The Power of the Cross: 88th Edition, July 14, 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.


Correction: In the previous newsletter I mentioned Exodus 21 but meant Numbers 21. Thanks to Gary for bringing it to my attention.



Humans get “want” and “need” confused quite often. When “wants” are made into “needs” spiritual slavery (what the world calls “addiction”) develops, for whatever we think we “need” captures us. We can’t see life without it. We crave it. We yearn after it. We “need” it and can’t see living without it.

This need can make us bitter toward others, and bitter toward God, if we don’t get what we “need”, as we have the expectation that “they” will meet out “need.” And so we become disappointed when our “need” is not met, and we blame others and ultimately blame God. 

The issue here is that our “want” has morphed into a “need”, but has become far more than even a “need”, it has become an “idol.” We know something has become an idol in our hearts and lives when we sin to get it, or we sin if we cannot have it. 

So how do we escape from this spiritual slavery, this idolatry where our wants have become “needs” and have now morphed into “idols.” 

The answer is to be cleansed at the cross of Jesus Christ, for the cross has the power to break our idols into pieces and set us free from them. Notice how the following passage connects the fountain of the cross with the removal of idols:

Zechariah 13:1-2 (NIV) “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. 2 “On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land.”

It is clear that the “day” when the fountain would be opened, is the day of the cross (read Zechariah 13:1-2 in light of Zechariah 12:10 through 13:7). The cross is a fountain of cleansing that you may go to and wash and be free from sin and guilt. And as you wash in the cleansing blood of Jesus, rejoicing in your forgiveness and freedom, you discover that idols are banished as is the spirit of impurity. 

This is how to be free! Notice this very thing in the lives of some of the Corinthians, who were mired in sin, trapped in idolatry, but then they were washed:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV) Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.



Micah writes, "While taking the Setting Captives Free Purity Boot Camp course, the Lord showed me that the battle I had been fighting against impurity was already won by Jesus through His death on the cross and resurrection. There is no condemnation for me because I am in Christ Jesus. I believe this with my whole heart. 

And, now, since I have been crucified with Christ and baptized into his death and resurrected with Him, I am dead to sin and alive to Him. God helping me, I will continue to wash at the cross and walk by the Spirit so that I can fight the good fight, run the race, remain in Him, and walk in freedom by His grace."

Yinka writes, "The Setting Captives Free Weight Loss course is life changing. It is not some form of magic program that promises fast weight loss. It is a course about building our relationship with God and finding liberation along the way.

To succeed, you have to be willing to lay aside all your previous conceptions of weight loss. You must be willing to trust God and have faith in Him. You must come with an open mind ready to be filled up by the Word of God through the help of the Holy Spirit. If you do this, your life will never be the same again.

I have followed the biblical principles taught in the course for the past 26 days. Yes, I crammed the first few days together. Now, I feel liberated from the power of food and empowered to live without fear. I try to adopt these principles in all areas of my daily living, and I am sure, by the special grace of God, I will succeed.

I lost 7 pounds this month and have not had to restrict the type of food I eat. I am encouraged to keep going, knowing that as long as I savor Christ through the power of the Cross by the walking in the Spirit, I cannot go wrong.

I now find comfort in the Lord rather than in food. Food definitely has no more power over me. This is my story. I know it will only get better. “

Laura writes, "At the beginning of the A United Front course, I was angry and bitter. I couldn't see a way forward in my marriage, but now I have learned so much about biblical forgiveness and humility. 

God has made a lot of changes in my heart and life, though I still have far to go. Because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I now have hope.

I am so grateful that this course was available as it gave me practical biblical things to do and think about rather than hours of fruitless internet searching trying to find answers that weren't where I was looking.”


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