The Power of the Cross: 93rd Edition, August 18, 2019

Mike Cleveland

Greetings friends,

Welcome to the new subscribers just joining us. We publish once per week on Sunday. The newsletter shares short gospel teachings and testimonies from Setting Captives Free students. We hope you will find the newsletter helpful and encouraging.



Recovery or Resurrection

The world teaches that those who live in habitual sin are "addicts" and that they need to be "in recovery," but for believers, these terms are not according to the gospel, and are not true.

The Scriptures teach that what the world calls "addiction" is actually "slavery," and that the adage "once an addict, always an addict" is a blatant lie (John 8:36 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

But what about the world's teaching of "recovery" which some of the church has adapted?

The problem with the teaching of recovery is that it separates the believer from Christ. But the Scriptures teach us that believers are inextricably connected with Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-10). We are one with Him; we cannot be separated.

To believe in the "recovery" model, we would have to be able to apply the teaching of "recovery" to Jesus first, since we are one with Him. To do this, we would have to say that Jesus didn't die on the cross because it is impossible to “recover" from death.

So did Jesus merely "swoon," or faint, on the cross, was then taken down and laid in a tomb so that He could rest, and then Sunday morning He started feeling better? He fainted on Friday but began to recover on Sunday? No! To say that Jesus didn't die would be heresy.

Jesus died and then rose again from the dead:

Romans 4:25 (NIV) 'He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification."

Jesus was not/is not "in recovery," and neither is any believer. A believer in Jesus has died with Christ (Galatians 2:20) and has risen to a new life (Acts 5:20). Death and resurrection. Not fainting and recovery.

And just as the world's term "addiction" carries with it substantial errors as a concept, so it is with the word "recovery." Unbelievers and some Christians too, teach that a person is "in recovery" when they are "working the program" and "getting better" concerning their sin struggles. But this belief holds us back from the victory that is ours through Christ's death and resurrection; it denies the power of the cross and the resurrection.

The truth is that we are not getting better or recovering. No, we have been raised from the dead and are living out our Christian life in sanctification. We have a new life, a new heart, and a new power source. We have abundant life, eternal life, resurrection life. We don't need to recover; we need to learn to live in the victory that Christ has purchased for us with His own blood.

How about you? Do you believe that you "swooned" with Jesus and are recovering with Him? Or do you believe the truth of God's Word, that the old you was put to death with Christ, buried with Him in a tomb, and the new you rose from the dead with Jesus on the third day? He died for you, and you died in Him. He rose for you, and you rose in Him:

Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV) "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."

When I posted this teaching on our communication group, “Flock”, Kelly wrote:

"Mike there is nothing! about my past life that I want to “recover”. That is always where my mind goes when I hear the concept of recovery. I think of recovering something that was lost. Getting back to your old self. Going back to the beginning. What a sad and despairing idea. My old self was dead in my trespassing and sins, separated from the life of God and without hope in the world. My beginning started with sin and was shaped in iniquity:

Psalm 51:5
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

So to recovery I say “thanks but no thanks” I didn’t need to recover I needed to die and be born again;”

Amen, Kelly!



Robyn writes: "My husband found the Setting Captives Free site for me. He had been living in a prolonged pattern of pursuing lusts and had found help through the Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course, and he thought the A United Front course would help me.

The study was like an oasis in the middle of a desolate place. I found such peace as I came to the course and found lessons addressing a different attribute of Christ to reflect on or an area I needed to challenge my own heart.

It was an excellent exercise for me to daily start the morning with a lesson reminding me of what Christ has done FOR me, so I could allow Him to work THROUGH me. When I see how I ve been forgiven, it is impossible to keep that gratitude buried in the hard shell of bitterness and revenge. When Jesus transforms us, we become a new creation to be used for His amazing purpose.

This daily encouragement, coupled with local counsel, helped reinforce the process of reconciliation for our marriage. The course brought much hope and assurance. It was a real blessing to our union to spend a whole month actively working towards a deeper understanding of who we are in Christ because it showed us how He is making all things new.”

Ted writes, "I appreciated going through the Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course since it gave me the tools I needed to move forward in freedom.  I am a Veteran, so I found the language/scripture used in the boot camp relatable.

Since enrolling in this course, I have reunited with my Bible Study group and am experiencing freedom from sexual impurity.
The important thing I have learned is to be CONSISTENT!  Like a soldier preparing for battle, we too must train daily and guard our minds so as not to be tripped up by the snares the enemy presents to us in this world.  It definitely is a battle of the mind, and with God's help, I win those daily battles.

Brothers/Sisters in Christ, if you are tired of the burden of sexual impurity, I highly encourage you to enroll into Purity Boot Camp.”


Friend if you find you are in agreement with the mission of Setting Captives Free, to see the gospel of Jesus Christ change hearts and lives, would you please consider helping us to continue reaching people with the gospel? Please pray for us, and also consider setting up a monthly tax-deductible donation of any amount. Thank you in advance.


Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free

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