Am I enjoying Deliverance?
Based on the First of Eight Readings in Edinburgh in 1895. See Ministry of J B Stoney New Series Vol 6 page 297 (Published by Kingston Bible Trust)
When the prodigal’s father covered him with kisses, he could not doubt his reception. He did not make his intended proposition: ‘Make me as one of thy hired servants’ (Luke 15:19). You are justified when you believe that God has raised Christ from the dead. In the eye of God the man under judgment has gone in judgment. But you are not in liberty until you are delivered from the body of this death. ‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:2).
Romans 5 is acceptance, and the Holy Spirit given. The Holy Spirit tells me that God loves me, also tells me that I have life in Christ (see Romans 8:2) Before then I could not be truly happy. I was happy when I looked up to God, but mererable when I looked at myself, conscious of my unfitness. I saw that ‘that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing’ (Romans 7:18), then I cried, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ (v.24).
We see it with Israel. They were out of Egypt, but it was only near the end when they looked to Spirit (Numbers 21). That was after they had learned their wretchedness. It took 39 years before they saw the brazen serpent.
- The blood – you are sheltered from judgment.
- The Red Sea – you see a way through by the death of Christ
- The brazen serpent – you know that you are in Christ, and live
- The Jordan – you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world.
Then you can enjoy the Father’s house with the best robe. It is joy unspeakable!
In answer to a question ‘Do you say that peace is not enjoyed till we know that the old man is crucified?’, Stoney took a more positive response. Instead of concentrating on the old man, he looked to enjoying of the great supper, and making merry which you can do only if you are in liberty [*]. A sailor said he did not mind any weather so long as he could see the sun. You must keep your eye on Christ.
If our old man has gone on the cross we would not be occupied by ‘holiness by faith’ teaching. If the old man has gone in the eye of God in the cross, then it should be gone from my own eye. I change my man: ‘not I, but Christ liveth in me’ (Galatians 2:20). There are two sides; one, that you are cleared in the eye of God in the cross; the other that you know you are in Christ. Then you are free: ‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death’ (Romans 8:2) . The flesh is set aside as you walk in the Spirit. You must accept the fact that you have died with Christ. To this you are committed in baptism. The mark of a man walking in the Spirit is that his body is a living sacrifice (See Romans 12:1).
[*] My take on this is that we should be occupied with what the Lord has done, and not whether we are crucified with Him. Enjoying the merriment in the Father’s house stops us being occupied with what we are naturally. Occupation with whether we are crucified with Him, is occupation with self.