JSM - The Message of the Cross
The only solution for sin, the only answer to sin, is the Cross of Christ
Public Humiliation, especially on a worldwide basis, is a trauma that many people never get over. There is no way to describe it. When one has failed, despite doing everything that one knows to do not to fail, one is left with confusion. Since the Lord is never the author of confusion, the situation quickly becomes unbearable.
In such a situation, regrettably and sadly, everyone else knows why you have failed, and they are quick to voice their opinion. But the truth is, they do not know.
I came to find out in all of this, that most of the modern church has little idea how to live for God. Oh yes, one can definitely be Saved without knowing how to properly live for the Lord, but one most definitely cannot walk in victory without knowing how to live for God. If one does not understand the message of the Cross, even as it was given to the Apostle Paul, then simply put, such a believer does not know how to live for God.
The revelation of the message of the cross
After seeking the Lord day and night, so often with tears, for a period of some six years, suddenly and without warning, the Lord began to open up to me that for which I had so long sought. I honestly don’t remember the day or the month, but the year was 1997. I had spent some six years in concentrated prayer, seeking the Lord, imploring Him for guidance and direction.
Let me make something clear: The daily vigil of prayer purchased me nothing with God. As stated, it was for the purpose of my getting to know Him in a more personal way. In other words, He was preparing me for this Revelation of the Cross which He would give to me. For years I had known what He could do, but now I was learning, on a personal basis, Who He was, a description, incidentally, which can never be exhausted.
All of a sudden, the Spirit of the Lord came over me, and He began to reveal to my heart the meaning of this aspect of our Christian experience. In a moment’s time, I saw it, and I saw it clearly. I can remember getting up from behind my desk and pacing back and forth across my office, tears streaming down my cheeks. The Lord then spoke to my heart and said, “You have asked Me the cause of your problem. It is the sin nature, and your lack of understanding about how it works and how it is to be controlled.”
Strangely enough, even though the Lord gave me this information, which was the answer to so many questions, still, at that time, He did not tell me how to control the sin nature. He just simply told me this was what constituted my problem, which also is the problem of every single Believer in the world who does not understand what the Lord gave to Paul, and which Paul gave to us. It is the 6th Chapter of Romans which deals with this extremely important subject, which I will explain momentarily to a greater degree.
Countless times, I had sought the Lord earnestly, asking Him how I could have the help of the Holy Spirit in doing the Work of the Lord, but not have His help regarding victory over the world, the flesh, and the Devil. I knew in my heart that this was not the way it was supposed to be, but, at that time, I did not have the knowledge about how perpetual victory could be attained.
I’ve always had a strong prayer life, and I tried my best to pray the problem away. To be sure, I was greatly blessed in my prayer vigils, which I continue unto this hour, and will ever continue, but I did not there find the victory I so earnestly sought.
For a while, I would pray an hour each day; then it got to the place where I would get up in the middle of the night and pray another hour. The reason I did this was because I did not know what else to do; I was fighting for my very life. The pain is even greater, more than words can even express, when the failure becomes obvious to all, and the Church, and I’m speaking of the Church world in general, claims that you are lying about your prayer life, and even resorts to making jokes at your expense about the whole situation.
“When a person is down, and can do nothing to defend himself, and anyone can do any negative thing to him they so desire, and will not only not be reprimanded, but rather applauded, then one finds out just how many true Christians there really are. Tragically, there aren’t many!”
If the sin nature is not properly understood, and thereby properly controlled, then “works of the flesh” are going to manifest themselves in one’s life. It does not matter who that person is, whether he is the Pastor of the largest Church in the world, or whether he is the Evangelist who draws the biggest crowds. If such a person doesn’t understand the Cross as it regards Sanctification, works of the flesh will definitely manifest themselves in some way in such a person’s life and living. It is inevitable!
Works of the flesh
Paul tells us this in the 5th Chapter of Galatians. The entire Book of Galatians, but especially the 5th Chapter, is a warning from Paul to the Church at Galatia, which is also meant for us. The warning is that if they place their faith in anything except “Christ and Him Crucified,” that “Christ shall profit you nothing” (Gal. 5:2).
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).
Let me say it more clearly:
I knew what the Lord had given me regarding the “sin nature,” and that it was the answer to my question “Why?” But, as stated, when He revealed that to me, He didn’t give me the solution to the problem. He told me what the problem was, which was a great Truth, but yet, I didn’t have the solution; however, the Lord never does anything half way.
It was in one of the morning prayer meetings, actually only a few days after the Lord had given to me the Revelation of the sin nature. At that time, I was seeking the Lord, actually asking Him to reveal to me the solution to this problem. How are we to address the sin nature? How can we control it? He began to speak to my heart.
I knew it was the Lord; of that I had no doubt. The Spirit of God flowed over my soul for the entire prayer meeting. I knew I had found the answer. I cannot even begin to tell you how I felt. It was like I had been in prison, the doors were now opened, and I was being told, “Go free!”
I had no doubt about what the Lord had told me. He said, “The solution which you seek is found in the Cross!” As the tears rolled down my cheeks and the Presence of the Lord filled my soul, I kept saying those words over and over again. In the days to come, He very speedily began to open up to me the Word of God, showing me exactly how it was, and is, the Cross.
He took me to Romans, Chapter 6
Paul said: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin (the sin nature), that Grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, who are dead to sin (dead to the sin nature), live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1-2).
These Passages let us know that sin, i.e., “the sin nature,” is the problem. While Preachers might try to say that this, or that, or something else is the problem, the Holy Spirit tells us that “sin” is the problem. It might be a sin of commission or a sin of omission, but, to be sure, sin is the problem.
He then tells us that the only remedy for sin, the only solution for sin, the only answer to sin, is the Cross of Christ. In other words, the Holy Spirit through Paul takes the Believer straight to the Cross. Remember, Paul is not speaking here to unbelievers, but rather to Believers. As we attempt to live for God, and I mean live for God properly, this tells us that we must ever understand that it is the Cross of Christ where we must begin, and where we must end. There is nothing after the Cross of Christ, because there needs to be nothing after the Cross of Christ.
Now let’s examine these same Passages from THE EXPOSITOR’S STUDY BIBLE.
The Lord then took me to I Corinthians. Paul said there:
“But we preach Christ Crucified (this is the foundation of the Word of God, and thereby of Salvation), unto the Jews a stumblingblock (the Cross was the stumblingblock), and unto the Greeks foolishness (both found it difficult to accept as God a dead Man hanging on a Cross, for such Christ was to them).
“And I, Brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom (means that Paul depended not on oratorical abilities, nor did he delve into philosophy, which was the rage of that particular day), declaring unto you the Testimony of God (which is Christ and Him Crucified).
“For I determined not to know anything among you (with purpose and design, Paul did not resort to the knowledge or philosophy of the world regarding the Preaching of the Gospel), save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified.” (That, and that alone, is the Message which will save the sinner, set the captive free, and give the Believer perpetual victory [I Cor. 1:17-18, 23; 2:1-2].)
Paul also said, “But God forbid that I should glory (boast) save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (what the opponents of Paul sought to escape at the price of insincerity is the Apostle’s only basis of exultation), by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (The only way we can overcome the world, and I mean the only way, is by placing our Faith exclusively in the Cross of Christ, and keeping it there [Gal. 6:14).)
Seeing all of this, I began to understand that the story of the Bible, in its totality, is the story of “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.” Jesus said as much.
The Words of Christ
After His Resurrection, with His Disciples still not believing that He has risen from the dead, He suddenly appeared to two of His Disciples as they were going to a village called Emmaus. The Disciples did not recognize Who He was; they thought He was merely a stranger.
The Scripture says, “And He said unto them, What manner of communications are these that you have one to another, as you walk, and are sad?” (Lk. 24:17). They began to relate to Him all the things which recently had happened.
The Cross of Christ is the foundation principle of all Biblical Doctrine. It is the foundation because it is the first principle of Redemption, brought about in the Mind of God even before the foundation of the world (I Pet. 1:18-20). This means that every single doctrine must be built on the foundation of Christ and the Cross, or else, in some way, it will be spurious. And that’s the problem with the modern Church; it is building doctrines on other foundations.
“According to the Grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder (in essence Paul, under Christ, founded the Church), I have laid the foundation (Jesus Christ and Him Crucified), and another builds thereon (speaks of all Preachers who followed thereafter, even unto this very moment, and have built upon this foundation). But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. (All must preach the same Doctrine Paul preached, in essence, “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.”)
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid (anything other than the Cross is another foundation, and therefore unacceptable to the Lord)¸ which is Jesus Christ (Who He is, God manifest in the flesh, and what He did, Redemption through the Cross [I Cor. 3:10-11]).
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