Crucified with Christ

by | Jan 1, 2008

It is the sinful self-life that must be put to death, or to use St. Paul’s words (Gal. 2:20), “crucified with Christ.” The former ego of selfishness must be nailed to the cross, and Christ must take the supreme place in the soul.

Often there is some last rallying point of selfishness, a last ditch in which the evil ego entrenches itself. It may be some very trifling thing that is to be exempted from the dominion of Christ, some preference, some indulgence, some humiliating duty, some association to be broken, some adornment to be discarded.

But when this last entrenchment of self-will has been surrendered to Christ, He is not long in taking possession. Some writers magnify the will and say to inquirers, “Yield, bow, submit.” Others of the Wesleyan type say, “Believe Christ’s every word.” Both are right. Perfect trust cannot exist without perfect consecration. Nor can we make over all our interests into Christ’s hands without the utmost confidence in His word.

Hence, crucifixion with Christ implies perfect faith in Him, not only when He is riding in triumph into Jerusalem amid the cries of enthusiastic men and the hosannas of willing children, but when the fickle multitude are crying, “Crucify Him!” From the beginning Jesus intimated that discipleship must be grounded on an acceptance of Himself, stripped of all the attractions of riches and honor.

“If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

Love made perfect requires that perfect surrender, which in the strong language of St. Paul, is crucifixion with Christ. The difficulty with average Christians is that they faint beneath the cross on the Via Dolorosa, the way of grief, and never reach their Calvary. They do not by faith gird on strength for the hour when they must be stretched upon the cross. They shrink from the torturing spike, and from the spear aimed at the heart of their sinful self-life. This betokens weakness of faith.

But when the promise is grasped with the grip of a giant, no terrors, no agonies, can daunt the soul. In confidence that there will be after the crucifixion a glorious resurrection to spiritual life and blessedness, the believer yields his hand to the nail, and his head to the thorn crown.

That flinty center of the personality, the will, which has up to this hour stood forth in resistance to the complete will of God, suddenly flows down, a molten stream under the furnace blast of divine love, melted into oneness with “the sweet will of God.”

After such a death there is always a resurrection unto life.

An interval of hours or even of days may take place before the angels shall descend and roll away the stone from the sepulcher of the crucified soul, and pulsations of a new and blissful life be felt through every fiber and atom of being. It is not the old life that rises, but a new life is breathed forth by the Holy Spirit. “Dead indeed unto sin,” but “alive unto God through Jesus Christ.”

He walks in glorious liberty,

 

To sin entirely dead;

 

The Truth, the Son, hath made him free,

 

And he is free indeed.

 

Throughout his soul Thy glories shine;

 

His soul is all renewed,

 

And decked in righteousness divine,

 

And clothed and filled with God.

He who enjoys this repose is brought so intimately into sympathy with Jesus Christ that he is all aflame with zeal and aroused to the utmost activity to save lost men. As a venerable preacher once expressed it, “I enjoy the rest of faith that keeps me in perpetual motion.”

Dr. Daniel Steele was a famous 19th-century Methodist educator, writer, and advocate of the doctrine of entire sanctification. This selection, condensed by Larry D. Smith, is from Half-Hours with Saint Paul.

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