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The Power of the Cross

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The Power of the Cross

The Apostle Paul was an extremely religious man, a Pharisee who believed strict obedience to the Law of Moses would bring the righteousness demanded by God. However, Paul found within himself a sinfulness he could not overcome. No matter how faithfully he practiced his religion - his circumcision, his prayers, his fasting, his study of Scripture, his tithing, his zeal - nothing could deliver him from the sinfulness that bound his soul. 

For Paul the Pharisee the unthinkable was true. Sin had infected his being - his very essence was contaminated and Paul the Pharisee was powerless to change who he was.  

Paul's religion taught obedience to God and Paul valued obedience to God, but sin had become his master. He was a prisoner, his soul held in a dark place of no escape. Paul described his condition as wretched, his exact words were “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death", Romans 7:24.

Paul recognized he needed something, or someone, more powerful than himself. He asked the question "who shall deliver me" knowing he needed a miracle. The same is true for every person who is bound in sin. Just as righteousness is more than good behavior, bondage to sin is much more than bad behavior - our sinfulness is an expression of the wickedness of our own heart. Jeremiah says our heart is "desperately wicked and beyond cure", meaning it is beyond human help and capable of every kind of evil.

The behavior that flows from our sinfulness is commentary, a revealing of our dark condition. Every person who seeks real change eventually learns there is something very wrong on the inside. And like Paul, the question is then asked - "who can help me? Is there a therapy, a medication, a technique, or a program with the power to fix me on the inside"?

People and programs can bring superficial change, but to break the power of sin I need more than superficial change. I need deliverance from who and what I am! How can I be genuinely thankful rather than entitled, how do I stop making life about me and what I want, how do I stop being a taker and become a giver, how do I stop using people, how do I stop being an actor, how can I sincerely love God and my neighbor - how can I be good on the inside? And, how can the changes be more than emotional and temporary, how can they be real and permanent? When I ask these questions, the answer is always the same - I need a deliverance!

Deliverance is exactly what faith in Jesus Christ, and His redemptive work, promises. We become a New Creation for we are given a New Heart and a New Spirit. We are delivered from the power of sin and translated into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. We are joined to the resurrected Christ and empowered by His Spirit to live a New Life. This kind of change is supernatural and beyond the power of any person, program, therapist, or any medication. This kind of change comes from God alone and is more than emotional for it changes who we are! In the resurrected Christ we are given a New Heart, a New Spirit, and a New Identity. These changes are real and they are permanent!

Paul, when asking who could deliver him answered his own question. He said “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, meaning God has provided the one and only remedy for our sinfulness in the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is God's answer for our sinfulness (our sin nature). He took our sin nature upon Himself and His death completely and forever destroyed the power of sin. As the old hymn says "would you be free from your burden of sin, there is power in the blood". Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved! Acts 16:31.

Paul, in Romans Chapter 8 says that what the Law of Moses could not do, because it could not break the power of sin, God did by sending Jesus to the Cross. Let’s take a look at Romans 8:3,

For what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, (condemned sin through His flesh, i.e. condemned sin through his physical death)

The very bondage to sin of which Paul spoke in Romans Chapter 7 has been condemned (put to death) by the death of Jesus Christ! Think about it, Jesus takes our bondage to sin and puts it to death! Sin no longer has power over you! The Cross is the power of God unto Salvation. The Cross is our proof of victory over sin! Not only are we freed from the guilt of individual sins, but the death of Christ also frees us from our sinful state of being.

We build our new life upon the Person of Jesus Christ and His promises of Deliverance from Sin.  

Jesus, by putting on our humanity, became our sin bearer. He was made in the likeness of sinful man and when He became a man it was for the purpose of becoming sin for us, i.e. He was treated as if He Himself committed our sins. Jesus, by taking our humanity took our lying, our cheating, our iniquities, and every perversion. God place upon His back every sin ever committed and He became the Lamb of God who died for the sins of the World. He carried our sins and our humanity to the Cross. He was sinless, but God placed upon Him our sinful humanity, and by His death completely and forever destroyed our guilt and our bondage to sin.

When Jesus died on the Cross, we died with Him. This is the victory of which Paul spoke. God counts our death (we died with Christ) as a real death - which is God's punishment for our sins. In Christ we are punished for our sins, i.e. in Christ we pay the penalty of death which ends our guilt and our bondage to sin. Death satisfies all demands of Law. Death brings an end to everything that has to do with our Old Sin Nature. No longer are we guilty or bound - by the death of Jesus Christ we are eternally set free from the guilt and the power of sin. Our sinfulness is now dead, being crucified with Christ!! Listen to the profound truths of Romans 6:6-7:

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth, we should no longer serve sin. 7 for he who is dead is freed from sin.

Because we are crucified with Christ our victory over sin is final, it is complete, and is accepted by faith. Now that we know we are made free from sin we can begin the process of building our new life of living in the Spirit. 

We vigorously tear down old systems of thought and behavior that reflect love for this world rather than love for God. We stand against the wisdom of this world - wisdom that that makes human appetite the priority. We renew our mind by the Word of God, we tear down every value system that places man at the center. We put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against the wiles of the devil. We are dead with Christ and raised to New Life so we seek those things that are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. We daily put off the old man with his lusts and put on the new man who is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. We perfect holiness in the fear of God, hating even the garment spotted by our old fleshly way of living. We flee sexual sin

We demolish spiritual strongholds and take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. Just as David slew Goliath in the Name of the Lord, we kill every spiritual and fleshly Giant because Jesus gives His victory over every enemy! We lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us.

The Scripture says no longer are we under the dominion of sin for we are not under law but under grace. Therefore, we present ourselves to God, and our body as an instrument of righteousness unto God as those who are alive from the dead. In Christ we become servants of righteousness. We study, we pray, we fast, we work, and as a good soldier we endure hardness. We stir up the gift of God which is within us and we keep ourselves in the love of God. We keep our heart with all diligence understanding from it flow the issues of life.

Jesus endured the Cross, despising the shame, but kept His eyes on the joy set before Him. In the same way, if the will of God seems difficult, we learn from Jesus and endure suffering by keeping our eyes on the joy set before us. We love others as Christ loved us.

We live, walk, move, and breathe by the power of the Cross. Nothing of eternal significance is accomplished apart from the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Christ we are given great and precious promises that we might participate in the Nature of Christ.

The Cross opens the door to the gift of Salvation which brings real deliverance to all who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Our deliverance from sin is found wholly in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ the Lord. The promise of God is that if you will make Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of your life, then He by His redemptive work, will deliver you from the bondage of sin and give you a new and overcoming life.

God bless you,

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