First Work, Sins—second Work, Sin

Note: Scriptural doctrine materials (below) from circa 1600’s through the late 1800’s can be initially misunderstood due to the antiquity of the syntax, and therefore patience is recommended for understanding and receiving the intended instruction.

First Work, Sins—Second Work, Sin

It usually happens, when God is exercising a soul, that He revives it a little; then it falls back again into a dejected state: just as a man who is in danger of drowning rises to the surface and takes a breath, without which he would perish, and then sinks again, for he is not yet on firm ground where he can breathe naturally. So God gives the soul what revives it and it falls back again, until the work is thoroughly done.

When the soul is really delivered, it does not think of its condition, save to judge itself when that is necessary—a very important thing in itself. When the prodigal son found his father, he had not to think whether he would be received or not, nor about his condition, nor whether he was deceiving himself in thinking that he was on the right road. On the way, such questions might well arise; but, once with the father, he had only to think of what the father really was for him, and the way of the father’s acting showed this. So we hear no more of the prodigal son, but of the father, and of what he did.

I do not believe that when people have really got out of Romans Seven they get back into it. One may have truly received forgiveness of sins and had joy; but self is not yet known, and it is necessary to know oneself to be delivered. People are often deceived on this point. The initial joy was well-founded, but it was not deliverance: this joy flows from the forgiveness of sins and not from deliverance from the dominion of sin. Romans up to the eleventh verse of chapter five speaks of the former, sins; from the twelfth verse of chapter five to the end of chapter eight, of the latter, sin.

Having spoken of the joy of forgiveness which you experienced, after having acknowledged everything, God permitted the depression that might know that there was a further work to be done. You are easily elated, and you have lived rather too much on feelings. Now you must come to realize what being in the presence of the Father means. It is not that your joy was not real and true, but that there is more work to be done. Even if some are hard towards you, God uses it for your good. I do not question your sincerity nor your salvation; but God would have us not only say, “We must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ,” but add, “I am manifested to God.” Be much more before Him.

The difference between the condition of Romans seven and Christian liberty is, that in the former case the person has drawn the conclusion from what he is, to what God will be; in the latter, having a real experimental knowledge of himself, and having learned, consciously, that in us good does not exist, we understand first, that we depend upon what God is. Second, that having died to sin, fully condemned in the death of Christ, we are in Him before the Father. Third, Christ being in us, we hold or reckon ourselves for dead, and the power of the Spirit of life enables us to realize this (Cf. Col 3:3; Rom 6:6-11, and 2 Cor 4:11).

You are not there yet, but God is working in you to bring you there. The outward humiliation was needful for you, and you must remember that. But in every case, the inward work must be done. The conflict will go on indefinitely; but, until we are delivered, sin has dominion over us; when we are delivered, Christ is our strength. Constant dependence and watchfulness are necessary; we must watch and pray lest we enter into temptation; but then, instead of sin having dominion over us, the strength of the Lord is there.

-J N Darby