How Jesus Our Substitute
Broke the Power of Our Sin
...and Sickness, and Satan, and Sorrow,
and Deception, and Insanity,and Unbelief, and Death
LET'S JUST SEE IT--POWERFUL AND QUICK! Jesus became our Substitute in the battles that overwhelm us. See this:
• In our battle with sin, the Lord Jesus took our sin. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities--Is 53:5. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him--II Cor 5:21.
• In our battle with sickness, He took our sickness. …. with His stripes we are healed--Isa 53:5c. Who His Own Self bare our sins in His Own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed--I Pet 2:24.
• In our struggle to overcome grief and sorrow, He took our grief and sorrow. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows...--Isa 53:4a. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you...--John 14:27a.
• In our struggle to have provision, He took our poverty. ... yet for your sakes He became poor that ye through His poverty might be rich--II Cor 8:9b.
• In our conflict with fear and separation from God, He became separated for us. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried.. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?--Mark 15:34 (Now, in Him) we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him--Eph 3:12.
• In our struggle to believe, He gives us His faith... and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me--Gal 2:20b.
• In our conflict with the devil, He took on our conflict, defeated him, and gives to us His triumph over him. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil--Heb 2:14. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils…--Mark 16:17a.
• In our conflict with sin and death, He died for us. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us...--I John 3:16a.
• To rescue us from the lostness of deception, He becomes our Way and our Truth. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me--John 14:6.
We Could go on and on. There's more. We'll keep on learning what He, as our Substitute, acquired for us that we ourselves cannot provide--but desperately need. He's infinite, boundless, a powerful Force out of eternity Who has come into this pitiful element of time and has undertaken to give us a new kind of life that's everlasting.
It is His life that He is giving us.
WE CAN'T COVER ALL that needs to be said in this one short article about how Jesus, our Substitute, broke the power of sin--and sickness, and Satan, and sorrow, and deception, and insanity, and unbelief, and death.
On we could go with what He broke. His triumph for us is so complete there is no darkness or misery of mankind, anywhere, but that His fullness will reach there and declare freedom and peace.
For now we're simply going to consider how He broke the power of sin. Sin is behind most of our other troubles, anyway. When we get this matter settled, what Jesus did for us opens a triumph that spreads to every other trouble we might ever encounter. Later, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we'll take a long look at the other troubles we have listed. Many are suffering with sickness and doing battle with Satan that don't seem to be involved with sin. There's a lot of sorrow in the lives of some people who aren't in sin, and insanity has taken hold of some whose motives and responses to life are pure. I say this just to establish that all suffering is not necessarily because of sin in the life of the one who suffers. But, at the same time, no one is yet free from the corrupting attacks of sin. And--when the Holy Spirit does His great searching work, sin turns up in more places than we're apt to want to admit.
Because of the depth of sin to which humanity has fallen, no one of us is capable alone of dealing with its plague. It must be handled by a Substitute. Clearly, this One is Christ Jesus, and He alone.
This article is a feeble attempt at dealing with a matter so profound angels stand in awe of it. But, we're trying and making our movement toward saying it is possible to be free from sin's dominion.
ONE DAY WHILE CLEARING GROUND for a garden, I came upon a large clump of grass that needed removing. Knowing it would be necessary to do more than cut it off, I proceeded to dig it up by the roots. But I found attached to the roots of the immediate plant a long trailing root that had come from a little nodule, a bulb-like thing far removed from the grass on the surface. From this nodule went out other leading roots to more clumps of grass. At the time I found this grass I had been meditating in Romans. As I held myself before the Book, I allowed it to speak as it would. That grass with its three dimensions--one on the surface, one immediately beneath the surface, and that distant nodule--illustrated something I was seeing in Romans. Basically, there are three dimensions of sin--
• surface sins which are all too evident,
• sin beneath the surface of life that inevitably erupts to show we are all sinners, and
• that distant sin to which we are all connected simply because we're born descendents of Adam.
Breaking the bondage of each dimension of sin is a challenge to the natural man that eventually reaches the point of human impossibility. I knew of many people trying to find release from sin's stronghold. My meditation, helped on by Romans, was that until the distant connection with sin is dealt with, it will continue its hold. Romans points the way to deal with that distant sin. It's brought to us by the grace of God revealed in Jesus. In His death and resurrection He dealt with the last dimension of sin. He overcame its power, broke its back, and now offers to us His triumph over it.
This is part of the great work of salvation we call substitution. It's most basic word is in Rom 5:8. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This means simply, because we were caught in the impossibility of a sinful nature, He took our place and paid the ultimate penalty for our redemption.
FOR THE POWER OF SIN TO BE BROKEN inside us , it must be cut off from its source of life. This source is that third dimension of sin, like that nodule sending its nature to the grass in my garden. Paul called this distant resource, on which our sinful nature relies for strength, the sin.
We come upon this in Rom 5:12. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. In the Greek New Testament, both the words sin and death have the Definite Article ("the") with them. This would make the verse read like this: "Wherefore, as by one man the sin entered the world, and the death by the sin; and so the death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
That one man was Adam, made in the likeness of God but persuaded away from Him by that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world... (Rev 12:9). By Adam, The Sin entered the race.
In Rom 5:12, sin is from two Greek words ha hamartía. Ha is the Definite Article, "the." Hamartía is a word to which we've made reference before. It means "the missing of a mark." It is sin in the sense of our walking in error, travelling on the wrong path, of doing the wrong thing. It becomes, however, more a matter of what we are than what we do. From Rom 5:12 through 8:10, Paul made use of ha hamartía, "the sin," over thirty times. Think of it. There was a definiteness about what he was laying out as he told of the strong connection every one of us has to the sin of the first man, Adam. Like an underground nodule, this sin has released its nature into everyone. This is that from which Jesus wrestled its power.
The sin brings with it every kind of sickness there is, along with the penalty of the death. This is the other ruling force that has laid hold on all the descendents of Adam. It was the sin Jesus took on when He entered the realm of the death and obtained our salvation. He broke the power of both.
That grass in my garden showed how sin works. The blades above ground were like sinful acts. The root beneath the surface was like sin within us. Beneath them all was the nodule sending its nature to the many clumps of grass. This is how the sin sends its nature to all mankind. I could not rid my garden of the grass by simply scraping the ground, even though it would appear clean for a while. I had to remove the roots. This breaking up of the ground made way for growing good plants. Eventually, however, the nodules left in the ground would send their shooting roots back toward the surface and the same ugly grass would grow up and crowd out the good plants. To rid my garden of the undesirable grass, I must rid it of the deepest source of trouble, the nodule that produced the roots that produced the grass.
IN ROM 6 PAUL LAYS OUT how the Lord Jesus took on that powerful distant root of sin and broke its power. He did not commit sins. Neither did He have a sinful nature. But He did take on the sin, paid the penalty, and broke its power. Through what He did we can become free. See another powerful statement of this: For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him--II Cor 5:21.
In the light of understanding this, we never move away from Isaiah's prophetic word. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all--Is 53:5,6. This continues in verse 12.... He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many...
The matter of how Jesus became our Substitute to deal with sin is so great we cannot cover it adequately in this article. Nor can we tell how He also took on our sicknesses. There is no way we can tell in so few words how He entered into conflict with Satan on our behalf to strip him and his demons of authority. And then, He also entered into death itself and destroyed its power. He did all of this for us. It would take us volumes to tell of it all--even if we could--but it is included in that potent John 3:16 statement that says whosoever believeth in Him should not perish.
How mighty is that word perish! Doesn't it include our sin, our sickness, our conflict with Satan, and our final struggle with death itself? We'll eventually get to all of this, but right now the important matter before us is our sin. The Holy Spirit is moving to bring us into freedom from its hold--the freedom that is ours in Christ Jesus.
LATELY I'VE BEEN REMEMBERING a precious brother whose last name I've forgotten. His first name was Sammy. We attended the same church when I first came to the Lord. One night I heard him give a testimony with the announcement that he had been called to preach. I, too, was feeling a similar call.
One day I went with a group to the city jail for a Gospel service. There, behind bars, was Sammy. He'd gotten drunk and committed a misdemeanor. I was shocked and had no more grace than to reprimand him and put him to further shame. I didn't know how to reach the inner part of him and minister the healing love of Christ that would set him free. I can still see him kneeling there on the other side of the bars weeping. I never saw him again.
I wish I'd known then a little more about the salvation that was ours. Maybe I could have helped Sammy. He had found release from the first dimension of sin--for a while. He had, so to speak, chopped it from the surface of his life. But, he had found no way to deal with what was beneath the surface, so it erupted again.
Those early years of growing in the Lord took place in a good church with a strong emphasis on clean living after salvation. I remember we were instructed not to smoke, drink alcohol, or go to the movies. That was good, but I too was left with something untouched, an area of inner sin, not fully known to my conscious mind but waiting to rise up and defeat me.
Recently, a brother minister of the Gospel came to me. He said something was gnawing at his insides that, if not dealt with, he feared would destroy him. He'd been to the Pensacola revival, had run to the alter, had experienced that powerful movement of the Holy Spirit upon him, but was still contending with a root of iniquity. In all the power that's flowing there in the revival, we have to know it is like waters flowing only ankle deep at this point. We probably are not yet ready to welcome the full movement of the Spirit. But, it is coming.
With honesty and privacy in one of our prayer rooms, that dear man painfully opened his heart to make known the depravity with which he was struggling. Conviction was heavy on him. Jas 5:16 came to my mind as we sat there--that simple word that lays out one of the most profound directives for our cleansing. Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Confess is from exhomologéo, a complicated looking word but with a simple and straightforward meaning. It says, "Bring it out into the open. Let what was secret be secret no more."
This seems like something with which we need to be careful. It doesn't seem wise to make just anyone aware of our inclinations toward sin. This comes from our human reasoning which says we must protect our reputation. But oh! We can yield up that reasoning when we're under the light and power of the Holy Spirit and of the Word of God.
As I prayed with that brother, we called upon the work the Lord Jesus had accomplished for us. Oh, what power was released that day in the prayer room! It left its mark upon both of us as he was set free.
THE TRUTH OF ROM 6 IS POWERFUL AND WONDERFUL. I remember that dear woman years ago who told me that if she had to give up the whole Bible except one chapter, she would keep Rom 6. If she could keep but one verse, she would keep Rom 6:11.I didn't even know what Rom 6:11 said. If Sammy and I had known it that day when I visited him in jail, we both could have been spared the awful sorrow that comes from failure.
Look at it with me, along with the preceding verse. Herein lies one of the most wonderful expressions of truth regarding the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord--Rom 6:10,11.
There are several powerful words in this passage of Scripture, but the key that opens the truth of them all is reckon.
First look at He died unto sin once. Of course, sin comes from ha hamartía, "the sin." Died is from the Greek apéthanen, an Aorist Tense form. It defines an action that took place one time. It was completed, finished, never to be repeated. Thus, Jesus died to the sin. He liveth unto God is different. It is a Present Tense form. It means, "He lives, and lives, and lives, and lives, and lives..." He never ceases living in a relationship with God.
Then follows likewise. It means "thus; in this same way." It points to ye also. That's you and me. Whatever took place with Jesus, likewise pertains to us. He was our Substitute.
Then comes the key--reckon. This is from the Greek logízesthe. It's important we understand this word. It's a Present Imperative form of a Verb that could be used in bookkeeping. It means "put it down to your account." That it is a Present form means that you are to keep on doing it. Keep on putting it down to your account. Reckon, and reckon, and reckon, and reckon that when He died, you died, and that as He lives, you live.
I'll never forget another old sister in a church I served as Pastor. She would testify to the power of this Romans passage. I can hear her saying, "Brother Corley, It's perpetual reckoning! It's perpetual reckoning!"
But now, see this. We reckon ourselves dead unto sin. Again sin is from ha hamartía, "the sin." It's the sin to which He died. And, it's the sin to which we reckon ourselves dead.
When we receive His death unto the sin that came through Adam as our death unto that same sin, something comes to us out of God's Throne to effectively stop the principle of sin that has ruled us. We reckon, and reckon, and reckon upon this. Every time its deadly influence reaches toward us, we reckon on our release from it. Thus the principle that has ruled us loses its power and we are set free to know the far greater principle of life that comes from our Heavenly Father. So, we perpetually put it down to our account that we are alive to Him. The stream never ceases flowing.
AS I MINISTERED ON THIS one night, my wife Glenda listened. Something began happening in her. She related how when she was first saved, the Holy Spirit convicted her for days of sins she had committed. One by one she confessed them and asked the Lord to forgive her. After that, it was her manner of life to stay "confessed up." So, it was somewhat strange when the Holy Spirit convicted her that night when I was teaching we are to reckon ourselves dead to the stronghold of the sin.
I noticed she left the meeting. She said she had to. As she was being exposed to the word of truth, some dark thing began struggling within her that seemed as though it might choke her. She went somewhere alone and felt it leave her. (Apparently the sin is an energetic force itself. It tries to lay hold on us and induce us to commit sins.)
She said there came a great difference after that. She had always been bothered and grieved over her past failures. Guilt from past sins often rose up and became a heavy burden to her. After renouncing the stronghold the sin was holding in her, guilt lost its power.
Verily, I think reckoning and renouncing are connected. Once we know that Jesus broke sin's power for us, and we put it down to our account that this is so, another power is ready to take over in us. It's the power of God's Spirit ready to withstand the power of the sin when it reaches into us and tries to evoke a response. For Glenda, her reckoning and renouncing resulted in a deliverance from sin's power and from the guilt that follows along with it.
Remember: sin has two powers, the power of enticement and the power of guilt. One precedes the acts of sin, the other follows. They're both broken when we put down to our account what the Lord Jesus did for us. With knowledge of what He did, we're learning to say it's so. When He died, we died. As He lives, we live.
IF YOU'LL SEE IT, there's some powerful hope regarding all this in the following passage: In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people, and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate--Isa 28:5,6. Think about it.
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