Deliverance; Other Epistles Compared With Romans and Ephesians

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
First, Eph. 2 is not experimental, but that absolute work of grace which has taken us, when dead in sins, and put us into Christ in heavenly places; as it took Christ dead as man for our sins, and put Him into glory. Rom. 6; 7 are experimental, though we find liberty in Christ. As to it, we have died with Him: that is Romans. We have risen with Him is also added in Colossians: died to sin in Romans—from the principles of this world in Colossians. But this, while known in Christ, or it would be hopeless labor, is experimental. But what gives deliverance is seeing it in Christ, though of course when free I feel the comfort of it: but deliverance is the difference of being in the flesh and out of it. A soul earnest after holiness labors after it and does not succeed. The new man craves it, seeks it, toils for it, and has it not. The cords that bind it down are too strong for it, but it is learning a most profitable lesson, that it has no strength. But this is while comparing its own state with what it would be before God, with what it knows God would have pleasure in. It is not a question of guilt, properly speaking, but of practical acceptance. It judges of what God's feelings towards it are, by what it is, and just because it "would" holiness cannot find rest. It is learning it has no more strength than righteousness; when it has really learned this, and this is experience, and necessary experience—" without strength"—it recognizes, as taught of God, that it has died as to the flesh with Christ, and that it is not on that ground at all, that it is not on that standing at all. It learns to say " when we were in the flesh," and this by the Holy Ghost, though through the appropriation by faith of Christ's death—not for sins (that refers to guilt) but to sin. The soul reckons itself dead with Christ to its old position, and now alive in Him, married to Him who is risen from the dead. It is not that conflict does not go on, "the flesh lusts against the Spirit"; but it is not under the law of sin and death—the cords are cut it could not break. In the experience of Rom. 7 you have not the Spirit, but the law. Conflict there is; but conflict with one who ties me down is different from conflict with one whom I have power to tie down.
I am not in the flesh if Christ, if the Spirit of God, dwell in me. I know (John 14) that I am in Christ and Christ in me—not progress but a new position—when we have, in the old, experimentally learned we have no strength, whatever our desires. It may be sudden consciousness of the effect. It is by faith; but never till we have experimentally learned that we cannot succeed. A man may have learned the doctrine, but he must know himself as having no strength to have deliverance from himself. " We know the law is spiritual": all the rest is "I," till we arrive at "O wretched man that I am!" What is deliverance from bondage if I am not in it You may be very naughty, but you cannot be in Egypt if you are across the Red Sea. Not that the Red Sea is our death with Christ, but it is His dying and rising again so as to make in Himself the new position for man before God. The Passover was for their sins—non-imputation.
April, 1881.