“He breaks the power of cancelled sin.” These grand words are in Charles Wesley’s hymn, O For a Thousand Tongues. This is glorious truth indeed! Yet, it has occurred to me that many of God’s children, even the more mature minded, need to be reminded of this fact. We may profess to believe it, but is it “truth and life” in our lives during the difficult times, and uless you are a super-glorified saint we all have them. Do we have an understanding of how he builds within us the capacity to ward off the effects of temptation?
Those who have read my writings know I was raised in the classical Pentecostal legalism that prevailed in the years of my youth. How many trips I made to the altar seeking for forgiveness repeatedly, for whatever it was, I know not, but this I do know, there was no need for it because in our Father’s sight, I was forgiven because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. However, the preachers/evangelists had the altars full of constantly repenting saints by sowing doubt and fear of ones salvation. Some asked the question, “If you should be killed tonight on your way home, where would you spend eternity?” The gruesome stories given after this question, sure had us “sinner-saints” scared we that could die before getting home. In looking back, this was well meant, but very cruel. Can you imagine that all it took was one tiny sin to condemn you endlessly.
My first sermon at age 13, was based on A.A. Allen’s book, “The Price of God’s Miracle Working Power.” It was all WORKS, FASTING and PRAYING for power. It also counseled the one hundred and one sins not to commit. What a straight-jacket it was! How little we knew of the truth in Charles Wesley’s hymn, “He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free.” We knew nothing of the words penned by Ada R. Habershon, “He will hold me fast.” We thought we had to hang on instead of resting in Christ’s ability to keep us.
In Ephesians 4:8 the declaration is made, “"He re-ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives,” (Weymouth) The Psalmist had prophetically proclaimed this to happen. Now, the captives were free! They were freed from the powers of Sheol, the unseen world of the dead. Jesus had gone and proclaimed salvation and liberation to the spirits in prison. He came as the King of glory who was The LORD strong and mighty in battle. (Psalm 24:7-10) He is The One who was dead, but now is alive forevermore. He seized the keys, representing power and authority, of death and Hades (Sheol) and set us all free! Hallelujah!
The question is, “Why are so many held captive to the memories of cancelled sin?” Was not the victory of Jesus enough? Did his blood not avail for ALL our sins, mistakes, missteps? Could the answer that many are in bondage to legalism with its constant sin consciousness? Since one is always considered to be “only a sinner saved by grace,” it is easy to dredge up that past, as one can only think of themselves as so very unworthy. This “sin consciousness” produces weak and immature Christians. We are saints by grace!
There is a saying, that “what you see is what you get.” If every time the memory of the past is permitted to hold you in bondage that is where you will stay. If all you can see are demons, then that is what you will see. How foolish we are to dwell upon that which in Jesus Christ has done away with. We can allow ourselves to live in bondage to this kind of thing, or we can “look and live.” We should be, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
During the years that I spent doing medical lab work in USAF, I came to value human blood which was amazing under the microscope, and it had so many properties that keep us alive. Our blood is both life giving and life saving. Oxygen and nutrients are spread about the body. Waste is disposed by the lungs or sent to the kidneys for disposal. When attacked by bacteria, the white cells go to war to preserve us.
There is life in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which does a work of cleansing. His blood has been given for us. It is for our benefit! When human blood has been subjected to attack by outside forces, it makes antibodies against a future attack. Vaccinations against diseases produce antibodies that should ward off a later attack by the same kind of virus or bacteria. The principle taking a live virus and rendering it basically harmless in order to be able to inject a minute amount in a non-virulent form will cause antibodies to be produced within our blood system.
Jesus, who took on himself all of our sins, and as the sin-bearer he became sin, has what can be called, “overcoming blood.” His blood is for us and provides what we need to be overcomers over sin. His “Overcoming blood” has been literally exposed to the sin disease and built up antibodies to overcome. Therefor we overcome. In our daily walk we have security based on this reality; "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:11) There is a unique keeping power in the blood of Jesus Christ.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1-2.) Since God has placed us in Christ, there is no Power of Sin (condemnation) to hold us down. We are free from the Law if Sin and Death - there is no need “to miss the mark.”
The whole of Verse Three of Wesley’s hymn reads:
He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood avails for me.