The Good News - Home
Understanding Deliverance From Sin
By David A. DePra
Do you want deliverance from sin? Good. But if you are already a Christian, you are asking for something you already have. Rather than deliverance from sin, you may need deliverance from blindness to the fact you already are delivered. Or perhaps from unbelief. But the reality is, if you are saved, you GOT THAT WAY by being delivered from sin.
Before continuing, we need to be clear about a couple of terms. First of all, deliverance from sin through Jesus Christ is not deliverance from the POSSIBILITY of sin. It is not deliverance from the PRESENCE of sin. If you are saved, you can sin anytime you want to sin. You have free will. Sin is no less possible for you now than it was before. Indeed, each of us prove this everyday. John says:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)
So what does deliverance from sin mean? Well, it means MORE than just being delivered from the PENALTY FOR sin. We are delivered from the penalty of sin through Christ. But that alone would do nothing to change us unless Ė what? Unless we are delivered from SIN ITSELF!
But wait. We havenít yet answered the question. What does it mean to be delivered from sin Ė from sin itself? We have seen it does not mean to be delivered from the possibility of sin, or merely from the penalty of sin. So what is the answer. Just this: Through the Cross of Jesus Christ we are delivered from the POWER of sin.
In short, what this means is that you are no longer a slave to sin. Sin has no more dominion over you. If you are, "in Christ," you no longer have to sin. You are free to obey God.
The most comprehensive passage on this subject is found in Romans 6:
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 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. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 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. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Rom 6:5-14)
Here we see a description of what happens when we receive Christ. We are united with Him in His death and resurrection. Thus, we see that, yes, Christ did die FOR us, and was raised FOR us. But more, we die IN HIM, and are raised WITH HIM! If we do not see this, we will never understand WHY, or HOW, we have power NOT to sin, and power to obey God. We have freedom from sin Ė are delivered from the power of sin Ė because in Christ all of sin was placed. He BORE sin Ė Jesus was the "sin-bearer." And when He died, the power of sin died in Him.
Right from the beginning, the only solution for sin was DEATH. Death, yes, in the sense that there had to be a legal substitute to die in our place. But more importantly, a living substitute who had bear sin itself. It is because Jesus bore our sin in His body, and His body died, that we are free from the power of sin.
Now, it is upon the basis of this victory and freedom, that Paul is able to say to us, "Therefore reckon YOURSELF dead to sin and alive to God." It is upon the basis of this Truth that Paul is able to say, "Do not yield yourselves to sin. Yield yourselves to God." Paul is telling us that we are free from the power of sin Ė and free to obey God.
As if to elaborate, Paul says later in Romans 6:
But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:17-23)
The entire basis of Paulís teaching is that through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the POWER of sin is broken in the life of a Christian. Not partly broken. But totally broken. The challenge, therefore, is not for you and I to get free from the power of sin. You and I ARE free from it. The challenge is to BELIEVE and OBEY Ė as Paul describes.
Christians donít need to get delivered from sin. Christians need to stop sinning. If you are in Christ, you are already delivered from the power of sin, and you already have, in Christ, the power to obey God. Your need is to see the TRUTH of your freedom, and to begin living and moving in it by faith and obedience.
Now, there are some folks who erroneously teach that sin no longer exists for a Christian. Some say that sin is a mirage. That teaching is not Biblical. Sin is just as real now as it was before. You can sin anytime you choose Ė and there will be consequences. And there is a mammoth struggle against sin we all go through. The flesh does war against the Spirit. Read Romans 7. Paul finally said,
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom 7:15-25)
Paul is NOT describing himself before he was saved, or before he became spiritually mature. He is describing himself as a normal, mature Christian. Those who deny this have not seen the possibilities in their own heart. Paul has spent all of Romans 6 telling us that we are free from sin by the death of Christ, and alive to God through His resurrection. He has told us that we are therefore able to begin yielding ourselves to God. But then, in chapter 7, he tells us that we are going to find out that the flesh isnít going to cooperate. Yet, despite it all, he declares that he is nevertheless delivered Ė and that the victory of Jesus is complete. He awaits the day when the fullness of that victory will happen even in his body.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
There is no contradiction here. God saves us from the inside out. When the fundament of your being is united with Christ, this does not yet save your body. Your body is not saved! For your body to be saved, it has to first die. It comes under redemption only through the resurrection of the body. So your body isnít saved, and your mind is still in the process of needing to be renewed according to the Truth. Thus, despite the fact that the cell doors of sin are all unlocked through Christ, we often donít see that they are unlocked, or donít believe they are unlocked. So we sit in the prison cell of sin, living as we did before. Paul says, "Believe. And then get up and obey. It will take time Ė through faith and obedience Ė for you to live out the deliverance God has given you. But you ARE delivered. Thatís what makes the obedience possible."
You are either IN CHRIST, or IN ADAM. It is one or the other, one hundred percent, all the way. And if you are IN CHRIST (saved), you are just as delivered from the power of sin as you are delivered from death itself. The two go together. It IS finished.
So again Ė a saved person does not need deliverance from the power of sin. A saved person needs to see they ARE delivered. And then upon seeing they are delivered from the power of sin, a saved person needs, through continual faith and obedience, to stop sinning.
A Promised Land
When you and I are born again, we are complete in Christ. We do, at that point of birth, have the right to everything He has done for us. It is offered free of charge. But as a BABE, you and I are no more capable of living in everything Christ has done, anymore than a child is capable of living in an adult world. We have to grow. We have to take possession of what Christ has done, over and against the opposition of the flesh. This does take time and growth.
We are going to see this Truth illustrated in the OT account of Israelís invasion of the promised land. Remember that God delivered Israel from Egypt Ė and that Egypt always stands as a type of sin, and realm of darkness. God took them over to Canaan, the land God promised to Abraham. Canaan, or the promised land, always stands as the type of inheritance and victory which God has given us through Jesus Christ.
Just as Israel had to invade the promised land, drive out the tribes, and take possession of the inheritance God had given them free of charge, so we must, through faith and obedience, take possession of what Christ has given us through His Redemptive work. This is the Christian life.
Have you ever noted that God never once told Israel to conquer Egypt? He never told them to take possession of Egypt. There are no directions given by God to the effect that even after God set Israel free that they were to turn back upon Egypt and conquer it, reform it, or destroy it. God entire goal was to deliver Israel OUT OF Egypt, and take them to a new place entirely. There Ė Israel would have warfare. But not in Egypt.
Egypt is always a type of sin, the old man in Adam, and the realm of darkness. There is NO REFORM for these. No. Christianity is not a self-improvement program. I am not called to straighten out my, "old man in Adam," for God. In short, the ONLY solution for the old man of sin is DEATH. Indeed, the Egypt problem is solved only by deliverance through DEATH.
Can we see the Truth here? Israel had to be delivered OUT of Egypt through the death of the first Passover night. Thus, we must be delivered from the power of sin through the death of Christ. But notice: Once Israel was delivered out of Egypt, and went through the Red Sea, did they ever need deliverance from Egypt again? No! They never again prayed, "God, deliver us from Egypt!" Rather, Egypt was left behind. They had come out of the Red Sea. Their deliverance from Egypt was once for all Ė totally complete.
The typology is inescapable. If you are in Christ, you have been baptized into His death. You have been raised in Him. That is salvation. Your old man is dead. And all the power of sin is found in that old man. You are therefore DEAD to sin. You are alive to God. Are you still afraid of the old man of sin? Are you still crying for God to deliver you from what has already died in Christ? You do not need to be delivered from sin all over again, any more than Israel needed to be delivered from Egypt ever again. What you need is to see and believe that, in Christ, you are ALREADY DELIVERED. And you need to start living like it.
The Promised Land
You will notice that while Israel needed to be DELIVERED OUT of Egypt, they did not need to be delivered out of the promised land. Quite to the contrary, they needed to GO INTO the promised land. What sense would it have made for Israel to pray, "Lord, deliver us from Jericho!" They didnít need to be delivered from Jericho. They needed to CONQUER Jericho.
Again Ė the parallel to the Christian. We do not need to be delivered out of Egypt ever again. And we do not need to be delivered FROM the obstacles which stand between us and our inheritance in Christ. What we need is to go in and take possession. Or, to put it another way, we donít need deliverance from sin. We need to stop sinning! We already have that power in Christ. We got it when He conquered sin and death Ė our Egypt.
Again Ė in Christ, it is finished. If you are a Christian, you GOT THAT WAY by being delivered from sin. Do you think you are IN CHRIST and still under the power of sin? You arenít Ė despite much wrong teaching today. If you are in Christ you are totally free from the POWER of sin. So you donít need deliverance from sin anymore than Israel under Joshua needed deliverance from the Egypt. But if you donít need deliverance from sin, then what DO you need? You need FAITH. You need to see the Truth about the finality of the Redemption, and you need to believe and obey it.
Now if you doubt that, ask yourself a question: What did Jesus say sets you and I free? He said, "The Truth shall set you free," didnít He? So there you have it. You and I need the Truth. We need to see the Truth about our freedom from the power of sin Ė so that we will no longer be bound by the lie that says we are not free. We need to see the Truth, embrace it, and then move forward under the power of it. If we do, we will find that we HAVE been delivered from sin by the Cross. Past tense. And we will see that our great need is to believe that and begin moving in and taking possession of our, "Jerichos."
In the Bible, after Pentecost, you will not find one instance of a Christian needing deliverance from sin. I said, "a Christian." Neither will you find a prayer of deliverance, a teaching to that effect, or an example. Not one. Neither will you find in the Old Testament, that after Israel was delivered out of Egypt through the Blood of the Lamb, that they ever needed deliverance from Egypt again. Sure, they needed deliverance out of the trouble they got themselves in through unbelief and disobedience. But the Egypt problem was solved forever. So is the sin problem solved through the Blood of the Cross.
In order to see more about this Truth, we can turn to the Old Testament account of Israel taking the Promised Land. Right from the start, it speaks volumes about the Truth
And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. (Josh 4:19)
The first place Israel encamped after crossing the Jordan was Gilgal. Gilgal stands for the Cross of Jesus Christ. It was at Gilgal that Israel renewed the covenant by being circumcised, and by keeping the Passover. In doing so, they were renewing their faith in the finished work which God had accomplished by delivering them from Egypt. That is why God was able to say to them:
This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.
The early conquests of Canaan land stand as a blueprint as to Godís highest way of operating. From the first, Israel operating from Gilgal as their, "home base." It was the place from which they lived and moved. So it must be for the Christian. We come to the Cross to get saved, but we never leave. We are always benefiting from itís power.
In this day and age, as never before, the Cross and the Blood of Christ are being pushed out of the churches. For you see, they point to the absolute necessity of coming to Jesus Christ as a sinner. They point to the fact that Jesus Christ ONLY is the Savior of the world, and that He alone was God become man, sinless man, who was able to bear the sin of the world. The Cross means that there is only ONE WAY to God. And today, in our politically correct world, we certainly canít have that.
This is, of course, Satan. What else do we think he would seek to push out of the churches? Ė all in the name of love and tolerance? If you eliminate the Cross from the churches, there is NO POWER at all over sin. There is no POWER period. Satan wants that condition. But it really is worse than this. For this I make no apology: You take out the Cross and you no longer have Christianity. Thatís right. The minute you take out the Cross, or minimize it, you no longer have Christianity. What you have is RANK HERESY.
There are people today, even in pulpits, who email me with "politically correct" attacks because I dare make such statements. But I will shout them the louder. Christianity without the Cross is heresy. Christianity without Jesus Christ AS GOD become man is heresy. Christianity without the resurrection is heresy. Christianity with more than one way to God is heresy. It is NOT Christianity. You argue all you want. But at the end of the day, you are going to be held accountable by God for what you believe and teach about these essential things: The Cross. The identity of Jesus Christ. If I were you, Iíd be sure about this. The Bible tells you that you have better be sure about it:
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (1 Cor 1:17-19)
Israel encamped at Gilgal, and operated from there as a home base. As mentioned, we need to do the same. Indeed, the Cross of Jesus Christ Ė that which shows our complete weakness Ė is the key to all spiritual power in the Christian life. You cannot have a resurrection without a crucifixion.
Herein we find an axiom which we must grasp: All spiritual strength is directly proportional to a personís dependence upon God. That is a Truth which runs completely contrary to our way of thinking. But it is an absolute. That is why Paul was able to say, "When I am weak, then I am strong." (II Cor. 12:10) For in order to put your dependence and faith more fully in Christ, you must be stripped of everything about yourself in which you might put confidence. And then all of His strength Ė not yours -- is able to flow through you. This is the work of the Cross.
The greatest deterrent to the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through individuals, and the Body of Christ as a whole, is self-sufficiency. I mean, SPIRITUAL and RELIGIOUS self-sufficiency. Confidence in MY spiritual condition. Faith in my faith. Most of us have accumulated quite a trophy case of accomplishments for God Ė right down to the souls we have saved, and the personal overcoming we may have done. We still donít see that none of this was because of us. At best, we simply reached out our hand to take HIS hand, and were saved, helped, delivered, and led along.
Again Ė ALL spiritual power is directly proportional to a personís dependence upon God. We might say that the FLOW of the Holy Spirit through is as hindered and clogged up as is a stream by rocks. Remove the rocks Ė that which is strong in us Ė and the flow is free and powerful. Keep the rocks there, and you will never be the vessel God wants you to be. We must be MADE weak, if we ever expect to be strong in Him.
If only we would grasp this Truth. Or better, allow the Truth to grasp us. But we donít. Rather, what we do is grasp the theological concept. Or we do a Bible study and memorize the teaching Ė and then think we have it. Well, thatís a good start. We need Biblical Truth. But that alone wonít get us far. Indeed, there really is only one way to grasp this Truth: Be MADE weak. Get that: MADE WEAK. Personally. Are you willing to allow God to reduce and deplete you of your own strength to the point where you are able to discard everything about yourself? And be fully reliant upon Him?
"Well, yes, I am willing to allow God to deliver me from all sin." Good. But thatís not what Iím talking about. Iím not talking about sin at all. Iím talking about what most of us would consider our good spiritual assets. Iím talking about allowing God to expose these as being NOTHING. Are you ready for that kind of dealing and exposure?
Before you say, "yes," understand that what I am talking about here will strike at the very heart and core of what makes you tick, and will more than likely overturn the very engine which has been running your relationship with God. It will, of course, IN THE END, all be quite wonderful and freeing. You will find HIM Ė HIM Ė HIM. You will never look back and regret it. But in the short term, the Truth will slay you. It will cost you every last ounce of your spiritual pride and confidence in yourself.
Lots of us say we want to be free of our confidence in ourselves. But we need to understand that in order for that to happen, God must overturn the very core of what makes natural man tick. Your motivation, indeed, your very frame of reference for Christian living Ė I said CHRISTIAN living, not worldly living Ė must be invaded, adjusted, and in many cases, smashed to pieces. Why? Because we are not geared to Truth. And the Truth is: God is everything and we are nothing. Are you prepared to face this Truth? To enter into this wonderful arrangement Ė this wonderful RELATIONSHIP -- in a way that is real, living, and eternal?
Paul, the apostle experienced this very thing. We have already read his words. He said, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Cor. 12:10) He knew that it was by the, "clearing out," of HIS strength in himself, and in the placing of His faith in Christ, that the power of Christ could flow through him.
Paul also talks about this in Philippians. He wrote:
Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinks that he has whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Phil 3:4-8)
Read Paulís list of things which he said could have given him cause to trust in himself. You wonít find any sins listed. None. Not only that, but everyone of the things Paul listed were RELIGIOUS assets. Do you see that? They were RELIGIOUS things about him Ė things that he could have used to assure himself that he was right with God, or doing well in his religious walk. Paul could have taken inventory and said, "Well, I know Iím not perfect, but this isnít too bad of a list of spiritual assets. Iím sure God is as please as I am."
Yet after Paul is done listing all of his spiritual assets, he writes, "But whatever there was about me which I might have thought of as an asset before God, those things I counted as LOST for Christ. Yes, without a doubt I count all those things as LOST. Why? For the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord."
Read Paulís passage again from Philippians. Paul is clearly saying that as long as he held onto those things which might have been gain to him, he could NOT enter into the fullness of knowing Jesus Christ. It is not a matter of God forbidding him anything. It is a matter of not being able.
We are not talking here about salvation. Paul was saved. Totally. Paul is talking about what he would later call, "the upward calling of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 3:14) Paul is saying, "God is calling me upward. But I canít get there unless I discard those things which weigh me down Ė my spiritual credentials." Paul had a whole bunch of religious things about himself which he could have used to make himself righteous, worthy, and acceptable in his own eyes. But as long as he used those things, he didnít need Jesus to be those things IN HIM. Indeed, Jesus could NOT be that in him.
We are talking here about spiritual condition. You cannot be strong in Christ as long as you are strong in yourself. You canít be. You wonít be. You wonít want to be Ė it wonít be something for which you even have a frame of reference. You may know all the Bible verses, teach others, and even have a nice relationship with God. But you wonít know the power of His resurrection unless you are made weak -- until you die to your own spiritual rights.
Paul goes on to say more. He says:
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Phil 3:8-11)
Paul actually suffered the loss of all those things he listed Ė and he said it was necessary, "for the sake of knowing Jesus Christ." He then adds that it was necessary for him to lose those things if he was going to WIN CHRIST, and be found in Him.
Win Christ? What does that mean? Remember: We are talking about a person who is ALREADY saved. So this isnít about salvation. It is about that, "upward call." It is about Paul entering into a relationship and experience with Jesus Christ to which salvation opens the door. He does not leave us to guess. He tells us what it means to, "win Christ and be found in Him." He describes it like this: Not having my own righteousness, but only that which is through the faith of Christ."
At this point, someone is going to say, "Is that all? Thatís nothing more than the basic doctrine of justification by faith. What is so exciting about that? I thought you were going to tell me something deep. But I know all this. I am already justified by faith."
Well, you perhaps know the doctrine of justification by faith. And you may indeed BE justified by faith. But Ė and this is the whole point Ė are you completely stripped of your own righteousness, such that the ONLY righteousness you have is HIS righteousness?
You see, Paul has been telling us about all the good things about himself that could have been used to build a case for his own righteousness. But he said he had to LOSE all of those things. In effect, God had to show Paul that none of those things made him righteous. He had to show him that he was, in fact, unrighteous. Only then, could Paul put his faith in Christ and begin to, "be found in Him, not having his own righteousness, but only the righteousness which is by the faith of Christ."
God doesnít necessarily need to destroy the THINGS we use to make ourselves righteous. What needs to be destroyed is our FAITH in them. That faith in ourselves is the lie. THAT is the deception. We are merely using the THINGS as tools to build ourselves up. Thus, it is often necessary for God to take them away. But in the end, what He is after is for us to place our trust in HIM for our righteousness, instead of in things about ourselves.
Of course, we have so little grasp of what it means for us to be stripped of our self-righteousness, that we tend to think of this as a "down on self," depressing, condition. It is not. For even though we are stripped of what usually makes a human being comfortable with himself, we are then clothed upon with HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. And since it belongs to Him, there is nothing left for us to lose or protect. We are secure and complete in HIM.
Paul still isnít done talking about the results of his being brought into weakness. Having said that he has lost all sense of his own righteousness, and having said that his whole confidence is in the righteousness of Christ, he goes on to give MORE results: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death, if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."
Do we see, if we read the whole passage, that the KEY to knowing the POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION is to be first stripped of the illusion of our own power Ė to be stripped of the lie of our own righteousness before? Paul said, "I suffered the loss of this illusion Ė the illusion that I am righteous because of anything about me Ė but because I have been stripped of it, the REAL THING is able to live in and through me. I am able to know Jesus, to live in the power of His resurrection, and to fellowship with Him in His sufferings. All of this is only possible because there is nothing of my own power clogging up the system. There is nothing about me I am trying to present to God as a substitute for Jesus Christ."
It cannot be overstated: All spiritual strength is directly proportional to a personís dependence upon Christ. Dependence upon Christ for everything. And at the heart of it, dependence upon Christ for righteousness.
But again Ė you can memorize the doctrine of justification by faith, and you can even read this article a thousand times over. But until you enter into these things with HIM Ė it will never be something which you experience for yourself.
Back to Gilgal
And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. (Josh 4:19)
For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD swore that he would not show them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that flows with milk and honey. And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way. And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole. And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day. And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. (Josh 5:6-10)
During the forty years in the wilderness, those who were twenty-years of age and up, at the time of the rebellion, had died. The new generation, under Joshua, had not been circumcised. This was something God would require before Israel could enter the promised land.
Circumcision was the sign of the Old Covenant. So Israel was once again acknowledging the covenant God made to Abraham Ė the physical promises of which they were about to realize. But there is more to this than might at first meet the eye. The place which Israel camped at first when they crossed the Jordan was Gilgal. It was also at Gilgal that Israel was again circumcised. And where they once again kept the Passover. Indeed, God said:
As we have seen, circumcision in the OT stands for THE CROSS in the NT. (see Col. 2:11) Gilgal was the place where God renewed circumcision for Israel. Gilgal was also, "the home base," from which Israel would operate in their initial conquests in the promised land. Can we see this great Truth? Gilgal is the place from which we must always live, move, and operate Ė not only for conquest Ė but for everything else in Christ. Gilgal is the CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST Ė as applied in the Christian experience.
FIRSTS are always significant in the Bible. Always. They provide a blueprint for something. When Israel entered the promised land things were pure. God was showing His HIGHEST Ė His best way of doing things. He began at Gilgal, the place of the Cross applied. He said, "It is from this place that you will go in and overcome Jericho." It is upon the victory of Jesus Christ on Calvary that you stand.
Do we doubt this? Again -- God said to Joshua:
And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day. (Josh 5:9)
Israel needed to be made weak enough so that they could be strong in the Lord. Gilgal was the place where this happened. In spiritual type, they had to be, "made weak," in themselves by the Cross, in order to be dependent enough upon Christ so that a great victory could take place.
Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
Israel didnít need deliverance from Jericho. Did they? Of course not. Jericho was content to leave Israel alone. Indeed, Jericho would have said they needed deliverance from Israel. The city was so afraid that they shut themselves in. They were paralyzed.
Letís imagine how silly it would have been for Joshua to get down on his knees and pray to the Lord, "Oh, God! Deliver us from Jericho! Save us from them!" God would have said, "Look at Jericho. Does it look like they are going to attack you? Jericho is a doomed city. It is as good as done. They arenít going to attack you. You are going to attack them Ė once I bring down the walls."
We need to repeat what we stated earlier: Once we are saved, we ARE delivered from sin. If Christ BORE all our sin, then IN CHRIST, we are DELIVERED from all sin! How could it be otherwise? Thus, through Christ, we have power NOT to sin, but to obey God. So even though we may not be free from the PRESENCE and POSSIBILITY of sin, we cannot get anymore delivered from the POWER sin than we are through the Cross of Christ. What we really need to be delivered from is the UNBELIEF which would deny that we are delivered, and the BLINDNESS which doesnít see it.
Thus, instead of needing to be delivered from Jericho, Israel needed to CONQUER Jericho. Instead of needing deliverance from sin, we need to stop sinning Ė through faith in Christ. If there IS anything in the Christian life that we need deliverance from it is UNBELIEF. It is the lies which would deny what Christ has done. We need the Truth!
Note Paulís teaching on this issue of deliverance, and how he addresses it in past tense:
(Col 1:12-14) Giving thanks unto the Father, which HAS MADE us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who HAS delivered us from the power of darkness, and HAS translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we HAVE redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
(1 Th 1:10) And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
(Gal 1:4) Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
(Heb 2:14-15) 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; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
But now letís turn to what we have said we DO need: To see the Truth. To believe. Paul DOES say, and pray, that we might be delivered from the deception and blindness which would keep us from seeing the Truth and freedom of Jesus Christ:
(Phil 1:9-11) And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
(Eph 1:16-23) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.
(Eph 3:14-19) For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Col 1:9-13) For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
God must deliver us from sin just as surely as He needed to deliver Israel from Egypt. There isnít a thing any of us can do to deliver ourselves from sin. We must simply come under the Blood of the Lamb by faith. But once we come out of Egypt, we never again hear about us needing deliverance. Not much at all. What we hear about is our need to KNOW and BELIEVE that we ARE delivered.
Again -- donít misunderstand. Christians DO sin! All the time. We are not delivered from the POSSIBILITY or PRESENCE of sin! What I am saying is that we do not NEED to sin. We are no longer slaves to sin. Thus, despite the presence of sin, and the fact that we yield and fall into sin, we are already delivered from the POWER of it. The Christian life is a journey wherein we discover this, practice it, and begin to experience freedom. We must invade OUR promised land in Christ.
The NT speaks of deliverance from sin as a done deal Ė a finished victory. Sure. It IS a done deal. Right now, if you are saved, you are as delivered from the power of sin as you are ever going to be. When Jesus died, it really was finished. The Christian life, therefore, is not a matter of getting MORE delivered from sin. Rather, it is a matter of us believing we ARE delivered, and then, based on that faith, a matter of us walking and living out our freedom from sin through obedience.
Can we see that the key here is BELIEVING? The key isnít so much the obeying and the doing. That is a MUST, of course, for faith without works is dead. But we cannot even get started unless we believe Ė and depend upon the finished work of Christ. That is where the enemy will work, and it is where we must take our stand.
It does not make any more sense for me to ask God to deliver me from sin than it would have made sense for Joshua to ask God to deliver him from Jericho. Or for Joshua to be, at this point, begging God to deliver Israel from Egypt. The victory is already given to us in Christ over ALL SIN Ė and everything else. We must believe and take possession of the victory.
Suppose Joshua had not believed the Lord. Suppose he had gathered together Israel and told them, "Jericho is impossible to conquer. In fact, they are going to come out to destroy us. We need to camp here until they do." Can we see that he would have been repeating almost the same pattern of unbelief that Israel had chosen forty years before?" Yet, why do we ask God for deliverance from an enemy who is already defeated and knows it?
The number one thing that will strike terror in the heart of the enemy of your soul is if you begin to grasp the reality that Jesus Christ has already completely defeated him Ė and that because of it, YOU CAN BEGIN TO LIVE LIKE IT. If you begin to believe this foundational Truth, and begin to move into the Promised Land, the enemy will be like Jericho Ė paralyzed. There is nothing he will be able to do or say to you that will defeat you.
The ONLY POWER the enemy has today over a Christian is the power of deception. He is totally defeated by Christ, but if he can convince you that he isnít defeated, then you will begin to act like he isnít defeated. You will spend your energy trying to get God to deliver you from your Jericho, when God is telling you to conquer your Jericho. And you will never actually do it.
How to Take Jericho
Ok. Here we are, delivered from sin. We are free from Egypt. Israel is in the promised land and about to take Jericho. But did you ever notice that Egypt isnít Jericho? There are no Egyptians in the promised land at all. Yet some of us act like there are. We act as if the Christians life is a matter of us conquering Egypt all over again. We still think it is up to us to conquer sin and the realm of darkness. No. That was done by Jesus Christ long ago Ė and in our story, Israel was delivered out of Egypt forty years before the events in the book of Joshua. So Israel isnít about to fight the Egyptians. They are about to drive out another enemy all together. This should speak something to us.
It goes back to what we just finished discussing. Your fundamental battle is NOT with sin Ė in the sense of trying to get God to set you free. Your battle is with unbelief. It is with anything that stands as an obstacle between you and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Note Paulís clear words to this effect:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
So we see here that the battle is against all that would exalt itself against the true knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. The lies and deception. The unbelief. But not, "out there." But IN HERE! In you and I.
Now, all of this is exemplified in Jericho. Israel didnít need to be delivered from Jericho. Israel needed to take possession of Jericho. And God told them how this would be done;
And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into your hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shall thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him. (Joshua 6:1-5)
If you examine how God had Israel take Jericho, it tells us how we are to take our Jericho. The first thing God had them do was completely surround the city, so that none could come in or out. This is totally consecration to God. This is the unconditional surrender of Jericho to God. There was no thought of escape.
If you want to bring your Jericho to the ground in the power of the Holy Spirit, you have to get one thing settled: It must be completely surrendered to God. There must be no quarter given. As long as we still have an escape plan Ė just in case God doesnít do as we like Ė we cannot conquer Jericho.
The second thing you will notice is that Jericho didnít fall in a day. God had Israel parade around the city for seven days. If victory doesnít happen right away, it is no proof that it wonít happen. It WILL happen Ė if we continue to surround the city.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, you will notice the KEY to the fall of Jericho. God did not cast evil out of Jericho. Rather, He brought Truth in. He brought worship in. He brought JESUS CHRIST Ė as symbolized by the ark Ė in. You and I will never have victory by standing there and fighting evil. We have no tools! You can only overcome evil by bringing in Truth.
Overcoming in the Christian life may indeed involve resisting sin, and resisting the Devil. But what we need to do is focus on GOD! Worship God. Praise God. Become immersed in the Truth. Seek God. Pray to God. Surround your Jericho with the Truth and with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Then the walls will fall. For the gates of hell will never prevail where the presence of Jesus Christ is. Never.
Note how this goes hand in hand with what we have been seeing about the Christian ALREADY being delivered from sin. Israel conquered Jericho -- not by getting delivered. Israel conquered Jericho Ė not by casting evil OUT. They conquered Jericho by bringing Truth IN. This was only possible because the enemy was already a defeated enemy. If you are already delivered. Already guaranteed victory by God.
The Christian is able to stop sinning because Christ has already set us free. The Christian is able to obey God because Christ has already set us free. The Christian does not need deliverance from the power of sin Ė no matter how powerful a sin might seem to be. The Christian needs to see the Truth, believe the Truth, and then begin walking in it. Circle your Jericho, and surrender it. Surround it with the presence of God. The walls will fall. *
The Good News - Home