Have You Died?

“In his book, The Cross of Christ, F. J. Huegel quotes from the Sunday School Times as follows:

Dr. J. G. Fleming tells how, in the days of the Boxer uprising in China [the Chinese uprising to violently eliminate foreign influence in China], Boxers captured a mission school, blocked all gates but one, [laid] a [makeshift] cross before it, and sent in word that anyone who trampled on that cross [thus renouncing their faith] would go free, but that anyone who stepped around it would be killed. The first seven, we are told, trampled on the cross, and were allowed to go free. The eighth, a girl, knelt before the cross, and was shot [dead]. All the rest in a line of a hundred students followed her example [and fate].”

Our history, the believing church of Christ, is saturated with blood. Even in these modern times there are a multitude of Christians who have died for the testimony of Christ. A REPORT FOR THE YEAR 1996 DOCUMENTED THAT 160,000 CHRISTIAN’S WERE MARTYRED FOR THEIR FAITH.

There have been more Christians killed in the 20th century than in the previous nineteen centuries combined – as reported by U.S. House Resolution. Scripps-Howard News Service, September 28, 1996

The young girl in particular had already died with Christ, before she could die for Him, and she also set an example to others that inspired they join her in death for their saviour.

The great challenge for the unsaved, as you once were, is overcoming darkness and submitting to the light of Christ. The second step for the believer is the step of faith, not for salvation, but conscious SANCTIFICATION that believes God’s perspective in spite of my feelings, to live from a position of having been forgiven all my sins. The third and final stage is the most profound and painful of all three; being found crucified with Christ. God draws us progressively through our life of faith to the acceptance of being co-crucified with Christ.

“[God’s] calculated failure [in our lives] is used to cause us to move beyond the early infant enthusiasm to the place where we have to dig in and settle down on the explicit truth of the Word. Before we can grow in any aspect of truth, we must be established in the knowledge of it. …Our Father understands all this, and He takes the initiative in the matter. He drops the seed of dissatisfaction into our hearts: He begins to show us that there [must be] far more to this Christian life than just being saved and active for Him.” [1]

Most Christians still wander in the throes of Roman chapter 7:

Rom 7:15-24

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.

18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.

22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;

23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Rom 7:25

25 I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

This is the land of mixed feelings and conflicting loyalties. ‘Sooner or later most of us as believers wake up to a sense of our sinful selfhood. …but our self-life thwarts’ our ability to experience and live the living waters and completeness in Christ.

We often strive or are exhorted by others to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to increase in experience with God. However, as Stanford has said, “[The Christian] is exhorted to be filled with the Spirit before he has been [slain] felled by the cross.” [2]

‘Submission and suffering are utterly contrary to the flesh. The thing [a person] loves more than anything else in the world is himself. The thing a person wants is to have his own way and to enjoy himself. Suffering, therefore, always crosses one where self is alive [most]. …Suffering is so unwelcome to the flesh that it demands a total surrender of our wills to its happiness’

Jesus Christ the Son of God submitted to his earthly parents and to secular and religious authorities which ultimately sent Him to the cross. But He submitted to everything God the Father purposed for Him without rebellion regardless of the pain and cost to his personal rights. Jesus Christ had the right to be treated with dignity by man, He was the Son of God, he did no sin to warrant hate, He didn’t deserve crucifixion at the hands of the authorities. But through His obedience He became the name above any other name, in heaven, on earth or under the earth. [3]

For the Christian in refusing to reckon oneself as crucified with Christ, will bring about progressive emptiness in their lives; often one tries to fill this progressive void with more Christian strivings, more work, more prayer, more seminars, more reading; all in the pursuit of more, more, more. But with the short-term spark of excitement in the hope that at last I have found the magic formula to happiness through Christ, dissatisfaction again comes in the soul.

But resisting being co-crucified with Christ is an artificial freedom! Jesus tells us:

Luke 9:23-25

23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

Jessie Penn-Lewis: “If the difference between ‘Christ dying for us,’ and our ‘dying with Him,’ has not been recognized, acknowledged, and applied, it may safely be affirmed that the self is still the dominating factor in the life” [4]

“…the facts of Calvary gives the Holy Spirit freedom to bring that finished work into our daily lives. We stood on the fact of His dying for our sins, and this act of faith allowed the Holy Spirit to give us freedom from the penalty of sin – justification. Now, once we come to see this further fact, we are urged in the Word to stand on the liberating truth of our dying with Christ in His death to sin, which allows the Holy Spirit to bring into our lives freedom from the power, the enslavement, of sin – progressive sanctification. And of course when we stand with Him in Glory, we will be forever free from the presence of sin – entirely sanctified and glorified.” [5]

Re Luke 9:23ff) “The distinctive “form” of life is possible only through metamorphosis, because the sacrificial life cuts against so many fundamental human instincts. …Becoming like Christ in his death (in death itself and in daily life) and taking one’s own cross (self-sacrifice, not random suffering) is the most radical thing a human soul can do. A caterpillar’s metamorphosis begins not when the chrysalis opens, but when the chrysalis is formed. This ‘death’ and entombment allows the transforming process to begin. Likewise for the Christian, becoming like Christ in his death by taking up one’s cross is the moment and the method for metamorphosis. Is there another way? Jesus couldn’t have made in more clearer [in Matt 10:38]. [6]

The sense of true and real freedom is through submission to God, not by using God for selfish pursuit of happiness.

John 4:10

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, `Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” (NAS)

THE ONLY THING PREVENTING OUR EXPERIENCING ULTIMATE LIFE AND SPIRITUAL JOY IS ‘SELF’!

P86. The victorious believer will become aware of many forms of self, which must yet be dealt with. We shall discover: In our service for Christ, self-confidence and self-esteem; in the slightest suffering, self-saving and self-pity; in the least misunderstanding, self-defence and self-vindication; in our station in life, self-seeking and self-centeredness; in the smallest trials, self-inspection and self-accusation; in the daily routine, self-pleasing and self-choosing; in our relationships, self-assertiveness and self-respect; in our education, self-boasting and self-expression; in our desires, self-indulgence and self-satisfaction; in our successes, self-admiration and self-congratulation; in our failures, self-excusing and self-justification; in our spiritual attainments, self-righteousness and self-complacency; in our public ministry, self-reflection and self-glory; in life as a whole, self-love and selfishness. Flesh is an “I” specialist. [7]

…It is God’s wisdom that we should not be burdened with the discovery of these many forms of self all at once. But the Holy Spirit progressively moves us to greater revelation until we come before our own cross.

P81 What glory is for the double-minded believer, wandering in the wilderness of divided affection, to boast continually that he has everything “in the heavenly places in Christ?” [Knowing our position in Christ and yet] all the while taking no territory for Christ, experiencing no milk and honey and grapes [of the promised land of plenty], and no grappling with the foes [the Canaanites of the land] for the Redeemer. Any stalemate conception of the two natures will not stand the test of Scripture. … The cross has the solution. You have been crucified with Christ – have put off the old [person you were]. The Cross condemns us to live like saints. Hallelujah! Let us go up at once and possess.

We cannot do any work for Christ merely by putting our minds to do something for Him. We cannot reflect Christ by merely doing Christ-like things. We gain nothing by making our flesh submit to Christ, self must die, and Christ must live.

P16 “We have conceived of the Christian life as an imitation of Christ. It is not an imitation of Christ. It is a participation of Christ.”

(One man testified he had a powerful dream. In it he was overwhelmed by one hanging on the cross, he squinted upon the blood soaked and terrible sight, he strained to see the face of His Lord who died on the cross for him, but as he drew near and got very close his heart pained, for upon the cross was his own body, slain as Christ.)

It is self we need to submit to Christ and the Cross. We must be willing to die to our own will and unto Christ. How is this: by accepting the challenges and trials that come our way, by “learning obedience by the things we suffer.” We reach a point where we freely choose to do the right things regardless of the fear or loss by doing the right thing.

Rom 6:5-11

5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection,

6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin;

7 for he who has died is freed from sin.

8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,

9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.

10 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

(NAS)

“Some cry out that we have two natures and we are victims. We do not have two natures; we are a new creation. Our old self-life has become the foreigner to my life; but we love the foreigner too much I fear.”

When unhappiness comes your way through circumstance not of your doing – “In everything give thanks.” [Corry Ten-Boom… “no pit is too deep where God is not deeper still”. When faced with suffering that is not directly of Satan, in that case we bring the sword of God to his throat, otherwise we are to declare with Job saying:

Job 1:20-22

20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

(KJV)

The Christian often wants the self-life and Christ to dwell in harmony. To this there is no harmony. Only Christ

1 Cor 2:2

2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (KJV)

Gal 2:20

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (KJV)

There is a life to live that is far beyond all present feelings and circumstances. There is a life lived with Christ in which joy, peace, and pleasure is had even in spite of what life may bring us. The cost? YOU must die too. Every believer who is truly saved is drawn toward their own cross.

(p135f [8] :.. (Born Crucified)

THE RESURRECTED LIFE OF CHRIST IS ONLY REALISED BY RECKONING ONESELF AS HAVING DIED WITH CHRIST.

Gal 2:19-21 FLESH

Very different are those who have experienced God’s regeneration. They remain “in” the flesh, but they are no longer “after” the flesh (2 Cor 10:3 Gal 2:20). They need to be watchful. For the fact of the flesh means dullness of spiritual perception (Rom 6:19), and though the Christian need pay none of the claims of the flesh (Rom 8:12), yet he must remember that in his flesh there is nothing good (Rom 7:18), and that if he should repose his trust there again (Phil 3:3; Gal 3:3) he would lapse into bondage (Rom 7:25). He has become the recipient of a new principle of life sufficient to oust the old principle of death (Rom 8:4,9,13; Gal 5:16-17), “the life of Christ” in his “death-bound body” (2 Cor 4:10-11).

Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Copyright 1984 by Baker Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

You are bought with a price. You were a pauper and a slave to sin. You were a criminal before a holy God. Jesus Christ bought you and carries the certificate of ownership signed with His blood. God through Christ made us kings and queens of the Kingdom of heaven, He has dispensed with all the old rules of your life that led you toward death of your soul, He now says to us, “Willingly submit to my ownership no matter what your personal cost would be. Be the person I have bought you to be in Christ.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” Rev 5:9-10

He bought us to be kings, submit to what His Kingship is: Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom 6:4

SELF-SURRENDER

1. Christ’s Teaching and Example: In the New Testament self-surrender is still more clearly set forth. Christ’s teachings and example as presented in the Gospels, give to it special emphasis. It is a prime requisite for becoming His disciple (10:38> f; <16:24>; 9:23-24,59> f; <14:27,33>; compare 19:27; Mk 8:34>). When certain of the disciples were called they left all and followed (4:20; 9:9; Mk 2:14; Lk 5:27> f). His followers must so completely surrender self, as that father, mother, kindred, and one’s own life must be, as it were, hated for His sake. The rich young ruler must renounce self as an end and give his own life to the service of men (19:21; Mk 10:21>; compare 12:33>). But this surrender of self was never a loss of personality; it was the finding of the true selfhood 8:35; Mt 10:39>. Our Lord not only taught self-surrender, but practised it. As a child, He subjected Himself to His parents 2:51>. Self-surrender marked His baptism and temptation (3:15; 4:1> ff). It is shown in His life of physical privation <8:20>. He had come not to do His own will, but the Fathers 4:34; 5:30; 6:38>. He refuses to use force for His own deliverance 18:11>. In His person God’s will, not His own, must be done 22:42>; and to the Father He at last surrendered His spirit 23:46>. So that while He was no ascetic, and did not demand asceticism of His followers, He “emptied himself …. becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross” ( f; see KENOSIS).

(from International Standard Bible Encylopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft)

How do we act on the fact that I have been crucified.

Rom 6:11

11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

NKJV

NT:3049

logizomai (log-id’-zom-ahee); middle voice from NT:3056; to take an inventory, i.e. estimate (literally or figuratively):

KJV – conclude, (ac-) count (of), + despise, esteem, impute, lay, number, reason, reckon, suppose, think (on).

(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

It starts with a verbal decision and submission to the revelation of God. Then you reckon, or recognize, you are a new creature in Christ. The decision is made but once but the reckoning is necessary often; e.g. you make a decision to say ‘I do’ when you marry. The decision is but once, but, in the tough times especially, you remind yourself of the decision you made and consider (reckon) yourself married and committed regardless.

You do not surrender all to God to get from Him, you recognize your debt of gratitude to Christ’s crucifixion and that admit your life is no longer yours.

We want to experience power and authority over the trials of life. We want to be strengthened by His power so we clamour toward this goal through formula thinking; devotions, prayer, service, and that does bring initial reward but it does not last, so we strive further to gain. However to acquire that ultimate secret life with God through Christ we must die, count ourselves crucified with Christ, we must recognize that an essential final part of the deal of salvation through Christ’s blood is that we recognize we have been crucified with him.

God’s way is the opposite of how we think. We strive for happiness from God. Stop your artificial life and enter the real meaning of your salvation. IT IS LIKE HAVING A CERTIFICATE IN YOUR HAND GIVEN TO YOU BY GOD UPON RECEIVING CHRIST. ‘THIS CERTIFIES THAT … HAS BEEN BOUGHT IN FULL AND APPOINTED TO BE A WITNESS TO MY AUTHORITY AND POWER.’ Do not use the great position earned by Christ for yourself, die to your self-demands and desires rather live in Christ. You cannot do this be an act of strength but only through the wilful acknowledgment to God that you willingly accept you that had died on the cross that day too.

Acknowledge this decision to God in prayer verbally, “I believe you made me a new creation in Christ Jesus, I have been hanging unto the old me and worldly ways, I acknowledge I have been already crucified with Him and now accept my responsibility to surrender to this fact, and I reckon this to be true in spite of my feelings to the contrary, now Lord I submit myself to you in this newness of life. Based on this acknowledgment I ask you to establish this reality through the work of the Holy Spirit that dwells within me because of Christ.”


[1] Miles J. Stanford; The Complete Green Letters; Clarion Classics; p 186; p 58

[2] The Complete Green Letters; Miles Stanford pg 275

[3] Heb 5:8,9

[4] as quoted by Stanford’s Complete Green Letters; pg 34

[5] Stanford’s Complete Green Letters; pg 49

[6] Robert L Saucy; The Church in God’s Program; p. 149

[7] L.E. Maxwell’s Born Crucified; Moody Press (all flowing quotes with page number indicators are from this book)

[8] Excerpts from Born Crucified; L.E.Maxwell; Moody Press

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