Sunday | Chapter 1A: Is it Scriptural?
Hannah begins by painting a picture of what is possible when we truly abide in Christ. But because this life is so different from what most of us experience, she starts with a very important question: Is it Scriptural? I encourage you to lean into this question and instead of thinking “does this match my experience?” ask yourself, “does this match what Scripture says?” We will later discuss how what may seem at first impossible, may not be so.
Read the following Scriptures:
Luke 1:74-75 To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
I John 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Titus 2:12-14 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for HimselfHis own special people, zealous for good works.
Ephesians 4:22-24 That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Read the following excerpt from The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life:
The potential for a happy abundant Christian life is available to all who would make Jesus the Lord of their lives, yet there are many Christians whose lives lack the joy and fullness of a truly happy life. A keen observer once said to me, “You Christians seem to have a religion that makes you miserable. You are like a man with a headache. He does not want to get rid of his head, but it hurts him to keep it. You cannot expect outsiders to seek earnestly for anything so uncomfortable.” Then, for the first time I saw that the religion of Christ ought to be, and was meant to be, something that would make its possessors happy, not miserable. I began then and there to ask the Lord to show me the secret of a happy Christian life.
I will try to present what I have learned about this secret in the following pages. All of God’s children, I am convinced, feel instinctively in their moments of divine illumination, that a life of inward rest and outward victory is their inalienable birthright. Can you not remember the shout of triumph your souls gave when you first became acquainted with the Lord Jesus, and had a glimpse of His mighty saving power? How sure you were of victory, then! How easy it seemed to be more than conquerors through Him that loved you! Under the leadership of a Captain who had never been defeated in battle, how could you dream of defeat! And yet, how different the experience has been for many of you. Your victories have been few and brief, your defeats many and disastrous. You have not lived as you feel children of God ought to live. You have had, perhaps, a clear understanding of doctrinal truths, but you have not come into possession of their life and power. You have rejoiced in your knowledge of the things revealed in the Scriptures, but have not had a living realization of the things themselves, consciously felt in the soul. Christ is believed in, talked about, and served. However, He is not known as the very life of the soul, abiding there forever, and revealing Himself there continually in His beauty.
You have found Jesus as your Savior from the penalty of sin, but you have not found Him as your Savior from its power. You have carefully studied the Holy Scriptures and have gathered much precious truth from them. You have trusted that this would feed and nourish your spiritual life. But in spite of it all, your souls are starving and dying within you. You cry out in secret, again and again, for that bread and water of life which you see promised in the Scriptures to all believers. In the very depths of your heart, you know that your experience is not a Scriptural experience. As an old writer said, your religion is “merely talk whereas, the early Christians enjoyed, possessed, and lived it.” Your hearts have weakened within you, as day after day, and year after year, your early visions of triumph have grown dimmer. You have accepted that the best you can expect from your religion is a life of alternate failure and victory one hour sinning and the next repenting, and then beginning again, only to fail and repent again.
But is this all? Did the Lord Jesus only have this in His mind when He laid down His precious life to deliver you from your bondage to sin? Did He only propose this partial deliverance? Did He intend to leave you struggling under a weary consciousness of defeat and discouragement? When all those declarations were made concerning His coming, and the work He was to accomplish, did they only refer to a limited experience of victorious living? Was there a hidden clause in each promise that was meant to deprive it of its complete fulfilment? Did "delivered us out of the hand of our enemies" (Luke 1:74) mean that they should still have dominion over us? Did "always causeth us to triumph" (2 Corinthians 2:14) mean that we were only to triumph sometimes? Did being made "more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37) mean constant defeat and failure? Does "able. . .to save them to the uttermost" (Hebrews 7:25) mean the meagre salvation we see manifested among us now? Can we believe that the Saviour, who was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, could possibly be satisfied with the many meagre Christian lives in the Church today? The Bible tells us that "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). Can we ever imagine that this is beyond His power, and that He finds Himself unable to accomplish the thing He was manifested to do?
Complete Deliverance From Sin
Concentrate in the very beginning on this one thing, that Jesus came to save you now, in this life, from the power and dominion of sin, and to make you more than conquerors through His power. If you doubt this, search your Bible and make note of every announcement or declaration concerning the purposes and object of His death on the cross. You will be astonished to find how full they are. His victory delivers us from our sins, our bondage, and our defilement. There is no scripture that supports only a limited and partial deliverance. Yet, many Christians unfortunately are satisfied with just that!
Consider some scriptural references on this subject. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and announced the coming birth of the Saviour, he said, "and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins' (Matthew 1:21). When Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost" (Luke 1:67) at the birth of his son and "prophesied," he declared that God had visited his people in order to fulfil the promise and the oath He had made them. The promise was "That He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life" (Luke 1:74-75). When Peter was preaching on the porch of the temple to the wondering Jews, he said, "Unto you first God, having raised up His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities" (Acts 3:26).
When Paul was telling the Ephesian Church the wondrous truth that Christ had so loved them as to give Himself for them, he went on to declare that His purpose in doing so was "that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5: 26-27)
When Paul was seeking to instruct Titus, his own son after the common faith, concerning the grace of God, he declared that the object of that grace was to teach us "that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world" (Titus 2:12). He adds, as the reason for this, that Christ "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). When Peter was urging Christians to be holy and Christlike, he told them that "even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" (1 Peter 2:21-22). He adds, "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Peter 2:24).
In Ephesians, when Paul contrasts the walk suitable for a Christian with the walk of an unbeliever, he presents the truth in Jesus as being this, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:22-24).
In the sixth chapter of Romans, Paul forever answered the question regarding a child of God who continues in sin, and showed how utterly foreign it was to the whole spirit and aim of the salvation of Jesus. He brings up our death and resurrection with Christ as an unanswerable argument for our practical deliverance from sin, and says, "God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:2-4). He adds, "knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Romans 6:6).
Journal: Imagine what it would be like to live and teach as she describes – with inward rest and outward victory. You may not yet even be sure this is possible, but imagine for a moment what that might look like. How would it be different from your current experience?