In our union with Christ in His death, we cease and He begins; and from the beginning He becomes the all. That is a progressive thing, as well as a basic thing. It is a thing all-inclusive in its meaning – in its intent – but it is also progressive. We have to accept the fullness of that thing in an act. We have to take the position quite definitely and consciously that now, in accepting our union with Christ in His death, this is to work out in our having no more place at all… that whenever we come into evidence we shall be smitten – we shall be put aside, we shall not be allowed to go on.
We have to accept once for all in a definite act of commitment that from henceforth everything that is of self is going to be smitten unsparingly with that Cross… and that whenever self comes in, it will not be allowed to have a standing. We had better settle it once for all… and have a dealing with the Lord on that inclusive, comprehensive, and utter ground… that He will make real His own meaning in that; not our understanding of it, not our grasp or apprehension of it, not what we think to be the “I” which is to be forbidden, but what He knows to be the “I”; not the measure of our knowledge of ourselves, but His knowledge of us. There will be revealed a very great deal more that is “I” than has ever entered our thought or imagination. Self, then, not as we know it, but as He knows it through and through, is to be brought under the power of that Cross: and this we accept in an act.
Then it becomes progressive. To die daily, to be always bearing about in the body the dying or the deadness of the Lord Jesus, so that His death is a working thing every day by which self is denied, is the issue of our initial acceptance. But as that takes place, that sacrificial yielding over to the Cross, the Life of Christ is being reproduced. By the power of His own Life, He is increasing while we decrease. We shall never meet a challenge to set ourselves aside but what, in meeting that challenge, and answering to it, there will be the occasion for an increase of Christ. Everything which demands that we accept a fresh measure of the meaning of His death means that, and as we accept it, there will be a larger measure of Him in risen Life.
So that the meaning and value of Christ risen as an inward Life is reproduction. And there is no other way. There is no way to make Christians according to the New Testament but that way. The increase of the number of the Lord’s own is not by joining something from the outside; it is by coming to the Cross and dying. That is the only way. There is no Christian on any other ground than that he died with Christ and has been raised together with Him.