by Jimmy Swaggart
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” 1 Corinthians 1:23 KJV
The Lord has one way, and only one way, because only one way is needed. That one way is, Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 1:23 KJV).
Please allow me to repeat the following:
• Jesus Christ is the source of all things we receive from God (John 1:1 KJV; John 14:6 KJV; Col 2:10 KJV).
• The Cross of Christ is the means by which all of these things are given to us (Rom 6:3-5 KJV; 1 Cor 1:17-18, 23 KJV; 1 Cor 2:2 KJV).
• The Cross of Christ must be the object of our faith, and the Cross of Christ alone the object of our faith (Gal Chapter 5; Gal 6:14 KJV; Eph. 2:13-18 KJV; Col. 2:14-15 KJV).
• The Holy Spirit superintends all of this (Rom 8:1-2, 11 KJV; Eph 2:13-18 KJV).
LAW OR GRACE
Every human being in the world is either under law or grace. To break it down as follows, every unsaved person in the world is under the law of God, and we speak of the Ten Commandments. They may not understand that, but nevertheless, it is true. As well, they have broken that law countless times and are under its penalty of death, i.e., separation from God. The only way out is Jesus Christ.
THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE
Many Christians believe that because this is the dispensation of grace, and it most definitely is, then that means we are automatically under grace. That isn’t so!
For the grace of God to flow uninterrupted to the believer, the believer’s faith has to be in Christ and the Cross. The Cross of Christ is the means by which grace is given to us.
The truth is, the Lord has no more grace presently than He did 3,000 years ago or more. Due to the fact that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, this meant the sin debt remained, which greatly hindered the Lord from giving good things to His children. In fact, grace is simply the goodness of God extended to undeserving saints.
If the believer has his faith in anything except the Cross of Christ, such a direction will “frustrate the Grace of God.”
Paul said: “I do not frustrate the grace of God (if we make anything other than the Cross of Christ the object of our faith, we frustrate the grace of God, which means we stop its action, and the Holy Spirit will no longer help us): for if righteousness come by the law (any type of religious law), then Christ is dead in vain. (If I can successfully live for the Lord by any means other than faith in Christ and the Cross, then the death of Christ was a waste)” (Gal 2:21 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
As well, Paul said that if the grace of God continues to be frustrated, such a believer will “fall from grace.”
The apostle said:
“Christ is become of no effect unto you (this is a chilling statement, and refers to anyone who makes anything other than Christ and the Cross the object of his faith), whosoever of you are justified by the law (seek to be justified by the law); you are fallen from grace (fallen from the position of grace, which means the believer is trusting in something other than the Cross; it actually means, ‘to apostatize’)” (Gal 5:4 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
While the Lord doesn’t require very much of us, He does require one thing, and on that He will not bend. Our faith must be in Christ and the Cross, and our faith must be exclusively in Christ and the Cross (Rom 6:3-5 KJV; Rom 8:1-2, 11 KJV; 1 Cor 1:17-18, 21, 23 KJV; 1 Cor 2:2 KJV).
“What then? (This presents Paul going back to the first question he asked in this chapter) shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? (If we think such a thing, then we’re completely misunderstanding grace. The grace of God gives us the liberty to live a holy life, which we do through faith in Christ and the Cross, and not license to sin as some think.) God forbid (every true believer hates sin; so the idea of living under its dominion is abhorrent to say the least!)” (Rom 6:15 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
The apostle is, in essence, saying, “Don’t get the idea that just because we are under grace, it’s alright to sin. Sin is deadly!” And to be sure, no one engages in this terrible malady without coming away adversely affected. As we said in the notes above, every true believer hates sin. While the flesh at times may want something that’s wrong, the mind of the believer wants to obey the law of God (Rom 7:25 KJV).
The only way, and I mean the only way, that one can have victory over sin—victory over the world, the flesh, and the Devil—is for one to place one’s faith exclusively in Christ and the Cross and maintain it there. This is God’s way, and His only way, because it’s the only way that is needed.
“Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey (the believer is either a slave to Christ, for that’s what the word servant means, or else a slave to sin, which he will be if he doesn’t keep his faith in Christ and the Cross); whether of sin unto death (once again allow us to state the fact that if the believer attempts to live for God by any method other than faith in the finished work of Christ, the believer will fail, no matter how hard he otherwise tries), or of obedience unto righteousness? (The believer is required to obey the Word of the Lord. He cannot do that within his own strength, but only by understanding that he receives all things through what Christ did at the Cross and his continued faith in that finished work, even on a daily basis. Then the Holy Spirit, who alone can make us what we ought to be, can accomplish His work within our lives)” (Rom 6:16 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
SIN UNTO DEATH
All sin is linked with death in some way, as death is linked with sin in some way. At this moment, millions of marriages are dying simply because of sin. Talent and ability are being wasted and will never come to fruition because they are dying because of sin. Everything in this world is dying because of sin. There will come a day that there will be no more sin, and everything will then stay beautiful, new, and fresh forever.
John said, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth (‘new’ in the Greek is ‘kainos,’ and means ‘freshness with respect to age’; when it is finished, it will be new, as is obvious, but the idea is it will remain new and fresh forever and forever because there is no more sin): for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away (refers to the original creation, which was marred by sin; ‘passed away’ in the Greek is ‘parerchomai,’ and means ‘to pass from one condition to another’; it never means annihilation)” (Rev 21:1 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
OBEDIENCE UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS
The obedience mentioned here refers to obedience rendered to God, or rather obeying His Word.
What is that Word?
That Word is the “Cross.” That’s what the entirety of this sixth chapter of Romans is all about. Sin is the problem, and the Cross of Christ is the solution to that problem and, in fact, the only solution.
When the Lord began to open up to me the great Message of the Cross, actually that which had been given to the Apostle Paul, He said three things to me—three things which I will never forget. They are:
• The answer for which you seek is found in the Cross.
• The solution for which you seek is found in the Cross.
• The answer for which you seek is found only in the Cross.
The next verse tells us emphatically what that obedience is.
THE FORM OF DOCTRINE
“But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin (slaves to the sin nature, what we were before we were saved), but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine (Jesus Christ and Him crucified; understanding that all things come to the believer from God by the means of the Cross) which was delivered you (the Lord gave this ‘form of doctrine’ to Paul, and he gave it to us in his epistles)” (Rom 6:17 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
THE DOCTRINE OF THE CROSS
The doctrine of the Cross is the foundation doctrine of all doctrine. It was established by the Godhead from before the foundation of the world (1 Pet 1:18-20 KJV). This means that every single doctrine in the Bible is built squarely upon the doctrine of the Cross. In fact, this is the way all false doctrine begins. If it’s false, it means that it is built upon a foundation other than the Cross of Christ.
When believers succumb to seducing spirits, it means they have shifted their faith from Christ and the Cross to something else.
The word form in the Greek is “tupos,” and means, “a stamp, a shape, a style, a model, a pattern.”
As we have already stated, this form is a blueprint, and a blueprint designed by God. That form is the pattern of the Cross of Christ. If we deviate at all from the form, we have just added to or deleted from the Word of God. And what does the Bible say about that?
“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book” (Rev 22:19 KJV).
That has been man’s problem from the dawn of time. He does not want to accept the Word of God at face value. In fact, ever since the dawn of time, man has been trying to invent another god, and regrettably and sadder still, the church has been trying to invent another sacrifice. Tragedy is the result of both accounts.
SERVANTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
“Being then made free from sin (being made free from the sin nature; it has no more power over the believer, but only as we continue to look to the Cross), you became the servants of righteousness (whereas you were formerly a slave to the sin nature, you are now a slave to righteousness; if faith is maintained in the Cross, there is a constant pull of the believer toward righteousness)” (Rom 6:18 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
FREE FROM THE DOMINATION OF THE SIN NATURE
There are millions of Christians right now around the world, people who truly love God, who long for freedom from the domination of the sin nature. Some of these individuals pastor large churches. Others are evangelists being used of God, but still, the sin nature dominates them in some way.
They understand the Cross as it regards salvation; however, as it regards sanctification, how we live for God, how we order our behavior, and how we live this life, the part the Cross of Christ plays in all of this, of that they have no knowledge. As a result, most simply do not know how to be free from the domination of the sin nature.
SERVANTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Irrespective of the knowledge or lack thereof as it regards the Cross of Christ respecting sanctification, if anyone wills righteousness, in other words, hungers and thirsts after righteousness, the Lord will see to such that righteousness in some way is imputed to them. Admittedly, it’s not a simple journey, an easy journey, or a quick journey. But, if the person truly wants righteousness, the Lord will see to it that that person comes in contact with the message given to us by the Apostle Paul as it regards the Cross of Christ respecting sanctification.
When the Lord said, “Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled,” He meant every word of it (Mat 5:6 KJV).
THE INFIRMITY OF THE FLESH
“I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh (‘the manner of men’ pertains to the fall, which has made the flesh weak; this speaks of our own personal strength and ability): for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness (which the believer will do, if the object of his faith is anything but the Cross) and to iniquity unto iniquity (without constant faith in the Cross, the believer’s situation regarding sin will get worse and worse); even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness (which, as repeatedly stated, can only be done through constant faith in the Cross; understanding that it is by and through the Cross that we receive all things, and that the Holy Spirit, who alone can develop righteousness and holiness in our lives, works exclusively through the Cross)” (Rom 6:19 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
INIQUITY UNTO INIQUITY
When the sin nature dominates an individual, as it does any and every person whose faith is not exclusively in Christ and the Cross, the situation will go from bad to worse, i.e., “iniquity unto iniquity.” Sin never remains static. It never improves itself. It always degenerates, with the ultimate idea of totally and completely destroying the individual involved.
When Paul said, “Now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness,” he was speaking of those who understood the Cross of Christ as it regards sanctification, which now gives them the help of the Holy Spirit, who will develop these great attributes within their hearts and lives. But, if the believer has his faith in something else other than the Cross of Christ, he may want to yield the members of his physical body to righteousness and holiness, but he will not be able to do so.
We must understand that living for God is serious business. The Devil doesn’t want us to make it through; consequently, he will do everything within his power to hinder or even stop us. If we do things God’s way, we will be the beneficiary of the power of the Holy Spirit, which Satan cannot overcome. Otherwise, the situation is hopeless!
“For when you were the servants of sin (slaves to sin), you were free from righteousness (speaking of our lives before conversion to Christ). What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? (This means that absolutely nothing of any value can come out of the sinful experience. It is impossible for there to be any good fruit.) for the end of those things is death (if the believer refuses to look to the Cross, but rather looks to something else regarding his sanctification, domination by the sin nature is going to be the result, and spiritual death will be the conclusion; the Cross is the only answer for sin!)” (Rom 6:20-21 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
As we’ve already stated, death is always attached to sin. In essence, Paul is taking the believers back to their unsaved experience. But yet, he is reminding them of the bondage of sin that held them in its death grip during those times. And, as well, he is saying that if the believer did not function according to God’s manner and way, then the believer, even though saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, will once again find himself doing things that will make him grossly ashamed.
A believer may read these words and claim that such could not happen to him or her; however, as we have repeatedly stated, God’s way, the way of the Cross, is the only way. Refuse that, and once again, the sin nature is going to dominate us and drag us down.
“But now (since coming to Christ) being made free from sin (set free from the sin nature), and become servants (slaves) to God (but this yoke is a light yoke [Mat 11:28-30 KJV]), you have your fruit unto holiness (which the Holy Spirit will bring about, providing the Cross is ever the object of our faith), and the end everlasting life (so the believer has the choice of ‘death,’ which is the end result of trusting something other than Christ and the Cross, or ‘everlasting life,’ which is the result of trusting Christ and the Cross).
“For the wages of sin is death (speaks of spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God); but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (as stated, all of this, without exception, comes to us by the means of what Christ did at the Cross, which demands that the Cross ever be the object of our faith, thus giving the Holy Spirit latitude to work within our lives and bring forth His fruit)” (Rom 6:22-23 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
(This message was derived from the book by Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart: “Paul, The Apostle”.)
Scriptures from: (The Expositor’s Study Bible)[KJV/ESB]. iPad & iPhone & Hard Copy: by Jimmy Swaggart.