Bible Studies

13-Practical Illustrations of Deliverance From Bondage

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Christ and His Righteousness

by E. J. Waggoner

 


Practical Illustrations of Deliverance

From Bondage

Now let us take some illustrations of the power of faith to deliver from bondage. We will quote Luke 13:10-17:

And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in nowise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath-day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work; in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath-day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? and ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed; and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

We may pass by the carping of the hypocritical ruler, to consider the miracle. The woman was bound; we, through fear of death, have been all our life-time subject to bondage. Satan had bound the woman; Satan has also set snares for our feet and has brought us into captivity. She could in nowise lift up herself; our iniquities have taken hold of us, so that we are not able to look up. Ps. 40:12. With a word and a touch Jesus set the woman free from her infirmities; we have the same merciful High Priest now in the heavens, who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and the same word will deliver us from evil.

For what purpose were the miracles of healing recorded, which were performed by Jesus? John tells us. It was not simply to show that He can heal disease but to show His power over sin. See Matt. 9:2-8. But John says:

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:30, 31.

So we see that they are recorded simply as object lessons of Christ's love, of His willingness to relieve, and of His power over the works of Satan, no matter whether in the body or in the soul. One more miracle must suffice in this connection. It is the one recorded in the third chapter of Acts. I shall not quote the entire account but ask the reader to follow it carefully with his Bible.

Peter and John saw at the gate of the temple a man over forty years old, who had been lame from his birth. He had never walked. He was begging, and Peter felt prompted by the Spirit to give him something better than silver or gold. Said he, "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God." Verses 6-8.

This notable miracle on one whom all had seen caused a wonderful excitement among the people, and when Peter saw their astonishment, he proceeded to tell how the wonder had been performed, saying:

Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his son Jesus; whom ye delivered up,...and killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. Verses 12-16.

Now make the application. "The man was lame from his mother's womb," unable to help himself. He would gladly have walked, but he could not. We likewise can all say, with David, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin dido him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. we cannot do the things that we would. As each year of the man's life increased his inability to walk by increasing the weight of his body, while his limbs grew no stronger, so the repeated practice of sin, as we grow older, strengthens its power over us. It was an utter impossibility for that man to walk; yet the name of Christ, through faith in it, gave him perfect soundness and freedom from his infirmity. So we, through the faith which is by Him, may be made whole and enabled to do the thing which hitherto has been impossible. For the things which are impossible with man are possible with God. He is the Creator. "To them that have no might he increaseth strength." One of the wonders of faith, as shown in the cases of the ancient worthies, is that they "out of weakness were made strong."

By these instances we have seen how God delivers from bondage those who trust in Him. Now let us consider the knowledge of how freedom is maintained.

We have seen that we by nature are all servants of sin and Satan, and that as soon as we submit to Christ, we become loosed from Satan's power. Says Paul, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Rom. 6:16. So then, as soon as we become free from the bondage of sin, we become the servants of Christ. Indeed, the very act of loosing us from the power of sin, in answer to our faith, proves God's acceptance of us as His servants. We become, indeed, the bond- servants of Christ; but he who is the Lord's servant is a free man, for we are called unto liberty (Gal. 5:13), and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).

And now comes the conflict again. Satan is not disposed to give up his slave so readily. He comes, armed with the lash of fierce temptation, to drive us again to his service. We know by sad experience that he is more powerful than we are, and that unaided we cannot resist him. But we dread his power and cry for help. Then we call to mind that we are not Satan's servants any longer. We have submitted ourselves to God, and therefore He accepted us as His servants. So we can say with the Psalmist, "O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid; thou hast loosed my bonds." Ps. 116:16. But the fact that God has loosed the bonds that Satan had thrown around us--and He has done this if we believe that He has--is evidence that God will protect us, for He cares for His own, and we have the assurance that He that has begun a good work in us "will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil. 1:6. And in this confidence we are strong to resist.

Again, if we have yielded ourselves to be servants of God, we are His servants, or, in other words, are instruments of righteousness in His hands. Read Rom. 6:13-16. We are not inert, lifeless, senseless instruments, such as the agriculturist uses, which have no voice as to how they shall be used, but living, intelligent instruments, who are permitted to choose their occupation. Nevertheless, the term "instrument" signifies a tool-- something that is entirely under the control of the artisan. The difference between us and the tools of the mechanic is that we can choose who shall use us and at what kind of service we shall be employed, but having made the choice and yielded ourselves into the hands of the workman, we are to be as completely in his hands as is the tool that has no voice as to how it shall be used. When we yield to God, we are to be in His hands as clay in the hands of the potter, that He may do with us as He pleases. Our volition lies in choosing whether or not we will let Him work in us that which is good.

This idea of being instruments in the hands of God is a wonderful aid to the victory of faith when it is once fully grasped. For, notice, what an instrument will do depends entirely upon the person in whose hands it is. Here, for instance, is a die. It is innocent enough in itself, yet it may be used for the basest purposes, as well as for that which is useful. If it be in the hands of a bad character, it may be used in making counterfeit coin. It certainly will not be used for any good purpose. But if it be in the hands of an upright, virtuous man, it cannot possibly do any harm. Likewise, when we were the servants of Satan, we did no good (Rom. 6:20), but now that we have yielded ourselves into the hands of God, we know that there is no unrighteousness in Him, and so an instrument in His hands cannot be used for an evil purpose. The yielding to God must be as complete as it was formerly to Satan, for the apostle says:

I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh; for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. Rom. 6:19.

The whole secret of overcoming, then, lies in first wholly yielding to God with a sincere desire to do His will; next, in knowing that in our yielding He accepts us as His servants; and then, in retaining that submission to Him and leaving ourselves in His hands. Often victory can be gained only by repeating again and again, "O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid; thou hast loosed my bonds." This is simply an emphatic way of saying, O Lord, I have yielded myself into Thy hands as an instrument of righteousness; let Thy will be done, and not the dictates of the flesh." But when we can realize the force of that scripture and feel indeed that we are servants of God, immediately will come the thought, "Well, if I am indeed an instrument in the hands of God, He cannot use me to do evil with, nor can he permit me to do evil as long as I remain in His hands. He must keep me if I am kept from evil, because I cannot keep myself. But He wants to keep me from evil, for He has shown His desire, and also His power to fulfill His desire in giving Himself for me. Therefore I shall be kept from this evil." All these thoughts may pass through the mind instantly, and then with them must necessarily come a feeling of gladness that we shall be kept from the dreaded evil. That gladness naturally finds expression in thanksgiving to God, and while we are thanking God the enemy retires with his temptation, and the peace of God fills the heart. Then we find that the joy in believing far outweighs all the joy that comes from indulgence in sin.

All this is a demonstration of Paul's words, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law." Rom. 3:31. To "make void" the law is not to abolish it, for no man can abolish the law of God, yet the Psalmist says that it has been made void. Ps. 119:126. To make void the law of God is something more than to claim that it is of no consequence; it is to show by the life that it is considered of no consequence. A man makes the law of God void when he allows it to have no power in his life. In short, to make void the law of God is to break it; but the law itself remains the same whether it is kept or not. Making it void affects only the individual.

Therefore, when the apostle says that we do not make void the law of God by faith, but that, on the contrary, we establish it, he means that faith does not lead to violation of the law but to obedience. No, we should not say that faith leads to obedience, but that faith itself obeys. Faith establishes the law in the heart. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for." If the thing hoped for be righteousness, faith establishes it. Instead of faith leading to antinomianism, it is the only thing that is contrary to antinomianism. It matters not how much a person boasts in the law of God; if he rejects or ignores implicit faith in Christ, he is in no better state than the man who directly assails the law. The man of faith is the only one who truly honors the law of God. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6); with it, all things are possible (Mark 9:23).

Yes, faith does the impossible, and it is just that which God requires us to do. When Joshua said to Israel, "Ye cannot serve the Lord," he told the truth, yet it was a fact that God required them to serve Him. It is not within any man's power to do righteousness, even though he wants to (Gal. 5:17); therefore, it is a mistake to say that all God wants is for us to do the best we can. He who does no better than that will not do the works of God. No. He must do better than he can do. He must do that which only the power of God working through him can do. It is impossible for a man to walk on water, yet Peter did it when he exercised faith in Jesus.

Since all power in heaven and in earth is in the hands of Christ and this power is at our disposal, even Christ Himself coming to dwell in the heart by faith, there is no room for finding fault with God for requiring us to do the impossible; for "the things which are impossible with men are possible with God." Luke 18:27. Therefore we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Heb. 13:6.

Then "who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or peril, or sword?" "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Rom. 8:35, 37. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."