ashes were used to remove uncleanness. They were prepared for the future. They would be used when uncleanness was detected at a later time.

In the Old Testament, sinners needed to offer up sacrifices to the Lord. If a person had offered up a sacrifice and then touched something unclean, he would become unclean again before God and could no longer fellowship with Him. What did he have to do? Another person would take some ashes of the red heifer on this person’s behalf, put them in a vessel, pour in living water, mix it into the water for impurity, and sprinkle it on his body. The man’s uncleanness would then be removed and his sin forgiven. When an Israelite brought a bull or a lamb to the Lord and offered it up as a sin offering, he did it because of some known sin. But the red heifer was related to another matter. The burning of the red heifer was not for known sins which had been committed in the past, but for future uncleanness. The burning of the red heifer was not for past sins but for future transgressions.

This shows us another aspect of the Lord Jesus’ work. One aspect of the Lord’s work is like that of the ashes of the red heifer. The efficacy of redemption is signified by the ashes. The sins of the whole world are in it, and the blood is also in it. Whenever a man becomes unclean or has touched some unclean things, he does not need to kill another red heifer and offer it to God. He only needs to take the ashes of the red heifer that was offered once and mix them with water and sprinkle them on the body. In other words, there is no need for the Lord to do anything a second time. His redemption accomplished everything. He made provision for all of our future uncleanness and future sins. Everything has been fully accomplished by His redemption.

What do the ashes signify? In the Bible, ashes signify something in its final form. Whether a bull or a lamb, its final form after being burned is ashes. Ashes are very stable; they do not corrupt into something else. We cannot corrupt or destroy ashes. Ashes signify something in its final form.

The ashes of the red heifer signify the eternal and unchanging efficacy of the Lord’s redemption. The redemption which our Lord accomplished for us is most stable. Do not think that rocks on mountains are stable. Even rocks can be burned into ashes. Ashes are more stable than rocks. The ashes of the red heifer signify the Lord’s redemption which He has prepared for us. It is forever unchanging and incorruptible. We may apply it any time. If a Christian touches something unclean by accident and there is uncleanness in him, he does not have to ask the Lord to die for him again. He only needs to trust in the eternal and incorruptible efficacy of the ashes and to sprinkle his body with the water of life, and he will be clean. In other words, the ashes of the red heifer tell us that the past work of the cross is applicable for our use today. We also can say that the effectiveness of the cross covers all the needs we will ever have in the future. These ashes are specifically for the future. Only one red heifer needs to be burned, and it only needs to be burned once. Its ashes are enough to cover one’s whole life. Thank the Lord that His redemption is sufficient for our whole life. His death has taken away all our sins.

IV. THE NEED FOR CONFESSION

We have covered the side of the Lord’s work, which is redemption and the removal of our sins. What should we do on our side?

First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” In this verse the word we refers to believers, not to sinners. When a believer sins, he must confess his sins. Only after he has confessed his sins will he be forgiven. When a believer sins, he should not ignore it or cover it up. Proverbs 28:13 says, ” He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” When a believer sins, he must confess his sin. Do not give sin a nice name. Do not excuse yourself. Lying is a sin. When you lie, you should confess that you have sinned. You should not say, “I have said a little more (or less) than I should have.” You should say, “I have sinned.” You should not explain it away or cover it up. You should confess that you have committed the sin of lying. You must condemn lying as sin.

 

Confession means to stand on God’s side and judge sin as sin. There are three things here: God, ourselves, and sins. God and sins are at the two ends, and we are in the middle. What does it mean to commit a sin? It means that we stand on the side of sin and that we are away from God. Once we sin, we are away from God. Once we join ourselves to sins, we cannot be together with God. As soon as Adam sinned, he hid from God and dared not meet Him (Gen. 3:8, “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”). Colossians 1:21 says, ” And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” Sin alienates us from God. What does it mean to confess our sins? It means to come back to God’s side and to acknowledge that what we have done is sin. We have come back to God. We are no longer with sin. We are standing opposite of sin and calling sin a sin. This is confession. Only those who walk in the light and who have deep feelings and a repulsion for sin can have genuine confession. Those who are callous to sin, who consider it natural to sin, are not making any confession when they merely acknowledge something with their lips in a heartless way.

Believers are the children of light (Eph. 5:8, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”) and the children of God (1 John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:”). They are no longer outsiders but members of God’s family. In a family one should behave in a way that is worthy of the family. You are a child of God, and you should know about sin. You should have the same attitude towards sin as your Father. The way the Father considers sin should be the way you consider sin. Confession in God’s house comes when His children take the same attitude as their Father towards sin. They condemn sin in the same way that their Father condemns sin. They take the same attitude as their Father with regard to sin. When a child of God sins, he should condemn sin as sin just as the Father does.

If we confess our sins this way, God ” ….. he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9)  When we sin and when we know our sin and acknowledge it as sin, God will forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God is “faithful,” which means that He must honor and fulfill His own words and promises. He is also “righteous,” which means He must be satisfied with His Son’s redemptive work on the cross and must recognize it. Based on His promise and based on His redemption, He has to forgive us. He is faithful, and He is righteous. He must forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

We have to pay attention to the words “every” and “all” in 1 John 1:7 and 9. “Every sin” and “all unrighteousness” are fully forgiven and cleansed. The Lord has done this. When the Lord says “all,” He means all. We should never change it to something else. When He says every sin, He means every sin, not just every sin committed before we believed or every sin committed in the past. He has forgiven us of all sins.  In order to help you confess sins, please click on this link to download the list I have used for 30 years:

Repentance Confession List

V. AN ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER

First John 2:1 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.” These things refer to the forgiveness and cleansing from our sins through God’s promise and work. John wrote these things to us so that we may not sin. It shows us that the Lord has forgiven our many sins and that, as a result, we do not sin. When we find out that we are forgiven, we do not become free to sin; rather, we will not sin.

Following this it says, “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: ” “With the Father”—this is a family affair; it is something that happens after we are saved. We have already believed and have become one of God’s many children. Now we have an Advocate with the Father, who is Jesus Christ the Righteous; “He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.” Through the Lord Jesus’ death and by His becoming the propitiation for our sins, He has become our Advocate with the Father. These words are spoken to Christians.

The propitiation spoken of here is the reality of the type of the ashes of the red heifer in Numbers 19. It speaks of God’s forgiveness of our future sins according to the accomplished work of the cross. There is no need to have a new cross. We only need the work of the cross once and it is sufficient. With the eternal redemption of the cross, our sins are forgiven. That sacrifice was not an ordinary sacrifice. It was a sacrifice whose efficacy could be applied at all times. It was ashes; therefore, it was applicable all the time. Based on His blood, the Lord Jesus Christ has become our Advocate. He has accomplished redemption on the cross. Based on His accomplished work, we can be cleansed. If we sin by accident, we should not be disheartened by our sin; we should not wallow in it or remain in it. When we sin, the first thing we should do is confess our sin to the Lord. God says that it is a sin, and we should acknowledge it as a sin. God says that this is wrong, and we also should say that it is wrong. When we ask God to forgive our sin, He forgives our sin, and our fellowship with Him is restored immediately.

In the eyes of God, no brother or sister should sin. However, if anyone sins by accident, the first thing to do is deal with it immediately before God. He or she should take care of the problem of sin immediately. Never delay. Deal with it as soon as possible. You must confess immediately. Tell God, “I have sinned!” Our confession is our judgment of ourselves. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When a child of God sins and does not confess his sin but instead remains in his sin, he loses his fellowship with God. There will be no further fellowship between him and God. There is a leak in his conscience, and he will not be able to stand up before God. He may still have a little fellowship with God, but that fellowship will not be pleasant. Indeed, he will suffer. When a child who has done something wrong comes home, he will feel that something is not right because his father will not speak to him. He cannot have an intimate fellowship with his father. He knows that there is a barrier between him and his father. This is the pain that results from a loss of fellowship.

There is only one way to recovery—it is to go to God and confess our sins. We have to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has become our Advocate and has borne all our sins. We have to confess our failures and shortcomings before God in a humble way. We have to look to Him so that we will no longer be proud or loose when we set out on our journey again. We have to realize that we are no better than anyone else, and that it is possible for us to fall at any time. We have to ask God for mercy and strength to go on step by step. Once we confess this way, we will immediately recover our fellowship with God, and the joy and peace that were lost will come back.

Finally, we should point out once more that Christians should not sin. Sin results in suffering and loss. May God have mercy upon us, keep us, preserve us, and lead us on in the way of unceasing fellowship with Him!

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Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  The illustration in the first lesson was created by me after a study of the Greek word “eis” which means “into.”  David Williams – site Admin.

BAPTISM – Immersion in water

Scripture Reading: Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:20-21; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:12

Baptism is a great subject in the Bible. We need to be clear about two aspects concerning baptism. First, before we are baptized, we need to be clear as to what baptism can do for us. Second, after we are baptized, we need to look backward and ask, “What is the significance of baptism?” In the first case, the baptism pool and the water are before us. As we are going to be baptized, we should ask ourselves, “What can baptism do for me?” After our baptism, we need to ask, “What is the meaning of my baptism?” One is a question posed in foresight, and the other is a question posed in hindsight. The former touches one’s knowledge prior to baptism, and the latter, one’s understanding after baptism.

I. WHAT BAPTISM DOES FOR A PERSON

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

(Mark 16:16). This verse shows what baptism does for a person.

A. Baptism Saving Man from the World

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” I suppose that all Baptists are a little afraid of this verse. Therefore, they dare not read it. Whenever they read this verse, they change it to, “He that believeth and is saved shall be baptized.” But the Lord’s Word does not say this. In order to avoid the error of Catholicism, the Baptists deliberately go around God’s Word. However, as they evade the error of Catholicism, they fall into another error. The Lord’s Word is clear: “He who believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Man has no authority to change it to, “He who believeth and is saved shall be baptized.”

1. Salvation Being a Deliverance from the World

Let us now pay attention to the meaning of the word salvation in the Bible. What is a person being saved from? According to the Bible, a man is saved from the world, not hell, though being saved he will go to heaven. The opposite of eternal life is perdition, but the Bible does not regard salvation as the opposite of perdition. The Bible shows us that salvation is one’s deliverance from the world. As long as a person is in the world, he is already in perdition.

Let us consider man’s condition before God. Today man does not have to do anything to perish. I will not perish because I have killed someone, and I will not be saved from perdition because I have not killed someone. The fact is that the whole world is perishing. From among the perishing ones, God has pulled us out and saved us. The whole world is perishing corporately, but God is saving men one by one, individually. God does not catch all the fish from the sea and then separate the good from the bad, assigning some to salvation while destining others to perdition. All the fish in the sea are perishing. Those which are caught by God are saved; the rest remain in the sea.

Hence, the matter of salvation and perdition has nothing to do with whether or not you have believed or how good your conduct is; it has to do with your location. If you are in the boat, you are saved. If you are still in the sea, you are perishing. You may not have done anything, but as long as you are in the world, that is enough for you to perish. It does not matter whether you are good or bad, a gentleman or a villain. It does not matter whether or not you live by your conscience. As long as you are in the world, you are finished. If you have not left that place, you are condemned by God.

2. Salvation Being a Matter of Position

Because Adam sinned and became a sinner, all men became sinners. Man need not sin to be qualified as a sinner. All have become sinners through one man’s sin. Today God has saved you from among many men. If you are on the world’s side, no matter what kind of person you are, you are opposed to God, and you are God’s enemy. Your position is wrong; it is a perishing position, one that leads to perdition. If you are a person in the world, you are perishing.

The word salvation has been used freely among us and with much confusion. There is a distinction between salvation and obtaining eternal life. Obtaining eternal life is a personal matter, but salvation is a matter not only of receiving the eternal life personally but also of coming out from a wrong corporate body. Brothers and sisters, are you clear about this distinction? Receiving eternal life is a personal matter. Salvation, however, is not just a personal matter; it has to do with the corporate body to which you formerly belonged.

Salvation means coming out of one corporate body into another. The receiving of eternal life speaks of what one has entered into; it does not speak of what one has come out of. Salvation includes both a coming out of and an entering in. Therefore, the scope of salvation is wider than that of receiving eternal life. It includes being delivered from the world, that is, coming out of the world.

3. Four Major Facts Concerning the World before God

There are four major facts concerning the world as shown in the Bible: (1) The world is condemned in the eyes of God, (2) the world lies in the evil one, (3) the world has crucified the Lord Jesus, and (4) the world is at enmity with God; it is God’s enemy. These are the four major facts concerning the world before God. As long as a person is in the world, he is already condemned and will perish regardless of his conduct.

Please remember that the salvation of men is not a matter of personal conduct. They are wrong because their position is wrong. We know that it is not easy to be delivered from the world. How can I forsake the world if it is still attractive to me? However, when I realize that the world is in a wrong position with respect to God, I will have to forsake it no matter how lovely it may be to me. Hence, salvation is not just a matter of our personal conduct. The corporate body to which we belong is wrong. We need to be saved from our relationship with and our position in the world.

When the Jews tried to do away with the Lord Jesus, they cried, “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. (Matthew 27:25). Although we are not the ones who killed the Lord Jesus, our forefathers did. Even though we did not commit the act, the corporate body to which we belong did. The corporate body to which we belong is an enemy of God and is condemned to perish. Whether we are right or wrong individually is another matter. I hope you can see not only that we are sinners individually and need to be saved individually, but that we also belong to a corporate body which is wrong. The world to which we belong is God’s enemy. The world we are in is condemned by God. We need to be delivered from that relationship and that position.

4. Salvation Being to Come Out of the World

What is salvation? Salvation is a deliverance from a certain corporate body. It is a deliverance from a certain position and certain relationships. In other words, it means to come out of the world. Most people pay much attention to their personal salvation, but the question before us is what are they saved from? The salvation highlighted in the Bible involves being saved from the world, not from hell. The world as a whole is condemned by God.

There is no doubt that he that believeth has eternal life. We have been preaching this for many years. Once a person believes in the Lord Jesus, he has eternal life and is saved forever. All problems are solved. But please remember that if a person believes but is not baptized, he is still not saved (from the world). Indeed, you may have believed and you may have eternal life, but are you saved in the eyes of the world? If you are not baptized, you are not saved (in their eyes), because no one knows that you are different. You must rise up and be baptized, declaring that you have terminated your relationship with the world. Only then will you be saved by the truest definition given in these verses.

5. Believing Being on the Positive Side, and Baptism Being on the Negative Side

What then is baptism? Baptism is deliverance. Believing is on the positive side and baptism is on the negative side. Baptism delivers you out of that corporate body. Many people in the world may say that you are one of them. But the moment you are baptized, they will realize you are finished. The one whom they have known for years is now saved and baptized. Your friendship with them is terminated. You are in the tomb; you have reached the end of your road. You already know that you have eternal life. Now that you are baptized, you are saved. From now on, everyone knows that you are the Lord’s and that you belong to Him.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” This is true because once a person believes and is baptized everyone will know where he stands. Without believing, there is no inward reality, and what one does will be nothing but an outward display. With believing, there is inward reality, and if one takes a further step to be baptized, he will be separated from the world, having terminated his relationship with it. Baptism is a separation. It separates us from others.

“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” The Lord Jesus’ word is quite clear. It goes on by saying, “but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Unbelief alone is sufficient for condemnation. As long as a person belongs to that corporate body, his unbelief is sufficient for condemnation. But if one has believed, he still needs to be baptized. If he is not baptized, he still has not made an exit outwardly.

6. A Very Amazing Thing in the World

A very amazing thing in the world today is the attitude of Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam toward baptism.

Any Jew who embraces the Christian faith in secret will not be persecuted. Many Jews believe in the historical record concerning the Lord Jesus. Their greatest hurdle is not in believing in Him but in baptism. Once they are baptized, they are cast out. Some sisters were poisoned by their fiancé after they were baptized. Such things happen even in civilized communities like London and New York. It is all right for a person to believe in his heart, but once he is baptized, others will persecute him.

In India, no one will do anything to a believer if he is not baptized. But once he is baptized, they will cast him out. It is all right for one to believe in the Lord, but he cannot be baptized.

The reaction of the Muslims is more violent. Someone once said that it is difficult for a Muslim believer to remain alive. As soon as he believes, he will die. Dr. Swema is the first person who succeeded in working among the Muslims. He said, “My work will never grow, because once a person believes in the Lord, he has to be sent away immediately. Otherwise, he will die within two or three days after his baptism.” This condition is prevalent even among Muslims today.

Baptism is an open declaration that one has come out. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” We should never consider the salvation here to mean a personal salvation of the spirit. In the Bible, salvation signifies a deliverance from the world, not deliverance from hell.

B. Baptism Being for the Forgiveness of Sins

On the day of Pentecost, the apostles told the Jews, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38). The Baptists have difficulty accepting this verse. But this verse is the plain word of the apostles. “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” It is strange that the emphasis of the apostle’s word is not upon faith but upon baptism.

Was the focus of Peter’s message in Acts 2 on persuading men to believe? No. Does this mean that Peter’s preaching was inferior to ours? The Bible tells us that the most crucial thing concerning salvation is faith. How could Peter have left this out? Perhaps he could ignore other doctrines in his message, but how could he not speak about faith? Nevertheless, he did not speak about it. Instead, he spoke about baptism, and the Holy Spirit pricked the heart of those who listened. What about us? We say that faith alone is enough. We think this is orthodox Christianity. Yet Peter said, “Be baptized upon the name of Jesus Christ.”

Peter spoke only of baptism because those who listened to him were the ones who had killed the Lord Jesus. Fifty days prior to that, they were crying, “Take this man away.” These were the same people who were shouting and crying in Jerusalem. Now they needed to be separated from the rest of the Jews. This is why it was not necessary to speak to them about believing. They only needed to be baptized. That would be sufficient for them to get out. As soon as they were baptized, their relationship with that corporate body would be terminated. As soon as they were baptized, they would leave that corporate body and their sins would be washed away. They would no longer be part of that corporate body; they would be out of it. This is why Peter said, “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” The act of baptism brought them out. As soon as they came out, all problems were solved.

You need to realize that you were originally in the world and that you were an enemy of God. Since you have come out, you are saved. You need to confess before God and before men that you have come out and have nothing to do with that corporate body. You are through with it. “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This was the main teaching on the day of Pentecost. At this point your mind needs to be directed by God’s Word, not by Protestant theology.

C. Baptism Being for the Washing Away of Sins

Let us consider the case of Paul. Ananias came to Paul and said to him, ” And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16).

Paul was the foremost and greatest teacher, prophet, and apostle of Christianity. Was there a little error in his experience? Sometimes we preach the right doctrines but have the wrong experience. What would happen when we gave our testimony? What would happen if others did the same thing we do? The testimony of a teacher is very important because it may mislead others. Could it be that the experience of the foremost teacher of Christianity was wrong?

“And now, why do you delay? Rise up and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” Please take note of this verse. It says that baptism can wash away one’s sins. The Catholics quote this verse and regard it as a personal matter before God. The error of Catholicism lies in saying, “If you are baptized, your sins will be washed away.” Therefore, they claim that a death-bed baptism can wash away sins. They do not realize that the significance of this matter is not before God but before the world.

Formerly, Paul was a man in the world. After he had believed in the Lord Jesus and had seen Him, he needed to rise up and be baptized. The moment he was baptized, his sins were washed away. The moment he severed his relationship with the world, his sins were gone. If you are a Christian secretly and are not baptized, the world may still consider you as one of them. You may say that you are saved, but the world will not admit it. You may say that you have believed in the Lord Jesus, but they will say that they have not seen it. Once you get into the water, they will see it; they will know that you have believed in Jesus. Otherwise, why should a person be so foolish as to get into the water? The moment you are baptized, you are freed from the world. Water baptism is a severance of one’s relationship with the world.

If a person believes in his heart but does not have any outward gesture, the world will still consider him to be part of it. For instance, in Kuling of Fukien there is a strong tradition of idol worship every fall; everyone is required to donate some money. If a person merely says that he has believed in the Lord, others will not believe him. But the moment he is baptized, they will know that he is no longer one of them. Therefore, baptism is the best way to free oneself from the world. If you want to be freed from the world, you must be baptized. You must tell the world, “My relationship with you is over.” By doing this, you come out of the world.

Baptism is an open testimony, and we should not be afraid to let others witness it. Unbelievers can also be present during our baptism. Recently, when we baptized some people in Foochow, a brother said, “We do not like to conduct the baptism meeting in such a messy way. There were too many spectators.” If this is the case, John the Baptist would have to learn from this brother because John conducted baptisms that were not that orderly. Even the baptisms of the three thousand on the day of Pentecost were not that orderly. The issue is not whether a meeting is orderly. Of course, it is not good to be disorderly. But all the brothers and sisters should know what we are doing. When we baptize someone, we should let the whole world witness what we are doing.

D. Baptism Leading to Salvation through Water

The Scripture is consistent in its principles. First Peter 3:20 says, “… in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water ” This verse shows us again that baptism leads to salvation. The Lord Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” On the day of Pentecost, Peter said, “Be baptized…for the forgiveness of your sins.” Paul’s action shows us that when a person is baptized, his sins are washed away. They are not just forgiven, but washed away. This is because our sins are washed away when we sever our relationship with the world. Here, the word in 1 Peter also shows us that we are saved through water. Therefore, baptism leads to salvation through water.

Those who cannot pass the test of water are not saved. A person who cannot pass through water drowns. During Noah’s time, everyone was baptized, but only eight souls came out. All the people were baptized and immersed in the water, but only eight souls emerged from it. (They were in the ark – our ark is Christ and by the illustration we are saved “into” Him.  We who are saved are also in the ark spiritually.) In other words, the water became the water of death to some, but to others it was the water of salvation. Others go into the water and remain there, but we pass through the water and emerge from it. There is something positive in Peter’s word. When the flood came, everyone drowned. Only the eight souls in the ark, whom the water could not overcome, emerged from it. While the rest perished, these eight souls were saved. Today the whole world is under the wrath of God. For one to be baptized today means that he goes through God’s wrath. But he does not only go through it; he comes out of it. His emergence from it shows that he is one who has come out. This is baptism.

Baptism is being immersed on one side and emerging out of water on the other side. Baptism means passing through and emerging from the water. You must emphasize the aspect of “emergence.” Everyone went into the water, but only the eight souls came out. Today we are saved through baptism. What does this mean? When I am baptized, I do not go into the water and remain there. Rather, I enter into the water and emerge from it. If you have never believed in the Lord Jesus, your baptism will not result in an emergence. Today my going into the water and coming out of it means that I am different from you. I can come out from the world through the water. I testify to others that I am different from the world.

E. Baptism Freeing Us from the World

The above four portions of the Scripture clearly show us what baptism is. Once we are baptized, we are freed from the world. We do not need years to be freed from the world. The first thing for a new believer to do is to be baptized. You must see the position of the world before God. You have renounced your former position in the world. This is salvation. You must put off the world completely. From now on, you are no longer a part of the world; you are on the other side.

Once we believe in the Lord, we should realize that we are no longer a part of the world. (See the illustration!  We have moved out of the world and “into” Christ.)  Our baptism is a sign that we are freed from the world. Through baptism we assume a different role. Henceforth, we abide in the ark and are persons on the other side. We can tell others that we do not do certain things because we have believed in Jesus. But, even more, we can tell others that we do not do them because we are baptized. We have crossed the bridge; we are on the other side. (In the illustration we have moved from the left to the right.)

Today we must recover the place of baptism before God. What is the meaning of baptism? Baptism means to come out of the world. It is a step which we take to free ourselves from the world. Our baptism is a declaration to others that we are out. This is like the words of a hymn which say, “Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus I come, Jesus I come.  Into thy freedom, gladness and light, Jesus I, come to thee.” Our dear ones know that we are finished and that we have come to the end of our road. We are through. Only this kind of baptism is effective. If this is not our realization, our baptism is too light and insubstantial. We must realize that we have been freed from the old circle and have come out of it. Eternal life is something that our spirit gains before God, but salvation is an act of our separation from the world.

II. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISM

Everyone who is already baptized needs to look back and consider the meaning of baptism. Even if you were baptized ten or twenty years ago, you still need to review this matter. We should always remember the verse which says, ” Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”(Romans 6:3). This verse is spoken in retrospect, not as forethought.

The verses in Mark 16, Acts 2, Acts 22, and 1 Peter 3 are for those who have not yet been baptized, whereas the verses in Romans 6 and Colossians 2 are for those who have been baptized. They address those who have been baptized already. God is telling them, “Do you not know that when you were baptized, you died together with Christ and were buried and resurrected together with Him?”

Romans 6 emphasizes death and burial even though it also speaks of resurrection. Colossians 2 is more advanced; it emphasizes burial and resurrection, with resurrection as the focus. The emphasis of Romans 6 is death: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? ” The main point here is death. We should die together with Christ. Romans 6 is on death and burial, whereas Colossians 2 is on burial and resurrection.  “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)

The water of baptism typifies the tomb. Today, when we put a person into the water, it is as if we are burying him in the ground. When we raise him up from the water, it is equivalent to raising him up from the tomb. Before one can be buried, he must first be dead. You cannot bury a living person. If a person rises up again after he is buried, this is surely resurrection. The first part of this truth is found in Romans, and the second part of this truth is found in Colossians.

A. A Great Gospel—I Am Dead

When the Lord Jesus was crucified, He carried us along with Him to the cross; we were crucified there as well. In the eyes of God, He has terminated us. What do you think of yourself? You may say, “I am a terrible person to deal with!” Those who do not know themselves do not realize how impossible they are. A person who knows God and who knows himself will say, “I am an impossible person.”

When we were heavy-laden with sin, we heard of the death of the Lord Jesus. This is the gospel. Then we saw that we were beyond all hope and that we were dead. This is also the gospel. Thank God, this is the gospel! The Lord’s death has included all of us. We are dead in Christ. This is a great gospel! Just as the Lord’s death is a great gospel, our own death is also a great gospel. Just as the Lord’s death is a joyful matter, our own death is also a joyful matter. What should be the first thought that comes to our mind when we hear that our Lord has died? We should be like Joseph of Arimathea; we should bury Him. Similarly, when we hear that we are dead, the first thing that we should do is to bury ourselves, because burial is the first thing that follows death. Death is not the end. We are already dead in Christ; therefore, the first thing we need to do is bury ourselves.

B. Having Died and Risen

Brothers, when we step into the water of baptism or when we look back after being believers for many years, we must remember that we are already dead. We allowed others to bury us because we believed that we were already dead. If our heart is still beating and we are still breathing, we cannot be buried. In order to be buried, we must be dead.

When the Lord was crucified, we were crucified too. We allowed others to put us into the water because we believed that we had died. The Lord Jesus has resurrected; He has put His resurrection power within us. Now we are regenerated through this power. This resurrection power operates within us and causes us to be resurrected. This is why we rose from the water. We are no longer our former self; we are now resurrected persons. Today, we must always remind ourselves of this matter. When we went into the water, we believed that we died and needed to be buried. When we came up from the water, we believed that we had newness of life. Now we are on the side of resurrection. Death is on the other side, but resurrection is on this side.

C. I Am in Christ

Once I saw a headline in the newspaper which read, “One Person, Three Lives.” The article was about a pregnant woman who had been murdered. After the woman died, it became known that she was pregnant with twins. Hence, the headline read, “One Person, Three Lives.” Please note that concerning the Lord, it is, “One Person, Millions of Lives.” This is why the Bible repeatedly emphasizes the words in Christ. In the murder spoken of above, the murderer apparently killed only the mother; he did not kill the two children. However, because the two children were in their mother’s womb, they died when their mother died. Likewise, since we are in Christ, when Christ died, we died in Him.

God has put us into Christ Jesus. (See the illustration above.)  This is the revelation in 1 Corinthians 1:30: “Of Him ye are in Christ Jesus.” Since Christ has died, we are all dead. The basis for our co-death with Christ is our being in Christ. If we do not know what being in Christ means, we will not understand what dying with Him means either. How could the children die with their mother? They died because they were in their mother’s womb. The analogy in the spiritual realm is even more real. God has joined us to Christ. When Christ died, we died also.

As soon as this gospel is preached to us, we should learn to look from God’s viewpoint and acknowledge that we have died in the Lord. We have died because we believed this to be a fact. We have been buried in the water and have come out of it. We declare that we are on this side of the tomb. This is resurrection. Reckoning in Romans 6 involves both reckoning oneself dead in Christ Jesus and reckoning oneself alive in Him as well.

Brothers and sisters, I hope that you will take this way once you are saved. These are two separate thoughts. One thought comes before baptism, and the other comes after baptism. Before baptism we must see that we have already died and that we need to be buried. After baptism we must realize that we are in resurrection and that we can therefore serve God today.

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Written originally by Watchman Nee in China during the Chinese revolution and died in a prison camp but these lessons have been the foundation of my life for 38 years.  The illustration was created by me after a study of the Greek word “eis” which means “into.”  David Williams – site Admin.

 

 

I have studied the Bible on this subject and have found that much that is preached and taught seems to miss some of what  the Bible teaches regarding the subject.  Before a person accepts Christ, or believes, repents of their sins, commits their life to God or any number of other things that are described in the Bible, they are unsaved, or lost.  They have a selfish end in view for their motive for living.  At that time they own their own life, follow their own will, and are spiritually dead in sin.  The day a person accepts Christ,  they need to realize that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are facts, but when the new believer exercises a heart faith and confidence which in effect passes ownership of his life over to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The Bible says in John 3:16 that “…whosoever believeth in him…” and when we look at the Greek for that phrase, the word inis a Greek word eis which actually means into. The Greek prepositions are placed on a chart to show just how they affect the subject in a sentence.  The diagram for eis appears as presented below:

As one can see, there is movement from one side to the other.  No one that believes in Jesus Christ stays where they were prior to salvation and no one loves the same things.  The meaning of believing in Jesus actually is more accurately said believing into Jesus Christ.  It is being immersed in the love of God as Finney told in his conversion experience.  It is definitely life changing.  It is not mental acknowledgement but life changing waves of the love of God.  The after effect is a new outlook on all that you had once held dear in life.  Nothing looks the same and peace floods your soul.  You are definitely born again, born into a new world and dead to the old one once and for all.  The old man is crucified and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ comes to dwell in the new believer, he is now a new creation in Christ Jesus.

What I found in studying this further is an astounding fact.  The Dana and Mantey Greek Grammar of the New Testament had an interesting footnote in the definition of the word.  It said, essentially, that to believe into or to be baptized into the name of Jesus Christ was to renounce ones self, selfishness and self-gratification, and consider ones self a life-time servant of Jesus Christ.  Nothing is clearer by way of illustration than the testimony of Charles G. Finney in this respect.  The circle on the right, in the illustration above, represents all that Christ stands for.  When a person is regenerated, they pass from the left-hand to the right-hand circle.  They are placing themselves in the hands of God, Jesus Christ specifically, by faith.  When you view the chart you can picture in your mind all the things that we have been saying in this book, the attributes of selfishness on the left, and all the things that relate to disinterested benevolence are on the right.  The left circle is the world of the unsaved; all things are viewed from a self-centered viewpoint.  The right circle is a new world of knowing God through Jesus Christ.  As Charles Finney indicated, there are baptisms of love that no one can describe that come over a new Christian.  He can never be the same.  His position has changed.  He has moved from the left, sometimes without even realizing it, over to the right.  The left feels most uncomfortable now and the right seems most peaceful and tranquil.  On the left a person feels that his life is owned by himself; on the right the person feels that his life is owned now by God.  On the left the person has self as lord; on the right, Christ is now Lord with no problem.  Some seem to cringe at the term “Lordship Salvation” but that is precisely what happens whether there is conscious thought of it or not.  A new Christian is slain by the Love of God and He is Lord of the heart by that same love.  The truth is that regeneration is a drastic change, it is being born again.  The position has changed, as far as the perspective that one has concerning his place in the world and in his place in his relationship to God.  That is just a fact of regeneration that cannot be denied, it is a fact that cannot be otherwise if a person comes to know God.  Is it any wonder that the moral law has this, knowing God, as the number one goal of every human being and of every being in the universe?  There is nothing that can substitute for the thrill and yet the peace and contentment that comes from having a personal relationship with the God of love, the lover of our souls.  So as we have said above, there is a part that the sinner plays, as Charles Finney testifies in his book, and there is a part that God plays as well.  It has happened to all that have come to know God, their perspective is altered in such a way that they can never return to the old life.  Truly old things have passed away and all things have become new.  Here is a list of things from the Bible that show conditions that existed in the left circle and what they are changed to in the right circle:

BEING SAVED – MOVING FROM ONE WORLD TO THE OTHER

Unsaved/Selfish Saved/Benevolence
Owned by me Genesis 3:1-6 Owned by God I Corinthians 6:19,20
Self the lord Psalm 49:18; 81:12; Proverbs 14:12; Zechariah 7:6; Matthew 19:21; II Corinthians 5:15; Philippians 2:21; II Timothy 3:2-4 Christ the Lord Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Psalms 2:6; 24:8; Isaiah 6:1; 11:10 33:17; 40:10; Jeremiah 23:5,6; 30:9; Daniel 7:13,14; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9,10; Matthew 2:2,6; Matthew 12:6; 19:28; 21:5; 26:64; 28:18; Luke 2:11; 10:22; 23:42; John 1:49; 3:31; 12:13; 18:36,37; Acts 3:15; 5:31; 10:36; Romans 5:9; 14:9; I Corinthians 15:23-28; Ephesians 1:19-22; Philippians 2:9-11; I Timothy 6:15,16; II Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 2:7,8; I Peter 3:22
In the World Ephesians 2:12; II Peter 1:4; I John 2:15,16; 4:3-5; 5:4,5; 5:19; In Christ Jesus Romans 3:24; 8:1,2; 8:39; I Corinthians 1:30; 3:11; 4:15; 15:22; II Corinthians 2:14; 5:17; Galatians 2:4; 3:26; 3:28; 6:15; Ephesians 1:1-3,10; 2:6; 2:8-10; 2:13; 3:11; Philippians 2:5; 3:3; 3:9; 3:14; Colossians 1:28; 2:6; I Thessalonians 4:16; 5:18; I Timothy 1:14; II Timothy 1:1; II Timothy 1:9; 1:13; 2:1; 2:10; 3:12; 3:15; Phileman 1:6; I John 5:20.
Servant of sin Romans 6:17,20 Servant of Righteousness Romans 6:18
Walk in the flesh Romans 8:12,13; Galatians 6:8 Walk in the Spirit Galatians 5:16,25
Lost Matthew 18:11; Luke 15:4-9,24; 19:10; John 17:12; II Corinthians 4:3,4 Saved Matthew 10:22; 19:25; 24:13; Mark 16:16; Luke 7:50; Luke 8:12; John 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30,31; Romans 5:9,10; 8:24; 10:9,10,13; I Corinthians 1:18; 3:15; 5:5; 15:1-6; Ephesians 2:5-10; II Thessalonians 2:10; I Timothy 2:4; II Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:20,21; I Peter 4:18;
Dead in Sin Ephesians 2:1,5; Dead to Sin I Peter 2:24: Romans 6; Galatians 2:20
Love the World I John 2:15 Love the Lord Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:13; 30:6,10; Psalms 97:10; 116:1; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27
Sin is the Master Jeremiah 17:1-3; Ezekiel 3:20,21; John 8:34; 9:41; Romans 3:9; Romans 6:12,16,17,20; 7:17; I Corinthians 15:56; Galatians 2:17; II Peter 2:14; I John 3:8,9 Christ is the Master Matthew 10:24,25; 23:8-10; Mark 13:35; Luke 13:25; 14:21; John 13:13,14; Romans 14:4; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1; II Timothy 2:21
Yoke of sin Leviticus 26:13; Deuteronomy 28:48; Isaiah 10:27; 58:6-9; Ezekiel 34:27; Hosea 11:4; Galatians 5:1; Christ’s Yoke is Easy Matthew 11:28-30
Eternal death Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:46; I John 3:15; Eternal Life Daniel 12:2; Matthew 19:29; 25:46; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18-23,30; John 3:15,16,36,; 4:14; 5:24; 6:40,47; 10:28; 12:25; 17:2,3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; 5:21; 6:22,23; Galatians 6:8; I Timothy 6:12,19; Titus 1:2, 3:7; I John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11-13; 5:20; Jude 1:21.
Reject Christ Mark 7:9 Accept Christ John 1:11,12
Hell the home Psalms 9:17; 16:10; 18:5; 55:15; 86:13; Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11,24; 23:14; 27:20; Isaiah 5:14; 14:15; Matthew 5:22,29,20; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33; Mark 9:43-47; Luke 12:5; 16:23; Acts 2:27,31; II Peter 2:4; 20:13,14; 21:8 Heaven the home Psalms 14:2; Matthew 4:17; 5:3,10,12,16,18,19,20,48; 6:20; 7:21; 10:7,32,33; 18:3,4,10,14,18; 19:14,21,23; 28:18; I Corinthians 15:47; II Corinthians 15:2; Ephesians 3:15; Philippians 2:10; 3:20; Colossians 1:5; I Thessalonians 1:10; 4:16,17; 9:24; 10:34; I Peter 1:4; 3:22; I John 5:7; Revelation 3:12; 4:1,2; 5:13; 11:19; 15:5; 21:1,2,3,10.
Spiritual death Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:6; Ephesians 4:18; James 1:15; James 5:20; Revelation 21:8 Spiritual Life Matthew 7:14; Matthew 10:39; 16:25-26; 19:17; John 1:4; 3:15,16,36; 5:24,26,29,39,40; 6:27; 6:35,48; 6:63,68; 8:12; 10:10; 11:25; 12:25; 17:3; 20:31; Acts 5:20; 11:18; Romans 5:10; 5:18; 6:4; 8:2,6,10; II Corinthians 2:16; 3:6; 4:10,11,12; 5:4; Galatians 2:20; 3:21; 6:8; Colossians 3:3; II Timothy 1:1,10; James 1:12; II Peter 1:3; I John 1:1,2; 3:14; 5:12;
Spirit is dead Ephesians 2:1-10 Spirit is alive by the Holy Spirit Romans 8:10; Ephesians 2:1-10
No Holy Spirit Jude 1:19 Holy Spirit indwells believer II Timothy 1:14; James 4:5;
Physical birth only John 1:13; 3:6 Born Again of the Spirit of God John 1:13; 3:3; 3:5,-8
Doing their own works Matthew 7:22,23; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:4,5 Hebrews 4:10 Enter into HIS REST Exodus 33:14; Psalms 116:7; Isaiah 28:12; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-9
Self the motive Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 Christ and others the motive Matthew 22:27-40; Philippians 1:21,23-24
Selfishness the mind set Proverbs 12:15; 20:6; Jeremiah 2:35; II Corinthians 10:12 Agape love the mind set Matthew 22:27-40; John 13:35; 15:9,12,13; 21:15-17; I Corinthians 13; I Thessalonians 3:12; I Peter 1:22
Works of the flesh Galatians 5:19-23 Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:16-18,25
Man’s will is sovereign John 1:13; II Peter 1:21 God’s will is sovereign Psalms 40:8; 143:10; Matthew 12:50; Ephesians 6:6
Spiritually blind John 9:41 Spiritual sight II Kings 6:17; Job 42:5; Matthew 5:8; John 14:19; 16:14,15; Hebrews 2:9; 11:27;
Unbelief Deuteronomy 32:20; Romans 3:3; Faith and belief foundation Habakkuk 2:4; Matthew 8:10; 9:2,22,29; 15:29; 17:20; 21:21; Mark 5:34; 10:52; 11:22; Acts 3:16; 6:7; 14:9,22,27; 20:21; 26:18; Romans 1:5,8,17; 3:22,25,27-31; 4:5; 5:1,2; 10:6-13,17; I Corinthians 2:5; 15:1-17; 16:13; II Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:20; 3:11,24,25,26; 5:5,6,22,23; Ephesians 2:8,9; 3:12,17,18; 6:16; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 1:23; 2:12; I Timothy 6:12; II Timothy 3:15,16; Hebrews 4:2; 10:22,23,28; 11:1ff;
Draw back to perdition Hebrews 10:38,39 Commitment to Christ Psalms 37:3,5; 118:8; Proverbs 3:5,6; Isaiah 26:4; 50:10; II Timothy 1:12;
Believe in the mind James 2:19,20 Believe in the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12; Acts 8:37; Romans 10:9,10
End and scope of life is self Proverbs 16:26; Luke 12:19-20 End and scope of life is God Deuteronomy 6:5; Ecclesiastes 12:13
Does not seek God with whole heart Ezekiel 33:9; Luke 14:18; Acts 24:25; 28:27; Hebrews 2:3; 12:25 Seeks after God with whole heart Psalms 119:2; Proverbs 3:5,6; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12
Sin unto death Romans 6:16 Obedience unto righteousness Romans 6:16
Love self Luke 12:19,20; 18:10-14 Love God with all the heart Deuteronomy 6:5; Proverbs 3:5,6; Romans 8:28; I Corinthians 8:3; I John 4:20,21; 5:2,3;
Hate or compete with neighbor Matthew 25:41-46; Romans 13:10 Love neighbor as self Matthew 5:44; 19:19; 22:29; 25:34-40; Mark 12:31,33; Luke 10:25-37; Romans 12:20; 13:9,10; 15:1; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8
Hold truth in unrighteousness Romans 1:18ff Hold truth in Word of God Psalms 119:72,127,162; Proverbs 23:23; John 1:1-3,14; 14:6; 18:37; Ephesians 4:25; 6:14
Will chooses selfish goals Proverbs 18:2; Romans 3:23 Will chooses glory of God John 11:40; Acts 7:55; Romans 5:2; I Corinthians 10:31; II Corinthians 1:20; 4:6; 4:15; Philippians 2:9-11,
Continue in sin Romans 6:1-7 Dead unto sin Romans 6:1-7
Old man is alive and well I Peter 4:2-6; II Peter 1:9,10 Old man is crucified Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20; II Timothy 2:11
Free from righteousness Romans 6:20 Free from sin Romans 6:18,22
Life of habitual sin I John 3:8 Cannot habitually sin I John 3:9
Living in continuous sin I John 3:8 Occasional sin I John 2:1
Save their life now but lose it at endMatthew 16:25,26 Lose life now but save it in eternity Matthew 16:25,26
Regret when they sin Luke 16:30-31; II Corinthians 7:10; Hebrews 12:17 Repent from their sin Matthew 4:17; 9:13; Mark 1:15; 2:17; 6:12; Luke 5:32; 13:3-5; 15:7; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:10; II Timothy 2:25; II Peter 3:9
Sorrow of the world (being caught) II Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow (see sin as God sees it) II Corinthians 7:10
Reject Christ as Lord & Savior Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46; Hebrews 10:38 Accept Christ in ALL THAT HE IS! Romans 10:13; I Corinthians 1:30,31
Selfish love (lust) James 1:13-15 Agape sacrificial love I Corinthians 13
Gain the world Matthew 16:26 Lose the World Matthew 16:26
Lose their soul Matthew 16:26 Save the Soul Matthew 16:26

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