Author Topic: Cross Current  (Read 402 times)

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Offline Netchaplain

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Cross Current
« on: Fri Mar 27, 2020 - 15:08:30 »
The message of the Cross is full of paradox on its experiential side, and this paradox can only be understood as we progress in experience. There is what is called the “objective,” or positional side, which means the finished work of the Lord Jesus in His death upon the Cross as a work complete and full and finished for all who believe; and there is the gradual apprehension of this by the believer, which brings about in him the “subjective,” or experiential side.

On the objective side there is revealed to us the Crucified Lord as our Sin-Bearer, and all who are truly born from above can bear witness to the subjective result of their apprehension of the finished work of the Lamb of God. But later on comes again the revelation of the objective fact, that in the Person of the Savior the sinner was nailed to the Cross.

We were identified with the Lord Jesus in the Cross; it is our Cross as truly as His. It is our death unto sin as well as His; we have died and are dead with Him (Col 2:20; 3:3). Of recent years many of the children of God have been apprehending this, and gladly acquiescing in all that it means subjectively, i.e., 1) in a death unto sin; 2) a deep separation from the old Adam-life; 3) a severance form the world, the law and the flesh, to be separated unto the One who is their Life in glory (Col 3:4) freedom from the power of Satan as conquered by the Emancipator at the very hour of His outward shame!

But now, what next is the question. The climax of the risen life gravitates back to the Cross!

Why the need for “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus” (2Co 4:10)? Because in the body we are open to the assaults of the world (i.e. unbelievers, which has always consisted of the majority of mankind – Mat 7:13, 14—NC), the flesh (not he body but the sin nature or old man within our spirit—NC), and the devil (Rev 12:10; e.g. Job 1:9), while in spirit we are joined to the ascended Lord and sit with Him enthroned in the heavenly realm (Eph 2:6; Rev 3:21). So we need continually in ever deeper measure to be made “conformable to His death” (Phil 3:10), for it is only as we are thus willing to sink ourselves after His likeness that the true life in spirit in the heavenly sphere can be maintained in fellowship with Him and growth in Him.

If the Cross is kept in its central place by every believer seeking to grow in Him (Ehp 4:15), no aspect of truth will be pressed too far; and no line of truth radiating from the Cross, followed beyond the radius of the Cross.

Moreover, the fullest growth in the believer’s life depends upon this conformity to the death of Christ. It is the “condition of the manifestation of the Divine Life,” writes Even Hopkins. “Our part,” he says, “consists in getting down into the death of Christ. His part is to live out His own Life in us; and this assimilation to His death is not an isolated act, but a condition, and attitude of faith ever to be maintained and to go on deepening” (see 1Pe 4:1).

This simply means that however much any of us may have apprehended our death with Christ as a “terminus,” or “boundary line between us and the world,” and as “the divine laboratory where the ‘flesh’ is cauterized and kept in the place of death” (C A Fox), there must be a fresh and daily application of the power of the death of Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit (I propose that the old man “is” being “crucified,” e.g. restrained – Ro 6:6—NC) for the continued manifestation of the Life of Jesus in increasing growth and maturity.

While it is therefore true that we have died with Christ unto sin, so that we walk in newness of life in union with Him, it is also true that for the “life of Jesus” to be manifested, we cannot get away from the Cross, but must “always bear about” the “dying” with Him. It is not easy to make this important aspect of the Cross clear, for it needs must be, in the limitation of the human mind, difficult to apprehend two apparent contradictory truths at one and the same time, and yet in experience it becomes all so simple! “Some think that they are always to be hidden in Christ on the Cross,” says one; but “Christ is at the right hand of the Father, and in Him we are to walk in newness of life.” Both are true, according to the texts we are considering: 2Corinthians 4:10-12 and Philippians 3:10 are passages which follow the reckoning of Romans 6.

It is, in truth, as we sink down into His death—His death was on the Cross—and abide in that death in daily, hourly conformity, that the life of the Lord Jesus Himself in us—will spring up into “newness of life”; and even more, it is only in proportion as we “get down” into His death, that in spirit we rest in the Life which is “hid with Christ in God.” “For ye are dead” says Paul, “and your “life is hid.” It is only the life which is hid with Christ, the “ye are dead” being a fact which is needed currently as the basis. Therefore, “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Ro 6:11).

“By maintaining the death attitude we manifest newness of life,” wrote Mr. Fox; and “the death mark is the trade mark of the Church.” What is this but Paul’s statement: “So then death worketh in us, but life in you” (2Co 4:12). Here we have “death” said to be working! The death of Christ was not an ordinary death, for He was the God-Man, and so His death carried power in it. His death works deliverance, it works separation (Ro 8:9); and it works in the believer as he yields to it, until the activity of the flesh is brought under its power in “conformity” to His death (whether or not a believer reckons to be dead to sin’s guilt and dominion, we are still dead to them, because it’s only faith in Christ having taken sin into death that establishes these truths, reckoning this and all Christian truth merely appropriates in our conscience and walk what the Lord Jesus has already established in us at rebirth—through His Cross-work. This is the author’s intent of writing in the first paragraph above, that it’s “the gradual apprehension of this by the believer, which brings about in him the subjective, or experiential side.”—NC).

How can all this be? By the power of the Holy Spirit. There is much else that might be said as to the practical results in the daily life, of the Life of Jesus “manifested,” and the walking “even as He walked” in His Life of lowly service and ministry to all; but “let all . . .  who are mature believers cherish these thoughts, and if in any respect you think differently, that also God will make clear to you. But whatever be the point that we have already reached, let us persevere in the same course” (Phil 3:15, Weymouth).


MJS devotional excerpt for March 26:

“When self reacts correctly in a difficult situation, it can only result in the sin of self-righteousness. In order for Christ’s righteousness to be manifested, the Holy Spirit must hold self inoperative by means of the Cross” (MJS).

“Accustom yourself in everything that happens, to recognize the hand of the Father. Before you fix your thoughts on the person who did it, first be still, and remember, God allows me to come into this trouble to see if I shall glorify Him in it. This trial, be it the greatest or least, is allowed of God, and is His will concerning me. Let me first recognize and submit to God’s will in it. Then in the rest of soul which this gives, I shall receive wisdom to know how to behave in it. With my eye turned from man to God, suffering wrong is not as hard as it seems” (AM).