"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same..." (Hebrews 2:14)And to Him were our actual transgressions and inbred corruptions imputed. "He was made sin for us" (2 Corinthians 5:21), and he stood charged with the whole of our sins, and was arraigned and condemned, "being numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12); and, under the sentence that fell on Him, "our sins were condemned in his flesh (Romans 8:3). He dies the death of the cross, and "makes his soul an offering for sin." (Isaiah 53:10) And "our old man is crucified with him," (Romans 6:6) and we too, for we died in our Head by virtue of a preceding union with Him. "I am crucified with Christ," says Paul; I died in my Head; in Him I have died the death due to me for sin by virtue of my union with Him, and by His being cut off, not for Himself, but for me; in Him I died, in Him I suffered the law; "for if one died for all, then were all dead" when he died. And in this sense we were all dead together; the Head and all the members in Him. But there is a voice in the promise: "Thy dead men shall live," saith God. "With my dead body shall they arise," saith the Saviour. (Isaiah 26:19) And in our Head we all arose. Ye are risen with Christ; "God hath quickened you together with him, having forgiven all your trespasses;" (Colossians 2:13) His blood has purged your sins; His resurrection is a pledge of ours, and eternal life is in Him for all His members. To let us know this, the law that cast, condemned, and cursed to death the covenant Head, who was made sin for us, that law comes to us, sin revives, and we die; which is a planting us together in the likeness of His death: the Spirit directs the eye of faith to the death and atonement of Christ, and quickens us by His influence; and we rise under the operation of the Spirit of God, and are planted together in the likeness of his resurrection. Now we live no more in the old way; we are dead, buried, and risen with Christ. To the lust of men, to the lust of the flesh, to the will of men, to sin, and to the law, we live no more.
"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3)We are dead to self.
"For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." (Romans 14:7-8)And to this end Christ died, rose again, and revived, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and of the living; the Lord of those elect souls who are as yet dead in sin, and of them that are already quickened. He is dead to sin and lives no longer therein. He is dead to the law by the sentence passed on the body of Christ, and by the sentence felt in himself; and expects no life from that. And by a sweet union to Christ, and the enjoyment of it; by communion with the saints, and affection for them, "he is crucified to this world:" he can find no life in the company of the dead; "and the world is crucified to him;" they can find no delight, or life, in the company of one that is dead to sin and alive to God. The old life, and all old things, are now passed away, and all things are become new. He is born again, walks in newness of life, in a new and living way; lives by faith on the Son of God, or the risen Saviour lives in him; he has a new heart and a new spirit; he speaks with a new tongue; finds new desires and new delights; pursues a new end, and chooses new company; the form of godliness passes away, and every branch of vital godliness is entirely new to him. And "he that is dead is freed from sin" (Romans 6:7). What! From the in-being of it? No.
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1st John 1:8)Are we freed from the in-dwelling of it? No.
"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing." (Romans 7:18)Is it a freedom from the oppositions, motions, and struggles of it? No.
"I find a law in my members warring against the law of my mind." (Romans 7:23)Are we free from all slips and falls into it? No.
"There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not." (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
"In many things we offend in all." (James 3:2)
"Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults." (Psalm 19:12)
"For the just man falleth seven times, and riseth again." (Proverbs 24:16)
"And if thy brother sin against thee until seventy times seven, and turn again, and say, I repent, thou shalt forgive him." (Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 17:4)Are we freed from all carnal desires after evil? No.
"Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." (1st Peter 2:11)The spirit in man "lusteth to envy." (James 4:5) Are we freed from all the usurped power of sin? No.
"The good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that do I." (Romans 7:19)But are we freed from it in the house of prayer, and when engaged in God's service? No. Groundless fear and trembling are often in the pulpit, and carnal wanderings in the pew.
"When I would do good evil is present with me." (Romans 7:21)Is there nothing in us that serves evil? Yes.
"So, then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:25)What is this freedom then? Answer: The new man of grace is put on, which is created in righteousness and true holiness; such are new creatures in Christ and complete in Him. The old man is put off, as condemned, crucified, dead, and buried, by the sacrifice of Christ for sin; and therefore saith Paul, "It is no more I (the new man) that do it," but the old man. It is "sin that dwelleth in me," which evil I would not, which I hate, which is the source of all my misery (Romans 7:20).
"O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me?" (Romans 7:24)"We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened" (2nd Corinthians 5:4); having a soul on the stretch for heaven, and yet clogged, with corruption. What is this freedom, then? Freedom from the reign of sin; for grace shall reign in every believer, over sin, to eternal life; but sin never shall reign in a believer over grace, to eternal death, for "the just (man) shall live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:4; Hebrews 10:38). We are freed from sin touching the hand-writing, or debt book, that was open against us. The handwriting is blotted out and nailed to his cross; and so are our transgressions blotted out as a cloud, and as a thick cloud our sins. Freed from the destroying power of sin, and from the imputation of it. Sin shall not be our ruin, for "Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:8) Freed from all liability to eternal punishment on the account of sin.
"The sins of Israel shall be sought for, but there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve." (Jeremiah 50:20)Christ shall present us to Himself a glorious church, having neither spot nor wrinkle. I am redeemed from all evil; the price of my ransom is paid; I am justified freely from all things. And "who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?" (Romans 8:33-34) It is Christ that died to expiate my crimes; and is risen again to see me justified, and to plead my cause and revenge my wrongs. I am in Christ, and there is no condemnation to them that are in Him; I have the law of faith (by which I am to live) written on the tables of my heart, and that law of the Spirit of life in Christ has made me free from the law of sin, which is in my members, and from the law of death engraven on tables of stone. Moreover, my body is the temple of the Holy Ghost; He has taken possession of it, and dwells in it, and is the pledge and earnest of the future inheritance, and has sealed me up to the last day of redemption; that is, the redemption of my body from the grave, which will be revealed in the last times, when Christ will be the plague of death and the destruction of the grave; when the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed, and he that only hath immortality be all in all. This is Paul's language. Furthermore, God's promised grace is sufficient for me. What I am as a saint, an apostle, or as fruitful, "by the grace of God I am what I am," saith Paul. If my success is great in conversion, in victory, gifts, fortitude, I am not the labourer, "but the grace of God that is with me:" that which changed my heart at first was "the abundance of his grace upon me." (1st Corinthians 15:10) If I stand fast, it is by faith; and I am a debtor to His grace both for my faith and my standing. Should I fall, I shall not be utterly cast down, for grace shall raise me again; should I backslide, He will heal my backslidings, and grace shall restore me. His grace is sufficient for me. Thus am I free. If I look to the law, the hand-writing is blotted out and nailed to his cross. If I look to the book of God's remembrance, the debt is cancelled, and God will remember my sins no more. If I look to justice, it is satisfied, and God is just in forgiving me my sins, and in cleansing me from all unrighteousness. Nor is He unrighteous, to forget my works of faith and labours of love; nor will His justice forbid me the crown of righteousness when I have finished my warfare; no, the righteous Judge will give it me in that day. If I look to Christ, I am complete in Him; if I look to God the Father, it is He that justified me; and if I look to my infirmities within, it is sin that dwelleth in me, for my soul hates evil. My will is sanctified: "I would do good;" my mind is renewed: "With the mind I myself serve the law of God." My affections are sanctified: "I delight in the law of God after the inward man." I will glory therefore in my infirmities, for they drive me from all confidence in the flesh, and make me cleave the closer to Christ, and rejoice in Him; they keep me humble, watchful, and grateful to my Saviour for so great a salvation. I have renounced all that I was, and all that I had, and have received Christ as all in me and all to me. I am a dead man in His death and in the law; and, as such, He took possession of me, and I live by Him; yet, not I, but Christ lives in me, shines out of me, speaks by me, and mightily works in me. I fill up the measure of His suffering in my flesh, and His strength is made perfect in my weakness; His wisdom is displayed in my ignorance, His beauty in my deformity, and His matchless grace in my preservation and salvation, and in the salvation of all that believe on His name. "For me to live is Christ, (for he lives in me,) and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21), for Christ is the portion of my soul and my all in all.
"For he that is dead is freed from sin." (Romans 6:7)By William Huntington