Full text of renowned Bible teacher Derek Prince’s teaching on the book of Romans (Romans 7:25 – 8:4): “Life Through the Spirit” which was presented in in Ridgecrest, NC. March 1988.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Derek Prince – Bible Teacher
In our last three sessions we’ve been working our way through Stage 10 of our pilgrimage which is the last stage, the stage before we reach our destination. That concerns the relationship of the believer to the law.
And this will be our final session in stage 10. I pointed out in the previous session that confrontation with the law provokes an internal conflict within the one who wants to do the will of God. I pictured it like the situation of Rebekah when she was pregnant with twins, Esau and Jacob. Esau, the type of a carnal man; Jacob, the type of the spiritual man.
And I said that Paul himself obviously went through the same kind of spiritual conflict. And at the end of Romans 7, he cried out in agony, “Oh, wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
And then he came out with a triumphant response, “I thank my God there is a way out through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And I said that the way out is through the cross. It’s through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus because on the cross in Jesus our old man, this body of sin, was put to death. And through that execution on the cross we can be delivered from the dominion of the old carnal nature. We can be released to serve God in the Spirit.
Romans 6, I think we might just look at it for a moment. Verse 6:
Romans 6:6: “knowing this, that our old self [or our old man] was crucified with Him.” That’s a historical fact as I pointed out. Whether you know it or don’t know it, it’s true. But knowing it and believing it will change you. It was done in order that: “...our body of sin might be done away with…” I prefer to say rendered ineffective or put out of action. “…that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”
The implication is that as long as the old man is still allowed to have his way, we will be slaves to sin.
In Romans 6:6, this is presented as something that was done for us. Our old man was crucified with Him, our fleshly nature.
But there’s another side to that truth that I want to deal with now. There is something we have to do. It doesn’t all happen because Jesus did it, there is a certain response of faith that we have to make.
And so I’d like to turn to Galatians 5:24 which speaks, I believe, of the response that we have to make.
Galatians 5:24: “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Notice this is the distinguishing mark of those who truly belong to Jesus. It’s not a doctrine, it’s not a denomination; it’s something that’s taken place in them by an act of their own will and faith, they have crucified the flesh.
Romans 6:6 is God’s side, our old man was crucified. That lays the basis. Galatians 5:24 is the response required from us. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh. On the basis of what Jesus did for us, we have applied the cross to our own fleshly nature.
Now the cross is not an easy way to die. It’s painful. And there is a certain amount of pain inevitable in entering into this life of freedom and victory. We can only do it as we crucify our flesh.
And in a certain sense, we have to take the nails and put them through our own hands and our own feet and take our place willingly on the cross identified with Jesus in His death. And I want to emphasize again this is not free from pain, but it’s the best way.
I’d like to turn to a Scripture that used to puzzle me for many years in 1 Peter 4:1–2.
1 Peter 4:1–2: “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose…” In other words, make up your mind you’re going to have to suffer in the flesh. “…because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…”
Now that was a statement that astonished me because I said to myself, “I thought Jesus did all the suffering. All that was done on the cross. So why do we have to suffer in the flesh?” But I was attracted by that statement “He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin…” I thought to myself it would be wonderful to have ceased from sin.
So although I was, in a way, put off by the statement, I was attracted by the consequence. So I began to pray and meditate on this.
Now, let’s look at the next verse before we go any further. He has ceased from sin: “…so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh [that’s in the physical body now] no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”
Again, I’m tremendously attracted by that possibility to live the rest of my life no longer for the lusts of my fleshly nature but to do the will of God. That, as far as I know my own heart, is my sincere desire to do the will of God.
But here it seems the way is going to be painful. So I don’t know how long I meditated on this but I believe God has shown me the answer which is what I want to share with you, because I think it’s extremely practical.
And I would say that, in a sense, you’ve got two options. You can suffer God’s way or you can suffer your own way, but suffer you will. Anybody who tells you there’s no suffering in the Christian life is deceiving you and he’s going flat contrary to Scripture.
Let me give you a little example which I think will make it easier than a lot of elaborate explanation.
Here we have this beautiful young Christian lady, she’s about 20 years old, she’s had a wonderful encounter with the Lord, been filled with the Holy Spirit, really desires to serve God, is a member of a good church and has a loving, gracious, mature pastor.
And then a young man comes into her life. Of course, this never happens in real life, this is just imaginary! And he’s not a committed Christian but he gets very, very interested in her and he says, “Well, I’ll go to church with you, I’ll do whatever you want, I want to marry you. Anything I have to do to marry you, I’ll do.”