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The Power of the Cross: 38th Edition, July 1, 2018


Mike Cleveland
 

Hello friend,
 
Welcome to the new subscribers just joining our newsletter. We publish once per week on Sunday. The newsletter alternates a short gospel teaching on one week with testimonies from Setting Captives Free students on the following week. We hope you will find the newsletter helpful and encouraging. 

Romans 6:20-22 (NCV) In the past you were slaves to sin, and goodness did not control you. 21 You did evil things, and now you are ashamed of them. Those things only bring death. 22 But now you are free from sin and have become slaves of God. This brings you a life that is only for God, and this gives you life forever.

The truth that we love to see is when someone was a slave to sin in the past, but now is free from sin and have become a slave of God. This happens because of the love of Jesus Christ who died to free us and rose to take us captive to Himself. 

Richard, below, is an illustration of this truth:

Richard writes, "I grew up in a Christian home. All the truth I learned in this course, all the things about Jesus I was also taught by my parents at a young age. But I didn´t understand them because my heart was corrupt. I even accepted Jesus as my Saviour at the age of 5 but I never had a close relationship with him. He was more that kind of God that gives many rules and takes all the fun out of this life. 

At the age of around 17 I discovered pornography on the internet and although I knew it was wrong it was also very exciting to me and I returned to it voluntarily. Around 19 when I left my parents home to study I took that opportunity to increasingly move away from God and the church, I did whatever I wanted and in the end not only my heart was rebelling against God but I was at open rebellion. I watched pornography and gratified myself almost daily and didn´t even feel bad for it, although my life around me was in ruins.

But God didn't give up on me. He reached me through a bible study about Romans 1-8. I didn´t want to go there but went anyway and God spoke to my heart. He showed me how severe sin is, but also what he did on the cross, how he made me righteous and I was overwhelmed by his grace. I newly wanted to live for God and made Jesus my Lord again. 

I removed all the bad things out of my life, all but one, pornography and self-gratification. I had realized that I was sinning against God in what I was doing but I was unable to stop. I couldn´t do more than 3-4 weeks without it and than it would hit me harder than ever before. I was a servant to sin. When it called I had to answer. I was losing all hope, as I thought the rest of my life would be a returning cycle of sinning and repenting, sinning and repenting. I often prayed to God to just kill me because I was unable to live a righteous life.

But then a friend told me about Setting Captives Free. I didn´t want to do the course, but after I had fallen again I started anyway because nothing really mattered to me anymore and I thought it would do no harm.

But I would have never thought that God would change my heart. He showed me the gospel, and although I had known it all, it was completely new to me. Seeing Jesus at the cross, seeing his love, his kindness but also the pain he had to endure for my sin, it broke me down. But then it also raised me back up again it gave me new life and new hope, just as he was raised from the grave. It is really as simple as looking at the cross.

I now am free from the chains of sin. The temptations are still there and sometimes they are strong, but I don´t need to follow the call. I can just turn away, run to Jesus and find joy and peace I never knew before in his arms. I can have a wonderful relationship with God that I never thought was possible. It is a miracle."

Sincerely,

Mike Cleveland
Volunteer for Setting Captives Free