If every Saint of God could see beyond the cross, they would find nothing but joy in being totally surrendered to our Lord. A “Cross Life” passes through many tough places. It includes self-denial, separation from the world, and many battles with the enemy of our soul. The “Cross Life” is never easy and is diametrically contrary to this world system. But, remember, it is the grandest life known to the human race.
First we must understand the cross of Jesus Christ. His cross far exceeds any cross we will ever be required to bear. He left His Heavenly Father’s eternal presence to condescend into His human temple. He actually laid aside all expressions of divinity — not the nature, but the outward glory — to walk among men. He endured every action of human hatred and abuse without complaint. When they battered His body, He only prayed for their forgiveness. He gave His body and soul for the remission of all of our sin. His cross was the ultimate cross. None can match the price He paid.
The Bible explains why and how He could bear such a load. He became our guilt for every human sin. There was only one possible way a human body could carry the load He carried. He looked beyond the cross to the triumph of human redemption and to the saints that would share that new life.
The Apostle Paul put this fact into perfect words to inspire the saints to bear their cross with exceeding hope of victory. The Holy Spirit inspired the words, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:2-3).
The Son of God prayed in the Garden, endured the stripes of great suffering, and finally died by the cruelest possible means without one expression of resistance. It was His vision of the joy this would produce that enabled Him to endure the cross. Notice those words again, “Who for the joy that was sit before Him.” Jesus Christ took a cross of sorrow and shame and turned it into the “Hope of The World.” That cross became the center of human history. It dates every event of mankind’s six thousand years.
The Lord Jesus Christ had proclaimed, “… I am the way, the truth, and the life …”(John 14:6). That statement was impossible without His cross. There is no final Way, or Truth, or Life until we properly view His death and His resurrection. Our cross can and will produce a likeness of His cross when we totally surrender to the death life it requires. To even speak of the cross without death is a total misnomer. It is Impossible! A cross can produce pain, sorrow, and shame; but, if that life stops short of death, it is only religion. The thing that is missing in today’s Church is that nobody wants to die to themselves. Separating one’s self from the world is almost completely absent in the present Church world.
Something sovereign is happening that will produce an awakening. The Christ-centered life of sanctification and death is going to break forth in a Holy Ghost revival. Actually, it cannot fail. It is impossible for even one saint of God to die to their self and not create a shakening. When God’s saints look beyond the pain of self-surrender and put everything of self on the altar to Him, a spiritual earthquake is in the making.
I challenge my Salty Saints’ readers to join me in death to ourselves. I do not speak of self-righteousness or just an external appearance of piety. I speak of allowing the grace of God to chasten, purify, and cleanse us until Jesus Christ is our everything. The joy of seeing the results of such surrender is the vision that will carry us through the dying process. Watch and see what our God is going to do when we can glory in our own cross and all of our independence has been crucified.
Joseph R. Chambers