The Word of the Cross (3): Five Spontaneous Results of Seeing the Crucified Christ
As a conclusion to my earlier posts on “The Word of the Cross”, I was impressed to see that a fresh revelation of the crucified Christ will spontaneously result in the following subjective realizations:
1. We will hate our sins.
We will realize that Christ was wounded because of our transgressions and that He was crushed because of our iniquities (Isa 53:6). It was not the sins of other men that caused Him to die. It was not the plot of Jewish religionists or the cowardice of Roman politicians which led to His death. The subjective realization of the sinner is, “Christ died because of my sins.”
We cannot enjoy the roasted lamb without the taste of bitter herbs (Exo. 12:8).
The great sinner-turned-saint, John Newton, wrote in a classic hymn:
If Thou hadst bid Thy thunder roll, And light’nings flash, to blast my soul, I still had stubborn been; But mercy has my heart subdued, A bleeding Savior I have viewed, And now I hate my sin.
2. We will love the Lord Jesus.
The spontaneous result of seeing the crucified Christ is that we love Him. Paul’s coda, in Galatians 2:20, will become ours as well:
I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now life in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Yes, God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son. And yes, Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. But one who sees the Savior in such a way will realize that Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Witness Lee captures this sentiment powerfully in his hymn:
O how deep and how far-reaching Is Thy love, dear Lord, to me! Far beyond my pow’r to fathom, Deeper than the deepest sea! It has caused Thee death to suffer And to me Thyself impart, That in Thee I might be grafted And become of Thee a part.
3. We will follow the Lord and do the will of God.
The cross represents the perfect will of God (Matt. 26:42). If we truly see and appreciate the cross, it will cease to be merely a singular event; it will become the pathway of a life in submission to the perfect will of God. We each have our own particular path ordained by the Lord. The cross becomes the instrument by which we know this path.
The Lord in His mercy may allow us to do many things and to go many ways. But the cross always aligns us perfectly with His will for us.
And He said to them all, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)
4. We will have a radical change in our value system.
What do we currently boast in or take pride in? What accomplishments or successes do we cherish? What do we really value in this life?
The apostle Paul could have boasted in many things as a young man named Saul. But he became Paul, a “little” brother, who at end of Galatians boldly declares:
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. (6:14)
If we see the cross of Christ, we will have a radical change in our value system, giving up formerly valued items and counting them worthless, to know Christ and to be conformed to His death (Phil. 3:7-10).
5. We will live in peace with all men, as much as it depends on us.
The cross not only reconciled us back to God but it also reconciled us to one another (Eph. 2:14-15). The cross of Christ created peace and now as members of the Body of Christ we should experience the arbitrating peace of Christ (Col. 3:15), which is practically manifested in this way:
Bearing one another and forgiving one another, if anyone should have a complaint against anyone; even as the Lord forgave you, so also should you forgive. (Col. 3:13)
If we have truly seen the cross, we will forgive one another of all of our respective offenses and sleights, and live in peace as the reality of the one new man. Paul’s charge to the Roman believers is:
If possible, as far as it depends on you, live in peace with all men. (Rom. 12:18)