THE FREEDOM OF THE CROSSPrint This Page.
THE FREEDOM OF THE CROSS
(Watchman Nee attributed this chapter to an article by Rev. Gordon Watt. However, Watchman Nee's article is quite different from the original article entitled "Liberty Through the Cross" by Rev. Gordon Watt. We have therefore chosen to translate his chapter from the Chinese. Readers interested in the original article by Rev. Watts should consult The Christian magazine, September 20, 1923, published by Morgan & Scot, London, England, edited by James W. Thirtle.)
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not be entangled with a yoke of slavery again" (Gal. 5:1).
Three words are used in the New Testament to describe the "freedom" for which Christ has set us free:
(1) A word for forgiveness, which refers to God's pardon.(2) A word often translated authority. This word refers to the privilege and authority purchased by the Lord Jesus through His precious blood for our freedom.(3) A word that pictures one who was formerly in prison, but has now been liberated (1 Cor. 7:22).
A bound life cannot deliver another bound life. Many Christians are bound; they cannot follow the Lord freely, and they are subdued by their environment. They fear men and the world. Satan does not wish to see a Christian living the liberated life. Yet all the power of darkness has been defeated by the power of Golgotha. The victory at Golgotha has secured for us our victory. God's Word (the Bible) clearly points out the way that Satan exercises his great power to frustrate God's children from experiencing the freedom they deserve.
THE POWER OF SIN AND OF OUR OLD LIVING
The power of sin and of our old living have been clearly dealt with on the cross. We should have faith concerning this fact. The reckoning in Romans 6:11 describes the attitude of our will concerning a certain matter. It is not a power in our flesh but the power in the Holy Spirit that reckons what God sees as true. We should adopt this attitude towards our old enemy.
One power is continually used by Satan for his own end: suffering. In reading Romans 8:18, we see that suffering in God's will is often the pathway to light; through suffering one receives life and fruit. Many of God's children are pitiful and poor because they lack God-given trials. But here is a question: do we view all sufferings and adverse conditions to be from the Lord? Many Christians consider that they ought to submit to all adverse circumstances. They do not realize that sufferings sometimes come from the enemy. These include things such as distractions, depressions, numbness, and things that hinder our spiritual progress. As God's children, we should reject all these things. We should not accept anything that oppresses us and should not consider them to be God's will. We should differentiate between God's will and Satan's will. We should know what is from love and what is from sin. We should test all things by the spirit of the cross and by the will of God. We should identify what kind of suffering we are facing in various circumstances by the teaching of the cross. We should accept what is from God and reject what is from Satan.
Romans 8:37 says that we can "more than conquer." This means a victory among victories, the highest form of victory. To conquer means to be on top. We have to ask if the experiences of temptations, circumstances, emotions, frustrations, and depressions belong to our old man or our new man. If they belong to the old man, we have overcome them on the cross already, and they are under our feet. This does not mean that we can avoid the things mentioned above; however, it does mean that we can take control of them. The way to victory is not to develop the old man but to trust in the Holy Spirit for power to resist temptations. God's children are often unaware of the fact that spiritual depressions come from the enemy and not from God! At the needed moment, we must resist through the power of the cross. Every step of the Christian life is a wrestling. Every time that we die to the things that oppress us and hold the devil at bay by obeying the Spirit, we allow the Spirit to take a firmer hold of us, and we shake ourselves further away from the devil's grip.
If we obey God's will, He will crush Satan under our feet (Rom. 16:20). The Holy Spirit will guide us to greater fellowship with God and make the victory of Golgotha real to us. The Lord has given us the authority to tread over the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). Victory is a necessary experience of the Christian life. A defeated Christian cannot bear fruit. Depressions, wavering of faith, dullness of the will, darkness in the mind, suppression in the spirit, inability to pray or control the forces that come from outside, and subjection to these forces have not been ordained by God for a Christian. Many believers fail because they do not know or realize the absolute victory that is reserved for them in Christ.
THE MIGHT OF DEATH
The devil is the one who has the might of death (Heb. 2:14). He murders God's children and runs rampant everywhere. Many of God's children die because of weakness. All those who are faithful to Christ are objects of the devil's attack. How should we deal with him? All believers who are joined to the Lord are able to withstand death. Unless it is God's will for a person to die, he should always seek for life through the perfect work of Christ. We are God's children, and we should not accept anything that is not God's will. We should not accept anything from the hand of the devil.
THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL
The Son of God was manifested for the purpose of destroying the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). We should be careful not to take the concept of leaving everything up to fate or leaving the condition of the world and the church today to fate. We should not brush aside our responsibility just because the prophecies are already recorded in the Bible. The Bible predicts that there will be apostasies at the end time. Some Christians think that since the Scriptures have prophesied these things, they do not need to rebuke or warn others of them anymore. Sin has been restricted in this age for the purpose of paving the way for God to reach His goal. Christians are obstacles in Satan's way. We should exercise the power at Golgotha to destroy the works of the devil in the churches, the fields, and the homes. As soon as we detect the work of the devil, we should adopt the attitude that we will not stop until we see the devil's work destroyed.
Any opposing force that runs contrary to God's will can be trampled immediately under our feet because it has been trampled under the Lord's feet already. When we are in the Lord, this force is under our feet also.