Run Through Romans (ch. 5.13-16)

Dear All,

I am going to continue our run through Romans series.  I apologise in advance that it has been a couple of months since the last post on this, but I have been really busy with the church and with work and with planning the gospel crusade.  I would love for all of you to be at the gospel crusade in August – I know we are going to see so many signs and wonders, healings and salvations and it is going to be absolutely awesome.

I am really looking forward to continuing this series as well, especially as we are about to look at Romans 6-8, which is easily some of the most neglected teaching in the whole of Christianity about how we can live holy and why we should live holy.  Most Christians are still mixed up in the law and do not realize we are under grace.  But before we reach those chapters, we are going to hammer the message home that Jesus Christ has paid the complete price for all of us and we are under grace and not law:

13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

This is so important for all of us to realize: where there is no law, sin is not imputed.  Imputed means held against.  You have to realize that there are two categories of consequences to sin.  Most Christians never ever realize this.  There are resultant consequences to sin and legal consequences to sin.

Resultant consequences are the things that happen when we sin: if you steal something and are caught, you will be fined or jailed. If you offend someone you care about, you will never have the joy of their company again.  If you swear a lot and are lazy, you will not be promoted at work.

This things have always happened.  As we will find out in Romans 6.23, the wages of sin is death.  If you sin, death will always result.  Adam and Eve sinned and death resulted.  Sin is stepping away from God and His glory and His goodness, and if you sin, you leave that life and wonder and beauty, and you end up in death, and ugliness and loneliness.  God cannot make you make a choice, but if you choose sin you choose death.

When God told Adam and Eve that they would die spiritually and that Eve would be in pain in childbirth and that Adam would be in toil working the ground, God was not cursing them: He was simply explaining what the resultant consequences of sin would be.  God was on their side, He loved them, He clothed them and He looked after them.

Legal consequences to sin are much worse.  A legal consequence to sin is when God judges you for your sin.

When Cain murdered his brother Abel, God didn’t strike Cain dead, He actually offered to protect him.  This is because the law had not been given.  When there is no law, sin is not imputed.  In other words, before the law was given by Moses there were no legal consequences to sin.  God did not judge Cain for His sin, God simply protected him.

After the law of Moses was given, people had their sin imputed to them.  In other words, there were now legal consequences for sin.  A man was stoned to death for picking up sticks on the wrong day of the week!  If you lied you would be stoned to death.  Achan stole some precious metal and was stoned to death.  Read through the laws of Moses and look at what you would be stoned to death  for: almost everything.

However, what most Christians still don’t realize is that Jesus Christ on the cross completely dealt with every single legal consequence for sin.  God is not angry with us, God is not after us, there is no more wrath of God for us.  Hallelujah!  We could kill our own brother and God would not judge us.  That is what it means to be righteous by faith.  It is entirely through what God has done that we are righteous, not by anything we have done.  Any and every sin we commit has no legal consequences whatsoever.  It won’t make you lose your salvation, it won’t affect your fellowship with God at all.

14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Even though there were no legal consequences to sin, there were resultant consequences to sin.  Adam died.  Every one of Adam’s descendants died. This is before the law.  Death is a resultant consequence to sin.  If you sin, you will die.  The more you sin, the faster you will die.

15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

This verse is telling us first of all that the gift of righteousness is different from Adam’s sin because it is better.  You see because of Adam’s sin, the resultant consequence is that we all die.   But because of Jesus’ redemptive, we all live.  Grace triumphs over sin.  Jesus’ death means that death does not lead to hell for us anymore!  We can enter heaven when we die because we are righteous right now.

16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

This verse is telling us the second difference between Adam’s sin and Jesus’ redemption.  It only took one sin from Adam to lead us all to death – but Jesus’ death and redemptive gift of righteousness erases many offences.  It doesn’t matter how many sins you have committed, how many you are committing right now, and how many sins you ever commit Jesus Christ has completely and totally paid the price for them all on the cross.  If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.

Sin has no more legal consequences for the Christian.  You are not under the law of Moses anymore.  You don’t have to worry about sin causing God to be angry for you, you don’t have to worry about hell, you don’t have to be concerned about losing fellowship with God ever again.  He paid the price!  Hallelu Yah!

Sanitization or Sanctification?

Sanitization or Sanctification?

By Bob DeWaay

A reader phoned me recently and explained how he has seen churches depart from Bible teaching only to institute various programs for better living. He made an intriguing statement: “These programs do not sanctify, they sanitize.” And he was absolutely right about that. Let me unpack that idea and show from Scripture that this is the case. It is possible to use human wisdom and good advice programs in order to help people achieve better living.

It is possible to get an alcoholic sober, an abusive husband to be considerate and caring, a compulsive gambler to quit, a person driven to make money at the expense of family to change priorities, and to help an unhappy person become happy. All of this can be done without any special work of grace. In fact, it can be done without religion at all. I once heard a debate between two college professors, one an atheist and the other a Christian. Toward the end of the debate the atheist made an interesting statement. He said, “You do not need a god or religion to have a good, happy life. I have been happily married for many years, have wonderful children and grandchildren, live a moral life, and could not ask for anything more from life. I do not need religion and neither do you.”

Sadly, many Christians have so redefined Christianity that they would not know how to respond to such a statement. It is true that many people lead happy, relatively moral lives without God. But what they cannot obtain is right standing before the Holy God who created the universe.

When Christianity is reduced to a “better-living-through-religion” program it does not offer anything that some atheists (like the one in that debate) already have. It is telling when churches fill up their docket with seminars designed to help people solve life problems through general revelation. General revelation is available to all through the normal means of knowing.

All societies have their own aphorisms which they pass along-their collective “good advice.” It is not a sin to give people good advice gleaned from general revelation, but neither is to confuse that advice with Christ’s mandate: “Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:20a).

Two key differences differentiate good advice from the commands of Scripture:

1) Good advice is never binding and can be safely (from an eternal perspective) ignored.

2) Good advice is not sanctifying.

The atheist with a nice family and a happy life is clearly not sanctified. The term “sanctification” means to be made holy. Holiness cannot be gleaned from general revelation. So those helped by good advice drawn from human wisdom may be sanitized, but unless they repent and believe the gospel they will never be sanctified.

Sanctification comes through redemption and the means of grace. Paul wrote: “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1Corinthians 1:30, 31). That atheist was boasting against the Lord! Christians can only boast in the Lord. Dispensing human wisdom can produce many satisfied customers.

A local pastor, known for preaching the prosperity gospel, was exposed in the newspaper for his lavish lifestyle and possible misappropriation of church funds. One of his members wrote a letter to the editor defending the pastor. The letter writer cited all of the positive changes that had happened since attending that church: a better family, better finances, freedom from addiction, and so forth.

But he did not mention anything distinctive to Christianity. Some people who believe the health and wealth gospel actually are healthy and wealthy. But so are some atheists. Many churches simply have given up salvation and sanctification and settled for sanitization-clean and happy “Christian” living without regard to holiness in the sight of God.

Paul discusses this in Colossians: If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (Colossians 2:20-23)

The cleaned up sinner is still “fleshly” because the only alternative to the flesh is the Spirit, and people do not receive the Spirit by works of law: This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:2, 3)

There is no definite article with “law” in the Greek; Paul is speaking of “works of law.” Whether the Mosaic Law or any other, people do not receive the Holy Spirit by works of law. Anyone without the Holy Spirit is unsaved and unsanctified (see Romans 8:4-8).

Anyone without the Spirit is motivated by the flesh (1John 2:16, 17). A person may be able to change his lusts (i.e., from the lust of the flesh to the boastful pride of life) through human wisdom dispensed through a program, but no one can escape the lusts of the world by any means except for a work of grace through the gospel.

The law can restrain evil, but it cannot produce holiness. We do not escape from worldly corruption by any means other than the promises of God found in Scripture: “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust” (2Peter 1:4). This being the case, why have so many churches filled their sermons and programs with ideas gleaned through general revelation that amount to good advice? The answer is found most likely in their constituency.

Clear teaching of the word of God will sanctify those who are truly saved. Jesus prayed: “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). That means that God does a work of grace on the inside that changes the motivations of the heart, not just certain behaviors (Hebrews 4:12). The behavior does change, objectively, because the Bible contains instruction in godly living that should be taught with the binding authority of God. These instructions are commands, not good advice.

They cannot safely be ignored. But the good news is that God’s grace comes to us through His word, enabling and motivating us to obey Him. A church becomes filled with unsaved people when “better living through Jesus” teachings and programs become the norm rather than gospel preaching and Bible teaching.

The people are there to find the sort of life the atheist bragged about having. They may get a nice, happy life through human wisdom dispensed in the name of Christianity. But holiness is what such persons cannot find through human wisdom. Holiness comes from a work of grace, not a decision to change some things for the better. Sinners lacking the gospel but sanitized through a church program may end up in a worse condition than before. If, in the name of Christianity, the drunkenness or marriage problems go away, those who benefited may think they are saved when, in fact, they are lost.

False assurance is dangerous and if not remedied will lead to eternal damnation. The good advice approach assumes that humans possess the motivation and ability they need; that they simply need instruction on how to put what they already have to work. The real situation is that we are sinners without hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). We do not have an engineering problem; we have a spiritual one. That spiritual problem is remedied by what God does by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8)-not what we do through human wisdom.

The Bible tells us to “pursue” sanctification, because without it we will never see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Only sanctification through the blood of Jesus makes us fit to see the Lord. Sanitization through good advice cannot do that.

Where Is Your Preaching Accepted? (Jay Adams)


Food for thought (quote from Michael Fabarez’s Preaching that Changes Lives)

“If you preach a sermon that would be acceptable to the members of a Jewish synagogue or to the Unitarian congregation, there is something radically wrong with it.  Preaching, when it is truly Christian, is distinctive.  And what makes it distinctive is the all-pervading presense of a saving and sanctifying Christ.  Jesus Christ must be at the heart of every sermon you preach.” – Jay Adams

The Normal Christian Life, chapter 3 (Watchman Nee)

I consider that this chapter, beautiful illustrated and explained will aid as you seek to learn from and understand Romans 1-8:

Our old history ends with the Cross; our new history begins with the

resurrection. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things

are passed away; behold they are become new” (2 Cor 5:17). The Cross

terminates the first creation, and out of death there is brought a new

creation in Christ, the second Man. If we are `in Adam’ all that is in Adam

necessarily devolves upon us; it becomes ours involuntarily, for we have to

do nothing to get it. There is no need to make up our minds to lose our

temper or to commit some other sin; it comes to us freely and despite

ourselves. In a similar way, if we are `in Christ’ all that is in Christ

comes to us by free grace, without effort on our part but on the ground of

simple faith.

But to say that all we need comes to us in Christ by free grace, though

true enough, may seem unpractical. How does it work out in practice? How

does it become real in our experience?

As we study chapters 6, 7 and 8 of Romans we shall discover that the

conditions of living the normal Christian life are fourfold. They are: (a)

Knowing, (b) Reckoning, (c) Presenting ourselves to God, and (d) Walking in

the Spirit, and they are set forth in that order. If we would live that life

we shall have to take all four of these steps; not one nor two nor three,

but all four. As we study each of them we shall trust the Lord by His Holy

Spirit to illumine our understanding; and we shall seek His help now to take

the first big step forward.

Our Death With Christ A Historic Fact

Romans 6:1-11 is the passage before us now. In these verses it is made

clear that the death of the Lord Jesus is representative and inclusive. In

His death we all died. None of us can progress spiritually without seeing

this. Just as we cannot have justification if we have not seen Him bearing

our sins on the Cross, so we cannot have sanctification if we have not seen

Him bearing us on the Cross. Not only have our sins been laid on Him but we

ourselves have been put into Him.

How did you receive forgiveness? You realized that the Lord Jesus died

as your Substitute and bore your sins upon Himself, and that His Blood was

shed to cleanse away your defilement. When you saw your sins all taken away

on the Cross what did you do? Did you say, `Lord Jesus, please come and die

for my sins’? No, you did not pray at all; you only thanked the Lord You did

not beseech Him to come and die for you, for you realized that He had

already done it.

But what is true of your forgiveness is also true of your deliverance.

The work is done. There is no need to pray but only to praise. God has put

us all in Christ, so that when Christ was crucified we were crucified also.

Thus there is no need to pray: `I am a very wicked person; Lord, please

crucify me’. That is all wrong. You did not pray about your sins; why pray

now about yourself? Your sins were dealt with by His Blood, and you were

dealt with by His Cross. It is an accomplished fact. All that is left for

you to do is to praise the Lord that when Christ died you died also; you

died in Him. Praise Him for it and live in the light of it. “Then believed

they his words: they sang his praise” (Psalm 106:12).

Do you believe in the death of Christ? Of course you do. Well, the same

Scripture that says He died for us says also that we died with Him. Look at

it again: “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That is the first statement,

and that is clear enough; but is this any less clear? “Our old man was

crucified with him” (Romans 6:6). “We died with Christ” (Romans 6:8).

When are we crucified with Him? What is the date of our old man’s

crucifixion? Is it tomorrow? Yesterday? Today? In order to answer this it

may help us if for a moment I turn Paul’s statement round and say, `Christ

was crucified with (i.e. at the same time as) our old man’. Some of you came

here in twos. You traveled to this place together. You might say, My friend

came here with me’, but you might just as truly say, `I came here with my

friend’. Had one of you come three days ago and the other only today you

could not possibly say that; but having come together you can make either

statement with equal truth, because both are statements of fact. So also in

historic fact we can say, reverently but with equal accuracy, `I was

crucified when Christ was crucified’ or `Christ was crucified when I was

crucified’, for they are not two historical events, but one. My crucifixion

was “with him”.[3] Has Christ been crucified? Then can I be otherwise? And

if He was crucified nearly two thousand years ago, and I with Him, can my

crucifixion be said to take place tomorrow? Can His be past and mine be

present or future? Praise the Lord, when He died in my stead, but He bore me

with Him to the Cross, so that when He died I died. And if I believe in the

death of the Lord Jesus, then I can believe in my own death just as surely

as I believe in His.

Why do you believe that the Lord Jesus died? What is your ground for

that belief? Is it that you feel He has died? No, you have never felt it.

You believe it because the Word of God tells you so. When the Lord was

crucified, two thieves were crucified at the same time. You do not doubt

that they were crucified with Him, either, because the Scripture says so

quite plainly.

You believe in the death of the Lord Jesus and you believe in the death

of the thieves with Him. Now what about your own death? Your crucifixion is

more intimate than theirs. They were crucified at the same time as the Lord

but on different crosses, whereas you were crucified on the self same cross

as He, for you were in Him when He died. How can you know? You can know for

the one sufficient reason that God has said so. It does not depend on your

feelings. If you feel that Christ has died, He has died; and if you do not

feel that he died, He has died. If you feel that you have died, you have

died; and if you do not feel that you have died, you have nevertheless just

as surely died. These are Divine facts. That Christ has died is a fact, that

the two thieves have died is a fact, and that you have died is a fact also.

Let me tell you, You have died! You are done with! You are ruled out! The

self you loathe is on the Cross in Christ. And “he that is dead is freed

from sin” (Romans 6:7, A.V.). This is the Gospel for Christians.

Our crucifixion can never be made effective by will or by effort, but

only be accepting what the Lord Jesus did on the Cross. Our eyes must be

opened to see the finished work of Calvary. Some of you, prior to your

salvation, may have tried to save yourselves. You read the Bible, prayed,

went to Church, gave alms. Then one day your eyes were opened and you saw

that a full salvation had already been provided for you on the Cross. You

just accepted that and thanked God, and peace and joy flowed into your

heart. Now salvation and sanctification are on exactly the same basis. You

receive deliverance from sin in the same way as you receive forgiveness of

sins.

For God’s way of deliverance is altogether different from man’s way.

Man’s way is to try to suppress sin by seeking to overcome it; God’s way is

to remove the sinner. Many Christians mourn over their weakness, thinking

that if only they were stronger all would be well. The idea that, because

failure to lead a holy life is due to our impotence, something more is

therefore demanded of us, leads naturally to this false conception of the

way of deliverance. If we are preoccupied with the power of sin and with our

inability to meet it, then we naturally conclude that to gain the victory

over sin we must have more power. `If only I were stronger’, we say, `I

could overcome my violent outbursts of temper’, and so we plead with the

Lord to strengthen us that we may exercise more self-control.

But this is altogether wrong; this is not Christianity. God’s means of

delivering us from sin is not by making us stronger and stronger, but by

making us weaker and weaker. That is surely rather a peculiar way of

victory, you say; but it is the Divine way. God sets us free from the

dominion of sin, not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying him; not

by helping him to do anything but by removing him from the scene of action.

For years, maybe, you have tried fruitlessly to exercise control over

yourself, and perhaps this is still your experience; but when once you see

the truth you will recognize that you are indeed powerless to do anything,

but that in setting you aside altogether God has done it all. Such a

revelation brings human self-effort to an end.

The First Step: “Knowing This…”

The normal Christian life must begin with a very definite `knowing’,

which is not just knowing something about the truth nor understanding some

important doctrine. It is not intellectual knowledge at all, but an opening

of the eyes of the heart to see what we have in Christ.

How do you know your sins are forgiven? Is it because your pastor told

you so? No, you just know it. If I ask you how you know, you simply answer,

`I know it!’ Such knowledge comes by Divine revelation. It comes from the

Lord Himself. Of course the fact of forgiveness of sins is in the Bible, but

for the written Word of God to become a living Word from God to you He had

to give you “a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him”

(Eph. 1:17). What you needed was to know Christ in that way, and it is

always so. So there comes a time, in regard to any new apprehension of

Christ, when you know it in your own heart, you `see’ it in your spirit. A

light has shined into your inner being and you are wholly persuaded of the

fact. What is true of the forgiveness of your sins is no less true of your

deliverance from sin. When once the light of God dawns upon your heart you

see yourself in Christ. It is not now because someone has told you, and not

merely because Romans 6 says so. It is something more even than that. You

know it because God has revealed it to you by His Spirit. You may not feel

it; you may not understand it; but you know it, for you have seen it. Once

you have seen yourself in Christ, nothing can shake your assurance of that

blessed fact.

If you ask a number of believers who have entered upon the normal

Christian life how they came by their experience, some will say in this way

and some will say in that. Each stresses his own particular way of entering

in and produces Scripture to support his experience; and unhappily many

Christians are using their special experiences and their special scriptures

to fight other Christians. The fact of the matter is that, while Christians

may enter into the deeper life by different ways, we need not regard the

experiences or doctrines they stress as mutually exclusive, but rather

complementary. One thing is certain, that any true experience of value in

the sight of God must have been reached by way of a new discovery of the

meaning of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. That is a crucial test and

a safe one.

And here in our passage Paul makes everything depend upon such a

discovery. “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the

body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to

sin” (Romans 6:6).

Divine Revelation Essential To Knowledge

So our first step is to seek from God a knowledge that comes by

revelation — a revelation, that is to say, not of ourselves but of the

finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. When Hudson Taylor, the

founder of the China Inland Mission, entered into the normal Christian life

it was thus that he did so. You remember how he tells of his long-standing

problem of how to live `in Christ’, how to draw the sap out of the Vine into

himself. For he knew that he must have the life of Christ flowing out

through him and yet felt that he had not got it, and he saw clearly enough

that his need was to be found in Christ. `I knew’, he said, writing to his

sister from Chinkiang in 1869, `that if only I could abide in Christ, all

would be well, but I could not.’

The more he tried to get in the more he found himself slipping out, so

to speak, until one day light dawned, revelation came and he saw.

`Here, I feel, is the secret: not asking how I am to get sap out of the Vine

into myself, but remembering that Jesus is the Vine — the root, stem,

branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit, all indeed.’

Then, in words of a friend that had helped him:

`I have not got to make myself a branch. The Lord Jesus tells me I am a

branch. I am part of Him and I have just to believe it and act upon it. I

have seen it long enough in the Bible, but I believe it now as a living

reality.’

It was as though something which had indeed been true all the time had

now suddenly become true in a new way to him personally, and he writes to

his sister again:

`I do not know how far I may be able to make myself intelligible about it,

for there is nothing new or strange or wonderful — and yet, all is new! In

a word, “whereas once I was blind, now I see”….I am dead and buried with

Christ — aye, and risen too and ascended….God reckons me so, and tells me

to reckon myself so. He knows best….Oh, the joy of seeing this truth — I

do pray that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, that you may

know and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ.'[4]

Oh, it is a great thing to see that we are in Christ! Think of the

bewilderment of trying to get into a room in which you already are! Think of

the absurdity of asking to be put in! If we recognize the fact that we are

in, we make no effort to enter. If we had more revelation we should have

fewer prayers and more praises. Much of our praying for ourselves is just

because we are blind to what God has done.

I remember one day in Shanghai I was talking with a brother who was

very exercised concerning his spiritual state. He said, `So many are living

beautiful, saintly lives. I am ashamed of myself. I call myself a Christian

and yet when I compare myself with others I feel I am not one at all. I want

to know this crucified life, this resurrection life, but I do not know it

and see no way of getting there.’ Another brother was with us, and the two

of us had been talking for two hours or so, trying to get the man to see

that he could not have anything apart from Christ, but without success. Said

our friend, `the best thing a man can do is to pray.’ `But if God has

already given you everything, what do you need to pray for?’ we asked. `He

hasn’t’, the man replied, `for I am still losing my temper, still failing

constantly; so I must pray more.’ `Well’, we said, `do you get what you pray

for?’ `I am sorry to say that I do not get anything’, he replied. We tried

to point out that, just as he had done nothing for his justification, so he

need do nothing for his sanctification.

Just then a third brother, much used of the Lord, came in and joined

us. There was a thermos flask on the table, and this brother picked it up

and said, `What is this?’ `A thermos flask.’ `Well, you just imagine for a

moment that this thermos flask can pray, and that it starts praying

something like this: “Lord, I want very much to be a thermos flask. Wilt

Thou make me to be a thermos flask? Lord, give me grace to become a thermos

flask. Do please make me one!” What will you say?’ `I do not think even a

thermos flask would be so silly,’ our friend replied. `It would be nonsense

to pray like that; it is a thermos flask!’ Then my brother said, `You are

doing the same thing. God in times past has already included you in Christ.

When He died, you died; when He lived, you lived. Now today you cannot say,

“I want to die; I want to be crucified; I want to have resurrection life.”

The Lord simply looks at you and says, “You are dead! You have new life!”

All your praying is just as absurd as that of the thermos flask. You do not

need to pray to the Lord for anything; you merely need your eyes opened to

see that He has done it all.’

That is the point. We need not work to die, we need not wait to die, we

are dead. We only need to recognize what the Lord has already done and to

praise Him for it. Light dawned for that man. With tears in his eyes he

said, `Lord, I praise Thee that Thou hast already included me in Christ. All

that is His is mine!’ Revelation had come and faith had something to lay

hold of; and if you could have met that brother later on, what a change you

would have found!

The Cross Goes To The Root Of Our Problem

Let me remind you again of the fundamental nature of that which the

Lord has done on the Cross. I feel I cannot press this point too much for we

must see it. Suppose, for the sake of illustration, that the government of

your country should wish to deal drastically with the question of strong

drink and should decide that the whole country was to go `dry’, how could

the decision be carried into effect? How could we help? If we were to search

every shop and house throughout the land and smash all the bottles of wine

or beer or brandy we came across, would that meet the case? Surely not. We

might thereby rid the land of every drop of alcoholic liquor it contains,

but behind those bottles of strong drink are the factories that produce

them, and if we only deal with the bottles and leave the factories

untouched, production will still continue and there is no permanent solution

of the problem. The drink-producing factories, the breweries and

distilleries throughout the land, must be closed down if the drink question

is to be permanently settled.

We are the factory; our actions are the products. The Blood of the Lord

Jesus dealt with the question of the products, namely, our sins. So the

question of what we have done is settled, but would God have stopped there?

What about the question of what we are? Our sins were produced by us. They

have been dealt with, but how are we going to be dealt with? Do you believe

the Lord would cleanse away all our sins and then leave us to get rid of the

sin-producing factory? Do you believe He would put away the goods produced

but leave us to deal with the source of production?

To ask this question is but to answer it. Of course He has not done

half the work and left the other half undone. No, He has done away with the

goods and also made a clean sweep of the factory that produces the goods.

The finished work of Christ really has gone to the root of our problem

and dealt with it. There are no half measures with God. “Knowing this,” says

Paul, “That our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might

be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin” (Rom. 6:6).

“Knowing this”! Yes, but do you know it? “Or are ye ignorant?” (Rom. 6:3).

May the Lord graciously open our eyes.