An intellectual knowledge of the truth is not enough. We must experience the power of the Gospel to overcome sin in our lives. Many of the hymn writers understood this concept as reflected in their hymns. There is Power in the Blood is one hymn that describes Righteousness by Faith perfectly.
There's power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you o'er evil a victory win?
There's wonderful power in the blood.
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.
Another hymn is Whiter Than Snow.
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow;
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Is it possible to gain victory over sins in our lives? The good news of the Gospel of Christ is, yes, it is possible to gain victory over every besetting sin in our lives. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. By reading and meditating upon God's Words and exercising faith in the merits of the blood of Jesus that was shed at Calvary, we obtain the power to overcome sin and to experience a transformation of our character.
Oh, we can never underestimate the value of quality time spent in the Word of God. Through habitual communion with God, through a vital and living connection with Him, His saving grace works imperceptibly upon our heart, purifying it and transforming the life into the image of Christ. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord, His love burns intensely upon the altar of our heart leaving us with an overwhelming desire and yearning to relate to others what He has done for us. When this is our experience, the Holy Spirit qualifies us to present the Lord of Glory to the world for now we have something to tell, and what we tell will reach and melt the hearts of the people.
Driving home from work one day, I turned the radio on to listen to uplifting Christian music. What came on was a treat; it was a program where a young lady was being interviewed about her personal experience with the Lord. She was a fairly new Christian and very excited about her relationship with her Saviour. She said that when she meets people, she talks to them about the Lord. When people are sick, she goes to their homes and ministers to them. She talks to them about the Lord. She doesn't want them to leave this earth without Jesus. Her friends think that she has gone off the deep end, but she doesn't care. She has two daughters and they, too, feel that something is terribly wrong with their Mom. Still, she doesn't care. She loves the Lord, and she is excited about her relationship with Him. Her desire to relate to others what He has done for her is so overwhelming, she couldn't contain it.
She was asked if she was always like this--an extrovert, bubbling over when she talks. She said 'No'. She was basically a very shy person. She said you couldn't get two words out of her. She was afraid to talk to people because she was very conscious of her accent. And so she would not talk. But when she came to know the Lord, and dedicated her life to God, the Lord transformed her life in a most marvelous way. Now you could hardly get her to shut up.
She was asked: How often do you study the Word of God? Her answer was: 'All day'. It was an all-day affair for her. In between the tasks that she did at home, she would read her Bible or she would pray. She would listen to a Christian radio station and jot down texts that were read, and she would look them up in her Bible later and read them herself and write notes about the texts, etc.
What is the key to the success of this young lady's Christian experience? Romans 10:17 - "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." She experienced Righteousness by Faith in Jesus Christ because she had made her study of the Bible a priority in her life. A good percentage of her time was spent getting acquainted with the God of the Bible. Thus, her mind was saturated through and through with Him. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." --Psalm 119:11.
We know that the Word of God is Spirit and Life. Those who read it reflectively and meditatively would be quickened by the Spirit, invigorating them with spiritual life. Only in this condition can we experience victory over sin and attain perfection of Christian character.
Dr. Howard A. Kelly, a scientist and medical doctor from John Hopkins University was a great student of the Bible. He once said: The very best way to study the Bible is simply to read it daily with close attention and with prayer to see the light that shines from its pages, to meditate upon it, and to continue to read it until somehow it works itself, its words, its expressions, its teachings, its habits of thought, and its presentation of God and His Christ into the very warp and woof of one's being. This summarizes Righteousness by Faith. This is how we experience the life-changing Gospel in our lives.
"The necessity of experimental religion must be urged upon those who accept the theory of the truth...All must obtain a living experience for themselves; they must have Christ enshrined in the heart, His spirit controlling the affections, or their profession of faith is no value, and their condition will be even worse than if they never heard the truth." --Testimonies to the Church, Volume 5.
What happens when Christ is enshrined in the heart? We would talk about Him every chance we get. We would introduce Him to all our friends. We would talk about His matchless charms, the blessings He has bestowed on us. No one could shut us up because we are filled and bursting at the seams with His love.
"All who receive the gospel message into the heart will long to proclaim it. The heaven-born love of Christ must find expression. Those who have put on Christ will relate their experience, tracing step by step the leadings of the Holy Spirit--their hungering and thirsting for the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent, the results of their searching of the Scriptures, their prayers, their soul agony, and the words of Christ to them, 'Thy sins be forgiven thee.' It is unnatural for any to keep these things secret, and those who are filled with the love of Christ will not do so." -- Christ's Object Lessons, Page 125.
That's exactly what happened to the demoniac in Luke 8:26-40. After he was healed of demon possession, he wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus told him to stay and tell his friends the good things the Lord had done for him. The demoniac did his homework well for the next time Jesus came to the country of the Gaderenes, all the people gladly received Him for they were waiting for Him.
Why do people fail in their Christian Witness? Because they have not experienced the transforming power of the Gospel; therefore, they have nothing to tell. How can one teach a person to swim if he cannot swim himself. To witness about our faith, we must first have faith. We must first experience the power of the Gospel to change our own lives before we can proclaim the life-changing Gospel to others.
When my son Michael was little, he read everything there was about surfing. When we went to the library, he would look up books about surfing. We even subscribed to surfing magazines. He had large pictures on his bedroom walls of people surfing. He talked endlessly about surfing. He dreamed about surfing. He even sang songs about surfing. In his mind, he could hear the sounds of the waves, and he could surf, boy, could he surf. But he never owned a surfboard, and he never went to the beach to surf. He had the theory down pat but he didn't have the experience.
Sometimes in our Christian experience we are like Michael. We know all the information; we have all the knowledge and theory. But it's not enough. It's not enough to talk about food and drinks. We must eat and drink to get nourished. It is not enough to have a knowledge and a theory about God. We must eat His Word and assimilate its living principles into the very warp and woof of our being. When the Word of God has become a part of us, we could not help but talk of Him endlessly. We are excited about Him, and our excitement couldn't be contained. We go places with Him, and we show Him off to all our friends.
Knowing ABOUT Christ is different from KNOWING Christ. Michael used to collect baseball cards. He knew everything about the players--their names, where they're from, their batting average, home runs, even the color of their hair, etc. But did Mike really and truly know those people? No! He never met them. He never ate at their tables. They never ate at our table. He never went places with them. Yes, we could know all about a person, yet not really know them personally and intimately. We do not want this to be our experience with the Lord who wants us to have Him as a personal Saviour.
"The Gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. God would have His servants bear testimony to the fact that through His grace men may possess Christlikeness of character and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love." Ministry of Healing, Page 99.
I think this quotation from the book, Testimonies to Ministers, portrays a beautiful analogy of Righteousness by Faith. "If we gaze even a moment upon the sun in its meridian glory, when we turn away our eyes, the image of the sun will appear in everything upon which we look. Thus it is when we behold Jesus; everything we look upon reflects His image, the Sun of Righteousness. We cannot see anything else, or talk of anything else. His image is imprinted upon the eye of the soul, and affects every portion of our daily life, softening and subduing the soul." --Testimonies to Ministers, Page 388, 389.
When Christ, Heaven, and the things of God are number one priority in our lives and an all-day affair with us, just like the young Christian lady who was interviewed at a Christian Radio Station, we, too, would have entered into the beautiful and glorious experience of Righteousness by Faith. We would have experienced the power of a life-changing Gospel by gaining victory over every besetting sin in our lives through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Click on the NEXT Button for Part 3.