<< previous (3:133) next (3:135) >>

p157 [To the same] Miss Jesse Williams, It is experimentally we learn what we are, and very humbling it is, but it casts us on the Lord so that we find He is our righteousness, not anything we are or our state, and then we get strength too; for "where sin abounded grace did much more abound." You have a strong will, not accustomed to govern yourself, and hence the struggle is more painful; but the Lord is faithful to bring you through it. You must feel that deliverance is not for you till you get it: our will mixes itself up much more than we think with the flesh, but it is much better to suffer under it, than take it easy as you speak of. When you feel it pressing on your will, look away to Christ at once, and the new man being then in operation the heart gets elsewhere. It is not direct conflict with it, for this being under law, the motions of sin are by it. Then Satan uses it to bring sin on the conscience and discourage us. Resist him, and I do not say you will overcome, but "he will flee from you," for Christ has overcome him for us. Then get healthful active occupations: there is plenty to do in this world, if we have the heart for it. Above all, believe ever - "My grace is sufficient for thee." When the heart gets on Christ, all is easy; it is away from what is a snare to us. Once we let the devil inside, so that the mind is occupied with what the flesh tempts us with, it is far harder to get it out, than to keep it out. When you speak of gleams of light sometimes, it is what always happens when God is carrying through the process of self-knowledge. He gives us occasional deliverance so to speak, so that we know there is such a thing; like a man rising head above water and getting breath, or he would be drowned, yet goes under again when he has got enough, to shew there is such a thing as being out. Understand that God does this, because while He must make you know yourself because it is yourself, He is above, and can and will deliver. But you will find Christ faithful, and what He shews you thus that you may not despair, He will accomplish fully. Cry to Him - we ought always to do it, not to faint. Read your Bible as something addressed to yourself, praying Him to give it the efficacy of the Spirit to your soul: no indulgence of will, but ready service, in what the house or any other duty may call for, and you will find - not that the flesh is not there, but - that you are not in it.

The power that does it is the death of Christ, not for our sins, but to sin. (See Rom. 8.) God has condemned sin in the flesh on the cross, so that there is no condemnation for us. The sin we find working in us is worthy of condemnation, but has been condemned when He was (a sacrifice) for sin; and this we learn by faith, though God makes us learn what it is experimentally, which is just Romans 7. Chapter 6 is the doctrine, chapter 8 the result, when we have gone through chapter 7. The conflict remains, but the Spirit is there: it is no longer the conflict of natures under law. (Gal. 5:17-18.)

Look to Christ always faithful and loving, and "sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace": that is, God is for you, not requiring, but giving and forgiving.

Sincerely yours in the Lord.

London, May 11th, 1881.