“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.” (1Pet. 2:24).
Death to sin is not something
we can make happen. It is way beyond us and our resources. We are alive to sin.
“There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of
the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good,
no, not one.” (Rom. 3:11,12).
Righteousness can only exist
in a heart that is completely separate from the great adversary and his power
to cause sin. Therefore, righteousness belongs only to God.
“O Lord, righteousness
belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces.” (Dan. 9:7). Righteousness
belongs only to God, but He wants to give it to us. Death to sin is the gift of
God. We can only be dead to sin if we receive that death from God. Death to sin
is easy if by faith we have appropriated what we see in Jesus. Hidden with
Christ in God, we may freely eat of every fruit imaginable which He brings, and He
fills us with His Spirit. Hidden in Christ and sustained by His Spirit, we are dead to sin.
We also know that God considers literal death to be like sleep.
“These things said He: and
after that He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I
may awake him out of sleep.
Then said His disciples,
Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
Howbeit Jesus spake of his
death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
Then said Jesus unto them
plainly, Lazarus is dead.
And I am glad for your sakes
that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto
him.” (John 11:11-15).
“But I would not have you to
be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not,
even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose
again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this
we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain
unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” (1Thess.
The dead are really dead, and the sleeping are really sleeping.
“For ... the dead know not any thing,... the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred,
and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever
in any thing that is done under the sun.” (Ecc. 9:5,6). To everyone with a nagging heart and mind, this can be a powerful promise from God.
Do you wake up each morning
refreshed from all the harassment and anxiety from the previous day? Do you
wake up with peace of mind? Have you ever said this prayer?
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossiped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.
I’m really glad about that.
But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed….”
If we get our 2 hours of REM
(Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, and if we get our 2-3 hours of deep sleep―the
healing sleep―and finally our last 2 hours of REM sleep, then morning by morning God resurrects us from our nightly burial well rested and able to conquer the new day’s harassment. Rest is
heavenly. When we come back to life from a good night’s sleep we are dead to sin.
But even better, what if you could sleep
all day? No more harassment ever
! No more anxiety that leads to gossiping, loss
of temper, greed, grumpiness, selfishness, self-indulgence. Wouldn’t that be a
good life? A spirit calm and trusting, patient and wise. Many look forward to a quiet
lifestyle when they can retire, but then they find that they don’t want to cut
back their old lifestyle when they were employed to fit their smaller retirement income. So they go back to
employment with all its pressures. The eternal peace seems evasive to the multitudes.
Yet, they find that even physical
sleep isn’t enough to tackle a day of harassment. Often the anxiety leaves them so
wound up that they can’t sleep at night. And to compound the problem, before they
go to bed they comfort eat. All night their
stomach is working on the heavy meal and they wake up exhausted because all
that they got was REM sleep. A sleeping pill does the same thing. The pill
cannot remove the anxiety which is what causes unrest, and therefore cannot cause deep sleep, which is
where rest and healing come from. Sound sleep can only come by the removal of anxiety.
Removal from the present harassments and physical removal from a world of sinners by slumbering, isn’t
enough. Their Creator must put anxiety to bed before the person puts himself to bed.
True, the person who does
some aerobic exercise before bedtime, or refrains from a supper, or skips the
late-night television junk, and goes to bed early, does give their body and
mind opportunity to get the 2-3 hours of deep sleep. This isn’t always
guaranteed, but it does often happen. And if they don’t do the exercise or skip the
third meal, and if they don’t go to bed early, it is almost guaranteed that
they won’t get the long sought deep sleep.
“Yet shew I unto you a more
excellent way.” (1Cor. 12:31). “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but
godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now
is, and of that which is to come.” (1Tim. 4:8).
It’s rest that we need; and God wants us to have it all day long. A
spiritual and mental death every day, all day. Rest and relaxation. Sleep. Heaven’s deep sleep. Working and exerting ourselves from a full internal reservoir as His Spirit abides with our spirit (see Rom. 8:16; Phil. 1:16; 1Jn. 2:27,28; 4:13; 2Tim. 4:22). We can and should have this daily, hourly.
“For thus saith the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness
and in confidence shall be your strength.” (Isa. 30:15).
If we can surrender to the spiritual death that God gives us to produce our new life,
then our problem of harassment and anxiety, and living in a world of sin,
is resolved. All we need is to “sleep the sleep of death” (Ps. 13:3). All we
need is have God put our self-focus to death, and He can kill the nagging anxiety
that never quits. Anything we attempt for fixing our anxiety can only end in
failure and greater disillusionment. Often suicide is used by people trying to
fix their painful anxiety problem themselves. But this terrible act does not lead to enjoying a
life without anxiety. It ends in nothing because there is no life after death. “The living know that they shall die, but the dead know not any thing ... neither have they any more a portion for ever in any
thing that is done under the sun.” (Ecc. 9:5,6). “His sons come to honour, and
he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.”
God has a better solution for
putting our flesh to death. He doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
He surgically strikes our anxiety. He supplies His Spirit of life in Christ Jesus and kills the emptiness, the hopeless failures, and the grinding of the conscience; but He spares the soul and heals the soul. Detached and washed away is the tumor of guilt and shame. We can face life again, even our past life, and with confidence and self-worth seek forgiveness and restitution for all that we’ve done wrong. Crowned with the honor from “Him who loved us and washed us from our sins with His own blood” (Rev. 1:5), we seek restoration of past relationships and obtain it. Providence
gave the Prince of peace an excruciating crown of thorns, so that by His Son’s horrific crown of
thorns our horrific crown of thorny anger and anxiety could be healed. Beholding Him wear our crown of thorns will give His Spirit orpportunity to remove our hopeless
torment so that we no longer desire to kill ourselves. He suffered in our place, “by whose stripes ye were
healed.” (1Pet. 2:24). That’s good news. It’s certainly worth looking into.
It’s certainly worth seeking the Son for it.
Paul put the death of self
“Know ye not, brethren, (for
I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man
as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law
to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed
from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be
married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband
be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be
married to another man.” (Rom. 7:1-3).
Paul used the analogy of a
woman and an abusive, cantankerous husband. As long as he is alive, she must
receive his abuse and a life not worth living. She has bound herself to this old
man, and the law of marriage stands until death do they part. Divorce, and especially
suicide and murder, are out of the question. But, for sure, one of the two
persons must go.
Yet, we are not in control of life or death; God alone can bring
death. And He will end a life when He deems sufficient time has passed. The old
man will reach his eternal demise in God’s wise time. God, the Life-giver, is the only one who
should end existence for anyone, even our old man. When someone else involves
himself with ending life, taking things into his own hands, he ends up much, much
worse than before. Death by suicide and murder are
unthinkable. Even if a co-worker, a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or our old
man, constantly does things that are designed to make us leave the
relationship, trying to save oneself from the one’s pain only exacerbates the
Paul then shifts the
adversary from being an abusive and undesirable husband to man’s relation to
the Law of God. And it may sound like introducing the Law of God ends the
relevance of Paul’s solution for modern man. But, the Law is relevant to healing our anxiety because all the
sources of our human woe, whether in our day or in the days of the Roman Empire,
have always had for a root cause the painful disconnect between the creature
and the Life-giver. And that disconnect comes from sin. Therefore, continuing with
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye
also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be
married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should
bring forth fruit unto God.
For when we were in the
flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to
bring forth fruit unto death.
But now we are delivered from
the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness
of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
What shall we say then? Is
the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had
not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
But sin, taking occasion by
the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law
sin was dead.” (Rom. 7:4-8).
Sin, or our disconnection
from the Creator, is a really big problem. Sin is why we are harassed. Our separation
from the Comforter and the resulting consequences for our sinfulness are the
root cause of anxiety. Sin and separation from God are the cause of all our
other problems. Sin is the enemy. And our God has always been the deliverer.
But, sin is difficult to nail
down or define. What is it that plagues us so? Sin is an abstract beyond all
abstractions. It is evasive like nothing else. Other people can see it in us,
but we can’t see it in ourselves; self can’t see its sinfulness. Other people give our exceeding sinfulness the antidote that they prescribe,
often without our permission and as often without even a hint that they are giving
it. Often they don’t even realize they are giving it, it is just a knee-jerk
reaction against our despicable trespassing against them. They hate what they see in us and they
react. But, the problem with their remedy for our sin is that they are sinners
too and unsanctified. So their self-centered remedy, their slanted judgments only make us worse. “The
strength of sin is the law” (1Cor. 15:56) in the hands of the uncircumcised in
But, good news! This their
abuse is in God’s plan! (Or is that really good news?) It may not feel like good news,
but God is in control! Oh, Yay! (*sarcasm*). But, let me explain.
What we need is peace of
mind. That is rest, healing rest, just like deep sleep. In deep peace like a river,
there are no flare-ups of anxiety, and we have health, physically, emotionally,
and mentally. There is only one way to the peace like a river, which makes it simple; but there are two methods to
get there, which make it complicated.
The first way to peace.
Our Creator knows how mischievous sin is and how mischievous the sinner is because of
sin. So, He doesn’t initially approach us bearing the gift of grace and peace.
The first thing He brings us is His Law. This is why Paul dove into the issue
of Law when he explained the answer to peace.
There is no peace apart from
peace with God. Peace from any other source is not real peace; it’s cheap and shallow, and
doesn’t last long. In spiritual things as much as in everything, you get what you pay for. If you don’t invest much, you don’t get much. Therefore, legal or illegal substances, indulgent yet socially
acceptable foods, all sorts of hobbies, time-consuming games, toys, work, relationships, education,
culture—every kind of earthly source for peace must fail. Cursed is every man,
woman, and child who trusts in anything this world offers to remove his
chastisement of peace. Their chastisement of peace will endure forever. But, blessed are all they who trust in God to remove their chastisement of peace. His mercy will endure forever.
The world being of no help to give peace leaves only one
option—God. And He plays hard to get—at least it seems that way. He isn’t
really playing hard to get, but He must do it right if we are to be truly
fixed. That correct way to fix us is to help us realize our pride and arrogance. He must baptize us in the humiliating truth about ourselves.
“What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.” Testimonies to Ministers
, p. 456.
Once pride is dealt with and humbled, then we are teachable. Our eyes and
ears and brain open up to recognizing our problem, which is us. Satan has
become very bold toward our ME generation. When you boil it all down, ME is the
cause of all our problems, harassments, and anxieties. And ME is
self-protective. Self is all-preserving.
The two methods God uses to
help us see our mischief:
1) As we have said, God must bring us to face our
enemy—who is the blind and deaf person in the mirror. So He puts that mirror in
front of us—His brilliant Law. The blinding truth from His Law pierces the ignorance of our
sinfulness, and the truth is overwhelming. We are hit by a lightning bolt.
ZOWIE!! OWIE!! Anxiety sets in, as we wrestle against acknowledging the truth.
After we are grinded upon, the honest soul admits to the truth. We are busted.
2) The other method is the
consequence to disregarding the brilliant Law. We don’t have the grace
that is inherent to God and His Law; and we find it very painful to see ourselves as we really are. Instead, we dodge the bullet thinking we got away scott free. But, due to our choice of evading the Law’s helpful convictions, we must face
Satan’s helping hands: the unconverted, abrasive, thorny, uncircumcised Gentiles. Their crudeness,
heartless, harsh ways will be brutally honest in their judgment upon us. “For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” (Deut. 32:31). “Lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation.... They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.” (Hab. 1:6,7). No mercy or love mix into their righteous judgments. Shape up or ship out!
“Thine own wickedness shall
correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see
that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God,
and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” (Jer. 2:19).
“All that found them have
devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have
sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of
their fathers.” (Jer. 50:7).
Either method will God use in order to bring His people to the ultimate requirement of trusting
Christ so that they can be justified by their faith, and have the rest in deep
sleep, that lays their old man in the dust. From that point onward their spirit is
allied with the Spirit of Christ and sin is dead in them. Their rest of spirit
gives them strength to say “no” to all their sins. And their victory over sin is so
natural that sin is expelled by the act of their soul.
“What shall we say then?
Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we,
that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Know ye not, that so many of
us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?
Therefore we are buried with
Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by
the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom.