Peace with God
One of the wonderful benefits of the Gospel is peace of mind and soul. The one who has not believed unto salvation is under bondage because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. He may not know he is in bondage to Satan, and may even boast of his liberty to do as he pleases, but true freedom is never realised until one is set free from the bondage of sin and is free to do the things that God means for him to do. Freedom from guilt of sin and from the bondage of sin brings one into right relationship with God and brings peace of mind and joy of heart that is unspeakable and full of glory.
Abraham is called the father of the faithful. This was brought about because he believed God and acted according to God’s directions. When God had promised that through Abraham’s seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed, Abraham simply believed that what God had promised He would bring to pass. In the natural run of things he knew that he would never have seed, but “he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he has promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness” [Romans:4:20-22]). God’s promise was fulfilled and Isaac was born in Abraham’s old age; and through this son’s lineage Jesus came to offer Himself as the Saviour of the world.
To be justified means to be counted as just. The penalty for every sin must be met, but when we exercise faith in the shed blood of Jesus and realise that God set Him to die for our sins, we see every sin atoned for, the Just dying for the guilty. Holy Ghost conviction for sin brings the awareness of the condemnation that rests upon the sinner; and to break into the light of God’s Word, which teaches that one has a full and free pardon when he believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, is a most wonderful experience. To be justified before God, to be saved from our sins, and to have the Holy Spirit bearing witness to our hearts that the work is done brings victory into our life and great joy and praises out of the depths of our soul.
To receive a full pardon for some guilt against the laws of our land would be greatly appreciated; but the wonder is when we realise that our sins were against God, and that, in sending His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins, He furnished a means by which we could be pardoned from everlasting punishment.
Sin Universal By one man, Adam, sin came into the world, and by one Man, Jesus Christ, we are offered salvation from sin. Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden by disobeying God, and it is common to the whole human race that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” [Romans:3:23]). After Adam and Eve fell into temptation in the Garden of Eden, they could but pass on to future generations the like kind of nature. This, of course, was a fallen, depraved, sinful nature. So it is a fact that we are all sinners by birth, and when we come to the age of accountability this sinful nature leads us also to choose sin.
It is true that all do not follow the same sinful route, but the Bible says, “All have sinned, . . .“ That means that in some degree all are guilty and must find forgiveness. Sin is universal but the opportunity for salvation is also universal. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” [John:3:16]).
Sin has a twofold nature. “Sin,” in the singular, usually refers to the sin principle or inherited depravity of man. “Sins,” plural, refers to the actual transgressions or deeds that are done. The words, “forgive” and “pardon” have to do with the forgiveness of our sins, and the words “cleanse,” “purge,” “purify,” “sanctify,” refer to the eradication of the carnal nature, the inbred sin, or the old man.
In this lesson we read in [Romans:6:6], “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” When we are justified, the old man, the carnal nature, is nailed to the cross. That is a blow, of course, but it doesn’t mean he is dead. He is nailed there that “the body of sin,” the carnal nature, “might be destroyed.” To be destroyed means to be done away with altogether.
The whole tenor of this 6th chapter of Romans, is that we should be free from sin and not live in sin. It refers to living without committing sin and also to being free from the tendency to sin that is brought on by the “old man” before he is destroyed. It teaches us that our holy lives speak of the work of God wrought out in our hearts. Some contend that we can never be free from sin in this world, but to teach that is to do something that God’s Word forbids. We read in [Romans:6:1-2]: “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
By water baptism we testify to the world that we are dead to sin and alive unto Christ. We are buried with Him in baptism and come up out of the water as a testimony to the fact that we rise to walk in newness of life. Before our conversion our old life was under the dominion of the enemy of our souls, Satan, but when we were born again we were given power to go and sin no more. “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (I [John:3:8-9]).
One should never offer himself as a candidate for water baptism until he is sure he has been born again. Ministers should immerse only those who have passed from death unto life and have God’s Spirit bearing witness with their spirit that they are born of God. If a person has been justified before God, he has that witness and is eligible for water baptism and has power to live without committing sin. As he walks in the light of God’s Word, the fruit of the Spirit of God will be manifest in his life [Galatians:5:22-24]), and he will be led to deeper things. He will soon see that he needs to be sanctified, and baptised with the Holy Ghost. However, he need not wait until he has been sanctified, and baptised with the Holy Ghost, to be baptised in water. Rather, after he is saved he should follow the Lord in baptism at the first opportunity.
There is a great difference, in every way, between the saved and the unsaved. If we yield ourselves servants to sin we will reap eternal death as a consequence. If we choose to yield ourselves as servants unto Christ we will reap a life of holiness and joy and in the end everlasting life. To try to save ourselves by our own works or by keeping the Law will but end in failure, but to trust in the merits of the shed Blood of Jesus brings the assurance of salvation. The devil is a hard taskmaster but his pay is sure. The wages of sin is death. God loves His people and showers them with His choicest blessings and in the end they receive the free gift of God, eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Grace for Trials
The Christian is not immune to trials and temptations, but he is able to overcome them by the power of God. Many of the things that are a great trial to the unconverted, the Christian sees as a means that God is using to teach him to trust his Lord. The Christian has access to the Throne of Grace and his prayers ascend continually to the Father. The Holy Spirit teaches him how to pray and even prays through him with groanings that cannot be uttered. When he knows that “tribulation worketh patience” he can see that even in the hard things the glory of God shines through. It is his privilege to say with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him”; and with Job he will find that the latter end is better than the beginning.
1. How are we justified?
2. How are we to react to and what are we to expect from tribulations?
3. By whom did sin enter the human family? By whom came redemption?
4. Does the saved man continue in his sins?
5. Name two aspects of sin? How is each dealt with through the Atonement?
6. How are we to reckon ourselves concerning sin?
7. Whose servants are we if we are free from sin?
8. Contrast the end of the sinner with that of the child of God.
9. What is the proof of the grace of God in our heart?
10. Whose servants were we before we were saved and delivered from sin?
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Adapted From The Apostolic Faith Church