The way of life
The way of the cross (the way of self-denial), is the way of life, for “If anyone desires to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23. Every step I take in following Jesus, every step on the way of life, is a step of denying (saying “no” to) myself, my own will. For every new step I want to take in Jesus’ steps, I must crucify the self-will in me that would resist this.
My own will must, of necessity, be denied; it has to die the death of the cross if God’s will is to be done. There is no middle way! It is either/or: either God’s will or my will! So instead of it being written, “It would be preferable if he did this” or “It would be best if …;” it says, “must deny himself.” We must go the way of the cross if we want to make any progress, for this is the way of life.
The source and foundation for all this is that Christ took up His cross, bore it, and was nailed to it. If we want to follow Him on the same way and become like Him, we too must bear our cross and be nailed to it – by faith! “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Romans 6:6. The word of faith says that our old man was crucified with Him.
If we lay hold of this by faith, it will also, in truth, work a crucifixion in us. If we don’t, then it goes without saying that it is impossible to make any progress on the way of life. The old man cannot do God’s will. The old man has to be crucified, or drowned, if God’s will is to be done. (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12) People say, either through ignorance or un-belief, that “the old Adam” can swim. This is a fundamental misunderstanding. He cannot swim at all; he sinks like a stone! He only appears to swim as long as he has his feet on the bottom (he has not, by faith, been crucified)!
Development – new light
By believing Romans 6:6, we cease to serve sin; that is, to commit conscious sin, to do the works of the flesh. However, unconscious sin, the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13), continue to manifest themselves in those areas where we do not have light. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live …” Galatians 2:20. This speaks of a victorious life and includes all conscious sin. “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24. This includes all conscious lusts and desires, so that we do not act contrary to what we know is right. “But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14. These words again describe the crucifixion of the world and of the “I” – as far as we are aware and to the degree that we have light.
We cannot crucify a man before we have found him. Neither can we reckon ourselves crucified to something we do not consider to be sin. So it is important that we remain close to God so we can continually receive new light over our self-life, so that something more can be crucified. This is all by faith. By faith it becomes reality in our life, otherwise it just remains a theory. If we, in reality, are crucified with Christ by faith, we will also in reality advance on the way of life. And this is precisely what we have been called to do.
So let this be our motto (concerning all of our self-life): On the cross with it!
This article is translated from Norwegian, and is an excerpt from the booklet “The Way of Life,” first published by Skjulte Skatters Forlag in November 1935.
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