THE WAY OF DELIVERANCE FROM SIN & SELFby Pat Mullins
I. "Have you forgotten that when we were baptized into union with Christ Jesus we were baptized into His death?" (Rom. 6:3)
How to get free from the bondage of sin and self is the greatest question in many hearts. Such a freedom looks impossible, but
"things that are impossible with man are possible with God."
The Word of God says: "One died, for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him." (2 Cor. 5:14-15) When we first came to Christ with the guilt and burden of our sins, deliverance looked just as impossible, but as we took God at His word, the Holy Spirit bore witness, and proved to us that He could do what seemed the "impossible" thing.
II. Let us go back to that first stage of deliverance and see how it was done.
- We were convicted of sin.
- We struggled to get peace, and looked inward for relief, but all in vain.
- At the point of despair we were shown that deliverance had to come from some power
outside of ourselves.
- At last we looked away to Christ and saw Him on Calvary's Cross bearing our sins in His own body on the tree.
- We ceased from struggling, and resting reconcile our failure with our past "experience". 1
John 1.9 is always needed, and as we confess any sin we must simply re–take our place, "crucified
with Christ," and ask to be on His finished work of atonement, found peace through the blood of His Cross. The Holy Spirit
applied the power of the blood and we had "no more conscience of sins" (Heb. 10::2) The
"impossible" thing was done. Justified by faith we know we were at peace with God. (Romans 5:1)
- New life from God was imparted to us by the Holy Ghost, and He bore witness with our
spirit that we were children of God. (Romans 8:16)drawn into closer fellowship with Him and kept by the power of His life in us
- The Spirit of God first convicts us of the bondage of sin and the loathsomeness of selfhood. (See 1 Corinthians 3:1-3)
- We struggle to conquer our sins and deliver ourselves; we cry to God, and yet victory appears
more and more hopeless. The enemy taunts us, "It is not for you," or, "There is no such thing as
deliverance." We seek to surrender more fully to do God's will, but the more we try the more
we seem to do the things contrary to our desires. The loathsomeness of sin increases, and its power
seems greater, and we are put into circumstances that bring out the very worst part of us, until at
last we loathe ourselves, and cry, "Oh wretched man...who shall deliver me?" (Romans 7:24)
- At this point of bitter despair and darkness the Spirit of God shows us that self cannot conquer self of sin.
- The Spirit of God then leads us again to Calvary, and throws light upon the meaning
of the death of the Lord for the deliverance of all who trust in Him. He leads to the written
Word, "One died for all, therefore all died" (2 Corinthians 5:14), and we see that the Savior
carried the sinner to the cross, as well as his sins, and that we have died in Him to sin and to
the old life of self. We then consent to account ourselves crucified with Christ, and agree to live
the crucified life, "Always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake that the life also of Jesus may be
manifested." (2 Corinthians 4:11)
- "Planted together in the likeness of His death" (Romans 6:5), as having died with Him,
we cease from our own work (efforts) and enter into rest (Hebrews 4:10), saying in dependence
upon the Holy Ghost, "I have been crucified with Christ." (Galatians 2:20).
- The life of God is now imparted in fuller measure, and the Holy Spirit reveals the living
Christ indwelling the soul, henceforth enabling the believer, moment by moment, to live unto Him.
V. Have we been brought by the Holy Spirit to utter despair of ourselves, and are now ready to own that in us dwelleth no good thing? Then let us now in simple trust:
- Look to Calvary once again, and see that the Savior did carry us in Himself to His Cross
– as well as our sins (Romans 6:3; Galatians 2:20).
- Take our place in Him on the Cross, and say that by the choice if our will we have died
with Him (Col. 3:3; Galatians 2:20).
- Then day by day, as any trace of the old "natural" life is revealed, yield it to the Cross, and
reckon it crucified with Him (Romans 8:13).
- Count upon the Living Christ in us to manifest His life continually.
Moreover, in the hour of temptation when Satan tries to throw back upon us old sins, or workings of the old life in any form, we must, by the "word of our testimony" that we are crucified with Christ, claim the victory Christ won over Satan on the Cross, and refuse to yield to his power.
But can our death with Christ be made real to us in one moment? We can take our place as crucified with Christ in a moment of time, but the Spirit of God must deal with the old life day by day, and we then surrender it to the Cross as it is revealed.
VII. Can "self" rise again?
- After we have seen our death with Christ, there probably will arise fresh manifestations of
"self" to be dealt with, for as the work of God deepens in us, the Holy Spirit will reveal depths
we had no conception of, if we cry "let Him not spare!"
- Sometimes the adversary may imitate "self" to make us lose our faith that we are crucified with Christ.
- Stand upon the word of the Living God, and say "It is written". "I have been crucified with Christ" – His death is mine.
- Hand over every trace of self – real or apparent – to the Holy Ghost for Him to deal with, and refuse to have anything to do with it.
- Believe that God does deliver now, in the face of all appearances to the contrary, and hide in Christ on the Cross from the enemy, counting
upon the shelter of the blood of Calvary.
The Lord has not promised to turn us into stones. In union with /Christ in His death we are delivered from selfishness; from self-sensitiveness (i.e. being wounded for self), but not from sensitiveness for others. Now there will be tears for others, but none because we are hurt! However much we suffer we do not resent it and retort as we used to, but we do feel the pain and see the hand of God in all that comes to us, for our good (see Romans 8:28).
X. If we have "died," how can we be tempted?
If Christ suffered being tempted, and was tempted in all points like as we are, we shall not cease to be tempted. Galatians 2:20 give the secret. "I" crucified, "Christ lives in me." "I" – the selfish; "I" – nailed to His cross; "me" – the personal "me" remains - to be tempted and tried.
XI. What about "dying daily"?
If we look at the context of the passage where this sentence occurs, we shall see that it relates to Paul's exposure of his physical life to hazard continually. It does not seem to refer to "spiritual" death at all. In 2 Cor. 4:10, we read of "always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus," and this describes the crucified life, when the Spirit of God brings us daily into deeper conformity to the death of the Lord, and which follows our apprehension of our death with Christ according to the Word of God.
XII. If I fall into sin, after taking the place of death, what then?
This is the most critical point of all. Above all things we must be honest with God, and call sin, sin, never attempting to cover it over, or to reconcile our failure with our past "experience". 1 John 1.9 is always needed, and as we confess any sin we must simply re-take our place, "crucified with Christ," and ask to be drawn into closer fellowship with Him and kept by the power of His life in us continually.
XIII. What about growth? It is only as we apprehend our union with Christ in His death, according to Rom 6.3-6, that there can be real "growth in grace," for it is the divine life which is to grow as the earth life is continually reckoned crucified.
Let us beware of testifying, "I am dead," for it is drawing attention to ourselves, and is "I"
in a subtle form! We may speak of the Lord and all that He is, but it is for Him to bear witness to
what He has done for us. Let us welcome also every criticism – kind and unkind – so that we
may learn to know ourselves, and seek deeper deliverance. By this means the outward life will
soon be brought into conformity to the inner life, and discrepancy between lip and life be avoided.
Beware of dogmatizing over spiritual truths. Let God bear witness, and then we need never assert
anything about ourselves. 1 Cor. 8.2 is always true!
Let us never seek "experiences," but leave ourselves in the hand of God for Him to do as it
pleases Him, leading us in any path that He may choose.
Let us take care lest we get out of soul-rest in seeking further blessing. God cannot work
whilst we are anxious, even about our spiritual experience. Let us take Him at His Word, and
leave the fulfillment of it to Him.
Let us never judge God's Word by our experience, for the Word of God is true whatever
our experience may be.
We should not seek "consciousness" of death with Christ. "The words are a contradiction
in terms. If we had literally passed out of this world into the next we should not feel dead. We
should only be conscious of a new, wonderful life. Our consciousness of death would be negative,
the old bonds would be unable to fetter us."
We must beware of having faith in our "reckoning," rather than in the God Who undertakes to make the reckoning true!
Let us beware also of "trying to grasp" the truth of God, for this is usually mental effort;
and hinders the Holy Spirit from doing His work. Yield to the Holy Spirit , and He will make the truth grasp us.
The Lord has never promised that we shall be able to look within, and say to our own satisfaction that "self" is gone. Whilst we
really believe God's Word that we have died with Christ, and count upon Christ as the Living One to manifest His life through us, others will
see that it is true, whilst we are occupied with Christ.
When the Holy Spirit has applied the death of Christ experimentally, and brought the soul into real emancipation, it remains to be a
momentary attitude maintained by abiding in Him. There need be no effort to "abide" if we count upon the Holy Spirit to keep us abiding
When we step out upon God's Word, we must take heed that we do not look within to see if the work is done, and watch the "operation
of God" (Col. 2.12). As we rest on His Word, the work is being wrought in the depths of our being by the mighty inward Operator. If we
begin to question, "have I died with Christ or have I not?" He has to wait until He can get us
to look away from ourselves, and rest upon the Word again.
Let us be prepared that the adversary will dispute every inch of ground. The devil is NOT dead, for when we hide in Christ upon the
Cross, he seems more alive than ever, but let the Living Christ who dwells within guard us from all his subtleties, then it will be victory all the
way, for he is a defeated foe.
Remember it is vain to ask God to set us free from ourselves if we retain one single thing that ministers to the self-life. An honest
desire to let Christ entirely possess us, and a practical committing to the Cross of all that is revealed,
will bring full deliverance. Let us remember, too, that God's dealing with us, He will allow a "trail" to remain until we cease to writhe
under it. We may as well say, "Yes, Lord," at the first!
Finally, the "end of the Lord" is LIFE – life out of death. "If we have become united with Him by the likeness of His death, we shall be
also by the likeness of His resurrection" (Rom. 6.5).
In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
From the Book: DYING TO LIVE By: Mrs. Jessie Penn-Lewis
Published by: OVERCOMER LITERATURE TRUST – Poole, England
Reprinted with Permission from THE BURNING BUSH NEWSLETTER
Jessie Penn-Lewis was one of Pat Mullins favorite authors.
For additional articles, audios or videos of Pat's work go to www.TheLifeWorkofPatMullins.com.