The Cross of Christ is deeply bound up with the question of Divine fullness. Everything that carries with it the idea of our doing anything and making ourselves anything to obtain the mercy of God and attain unto acceptance with Him, bears the hallmark of the Devil himself. Christ’s death for us and our death with Him is the only, but the sure, ground of full acceptance! Luther said it very utterly when he put it thus “O Christ, I am Thy sin, Thy curse, Thy wrath of God, Thy hell; and contrariwise, Thou art my righteousness, my blessing, my life, my grace of God, my heaven.” No wonder the Devil hated Martin Luther and assailed him so bitterly.
But there is not only the basic, initial, perfect value of the Cross for our full and unquestioned acceptance; there is a meaning of the Cross in relation to spiritual fullness and fruitfulness. It is what Paul calls “Being made conformable to His death” (Phil. 3:10).
How very much of the tragedy, scandal, defeat, weakness, deadness, limitation and unloveliness of many Christian people and Christian institutions, communities and churches is due to uncrucified “flesh” or natural life! How greatly Christ is hidden from view by men and things and methods which bring themselves into prominence! The need, if He is to come to the place of the Divine intention, and we with Him, is for a continuous and ever-deepening working of the Cross in us.
We really must be in a position to say “I have been crucified with Christ”. Yes, but also to complete the statement “It is no longer I, but Christ.” Is it true “No longer I?” “No… I”? That is what Paul meant, but who can know the depth of that “I”. Only Christ knows how deep and thorough His Cross is, and we must hand ourselves over to Him for the Holy Spirit to work all His meaning of the Cross in us if the way is to be clear for His fullness.
So the twofold meaning and message of the Cross is a very strong part of EVERY ministry. There are many who do not like the latter “It is no longer I” and will not have it.
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