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Friday, February 24, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 15

The Cross of Calvary # 15

The Life side of the Cross

"One died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him" (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

It has been well said that there are two sides to the Cross, the earthward side, which means the negative deliverance of death; and the heavenward side, which tells of life in union with the living Lord. As the substitution of Christ for sin, and the death with Christ to sin of all who believe in Him, are indivisible, so death and life are not to be divided along the whole course of the Christian life.

"If we have become united with Him by the likeness of His death," writes Paul to the Romans, we shall be also with Him in resurrection. It is, as we have seen, the work of the Holy Spirit to make us really "partakers of a vital union" sharing "the reality of His death";as real a union "as that of a graft with the tree into which it is grafted."

What such a vital union means, can only be known by the working of the Holy Spirit, in response to a faith which rests upon the work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary.

The Holy Spirit will wield the "word of the Cross", which is "living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword", and with it pierce even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, revealing the thoughts and intents of the heart, separating the old from the new life, until the life which is from above has unhindered sway, and the redeemed one truly lives on the life side of the Cross.

But we must remember that there is no "resurrection life" apart from the Risen Lord. We are planted into "His death"; it is with Him that we were crucified, and to Him as the living One we are joined, so that in Him as our sphere we may walk in newness of life. The resurrection life is also a continuous one. Not an experience which we passed through at some crisis long ago, but a Living Christ, Himself to Resurrection, abiding in us, and putting forth His mighty energy through us, so far as we fulfill the conditions which permit Him to do so.

Moreover, life cannot be copied, and no assertion of possessing resurrection life can bring it into being. But no assertion of life is needed when it is present, for it is its own witness by its manifesting power.

Thanks be to God, the life in union with Christ is real life, a dynamic power that is indisputable, bringing the soul into such living relationship with the risen Christ, as to make it know something of the "powers of the age to come," and so to see the things of time from the standpoint of eternity, as to lift it above the attractions, and absorbing interests of things on the earth.

On the resurrection side of the Cross, the Holy Spirit illumines the Cross of Calvary, until Jesus Christ crucified becomes "placarded" before the eyes of the heart, and the soul is ever being taught fresh aspects of His death; for until deliverance from the bondage of sin is known, with the consequent cleansing of the heart and life, the Lord is not given His place on the throne in the heart, and the deeper lessons of Calvary cannot be imparted by the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Corinthians 5:14 and subsequent verses, the Apostle Paul gives us a word picture of the life on the resurrection side of the Cross, and clearly shows the death on Calvary as the basis of the life from God.

The Motive Power of the New Life

"The love of Christ constraineth us"

The word "constraineth", which Paul uses, occurs several times in the New Testament Greek to express a "grip", or constraint, which is overpowering, or irresistible. It is rendered "strait" in Philippians 1:23, and is the word used by the Lord Himself when He speaks of the baptism of suffering before Him, and says He is "straitened" until it is accomplished.

It is a word used in describing the grip of the men that held Jesus, and again of the people "holden" with great fear at the presence of Christ, and of Simon's wife's mother "holden" with a great fever.

These instances, and their connection, give light upon the sense in which the word is used by Paul when speaking of the love of Christ constraining him. It keeps him in a strait, hemmed in to one course from which there is no deviation. He is "held" by this great love; completely mastered by it, so that he is urged and impelled onward, as a torrent into one course, sweeping down everything that comes in its way.

Such was the love of Christ, when He Who was on an equality with God, counted it not a prize to be grasped, but emptied Himself, and humbled Himself to become in the likeness of man, obedient unto death - even the death of the Cross.

And this love is the motive power of the new life in union with the Living Lord. A love shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit, a love which casts aside all self-love and self-interest, and completely holds the soul in its power.

The Basis of the New Life

"One died for all, therefore all died"

As is his wont, Paul clearly shows the death of Christ to be the basis of the new life. In no other passage does he condense the two-fold message of the Cross into such a terse sentence. The Saviour was the substitute for sinners - He "died for all"; and all for whom he died, died with Him - "Therefore all died."

"The love of Christ constrains me," cries Paul, because I have been to Calvary, and in the death of the Man Who died, I have seen my death too. I have died with Him, and in fellowship with Him in His death all selfish barriers have been broken away. The love that led Him to Calvary is the love which has been shed in my heart by the Holy Spirit, and now it constrains me as it constrained Him, and pressed Him onward to the Cross.

The Object of the New Life

"He died for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him Who for their sakes died and rose again" (2 Corinthians 5:15).

They who have "died" with Him, now "Live" in His life; they realize that it was for "their sakes" He died; "for their sakes" He lives; so for His sake they gladly consent no longer to live unto themselves, but unto Him.

They see that they have been crucified with Him, and now He Who died and rose again, fills their whole vision, constraining them to present their bodies as a living sacrifice, "holy" acceptable unto God," which is their glad and "reasonable sacrifice."

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 16)

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 14

The Cross of Calvary # 14

The Cross and the Holy Spirit, continued

From faith to faith the Holy Spirit leads the trusting one, as he cooperates with Him, by a glad and ready "yes" to all His dealings, until, at the appearing of the Lord from heaven, the body of humiliation itself is transformed, and made like unto His glorious body; or should physical death be the will of God for the redeemed one, the Holy Spirit ministers such abundant life in Christ, that he does not "see death", but only falls asleep to be "forever with the Lord." Mortality is now "swallowed up of life." "Now He that wrought us for this very thing is God, Who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

"He would grant you strength by the entrance of His Spirit unto your inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ... and to know the love of Christ ... that you may be filled therewith, even to the measure of the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:17-20).

These words sum up in brief the purpose of the word of the Holy Spirit in the believer. Paul prays for the Ephesians that they may be "strengthened with power" through the Spirit, "that Christ may dwell" in their hearts by faith. The Eternal Spirit of the Father takes possession of the redeemed one, for the express purpose of revealing the indwelling of the Son. He strengthens the believer for the fulfillment of the conditions necessary for Christ to be fully formed within - the conditions we have already seen as explained in Paul's words to the Galatians, "I have been crucified with Christ - Christ liveth in me."

Faith on the part of the redeemed one is again mentioned here. Faith is non-existent apart from its object. Faith is simply reliance upon the word of God, with the character of God at the back of His word! "Faith cometh by hearing," and is awakened in the receptive heart by he Spirit of God Himself, as He speak the word of God to the soul. "You were made partakers of His resurrection, through the faith wrought in you by God, Who raised Him," wrote Paul to the Colossians.

We are therefore cast upon the Holy Spirit to supply to us all our need, even the very faith by which we are to cooperate with Him, and appropriate all that the Lord Jesus has wrought for us in His death on the Cross.

Unbelief is described by the Lord as sin, when more often it is bewailed as an "infirmity" which must be born as an affliction by the poor soul under its power. But we must deal with unbelief as sin; confess it to God as sin; renounce it as sin; and expect deliverance from it through the death of Christ, as much as from any known sin.

Let us look once more to Calvary. We are crucified with Christ, therefore let us count upon Him as the living One, to give us the "spirit of faith," and then, ceasing from our own works in struggling to "believe," let us rest - lie down, so to speak - upon His word, and we shall be given a childlike trustful confidence in Him, and be taught to live in the faith of the Son of God, as He lived by the Father.

As the Christ is thus revealed within, the Spirit of God leads the believer on, and he is made "strong to apprehend" with all saints, the breadth, length, height, and depth of the love of Christ. The supreme manifestation of that love as manifested in His death on Calvary. "Strong to apprehend!" Divine strength is needed, for the apprehending comes only by the sharing of His sufferings. The apprehending of another's sorrows with the mind alone, does not create the fellowship that is engendered by walking the same path. "Ye shall indeed drink of My cup," said the Master to His disciples.

But to be "strong to apprehend" something of the love that led the Christ to Calvary is not all. "That ye may be filled therewith," writes the Apostle. And to what extent, Paul? "Even to the measure of the fullness of God!"

But this is beyond our power to grasp, O faithful Apostle of the Cross. Yes, but "He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask," or even "think," for the conception of the mind has no place here! "According to the power that worketh in us" we can be filled with the love of Christ - filled, and filled, and filled unto all the fullness of God, yea, as when "the water were risen, waters to swim in!"

"Oh that I knew this blessed life" may be the cry in the heart of some who read these words. Child of God, if thou art vainly trying to realize the deliverance of Calvary, without reliance upon the inworking Spirit of God, open thy whole being to Him, and commit thyself into His hands. Yield to Him to vitally unite thee to the crucified One, and to reveal within thee the living Lord.

Art thou willing for implicit obedience to Him at any cost? Wilt thou let Him have full right of way in thy life? Art thou now ready for the message of faith? Then once more turn to Calvary. As thou lookest away to Him Who died, dare to believe the written word of God that thou hast died with Him, and God's wisdom in a mystery will be unveiled to thee by the Eternal Spirit.

"But what is the anointing of the Spirit?"

Art thou in the service of the King? As the Holy Spirit reveals the Christ in thee, thou shalt understand that thy Lord not only dwelleth in thee, but that thou art a member of the Body of Christ, and as thou art brought into thy place in the Body, the holy oil which anointed the Christ above His fellows, will flow down to the skirts of His garments, even upon and through thee, anointing thee for all service in the will of God.

The Christ Himself will work through thee mightily by the Holy Spirit, as thou dost abandon thyself to His will. But remember "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit". "Diversities of working but the same God Who worketh all things in all." "All worketh ... the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as He will."

The Son of God was anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows, because He "loved righteousness, and hated iniquity." Even so will the Christ bring into the deep hatred of sin, and love of all that is of the righteousness of God; thou wilt love thy Lord not only as a God of love, but also as the God of terrible holiness. Thou wilt covet the severity of God upon all in thyself that is unlike Him, and gladly be chastened that thou mayest become a partaker of His holiness. So shalt thou become united in closer bonds to thy Lord, and a sharer in the anointing of Him, the sceptre of whose kingdom is a sceptre of "rightness" or "straitness."

Knowing that thou hast given room to the Holy Spirit, now walk step by step in the Spirit, depending alone upon Him, and seeking only His will and pleasure; so will He lead thee on, and teach thee how to abide in thy Lord, being adjusted into thy place in His mystical Body, and thou shalt know that "the anointing which ye have received of Him, abideth in you ... the same anointing teacheth you all things, ye shall abide in Him."

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 15 - "The Life Side of the Cross"

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 13

The Cross of Calvary # 13

"He shewed unto them His hands and His side ... He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:20-22)

"Christ redeemed us from the curse ... having become a curse for us ... that we might receive the promise of the Spirit" (Galatians 3:13, 14).

These words of the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, show that the gift of the Holy Spirit is based upon the work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary.

The office of the Spirit was foreshown by he Lord Jesus in His farewell message to His disciples, on the eve of His Cross and passion.

The Spirit of truth, Who proceeded from the Father, would be sent by the Son to each of His redeemed ones, for the special purpose of teaching them the things of God; reminding them of the words of Christ; always and only bearing witness of Christ; guiding each soul into all the truth; not speaking of Himself, but communicating the mind of the Father, and of the Son, to those of whom He had charge; unveiling to them the eternal purposes of God; and glorifying Christ in all His redeemed; taking of all His fullness , and declaring it unto them.

It was in the upper room in Jerusalem, on His resurrection day, that Jesus Himself came and stood in the midst of His disciples; shewing them His hands and His side, with the marks of His Cross upon them", "He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit". Again after the Ascension, being "by the right hand of God exalted", He received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, and poured Him forth upon that waiting group on earth, who had "with one accord" continued steadfastly in prayer, waiting for the "promise of the Father", which the Lord had said should come to them, to equip them for the work, in cooperation with the Spirit, of witnessing to the death and resurrection of the Son of God.

How the Spirit of God taught the disciples, and illuminated to them the words of Christ; how He guided them into truth wholly foreign to their preconceived ideas and environment; how He bore witness to the Christ, and communicated the mind and will of Father and Son to the redeemed on earth; how He glorified the Christ, and took of His fullness and declared it unto them - the book of the Acts of the Apostles sets forth.

Through the Apostle Paul, thus taught by Him, we learn that His dwelling in, and possessing every soul, is on the ground of Calvary alone. "Christ redeemed us," he writes, "that we might receive the ... Spirit." The word "redeemed" takes us back to Calvary, where we were redeemed "with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ". Not only so, but the Christ became a curse for us, that we might receive the Spirit! He redeemed us "having become accursed for our sakes (for it is written, 'Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree',) to the end... that through faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."

The two-fold message of Calvary is thus clearly linked with the gift of the Holy Spirit, for if Christ became a curse for us, then we are the accursed ones on whose behalf He hung upon a tree; and as our Representative He carried us to the tree with Him.

That the Curse of the Cross is associated with the promise of the Spirit is also deeply suggestive of the conditions upon which He can freely work in us. For it is only when we realize in very truth that we are "accursed" in all that we are in ourselves, that we gladly accept the message of Calvary that we are crucified with Him Who died on our behalf, and make room for the full indwelling and outworking of the Holy Spirit

The Cross leads to the Spirit, and the Spirit back again to the Cross. Through the death of Christ alone, can the soul receive the Spirit, and only by the Holy Spirit, thus received, can the believer be vitally united with the death of Christ, so as to know with assurance the indwelling of the Risen Lord, and be able to say with truth, "I have been crucified with Christ". "Christ liveth in me!" Yet again it is true, that only through a still deeper fellowship with Christ in His Cross, can we know the Holy Spirit in fullness and power.

Paul's words to the Galatians illustrate this also, for he appeals to his preaching of Calvary as the ground of the Holy Spirit's work in them, and yet it is evident that, although they had manifestly received the Spirit, they needed a clearer knowledge of the Cross; for if they had seen their death with Christ as fully as Paul had done, they would not have been disposed to return to the old plane of self-effort. The Galatians had not realized the curse of the law, which came upon every soul who failed even in one point of obedience to the law, and so they had not come to an end of all self-reliance. They had begun "in the Spirit", but did not know how to "live" in the Spirit", on that very same ground of faith in the crucified Son of God, which had brought Him into their lives at the beginning.

Paul's words to the Galatian believers come with renewed emphasis today, for many of the children of God also need a clearer vision of the Cross of Calvary, in relation to the Holy Spirit's wording within the soul; for the Holy Spirit works upon the basis of Calvary alone, and the extent of the apprehension of all that the Death of Christ meant for those whom He redeemed, is the extent of His possession of the individual believer.

The Cross leads to the Spirit! Through the atoning work of Christ, every yielded heart may receive the Holy Spirit, and in response to the surrender of the recipient does He take possession, "cleansing the heart by faith."

The Spirit leads to the Cross! This is clearly outlined in the life of the Lord Jesus. The heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit came upon Him at His baptism in Jordan, when He entered the waters of death, and chose to be identified with sinners; but this was not the real Calvary. It was "through the Eternal Spirit" Who came upon Him at Jordan, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and was enabled to drink the actual cup of death at Calvary. After the Cross, by the Spirit of God He was quickened, and raised from the dead, to receive at the right hand of the Father the anointing above His fellows.

It is even thus with all who will follow His steps. Through surrender to God, and the acceptance of the Cross - typified by Jordan - the Holy Spirit gains possession of the citadel of the heart, and then He seeks to lead the believer into the real fellowship of the Cross, working in steady progression from within to without; from center to circumference; dealing with new departments of the life; unveiling new needs, and revealing the Cross in aspect after aspect as the answer to those needs, by applying the death of Christ as the severing power from the old life, and ministering the life of the Risen Christ for the building up of the new creation.

The believer may be said to be "filled" with the Spirit when he first receives the Spirit, but he is filled only to the extent of his capacity at the time. The capacity may be small, but it will remain small unless he apprehends that the Spirit leads to the Cross, so that the capacity may be deepened, and a greater fullness of the Holy Spirit be truly known.

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 14)

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 12

The Cross of Calvary # 12

In times of transition also the believer is apt to turn from the way of faith to "works of law" - or self-effort. The turning back to "works of the law" was the danger of the Galatian Christians. Possibly the first joyous experience of the Holy Spirit's work in them had passed away, and not understanding clearly the full purpose of Christ's death, and the way of faith  in the crucified and risen Lord, they were in a condition to fall an easy prey to those who sought to draw them back to the old life of reliance upon self, and its doings. 

The Apostle's appeal to them shows clearly that the turning away of their vision from Calvary was the cause of their peril, and, through his words, we see also that the work of Christ on the Cross, must be the anchor of the soul along the whole course of the Christian life.

"I placarded Christ crucified before your eyes!" "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?" exclaims the Apostle, as he thinks of the way in which Jesus Christ was "openly set forth crucified" among them, for he could not have proclaimed to them less than the full Gospel he had preached to the Corinthians, and the Romans. How they could forget such an unveiling of Christ's death, and turn back upon themselves, he did not know.

Who drew your eyes away from Calvary, and all that it means? Who "fascinated you?" Some subtle influence has come upon you. "Are you foolish?" the Apostle cries. With their vision turned toward Him Who died, they had received the Spirit by simply believing the "meaning of faith", and they had proved the word of the Cross to be the energy of God, for God had supplied the Spirit bountifully to them, and worked "miracles in" them, in response to their "hearing of faith."

As Jesus Christ had thus been "painted large upon His Cross to their very eyes, had they not learned the meaning of His death? Before the way of faith was revealed, they were "shut up in prison... under the law", because they could not fulfill the law, but on the Cross, Christ redeemed them, and became accursed for their sakes, so that in response to faith alone, they might receive the Holy Spirit to work in them continually. Did they not know that they became children of God "through faith in Jesus Christ", and as many as had been "baptized into Christ" did "put on Christ, and had clothed" themselves with Christ.

Were all their past sufferings in vain? Were they going back to be prison-bound souls under the whip of the law, instead of entering in to all the privileges of sons of God? "I am again bearing the pangs of travail for you, till Christ be fully formed within you." Paul cries in the anguish of his soul. How senseless to go back from the simplicity of reliance upon Christ, to reliance upon self and its doings. I can only attribute this to some evil power which has ensnared you, some specious influence which has drawn you away from Calvary.

Alas, such a subtle influence is at work today among the people of God, turning away their vision from Christ crucified!

The adversary of souls knows how to "fascinate", and, insensibly to ourselves, to draw us away from the Cross of Calvary. His devices are innumerable, and every stage of growth in the spiritual life is attacked by him with this particular snare; for every distortion of truth, and working of error, may be traced to the failure to keep Calvary, and its two-fold message, as  the central fact of the believer's life, and as the central truth from which every other aspect of the truth of God radiates. All lines of truth must never be allowed to their extreme limit, but kept within the radius of the Cross.

A continuous looking off to Jesus Christ crucified, and a steadfast dependence upon the Spirit of God to work in us the separating power of His death, and to minister to us the quickening of His life, is the "way of faith", in which Christ can be "fully formed within", and the believer grow up unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

O soul, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, if the word of the Cross has come to thee in the power of God, and thou hast consented to be crucified together with the Crucified One, and truly united to Him as the Risen Lord, take heed that thou dost, day by day, turn thy heart's vision toward the Cross, praising the Triune God that thou art there with the One Who died, and then -

1. By faith in the working of God, commit to the death of the Cross, without delay, aught of the old life revealed to thee, counting upon the Holy Spirit to bear witness to the death of Christ, by severing thee from the accursed thing. Let this be thy prompt dealing with aught that is shown to thee as not of God, during the whole course of thy spiritual life, for the light will shine upon thy ways, and thou wilt see even thy "comeliness" to be corruption, as thou dost walk in the light of God.

2. By faith in the faithfulness of God, live thou in the present moment alone, and counting upon the Holy Spirit to communicate to thee the life of Jesus, do thou cast thyself upon His strength, and do the next thing that lies in thy path of duty, believing that it is God Who worketh in thee to will, and to do, of His good pleasure. If thou dost miss step with thy Lord, trust Him, by the skillfulness of His hands, to put thee in step again, and do not whip thyself with vain regrets, but continue in His love, and leave thyself entirely in His keeping.

3. By faith in the Risen Christ walk on with Him, refusing all temptation to look within, or turn back upon thyself at all. Let His word dwell in thee richly, teaching thee His will for thy manner of life, and pour out thy heart's longing to Him, that He will show Himself through thee to all around.

4. By faith thou dost stand. Be not high-minded, but fear. No past experience of His grace will avail thee, if thou dost turn from simple dependence upon thy Lord. Thou hast nought but what thou dost receive from Him hour by hour. Thou hast a watchful foe ready to ensnare thee if thou wilt but give him a chance. Keep thou hidden safely in thy Lord, Who intercedes for thee before the throne of God, and if thou wilt walk in the light, bringing to the light thy doings - that it may be shown thee whether they are wrought in God - the blood of Jesus Christ His Son will keep cleansing thee from all sin, and thou shalt walk in blessed fellowship with Him.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not,for He is faithful that promised." (Hebrews 10:23). "If we are faithless, He abideth faithful; for He cannot deny Himself." (2 Timothy 2:13).

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 13 - "The Cross and the Holy Spirit"

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Cross of Calvary # 11

The Cross of Calvary # 11

The Cross and the Living Christ, continued

Once the believer perceives this focal point of Calvary in relation to his practical experience, all the truths of God fall into their place in beautiful harmony.

No ideal of life is too high, since the believer has but to make way for the Lord Himself to fulfill the ideal through him. No command of God for service is too great, since the Christ Himself becomes all wisdom and power within him, as he by faith retires, so to speak, to the Cross, and then moves forward to each service in reliance upon the indwelling Lord. The very entry of God comes into his life, and as he proves with joy the might of the Risen Christ thus working through him, his whole outlook changes. "I have been taught the secret ... I can do all things in Him," becomes the glad triumphant cry; "To me life is Christ," the one increasing joy; "I will speak only of the works which Christ has wrought by me", the simple testimony; "I labor in earnest conflict according to His working which works in me with mighty power", the energizing spirit of service day by day.

Oh blessed life! How restful, how glad, how free, when once the secret is known, and the soul learns to live by faith in the Son of God.

But, Paul, does this mean that you have become a machine with no personal choice or desires?

"Crucified ... yet I live," cries Paul. I am not a mummy, nor a machine! I am a human being with feelings and personal wishes, hopes and desires.

I live all the more because I have died; for the sensibilities of this human organism, dulled by slavery to sin, have now become freed to become acute and living. Not to be any longer the medium of self-sensitiveness, self-seeking or self-love, but the quickened vehicle for the manifestation of the love and life of the Christ Who now A"liveth in me."

"Me" - Paul the Apostle - who am not meet to be called an Apostle, for I persecuted the Church of God.

"Me" with all my own characteristics, temperament and tastes. All that goes to make up the personality of "me" Christ lives in "me".

Nevertheless I know it is no longer "I" that is the moving spring and center of my life. It is "not I", but the grace of God which enables me to labor more abundantly than all the apostles. It is not my life, but the life which flows from the living Christ within my heart, that is manifested through me.

But Paul, is this a wonderful consciousness to you? Do you feel dead, and do you realize great joy and heavenly ecstasy through the Risen Lord thus dwelling in your heart?

Nay, "that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith."

But what kind of faith, Paul? Is it a faith, that you have experienced death with Christ, and is it a faith that is a great effort or strain, every moment?

Nay, it is "the faith which is in the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself up for me."

Ah, blessed proof of  "I" being crucified with Christ! The "I" passes from the horizon of the soul's vision, and the Son of God, in the great love of His death on the Cross, fills the whole heart and mind.

"He gave Himself up for me," becomes the dominating thought of the life, and all things are seen in the light and love of Calvary. Abandonment to the pierced hands of Him Who died brings nothing but the sweetest joy, and occupied with the object of love, the faith in Him becomes a spontaneous, unconscious attitude of the soul, who no longer is concerned with its experience, or cares for aught on earth purely in relation to itself, but longs, with deep desire, that He Who died should see of the fruit of His travail on Calvary's Cross, and be satisfied.

The Way of Faith

Paul says that the "outward life which still remains" he lives "in the faith of the Son of God." Even his own act of faith seems to have passed out of the range of his consciousness, by the assured knowledge of Christ living and working in him. The Risen Lord, taking possession of the believer, brings with Him the "spirit of faith," and the act of moment by moment trust, should eventually become as spontaneous and simple as breathing.

But there are transition stages in the spiritual life, when the soul is being led into deeper knowledge of itself, and its own powerlessness, that it may know the abounding resources in the Risen Lord. In such times of transition, the believer has often to cling in an extremity of trial to the bare word of God, that he is crucified with Christ. Fresh transactions with God will ofttimes be necessary, when he commits himself anew to Him, and trusts Him to fulfill in him His highest purposes; and when he, so to speak, casts upon the Faithful God the responsibility of bringing him out through all the testings, into the larger places of the life in Christ.

We must take heed in our dealings with God, at all times, that our faith is always in the present tense. By this we mean, that as we lay hold of His word that we were carried to the Cross with the Crucified One, we should definitely believe that He "Who quickeneth the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were," does by His own creative word now communicate and maintain the life of Christ in us. With Jehovah speaking is doing. He said at the creation of the world, "Let there be," and there was. The word of the Cross from the mouth of God is as much the word of omnipotence as the word spoken at creation. Jehovah points to His Son upon the Cross, and speaks the word, "crucified with Him" - the soul responds with "Amen, so be it," and the message of the Cross becomes the power of God in all who thus believe.

~Jessie Penn-Lewis~

(continued with # 12)