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"Fear hath torment." The finished work of Calvary ends the fear of death (Hebrews 2. 14, 5), and fear of the prince of death.
On the Cross Christ took away your sins, so that you might have the blotting out of them through His blood, when all the wicked spirits of Satan cannot bring them up to you, and throw them at you. God Himself has blotted them out saying, "I will remember them no more" (Hebrews 8. 12). That is salvation from the guilt and penalty of sin. But it is vitally important you understand that when God blots out sin, He blots out on the condition that you part with sin. God cannot blot out what you will not part with.
When you know that your sins are blotted out, and you are really begotten of God by the impartation of a new life, there are three aspects of the life of victory through the Cross that you need to understand.
1. VICTORY OVER SIN.
The sinner saved through the death of Christ has a right to break with sin. He can say, in the Name of the Conquering Jesus, "No sin has a right to master me"e.g., you may say, as you stand on Romans 6. 6, "No doubtful habit has a right to me. I absolutely refuse, in the Name of the One Who died for me, to be in bondage to it." As a redeemed soul you have a right to say this, because on the Cross the work has been done for you, and you are to lay hold of all that Christ has obtained for you and appropriate it (Romans 6. 13). Victory over sin in this way is not any glory to you, for it is not gained through your human will, nor your human power, but through the finished work of Christ on the Cross. He obtained the forgiveness of sins for you; He obtained the victory for you over sin and death.
The lonely Cross, think of it! See there the Lamb! As Moody said, "God conquered the lion of hell with a slain Lamb!" And there it was done. Oh that the Church of Christ would rise up in the Name of Jesus Christ her Redeemer, and refuse to be in bondage to sin, or to Satan. The Church should rise up in the name of Christ, declaring that all the works of the devil against her (1 John 3. 8) can be destroyed, because Christ was manifested to destroy them.
Let us get hold of the fact of the Calvary victory, and of the truth that Satan is a conquered foe. Christ conquered him at Calvary. When you stand on Romans 6, reckoning the old life crucified, your spirit becomes joined to Christ"Joined to the Lord, one spirit!" You are not going out against a great and terrible spirit-foe alone. Your spirit "joined to the Lord" is "one spirit" with Him. Christ is the Conqueror, and you are joined in one Spirit with the Conqueror.
It is not that God gives you victory by yourself. He gives you victory by your being joined in spirit to the Victor. "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4. 4). Then are we going to cower and tremble before the enemy, when we are joined to the Conqueror, joined to the Victorjoined in one spirit? But you do not know that "joining" until you come to Calvary, and stand steadily on the fact of the old Adam-life crucified with Christ, because the "old life" gets in the way, and is liable to do some "fighting" which is of no avail against the foe, but rather gives him ground and power over you. Therefore, the old Adam-life must be reckoned crucified, because it is material for Satan, and if the old life is not kept in the position of death every moment, it is the material Satan puts his "fiery darts" in. Satan has full rights over all the old creation. He knows that part of the old life in you which is not "crucified," and he directs all his fiery darts to that spot. These darts have a bit of fire from the pit (James 3. 6) at their tip, and when they get into you they burn and blaze, and make you "blaze."
Whenever you see a "blaze" in a Christian you may know where it comes from. It is from the old life
"set on fire of hell."
Child of God, do you "fire up," and say things which you ought not to say? Do you flash out unkind things, "set on fire" by Satan? This is not the "fight" that wins, but the fight that fails every time. Do you see the importance of Romans 6? Suppose without standing on Romans 6 you set out to take the aggressive against Satan, how he would laugh! He would say, "Why the `stuff' that belongs to me is there; they have so much of my `goods'." You cannot bind the "strong man," because his goods are in and about you. Therefore you must take your stand at Calvary, reckoning the old life crucified moment by moment, so that the fire from the pit may not fasten upon you, and set on fire the "wheel of nature"that nature which already has the poison of the serpent in it through his victory over man in Eden.
There must be for this battle with the lion of hell the spirit of the Lambthe Lion-Lambthe very Spirit of Jesus. It must be, when the fiery darts come, that they find in you the Lamb-spirit, however much people may tread on you, ill-treat you and put upon youthere must not be any blaze in you, which you call "righteous indignation!" The Calvary deliverance is needed, and the Lamb-spirit of Calvary.
2. VICTORY IN SUFFERING.
This aspect of the victorious life is to be found in Romans 8. 35-39. The Apostle says, "We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter....In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!" "More than conquerors" when you are ill-treated, and when for Christ's sake you are counted, like Christ, a lamb only fit for slaughter. "For Thy sake...killed!" It is not nice to be considered a sheep fit for slaughter; it is not "dignified"! There is no room for pride here. There was not much room for "dignity" in the Lord Christ's Calvary death. When He was led along the road with a crown of thorns upon His brow, with the blood upon His face, after walking seven miles during the night, as He was moved from place to placethere was not much "dignity"there was "no beauty that we should desire Him." It was not a "dignified" death! He was put to open shame!
With God's children, the thing which hurts them most is the thing that touches their dignity. They do not mind being put to shame before God, but they do mind being put to shame before men. How they blush over anything that humiliates! But that all dies when the believer feels that he is really
suffering with Christ.
It does not say "killed" for "your own sake," but "for Christ's sake." It does not say beaten and whipped because you have been wrong, but beaten and whipped because you have been right! If ye do well and suffer for it, and take it patiently, this is grace; but if ye do wrong and suffer for it, and bear it patiently, what thanks have ye (see 1 Peter 2). This is victory and being a conqueror in suffering for Christ. If you do wrong, and "suffer for it," you must not call that "suffering with Christ." "For Thy sake...killed...in all these things more than conquerors!" This is the triumph of the spirit of the Lamb, in suffering "for Jesus' sake," and this is victory over the world.
3. VICTORY OVER SATAN.
In having victory over Satan you conquer in quite another way. Enduring grief, suffering wrongfully, with patience and a loving spirit is the true spirit-life of one who is joined to Christ, in the attitude to the human beings who are the visible and immediate cause of his suffering, but this is not to be the attitude to the devil. You have not to be a "lamb" to the devil. Be a "lamb" to the people, be patient with them, love them, be "more than conqueror" by showing the Spirit of the Lamb to them, but at the same time you must take an attitude of resistance against the devil according to 1 Peter 5. 8, 9 and James 4. 7.
There are therefore three aspects of the victorious life(1) The aspect towards sin, Romans 6, "dead indeed unto sin"; (2) the aspect towards the people, "more than conquerors" when they "kill" you; and (3) the aspect to the devil, "Resist the devil" in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Ephesians 6 depicts this last aspect of the victorious life in resistance to the foe. When the Lord Jesus was the "Lamb" towards men, He was a "Lion" to the devil. We are told that He shook off from Himself the principalities and powers and put them to open shame, and what was defeat in the eyes of men was victory in the eyes of God. What was "shame" in the eyes of men was glory in the eyes of God. Towards Satan and all his wicked hosts Christ was a LIONthe Lion of Judah.
In Ephesians 6 we see something of the spirit-warfarethe Lion-lifeagainst the powers of darkness. Here we see the soldier, with the spirit of the soldier"Henceforth be strong." On the human side Christ was "crucified through weakness," but He was "strong"stronger than the "strong man." His name is called Strong"When the Stronger than he shall come upon him." So Christ's name is the "Stronger than he." He is stronger than the "Strong man." So to the believer standing "in Christ" and facing Satan-wards, the message is "Be strong." You must not now talk of "weakness." You may be weak in your humanity and in yourself, but you must be
"strong in the Lord."One of the devices of the devil is to get the children of God to accept weakness, because of the "weakness of the Cross" (2 Corinthians 13. 3, 4), but that is the human side towards men. In the spiritual sphere the rousing word is "BE STRONG!" On the earthly side, "I will boast of my weakness." said Paul. But in facing the foe "Be strong!" "From henceforth be STRONG!" It does not say "Try to be strong," it says "BE strong." When God says BE, He gives the power to be. He said, "Let there BE light," and there was light! So whenever God says to you "BE so-and-so," say "Amen, I AM so-and-so"i.e. IT IS SO! God speaks the word, you appropriate it, and it becomes fact as you act it. GOD does it. So God says "Be strong!" "Let the weak say, I AM STRONG!" Why have you to to say it? Because in the spiritual realm, words create. Christ said, "He shall have whatever he saith." In the spiritual realm there are no empty words; what you say is what comes about. Thus you need to be careful of your words. When you walk as a "natural man" in the earthly sphere you may say words that have little effect, but if you walk in the spiritual sphere you will need to watch that you do not contradict your faith by your words.
If you say "God tells me to 'BE strong,' and therefore
I am strong
by His strength," then strength comes in. The devil knows the laws of the spiritual sphere, and he whispers, "Oh, you do feel bad today!" and you say, "I am bad!" But God says, "Be strong," then you say, "By faith in God I am strong!" Satan whispers, "You are going to break down," and you say, "I believe I shall break down!" and you find yourself really going "down." This is the law in the spiritual sphere, yet few of us understand the power of words in that sphere. "Let the weak SAY, I am strong!"
BE STRONG! In yourself? No; "IN THE LORD." That is a position. It is not outside the Lord, but is "In the Lord." Stand "in the Lord." Take care you never stand anywhere else. Keep your faith set on the fact:
"I am in Christ"
and Christ is in me. I am not meeting things aloneI am personally weak, but Christ is strong. I am powerless, but Christ is mighty. I am strong in Christ; I have His strength, His power. "I stand in the Lord!" Not remembering their place in Christ, and "with Christ in God," many children of God are so "weak." You place them in an exposed position in the battle, and they run away. You hardly dare tell them some things you have to conquer by prayer, because they get so frightened. It is appalling that God has such a weak Church, weak in the conflict with sin and Satan, weak in its attitude to the world, all because it has not learnt the inner message of the Cross.
"HIS MIGHT." Let us meet the lion of hell with this verse. God says, "Be strong," and "stand" in the "strength of His might." It will take every bit of fear away. It is "MIGHT." Exactly the same word that Paul uses in Ephesians 1 that Christ was "raised from the dead" by the "might" of Godby the "strength of HIS MIGHT." Let us therefore go forward with God in steady hourly Victory, until the Lord comes, and we are gathered together unto Him.