So many questions flood the minds of those who would seek to know the Lord. So much scurrying to and fro seeking to find Him in places He won’t be found. So much reading of books, attending meetings, and still the hunger is not satisfied; the thirst not quenched. We must ask ourselves from where does this desire to know Him come? Is it curiosity to know about this Jesus whom we have read and heard so much? Would we attempt to pattern our life after His in order to somehow please this mysterious One who sees and knows all? Do we strive to accomplish, according to our standards, a degree of disciplined obedience to the lawful things of God? Shall we then find His “peace that passes all understanding”, and that peace “the world understands not?” Such vanity we have to be so confused and deceived in believing that there would be anything we could do of ourselves and in our own strength that would be pleasing to God. So many pre-conceived ideas and self-taught concepts come into play whenever God is spoken of as to who He is and what it is He desires for His own. To those who would truly seek to know the Lord Jesus Christ of the scriptures, there is good news. He desires to be found.
Many there are, who in trying to satisfy the void in their lives that only He can fill, taste of much that leaves a bitterness on the tongue and an ache in the heart. The prince of deception is the instigator and encourager of these activities that lead us further and further away from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He cunningly has us running in many directions, seeking into this religion and that; puffing us up in self-knowledge or a knowledge of the scriptures, causing us to strive with all who will debate with us the issues of doctrines; spewing forth words that are spiritual death to anyone who knows the living Spirit. In all other areas of our life we go directly to the source to fulfill a desire or need, yet when it comes to this spiritual hunger and thirst, we will try all tables and wells except that banquet table He provides and that river of life that once partaken of we never thirst again.
Let us go to Calvary. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and give us eye salve so that we may be seeing just what Calvary and the Cross of Christ is to mean to us. When we consider His death and the agony suffered at Calvary, we are able to mentally assent to the historical truth and fact of the event. We might even contemplate on the fact that many others have suffered even much more physical pain than being crucified: remembering the Jewish holocaust and the Reformation, the suffering of the early Christians, boiled in oil, fed to wild dogs and lions. The suffering of Christ was not the physical suffering. Isaiah tells us in describing His death that He was not recognizable as a man as He hung on the cross (Isaiah 52.14). I believe that Jesus was a quivering mass of raw flesh when He was nailed on the tree for us. Men had plucked out His beard, He was beaten unmercifully, He was scourged. He suffered physically beyond belief and we cannot begin to apprehend or comprehend His pain. Yet it was not this that led Him to utter, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me.”
John 1.1 tells us that in the beginning was the Word (Logos) and the Word (Logos) was with God, and the Word (Logos) was God. Jesus as Logos, Deity, had never been separated from His Father Deity. Together they created all things, and for Him (Jesus) was all things created. The Bible tells us that He left His place in the heaven-lies to come to earth in the form of a man, to become Son of Man, when He was Son of God. He came, God in man-form to redeem man, paying man’s penalty for sin, becoming the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. At Calvary, as He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, His Father, holy, pure, who cannot look upon sin, turned from His only begotten. For the first time in the life and existence of Jesus Christ on earth the presence of His Father was denied him. He became sin, sin in all its defilement, ugliness, repulsion. The separation from His Father literally broke His heart. Then the cry, “my God, my God’. “Reproach has broken My heart”, (Psalm 69:20). Christ was spiritually separated from His Father so that we would never have to be; “Having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile.” Colossians 1:21. Because death passed upon all men in that all have sinned, Romans 5:12, we were committed to an eternity separated from God. God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. Romans 5:8,9. Oh Christendom, you who display crosses on your altars, and around your neck without realizing what that cross truly represents! You who think that the evidence of a cross in or on your church, or on a piece of jewelry, a fish emblem on your car, or whatever else some can find to glue, nail or otherwise affix to something, will present a proclamation that you are a part of some organization, or assembly of people who accept Jesus, need come to the Father and petition Him who designed the cross, and ask to see that cross through His eyes, to feel that cross with His heart. If He would share with us His eyes and heart, we would be so humbled and ashamed to flaunt this cross as we do. How can we display such a precious token of God’s love and grace on buildings, around our necks, and on our cars, when so few have come to live the cross life; so few who are willing to pick up the cross and follow Him. “He has made Him (Christ) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteous of God in Him”, 2 Corinthians 5:21. Yes, we’ll display the cross in all kinds of places, but we will not carry it! We are a soft and coddled and self-loving people in this nation of America. We desire not the cross of Christ, but the world’s cross of religiosity, of the world’s organized system of religion which is nothing less than the order of darkness! We run to this fashionable cross and embrace it. It costs us nothing! The Cross of Christ is the cross we are to carry. The world’s fashionable cross is the cross displayed not carried. The Cross of Christ is the cross that saves us from the penalty of sin, and gives to us the power over sin so that we are enabled by His cross no longer to walk in sin, but walk in the Spirit. He bore our sin, that we being dead to sin should live unto righteousness, by Whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24. Many who display their fashionable cross will not suffer by denying themselves; we don’t like the suffering cross; we don’t appreciate the cross that brings death to our Self life; the cross that has the power to slay those things within us that are displeasing to God and held in highest esteem by ourself. We will not come to the ground of His cross, the victorious and overcoming ground where satan was made a spectacle of, and claim and lay hold of the victory we need. “Nailing it to His Cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:14, 15. Romans 6:10,11 tells us to reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ. The power is there, the victory is there yet we will do anything, go to any extreme to avoid this cross and attempt to find victory in our self sufficiency, our own intellect to work through to resolve our present situation and circumstances. The Cross of Christ crucifies and few there are who desire that crucifixion. Paul reminds us that “we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God, Colossians 3:3. When Christ was nailed to His cross, we were taken with Him and nailed with our sin on His cross. Now we are to reckon, to consider ourselves dead; we have been crucified with Him.
When we look at the cross of Calvary we look at it objectively. We acknowledge that Christ died there to save us from the penalty of sin and to offer us everlasting life. We are also to look at His cross subjectively. This means to appropriate His cross in our life. How is this done? It is done simply by faith. Our faith is all important to our Savior. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). The same faith that He gives to bring us to Himself in repentance unto salvation, He gives for overcoming this world, satan, sin and the self-love life. Through the power and blessing of the Holy Spirit, who woos and draws us to Christ, we are further drawn to be conformed to His image. This is the circumcision without hands, the cutting away of the old nature, being conformed to the new. “Old things pass away, all things are becoming as new”. The Holy Spirit reveals to us something in our life that the Lord is now ready to deal with. He first exposes that something, whether it be jealousy, temper, covetousness, etc., and with each exposure our repulsion over the thing becomes greater and greater, until at last we are led to cry out for His mercy and ask Him to nail the thing on His cross and bring it to it’s death within us. In faith we believe that God will do it. We begin to recognize these activities of the Holy Spirit to be that of God’s refining fire work, a work that separates the dross, making the gold within us purer and purer. Praise Him for His love! This is the dying, this is the work of His cross. This is His work that saves to the uttermost, bringing us out of spiritual immaturity into spiritual maturity. This is the story of the Potter and the clay; the molding work. This is also when we hear so much credit given to satan by Christians who have so little understanding of this work. The Lord desires to bring us to an utter end of ourselves, our self-reliance so that we would be utterly dependent upon Him. We belong to Him. “Know you not that you have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus, and you are not your own?” (I Cor. 6:20) It took the blood of Jesus to reconcile us to God. Romans 5:10, “… reconciled to God by the death of His Son”; Colossians 1:20, “… having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile”; Colossians 1:21 “… and you, that were sometime alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has He reconciled”; “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself,” 2 Corinthians 5:19.
Let us go back to last Easter and recall just how we celebrated this religious holiday. An eventful day perhaps with family and friends, a table bountifully set with much food, a day of enjoyment and laughter. Or perhaps a day of much work, feelings of being taken for granted, feelings of being unappreciated for all the time and money spent on this day. Great disappointment because of the lack of compliments on the cooking and the absence of kind and loving words. A day of colored eggs and candy baskets, gifts of toys and clothes. If we would look closely at this day it would surely be revealed to us our heart condition before the living God. We would have no need to question how we are to recognize this day or why.
How many opportunities went by unrecognized as the hand of the Lord upon us attempting to reveal to us some insidious self-love that He desired to be exposed to us. What did we do with resentful feelings, feelings of pride? Did we continue to pass blame on others and somehow justify ourselves? Did we look at what He was showing us about our own truly depraved nature and say to Him, “Oh Lord, I see! I see that ugliness within me. Thank you Lord for remembering that I am dust. I confess this Lord as sin and thank you for your forgiveness. I bring this sin now to your cross Lord and ask that it be nailed there and utterly put to it’s death within me. And now Lord as you bring that to death, replace it with a part of yourself that I would be even now more conformed to your image”. Do you see? So many want to be imitators of Christ but not partakers of Christ. Jesus told us that we must decrease so that He might increase!, that unless the grain falls to the ground and dies it will not rise up and bear fruit. As the grain lies in the ground and begins to disintegrate it becomes unrecognizable for what it is. It changes. It becomes a thing that looks as though it be dead. Yet, within is a tiny seed of life and that life then begins to come up out of the deadly looking thing. Do you see it? It begins at first to show through, pointing itself up to the sun, and there focused, continues to grow into something of life, maturing, being changed into something beautiful. We come to God with all our talents, desires, works, eager to be used. But that is the old and God wants the new. He must break apart all that is of ourself to prepare the way within for Himself. Our soul, which is our will, emotions and intellect, with all it’s preconceived ideas and philosophies has reigned within us all our life. Now as the Lord would desire to reign within us, He must do that work to displace ourself. What a work! and how we rebel! We struggle and fight against His molding hand. We will say to Him, “cut it out of me Lord”, yet every time His sword touches us to do just that we flinch and cry out in pain. Yet He continues on as the Husbandman of His vineyard, pruning, shearing, cultivating for His pleasure, His glory. Philippians 1:6 tells us “that He who began a good work in you will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ!” It is for us to cooperate and participate in all that His Spirit in His mercy exposes so that He is able to bring us into the fulness of His desire for our life; so that we as Paul would say, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ within me.”
This Jesus that desires to be found gave His life a ransom for us at calvary. His Cross bore our sins, and by His choice to die for us that we might have life and have it more abundantly, a situation is presented before us. Romans 5:7 tells us “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. (8) But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And in verse 9, God tells us through Paul, “Since we have now been justified by His blood …” and verse 10, “For if when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son …” Listen! We are reconciled and justified not because of our good works, or attempts to pattern our life after His in hopes of somehow pleasing Him enough so we can one day be with Him throughout eternity. Do not be deceived. We do not justify ourselves. We do not reconcile ourselves. It was and ever will be the work of love and mercy on God’s part towards us!
So then, what exactly is the situation presented before us? It is exactly this. What choice have we made regarding this Jesus who freely gave His life a ransom for our sin? Some will confess that they have ‘turned over a new leaf, and have started attending church regularly.’ Others will take great pride in the fact they have ‘given up all known sin.’ Then there are the Christ imitators. Everything for God! Baskets heaping with good ‘works; kind activities, Godly services of every variety, and all this for God, and yet nothing OF GOD! No time spent seeking His will, His desires, His heart or intents. Only a rushing in where angels would fear to tread, full of good intentions and an expectation that the God who sees and knows all would certainly be pleased with the sacrifice of ourselves.
Let us look for a moment in the book of Revelations, chapter 3. There is no question that we today are living in the Laodicean church age. Hear what God’s word has to say about us. Verse 15, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! (16) So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (17) You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. What are we missing here? Why would God be telling us that for the most part this church age of people are wretched! Poor! Blind! Naked! Pitiful!
Thus says the Lord God Almighty-
The Almighty pours His Spirit upon those He is preparing to be brought into the fulness of His life within them. Cry out for mercy, for great will be the accounting for them who refuse to leave behind their former concepts. He comes to His own to share His desires. He comes with light and discernment. Cry out for spiritual sight you who are blind, for He comes with eye salve to rub on your eyes so you may be seeing. Cry out for spiritual seeing, you who think you see, for He comes with eye salve to rub on your eyes so you may be seeing. He comes to reaffirm in you His words of wisdom given in former times for eternity.
To you who choose to not give up your life, to you I leave you with your life. It is yours to have and to hold for all eternity. Would you have cried out to Me for I was always there to see you through, to carry you through your soul’s rebellion. But you did not believe and instead chose to stay in your comfort, not willing to rebuke your soul into submission to My will. You will be left with your heart’s desire; your desire to be self-satisfied and self-gratified. You will be left to strive alone to please Me with your works that are powerless without My Spirit’s leading.
How much I had for you, but you would not let go. It is not that I am powerless to break the hands that so firmly grasp the things of Myself, and yet refuse the utter Lordship of My Son. It is that My heart grieves that you so firmly grasp so much that is so powerless because of your own self love and self concepts. You have delighted yourself in admiring what you do not actually possess. You are full of doctrine and your concepts of love, yet you refuse My Spirit’s enabling to bring the birthing of truth and love as a living Life within you. You have found your pleasure in the teachings, but denied paying the price to secure My Life in fulness. Your good works are done under obedience to rules and concepts that cost you nothing. You sought humility so you could take pride in having it. You gave love in order to feed your self love. You refused My dealings with you in order to be brought into a fulness of My Spirit’s Life and Power within you. You have admired that which you refused to possess.
If any have ears to hear, let him hear. If today you are seeking to know Jesus, come to Him. Stop all activity and simply bow down and say “Lord, I come. I choose to stop striving to please you and instead I only want you to work in me your desires for my life. Lord Jesus, make your cross a living reality in my life. Enable me to continually see your cross as my place of victory to overcome even as you overcame there. I place my life in your hands today and trust your blood for my justification and reconciliation to God my Father. Hold on to me now Lord and glorify yourself in my life.”
Such love! Do you see it? Calvary! May God give you grace according to the abundance of His glory to seek Him throughout each day, asking that His will be worked into your life. Trust Him. He loved you so much that He gave His only begotten Son that you would spend eternity with Him. It has been put another way. Christ so loved you that He chose to die rather than spend eternity without you! May this be our constant prayer . . .
Come into my heart Lord Jesus
and sit on the throne therein.
Reign over my life Lord Jesus
and cleanse me from every sin.
May my entire self dear Lord
be crucified with Thee;
That I might live within you Lord,
and you would live in me.
That I would seek your perfect will
for every day I live,
And be content and confident
in whatever you would give.
To take it from your hands dear Lord
and hold it to my breast,
Knowing that in all you give,
my life in you is blest.