Day 23 Devotional Before United Prayer: (about 2:12 min reading)
Jones and Waggoner on the “How” of Victory
Jones and Waggoner presented this concept of victory over temptation and sin. Of this, E. J. Waggoner wrote:
What wonderful possibilities there are for the Christian! To what heights of holiness he may attain! No matter how much Satan may war against him, assaulting him where the flesh is weakest, he may abide under the shadow of the Almighty, and be filled with the fullness of God’s strength. The One stronger than Satan may dwell in his heart continually. (Christ and His Righteousness, 30-31)
Waggoner further described the victory the Christian can have through Christ.
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 . . . 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 (Galatians 5:13), and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 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 accepts 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.” Psalm 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.” Philippians 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. . . . 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. (Ibid., 105-106)
Personal Reading for Discussion:
Notice Waggoner’s continual emphasis on yielding to Christ for victory. This truth is simple but elusive. Waggoner emphasized this when he wrote that this truth “is a wonderful aid to the victory of faith when it is once fully grasped.” Our problem is that we have not “fully grasped” it. Those ready to meet Jesus will have fully grasped and experienced it to such a degree that Jesus will be living out His life in them fully.
Waggoner went on to summarize the steps for victory over temptation and sin:
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 unto 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. (Ibid.)
Here again we see that Waggoner emphasized our 100 percent dependence on God for the victory—not looking to our own strength. The key is in yielding ourselves into the hand of God and depending on Him for the victory. We are simply instruments in His hand.
- T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner were in agreement concerning the victory the believer can have in Christ. In the September 1, 1896, Review and Herald, A. T. Jones wrote:
It can never be repeated too often, that under the reign of grace it is just as easy to do right, as under the reign of sin it is easy to do wrong. This must be so; for if there is no more power in grace than there is in sin, then there can be no salvation from sin. . . . But grace is not simply more powerful than sin . . . This, as good as it would be, is not all. . . . There is much more power in grace than there is in sin. For “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” . . . Let no one ever attempt to serve God with anything but the present, living power of God, that makes him a new creature; with nothing but the much more abundant grace that condemns sin in the flesh, and reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Then the service of God will indeed be “in newness of life;” then it will be found that his yoke is indeed “easy” and his burden light;” then his service will be found indeed to be with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
Note the key points of Jones’s statement:
- When grace reigns in us, it is easy to obey God. This has been the theme of this book. When we understand how to let Christ live out His life in us, there is no struggle with temptation. Why? We get the victory through letting Christ give us the victory, not by struggling with the temptation.
- Jones admonished us, “Let no one ever attempt to serve God with anything but the present, living power of God . . . “ We receive the “present, living power of God” by daily receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is why it is essential that we understand and experience the Spirit’s infilling. Without this, we have no power for victory or service.
- Righteousness will reign in us “by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus lives in us through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. His righteousness will be “imparted” to us, not just “imputed” to our account, as we learn how to let Him live out His life in us. Then we will not “let sin reign in our mortal body” or “obey it in the lusts thereof.” (Romans 6:12)
Day 23 Prayer Focus: Pray for
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
- Revival for yourself and the church
- God to lead the church to understand and experience complete victory over temptation through faith in Christ’s righteous obedience in your life
- Those on your prayer list
Day 23 Going Deeper Discussion Questions: (based on pages 75 to 80 of “Righteousness by Faith” by Dennis Smith [pages 95 to 100 of the PDF version])
- Describe Waggoner’s steps for victory over temptations and sin,
- True or False: According to Jones, when grace reigns in us, it is easy to obey.
- What does “Jesus Christ’s righteousness will be imparted to us” mean?
- Christ and His righteousness is our victory over sin, as presented by Jones & Waggoner; how is the indwelling Christ our victory over every sin? (Page 95)
- According to Jones and Wagger, we are all servants of one or another master. Of Christ or the devil, what does the act of submitting to sin implies? (Page 96)
- How can captives or sin enslaved people be loosened from the power of the master of this world? (See Gal. 5:13, 2 Cor 3:17) (Page 96)
- Can we determine whether we belong to Christ or the devil? What assurance do we have that we are Christ’s? (See Psalms 116:16) (Page 96)
- How is being “instruments in the hands of God” our guarantee of victory? (See Phil 1) (Page 97)
Day 23 Heart preparation/challenge:
- Throughout the day ask God to remind you what He is speaking to you in today’s reading and going deeper discussions and to help you to apply them in your life.
- Read “Righteousness by Faith” by Dennis Smith pages 80 to 83 (pages 100 to 103 of the PDF file) in preparation for Day 24.
- Prayerfully answer Day 24 discussion questions in preparation to share on Day 24 Going Deeper segment of united prayer.