Free For Fellowship

When God forgives He is forgiving the sinner but not the sin itself, for He instead always judges it. Thus the priority with mankind is fellowship with God through the application of redemption, without which there cannot even be union, let alone fellowship. How close can our fellowship presently be with the Father? As close as His fellowship is presently with the Son (Jhn 17:11, 21-23)! Surly nothing gladdens the heart of the Father more than fellowship with His Son, Spirit, angels and saints—now, and forever.

God desires that our confidence in Him concerning guilt of sin is well understood, that when believers feel condemned this opposition never derives from Him, but from self (1 Jhn 3:20, 21), Satan (Rev 12:10) and society (Mat 5:11; 1 Pet 3:16). It would be required that our Father condemn His Son in order to condemn those who are in Him, for our acceptance with the Father is commensurate with His acceptance with the Son (Eph 1:6). Therefore there need be no single moment concerning guilt of sin allowed in our minds and hearts if our desires are to have permanent “confidence” and continuous fellowship with God, which is His greatest desire concerning us now and latter.

The more we are given to understand the vileness of our nature, the more we are also given to understand the holiness of God, and in the presence of this all we are also given to know that the most important issue here is to know and understand the fullness concerning the forgiveness of our position in the Lord Jesus!


Free For Fellowship

“For he that has died has been declared righteous (released) from sin” (Rom 6:7). Let us distinguish at once between being justified from sins—from the guilt thereof—by the Blood of Christ, and being justified from sin—the thing itself.

“Justified from sin” does not mean sinless perfection, but something utterly different and infinitely beyond that. It is different, in that it does not refer to an “experience” of deliverance from sin, but a passing beyond, in death with Christ at the Cross, the sphere where the former relationship to sin existed. We are justified, accounted wholly righteous, with respect to the thing sin itself! This, therefore, is infinitely beyond any state whatever of experience.

It is a newly established relationship to sin. They are “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” They are heavenly. Their old relation to sin is over forever. They are justified from it. They rejoice, indeed, and have died, are declared righteous from it; that they are cleared, before the Father, of all condemnation because of sin’s presence in this unredeemed body; and delivered from all sin’s former rights and bondage over them.

“Justified from sin” is the key in Romans Six to Eight. It is the consciousness of being sinful that keeps saints back from that glorious life Paul lived. He shows absolutely no sense of bondage before the Father; but he goes on in blessed triumph! Why? He knew he had been justified from all guilt by the Blood of Christ; and he knew that he was also justified, cleared, from the thing sin itself; and therefore (though walking in an, as yet, unredeemed body) he was wholly heavenly in his standing, life and relations with God.

Paul knew he was really justified from sin itself as from sins. The conscious presence of sin in his flesh only reminded him that he was in Christ—that sin had been condemned judicially, as connected with the flesh, at the Cross; and that he was justified as to sin because he had died with Christ, and his former relationship to sin had wholly ceased! Its presence gave him no thought of condemnation, but only increased his longing for the redemption of the body.

1. Many have turned truly to God, but not knowing the finished work of the Savior—that is, that He actually bare their sins and put them away—are never sure of their own salvation.

2. Others have appropriated gladly Christ’s finished work, as respects the guilt of their sins, and they no longer have apprehensions of judgment, knowing that He met all God’s claims against them on the Cross. But as to their relation to sin itself, it is an “O – wretched man” life that they live; for they see honestly their own sinfulness and unworthiness, but have never heard how they are now in a Christ who died to sin, and that they share His relationship now, dead to sin and alive to God (Romans 6:10, 11).

3. Thank God, there are those who have seen and believed in their hearts that their relationship to sin itself was completely changed when the Father identified them with Christ in His death unto sin. Their relationship to sin was broken forever; and they present themselves unto Him as alive from the dead, and, through an ever increasing faith, walk about on earth in newness of life; knowing that the same Father who declared them justified from the guilt of their sins through Christ’s shed Blood, has now declared that, in being justified with Christ in His death to sin, they are themselves declared righteous from sin itself!

Relief from the guilt of sin, through the shed Blood of Christ comes first, and the conscience concerning judgement being relieved, the heart ever rests (fellowship—NC) in the Blood. But to have the Father tell us further, that we, having died with Christ, are declared righteous from sin itself, is a new, additional and glorious revelation, which sets us in the presence of our Father not only declared righteous from what we have done, but declared righteous from what we were—and as to our flesh, still are (what we were—“in the flesh” – Rom 7:5; what we still are—“flesh in us,” but us “not in the flesh” – Rom 8:9—NC)!

We should have no more dejection and self-condemnation when we see our old man (flesh, e.g. sinful nature—NC); for we have been declared righteous from that old Adam-nature standing, as well as from what we have done. Very excellent and godly believers, not recognizing this blessed fact, have spent much time before God “bemoaning the sinfulness” (Jer 31:18) of their now revealed old man. But this was really not to recognize the Word of God that we have been justified from sin itself.

For example, David Brainerd (missionary – 1747 - bemoaned his sinful state: “Saw so much of the wickedness of my heart that I longed to get away from myself. I never before thought there was so much spiritual pride in my soul. I felt almost pressed to death with my own vileness. Oh what a body of death is there in me! Lord, deliver my soul.” Again, “Spent this day alone in the woods, I thought, and almost concluded, I had no power to stand for the cause of God, but was almost afraid of the shaking of a leaf.”

George Whitefield used to say, “When I see myself I seem to be half devil and half beast,” and as he passed through the great crowds on his way to preach: “I wondered why the people did not stone so vile a wretch as myself.” It may be said, this is just the Seventh of Romans, and Paul had the same experience. Yes, Paul had it; and found that in him, in his flesh, there was no good thing. But, having come to this conclusion about himself, and agreeing with God as to the evil of the flesh (not the body, nor the spirit but the nature—NC), he found deliverance in Christ and afterwards rejoiced in Him alone.

Paul’s attitude is the Divine example. He believed what he wrote—that he had been justified from sin itself. So that all struggles from self-condemnation were over. There is no hint in his epistles of a continued struggle, nor of the slightest consciousness of Divine condemnation because of the presence the flesh within. He walked in the awareness of justification not only from guilt, but from sin! Therefore, the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, rather than ill thoughts of his old man, filled his mind and affections! The trouble with most of us is, we do not believe we are utterly bad. Or if, like Brainerd or Whitefield, we see and admit it, we do not see ourselves where the Father sees us—only in His Son.

Since you are in Christ, you stand in Him—in Him alone—even as He is before the Father. The presence of sin in the flesh has no more power to trouble your conscience, than have your sins: for both were dealt with at the Cross. Your old man was crucified, sin in the flesh was condemned (not forgiven – Rom 8:3) at the Cross, and Paul definitely declares that we have been made to be “partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col 1:12).

- Wm R Newell

Excerpt from MJS devotional for March 13:

“The Lord Jesus’ miracles did not have a character changing effect upon the people who saw them or participated in them. They were but for a testimony to who He was. With all His miracles, in the end the principle of unbelief has not been rooted out of a single individual! Though they saw all that He did, the deep-rooted unbelief was untouched. The amazing thing—even with the disciples themselves—was that they were still capable of deep-seated unbelief. ‘O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe....’ ‘He upbraided them with their unbelief....’ With all they saw, it did not touch character, it did not touch their nature.” -T. A-S.