[Adapted from the The Works of Watchman Nee]
Man has two problems. We—all of us—have two problems: sins and sin. “Sins” plural, and “sin” singular.
“Sins,” plural, refers to the sins I have committed before God, which are many and can be numbered. “Sin,” singular, refers to my sin-nature. The sins I commit are the rotten fruit of my sin-nature.
I have two problems, sins and sin. I need forgiveness for my sins, but I also need deliverance from the power of sin. When God’s light first shines in our hearts, our cries are for forgiveness—our hearts are laid bare before God and everyone—we can see our offenses against God and the destruction they cause.
After receiving forgiveness we make another discovery—that we have the nature of sinner—there is a power at work drawing us to sin—when that power breaks out I commit sins. I seek and receive forgiveness but then I sin again. Life becomes this unsavory cycle of sinning, being forgiven, and then sinning again. I appreciate the blessed fact of God’s forgiveness but I want something more—I want deliverance. I need forgiveness for what I have done, but I also need deliverance for what I am.
God provides us with the solutions—His blood and the cross. The first eight chapters of Romans present two aspects of salvation. First, the forgiveness of our sins, and second, our deliverance from the power of sin.
Romans 5:8-9 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
Brothers and sisters, by the precious, shed blood of Christ we are forgiven of our sins—past, present, and future.
How, then are we delivered from the power of sin, from the sin-nature?
Romans 6:3-14 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
The key verse is Romans 6:6, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”
Galatians 2:20 ” I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Do you see that we are delivered from the power of sin by the cross? We have been crucified with Christ.
Many of us are near to the blood but far from the timber. Luke 9:23 says, “And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’”
Why am I sharing this with you this morning? Because God is calling us to serve Him—to die to self and serve Him. God will place many opportunities for all of us to serve Him–through deliverance we are emptied, through obedience we are perfected–we are made vessels fit for service.