There’s something I understood when God first opened my eyes to the victory of the cross that I believe a lot of people are missing. Before I understood the message of the cross, I had been asking God to take away my desire to watch pornography, and I was thinking that one day I would just have some sort of miraculous experience where He just took those desires away. On the day I found freedom, however, that’s not what He did. He didn’t just wave a magic wand and all of the sudden, I had no more desire to watch pornography. Truth be told, the day that God enabled me to see that my victory was in the cross was not really the day I was set free. I sometimes say that because it’s the day that I first learned how to walk in the freedom that Jesus provided me at Calvary, but it’s really a misnomer to say it that way. What really happened was that I learned that I was set free 2000 years ago when I died with Christ on Calvary (Rom 6:6-7). On the day I got saved, everything I was before being saved was crucified and buried in a tomb, and on the third day, when Jesus rose from the dead, I rose from the dead with Him as a new creation in Christ, free from sin and alive to God (Rom 6:3-5). As Loren Larson says it, “I rose up with Him to live in Him from a brand new power source!” That brand new power source is Christ in me, the hope of glory! (Gal 2:20, Col 1:27)
So what I’m saying is this: the freedom I found that day was in the Truth of what Jesus accomplished for me at Calvary (John 8:31-32, Eph 1:13). Jesus didn’t wave a magic wand and take away my desires. He, through the Holy Spirit, showed me that by depending on the finished work of the cross, I could cease from fighting those evil desires and give the battle to Him (Gal 2:20). He also showed me that because the cross is a finished work, it cannot fail (1 Cor 15:57, 2 Cor 2:14). Just as the cross gave the Holy Spirit the legal right to raise Jesus from the dead, it also gave Him the legal right to quicken my mortal body (Rom 8:11). As well, I learned that through this quickening of the Spirit, which comes to me exclusively through faith in the finished work of Calvary (Gal 3:2-3), I could live in freedom from the law of sin and death that once held me captive (Rom 7:23, 8:2). In short, I knew that I could look to the cross during every moment of temptation and the Holy Spirit would fight for me every time (Rom 8:2). I can’t stress this enough. The power of the cross is that by atoning for sin, it releases the power of the Holy Spirit into the lives of those who trust in it. It is through the cross alone that the Holy Spirit works. He doesn’t respond to my efforts (Eph 2:8-9). If He did, He would be glorifying me and my efforts. The Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary (John 16:14, 1 Cor 2:2). As such, He only responds to faith in Christ and His work on Calvary (James 4:6). The power of the Holy Spirit is a free gift that we can’t work for, we can’t earn, and we don’t deserve (Gal 3:2-3). It was Christ alone who defeated sin (Heb 1:3). As such, it is by faith in Christ alone that the Holy Spirit has the legal right to work in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight (Heb 13:20-21). This inner working of the Spirit is available to all who are humbled at the cross, and it continues only in those who remain humbled at the cross, meaning they look for victory in the cross alone, rather than trying to add their own efforts to what Christ has done (Gal 3:2-3, 5:25). In short, as Brother Swaggart says, “the Holy Spirit works exclusively within the parameters of the finished work of the cross.” (Rom 8:2, Psalm 33:4 w/ Eph 1:13, Rom 11:6)
All of that is just groundwork for the point I’ve been getting to though. What I think some people are missing is what God showed me regarding Colossians 2:6, which says, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.” Many understand that this verse tells us how to walk in the Spirit just was we received the Spirit, which was by faith in Jesus Christ and Him crucified alone. What I think some people are missing regarding this passage, though, is that we can walk in the Spirit, and thereby not fulfill the lust of the flesh, just as easily and simply as we first received the Spirit (Matt 11:28-30). Just as the Holy Spirit went to work in me the moment I first trusted in Christ alone, He will continue His work in me so long as I continue to trust in Christ alone (Col 1:22-23). The wait is over and the work is done (John 19:30). The moment Jesus died on Calvary, the veil was torn, signifying that all the work that ever needed to be accomplished in order for us to receive the help of the Holy Spirit was accomplished by Christ (Mark 15:38, Heb 10:16). Now, through faith in the cross, whosoever will can come and take the water of life freely (John 7:37). Christ in me, through the Holy Spirit, is that water of life (Col 1:27, Rom 8:10). He is the power that quickens my mortal body and delivers me from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2,11), and I can receive His help freely and continually through faith in the finished work of the cross (Gal 5:16). Now that the veil is torn, He has become our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). Now, I can come boldly to the throne of grace and receive mercy and grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16). Brothers and sisters, when those evil desires begin to pull me towards sin, that is most definitely a time of need, and the cross assures me that I can receive power from on High to escape from every temptation (1 Cor 10:13). Nothing else needs to happen for me to access the throne of grace (Rom 5:2, John 19:30). I can run to Jesus now, and the blood of He shed for me guarantees that He will never withhold His power (2 Peter 1:3). Grace upon grace, He will supply me with the power of the Spirit so that it flows in my life like a river, producing life where there was once death and freedom where there was once bondage (2 Cor 3:17-18).
Because Jesus already set me free, I cannot work for my victory, and I need not wait for it. I’m already, right now, dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 6:3-11). I’m not waiting to be made dead to sin, and I’m not waiting to be made alive to that power that quickens my mortal body and makes me free from the law of sin and death. Bondage-breaking power is available to me right now! It can be freely received and applied to every situation. I can escape the next temptation, and the next one after that, and the next one after that (1 Cor 10:13). The way of escape is my death with Christ on Calvary (Rom 6:6-7). That is where I died and became free from sin. Not just free in principle. FREE INDEED. He that is dead is free (Rom 6:7). We’re dead indeed (Rom 6:11). That means we’re FREE INDEED. Just as Jesus said, because it was Him who made us free, we are surely FREE INDEED! (John 8:36) All that’s required is that we reckon it to be so, meaning we believe it, we depend on it, we trust in it, we rest in it, and we cast down every vain imagination that says it’s not so (Gal 5:1, Rom 6:11, 2 Cor 10:5). Every thought that comes to our mind claiming something else is required, we take that thought captive to the Truth, which is that sin was already defeated by Christ at the cross (2 Cor 10:5, Eph 1:13, 1 Cor 1:18). As we continue to fight this fight of faith, yes, those desires will fade away and eventually cease altogether (Phil 2:13). However, once we’ve laid aside one evil deed of the old man, we will soon find that there is something else for us to lay aside (Phil 3:13). When this happens, we need not plead for another deliverance. Instead, we can walk by faith in the deliverance that was already provided to us, and little by little, through the power of the Holy Spirit, press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14).