The Power of the Cross: 87th Edition, July 7, 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.


Exodus chapter 21 describes in detail what it takes to be free from all forms of sinful captivity. It begins with a story of the Israelites complaining and murmuring against God and Israel’s leaders and Moses lifting up a pole with a snake on it, continues with a song about a “well”, and ends with victory over two kings, Sihon and Og. How does this apply to us today?

The Israelites were bitten by fiery snakes and were all dying. We have been bitten by the serpent of sin and are all dying. God told Moses to erect a pole with a snake on it, and commanded all the snake-bitten Israelites to look and live. God erected a cross-like pole and hung a Savior on it, and commands us to believe and live. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

This is indeed how we find freedom, by looking at our Savior who was hung on a tree, thereby removing our curse and purchasing our blessing (Galatians 3:13-14). We need to look and see Jesus dying to make atonement for our sins, dying to remove God’s wrath from us and dying to reconcile us to God, then rising to justify us before God so that we are now free from sin’s guilt and are being freed from sin’s power.

Then, the Israelites, after looking at the uplifted pole were led to a “well”, that quenched and satisfied their thirst. The very next thing that happens when a believer comes to the cross is that he or she receives the Spirit of God, who is described as “rivers of living water":

John 7:37-39 (ESV) “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The Spirit of God, the “rivers of Living Water”, that satisfies the heart of every believer, is to be found at the cross, even as the Israelites drinking of the “well” immediately followed the curing of snakebite by the uplifted snake on a pole. At the cross we learn to “drink in” our forgiveness, quench our thirst in Christ’s reconciling love, satisfy our hearts in God who “justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5).

And finally, the Israelites defeated two kings of the Amorites, their greatest enemies. Even so, victory follows anyone who comes to the cross and finds healing for their snakebite of sin, and who begins drinking of the Holy Spirit. 

Numbers 21: healing and health at the uplifted pole, quenching and satisfaction at the “well”, victory and overcoming! 

In the Purity Bootcamp course we focus on three principles: washing at the cross, walking by the Spirit, warring against the flesh. In Numbers 21 we see those three principles clearly. The uplifted pole points to the cross where we may wash and be cleansed from all sin. The well points to the Spirit of God and when we walk by the Spirit we do not gratify the lusts of the flesh. The victory over the two Amorite kings: Sihon and Og point to the ongoing warring against our own flesh that needs to happen in the life of every believer, and the victory we have in Christ.

Friend, if you are struggling with habitual sin, come to the cross of Jesus Christ and look up to Him. See His love, experience His grace, receive the forgiveness He is dying to give you. Let His love and grace, and the power of His resurrection crucify your sin, indeed crucify the world to you (Galatians 6:14). Then begin drinking in the Spirit of God, experience His thirst-quenching power, receive the love He sheds abroad in your heart (Romans 5:5). Finally, go on to defeat the sin that has defeated you for so long, as you now have the love of Jesus in dying for you, the power of Jesus in rising for you and the power of the Holy Spirit working in you!



Eamonn writes, "The Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course has been used by Jesus Christ to set me free from complete bondage to impurity.

What I've mainly learned is to look at our wonderful Saviour Jesus Christ on the cross taking all my punishment, dying for my sin, and rising for my justification and righteousness. I've learned to wash at the cross continually, fellowship with Jesus, walk in the Spirit, and war against my flesh to glorify Christ. I also learned I'm not condemned and that I'm not my sin and that the law of the Spirit of life has set me from the law of sin and death.

The biblical principles taught in this course have changed my life. I've seen the truth about Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection.

I've learned intimacy with the Lord and now love the Lord because I truly believe that He first loved me by dying for me on the cross. I've mainly kept my eyes on the cross, and the snakebites of sin are being eradicated through Christ. I've learned to worship Father God in Christ without fear.”

Ronald writes, "I have found the biblical principles in the Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course helpful in my walk with Christ. When I wash at the cross, I am cleansed and put back into the enjoyment of fellowship with God. This enables me to walk in the Spirit, which then, in turn, helps me to war against my flesh, since if I walk in the Spirit, I will not fulfill the lust of my flesh. I am implementing my finalized battle plan, and it is working.”


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