My dear friends, our subject tonight is the cross of Christ, and the immediate application is the truth of identification. I hope that the word does not in any way obscure the fact, but may I just urge upon you that it is absolutely essential, if there is to be any growth in Christian experience, that this truth should be grasped and should become an experimental fact in the life of the believer. Let this truth tonight be missed and I am certain you are doomed to be a spiritual wanderer all your days. You will never have vital power or vital usefulness, You will never know inward peace undisturbed. You will have missed the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I am well aware, therefore, of the great responsibility which, under God, rests upon me and I am, therefore, going to be as simple and clear as I can, and if there should be any child of God here tonight to whom I do not make it plain, I shall be very glad if you will just let me know by sending me a note, and I shall count it a great privilege to give you time as soon as I can, to go through this message again.
Now last night we saw the wonderful truth in all its great simplicity that Jesus Christ went to the cross for us. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. When we looked up into the face of Jesus, and we said from the bottom of our hearts that we believe He went to the cross for us and for our sins we were saved. We were saved and the penalty of sin, which was death, passed from us because the death that the believer may experience - he is not certain to experience it - is never the death which is the result of sin. For the believer "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord". So that we are delivered from the penalty of death, and now we have to ask ourselves, being delivered from the penalty of' sin which is death are we to live day by day continuing in sin? It is one thing to be delivered from the penalty of sin. Is the child of God to know deliverance from the power of sin? Is it possible? May we hope for it? My dear friends, the Word of God makes it perfectly clear, it is not a hope; it is not an aspiration; it is not to be desired: it is an experience. Let not sin have dominion over you. Let not sin reign in your mortal body. You notice it is not the desire, or a prayer. It is a command: let not sin therefore, reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in the lust thereof. That is the fact that we must embrace, and I pray that God will help me to explain it in simple terms.
Before you took Jesus Christ as your Saviour you were dead; you were dead in sin. That is to say, you lived your life apart from Christ. You lived it at the dictates of your fallen nature, You see your friends about you who live their lives at the dictates of their fallen natures. But now the Holy Spirit has quickened your spirit, which was dead towards God. A part of your being, which was dead towards God, has been brought to life; so says the Word of God. You being dead in trespasses and sin have been quickened brought to life, made alive. A part of your being which was dead - and no mistake about it - every man and woman outside of Christ has a part of their being dead. It died in sin and there is no power in man that can give it life. None but the Holy Ghost can give the Spirit to my life. Death! Dead towards God! Life in the flesh but dead towards God in the spirit! When I took Jesus Christ as my Saviour the Holy Spirit gave life to my spirit by His own definite personal creative act, and I became a new creature - alive unto God. The Spirit of God came to life in me, to indwell my being. My dear friends, that is an act of God. The simple action by which I took Jesus Christ as my Saviour and the Holy Ghost does the work.
And now let me take it that I have just accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour at this moment, and God has done that. His Holy Spirit has recreated my dead spirit. The faculty which was dead towards God has been made alive and the Holy Spirit has entered my being. "Know ye not that your bodies are the shrine, (the temple) of the Holy Spirit," and I have just accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour. What is my position? Well, the Holy Spirit from that moment wants to live through me. That is His master purpose; He wants now to live through me. But my old nature, the old man still is prepared to fight desperately. Or I am conscious of two distinct powers contesting within me. There is the flesh, the power of the flesh which is my fallen nature. My desires that I had before I came to Christ, all my purposes, all the things that I pursued before I saw that Jesus died for me.
Thus in Romans 8 :7 Paul so vividly and clearly describes the flesh - the fleshly mind. "This fleshly mind is enmity against God." It does not show this enmity; it covers up its enmity; it will get religion, but all the time it is enmity against God's redemption. That is the fleshly mind. It works under cover always. It goes down underneath and is enmity against God - against God's redemption - against God's Son. And it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be because the flesh is in the power of Satan, and therefore, it cannot please God and that which is flesh is flesh and never can be other. It can never become spiritual: that which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirit. The flesh never can be otherwise than enmity against God. Never can be otherwise than not subject to the Law of God, and cannot please God.
So my dear friends, you may preach - I speak to myself - the fleshly man may preach and the fleshly man may pray, the fleshly man may sing and the people may say: Wonderful! Marvellous! But it cannot please God. My fallen nature works, I do nothing for God. O my dear friends, have you realised that immediately the fallen nature begins to work it is no good to God at all? They who are in the fleshly mind cannot please God! And how does the flesh work? Well, it works, says Paul to the Galatians, in sexual vice, in moral sensuality; it works in quarrelling, it works in dissensions; it works in jealousy; it works in temper; it works in revelry; it works in party spirit; it works in moods, in irritability, in lack of control; all that is the working of the flesh. We may say with Paul, " 0h wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death."
And am I to take seriously that sin shall not have dominion over me? Yes, my dear friends. Before I come exactly to deal with God's way of blessing, may I just deal with what is the usual way. May I say this you cannot overcome the carnal life by yourself. There are some people who take the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and say: "Now I am going to overcome: I feel as a Christian I ought not to do this and I am going to fight. But you do not fight, because you see when you begin to concentrate upon any weakness in your life and seek to kill it by direct action, you may have a temporary overcoming of it, but it is very much like a smouldering within. The flame seems to be out until a blast of wind comes and it becomes a flaming furnace. If you concentrate upon some weakness the more you concentrate, the more you are preparing the tinder for a terrible outbreak, and I do not suppose there is anybody here tonight who has died to sin but who has found this to be perfectly true. Concentration gives new vitality to the very thing you want to conquer.
How is it to be done then? This is the way He died for me; He died as representing me. He took my place. I see that. I trust that everybody here tonight sees that. Therefore, if He took our place and represented me, when I died, I died. If I give a man power to act for me and I give him power to conduct negotiations for me and on my behalf, and he signs a deed, what he signs I sign. What he is committed to I am committed to because he acts for me; and I have been to Jesus, I have said "0 Lord Jesus, I believe Thou didst act for me as my representative. Thou didst die for my sins." Perfectly true! Therefore, when Jesus died I died, so I am acquitted of my sin because the death that He died. He died once for all, and He that is dead is acquitted of his sin. St. Paul could say "I have been crucified with Christ." My first view of Calvary was to see that He had died for me; my second view is to see that I died with Him. And the first view of Calvary that God's Spirit gives to a man is to see Christ there and the second view is to see yourself. Now my dear friends, do get hold of this teaching of Scripture plain and simple. In Gal: .2, Paul says: "I have been crucified with Christ:" He represented me and acted as my substitute. Therefore when He died. I died. This is quite simple and Scriptural teaching. Do get it, because this is the very marrow of it. Just consent to it. You see the truth. Consent to it now even while I am speaking. St. Paul says: "Christ having died, he died unto sins once for all."
Likewise he says, reckon ye yourselves dead unto sin. He not only died for the sinner, He died unto sin. Never again could Satan touch Him. He died unto sin and what He did for Himself He did for me. He was representing me, Therefore, reckon ye also yourselves dead unto sin. He died for me and I died with Him. He died to sin and I, in Christ, am dead to sin. Do see what God has done, dear friends, and do believe it. That is the great principle. We saw last night that God had done everything. Do see it again tonight that God in Christ has died to sin. Thank God for it and believe it, and say tonight: "0 Lord Jesus, not only didst Thou die for my sin, but Thou art dead to sin and I, in Christ, am dead to sin too." That is why you were baptised. I am speaking to a company, I suppose, ninety-nine per cent of which are baptised. You were buried because you were dead. You cannot have a burial without a death. What died in you? What was it that was buried? Why surely your consent to sin! You are now no longer going to live in the flesh in the power of sin, but walk in the newness of life. You lived previously in your old carnal nature, and then you came to death that you might live unto God, and you went into the waters because you were buried as a dead man, dead to sin, dead to the world. My dear friends, baptism means nothing if it does not mean burial. Therefore, we were buried with Him in baptism because we have given up the life after the flesh. Dead to sin, living unto God. Therefore, I see from Romans 8 that if live after the flesh I am simply about to die. If I live to satisfy this body I know it cannot be kept on many more years.
If I live to this body there will come a moment when the body will perish. They who are living after the flesh are about to die and the power of sin is in the flesh, and I am debtor not to live after the flesh. But because I have been redeemed in the Blood of Christ I am debtor to live after the Holy Spirit, to let the Holy Spirit live through me. Now, my dear friends, I consent. Christ died for me. I died with Christ at Calvary because He represented me and because I am now a debtor to live after the power of the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in me and not to live after the power of my old fallen nature. I consent thereto and say from my heart that in virtue of the redeeming Blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary, I am no longer under obligation to my fallen nature, which is of the flesh. I am under the obligation to the Holy Spirit who is the gift of Calvary. I am a debtor not to live after the flesh, but after the spirit.
Do you consent to that my dear friends? Do you give your absolute consent thereto? Do you from your heart say, Yes I recognise that position; I recognise that fact; I recognise that Christ died for me and I have been crucified with Christ, not to live after my fallen nature, but to live after the Spirit. Do you recognise it as your obligation? I am not going to ask you for your experience. Do you say tonight: I do before God, acknowledge that I am dead to sin in Christ. My fallen nature is not to reign. I am to live after the spirit. Do you acknowledge it? Do you acknowledge it as the truth of God? The revelation of God's Spirit through the Word for you? Then my dear friends, you have consented to identification with Christ at Calvary. Now by the Spirit through the Word it wi11 be done. I trust that everybody here tonight is going to give that definite consent to what is to be a life not after the flesh but after the spirit. Just consent to the fact, that that is to be your obligation because in virtue of the fact that you are dead, you must live after the spirit.
Consent to it! Paul tells the Galatians: "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh". Very well, I have got a clue. Everything that opposes the Holy Spirit belongs to my fallen nature, because the Spirit lusts against the flesh and the flesh against the Spirit. Therefore everything that fights the Holy Spirit is of my old fallen nature. I have, therefore, got a clue.
Now I begin to read the Word of God, believing that the Holy Spirit will reveal His will through the Word (a fundamental obligation, never, never accept the idea that the Holy Spirit leads through a blank mind.) That is most dangerous. For the average Christian the guidance of the Holy Spirit is through the Word of God. And so as I read the Word, He begins to unveil to me the flesh that is in my nature still, and I suddenly get light upon God's Will and as soon as I get light I find I have got obstruction. I can see God is light by the Spirit and I can see the subtle pressing considerations that are holding me back. I know that the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and I know therefore that all these subtle tuggings at my heart are my old fallen nature in conflict with the Holy Spirit. Therefore being dead to sin, I accept the verdict of the Holy Spirit. Every time I accept the judgement of the Spirit upon all my concerns and all my activities, all my thoughts, purposes and desires; every time I accept the judgement of the Holy Spirit and say that that thing which is against God's Will in my life is a dead thing. It was taken by Christ to Calvary. It is not a living thing, it is a dead thing. Therefore, by the grace of God I leave it unemployed. How it thirsts! How it craves! And I say every time it comes upon me that thing was dead at Calvary. My dear friends, every dead thing that is taken to Calvary can bring in the power of the Holy Spirit
There comes resurrection out of' the dead. So long as I keep it in the place of death, God's Holy Spirit works life. God does it. If the conflict is intense, go down on your knees and say: "0h God, this thing is a dead thing", and be sure that you keep it by faith in the place that is dead. Do not keep on talking round it, that it ought to be allowed to be encouraged a little, or at least a little liberty should be given to it, but say it belongs to my fallen nature, it has been taken to Calvary. This thing is a dead thing in God's sight, and in my sight it is dead too. And as you keep that place of death God's Holy Spirit will work resurrection life. It may be an intense struggle, like crucifixion, but so surely as you keep it dead by faith, regarding it as dead at Calvary God's Holy Spirit will work life, certainly, surely and definitely.
That is what God wants to do, my dear friends. He wants the cross to divide your life that you may see the fallen nature of the flesh and the life of the Spirit . So that you will say: "0h God I, in Christ, died at Calvary and all that in my life lusts against the Holy Spirit. I took to the cross, and I will take it to the cross every day, that the life of Christ may be manifested in me," and God will do it. He brought Jesus out of the grave. He will bring you out of the grave. So we will just keep on saying it silently before God. Dead to sin! So that the truth begins to percolate into the consciousness. Dead! Dead to sin! Dead to sin! Say it silently. Dead to sin! That is my place at Calvary. Dead to sin!
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