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Cross Deliverance

It has been wisely said that “the lost need saved, and the saved need delivered,” and “the Blood procures pardon for sin; and the Cross procures power over sin!” The Blood for our forgiveness (Eph 1:7; Col 1:14); the Cross for the old man’s restraint (still on the Cross - Ro 6:6; Gal 5:24), and it is here—in the desire after God (Phl 2:13)—that all is evaluated. The primary growth issue is not so much in the avoidance of sinning, which lessens more all the time in the believer’s walk, but in the desire not to sin!

Paul’s desire not to sin is demonstrated in his exclamation of “who shall deliver me” (Ro 7:24), which is answered in his realization that he has been delivered not only from the dominion and damnation of the old man (Ro 7:14; 8:1), but especially from ever again possessing the desire after it; which desire existed prior to his rebirth in Christ. It’s my belief that God allows the old man to remain in the believer for the same purpose it was used initially—to produce an ongoing God-dependence at all times.

So, deliverance is not yet from the indwelt being of the old man (Ro 7:17, 20), nor from its effects of our sinning (Rom 7:23, 25), but from ever again desiring after it, which I believe is what pleases the Father; “For where your treasure (desire) is, there will your heart be also”—He has our hearts (Mat 6:21)!

Cross Deliverance

There is no strength or power in ourselves against “the law of sin which is in our members” (Ro 7:23 - members of the sin nature - Col 3:5 - also known as “the body of sin” - Rom 6:6; the “law of sin” in substance is, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” Eze 18:4, 20; i.e. Gen 2:17—NC). The Father has left us as much dependent of the Lord Jesus’ work on the Cross for our deliverance as for our forgiveness (deliverance of the believer from the “dominion” of sin – Ro 6 14, i.e. the Cross nullifies its ability, being restrained on it - Ro 6:6—NC)! It is wholly because we died with Him on the Cross (God knew all who will eventually be partakers of Jesus’ Cross—NC), both to sin and to the whole legal principle, that sin’s power for those in Christ is broken.

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ro 7:25). The answer to Paul’s self-despairing question, “Who shall deliver me?” is a new revelation—even identification with Christ in His death! For just as the sinner struggles in vain to find forgiveness and peace, until he looks outside himself to Him who made peace by “the Blood of His Cross” (Col 1:20), just so does the quickened soul, struggling unto despair to find victory over sin by self-effort, look outside himself to the risen Lord Jesus—in Whom he is, and in Whom he died to sin and its law!

Paul was not delivered from the “reign” of sin (Ro 6:12) by Christ, but through Him; not by anything He then or at that time did for him, but through the realization of the fact that he had died with Christ on the Cross to this hated indwelling sin (indwelling - Ro 7:17, 20), and law of sin; and to God’s Law (Paul was a Jew after the Law—NC), which gave sin its power. “The strength of sin is the Law” (1Co 15:56).

The sinner is not forgiven by what Christ now does, but by faith in what He did do on the Cross, for, “The word of the Cross . . . is the power of God” (1Co 1:18). Just so, the believer is not delivered by what Christ does for him now; but in the revelation to the soul of identification with Christ’s death unto sin and its law on the Cross: for again, “The word of the Cross is the power of God.”

It will be by the Holy Spirit that this deliverance is wrought in us, as we shall see in Romans Eight. “Through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ro 7:25), and by “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Ro 8:1) is God’s order. To sum up Paul’s great discoveries in this struggle of Romans Seven: That sin dwelt in him (7: 17, 20)—though he delighted in God’s Law (7:22 – in revealing his sin and guilt—NC). That his will was powerless against it (7:23, 25). That the sinful self was not his real self (e.g. in Ro 7:20, of the three “I’s, only the first is the old man, which is the “sin that dwelleth in me;” this also answers to 1Jn 3:9, “cannot sin” i.e. with the new “I”—NC).

Ah, what relief to Paul’s soul—probably out yonder alone in Arabia, struggling more and more in vain to compel the flesh (old man; sin nature—NC) to obey the Law, to have revealed to his weary soul the second glorious truth of the Gospel—that he had died with Christ, to sin and to the Law which sin had used as its power (1Co 15:56)!

Now the conclusion—which is the actual text of Romans Seven. “So then I of myself with the mind”—this is the real new-creation self, which the Apostle has over and over said that “sin that dwelleth in me” was not! “With the mind”—all the spiritual faculties included, indeed, the soul-faculties of reason, imagination and sensibility—which even now are “being renewed” by the Holy Spirit, “day by day” (2Co 4:16).

Am subject to God’s law (or will)—all new creatures can say. “But with the flesh,” sin’s law (Ro 7:25). He saw it at last, and bowed to it—that all he was by the flesh, by nature, was irrecoverably committed to sin. So he gave up—and saw himself wholly in Christ (who now lived in him), and not to walk by the Law, even in the supposed powers of the quickened life—but by the Spirit only, in whose power alone the Christian life is to be lived. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Ro 8:2).

—Wm R Newell (1868-1956)
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