Friday, March 02, 2007

Crucify Him!

And after saying this he said to him, "Follow me."
(John 21:19 – ESV)

As Romans 8:13 declares, if you through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live. We think this means that the Spirit gives us power to put those deeds to death, but the reality is not that we put to death the flesh, but that through the Spirit we are to do it. This may seem subtle but it is important, very important. Now, what does this mean, through the Spirit?

Well let’s think about that for a second. Those led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Romans 8:14). The Spirit is leading to the cross and all the sons of God are to follow Him there to their own cross. We think to put to death the deeds of the flesh means to do it ourselves, that we crucify our flesh ourselves, but again, let's begin to think more clearly.

When we think of going to the cross, of taking up our cross, of following Jesus we think we do it, like we go running to it, but that winds up having us just bring those things we want to end to the cross, and not all of us, or not those things Jesus wants dealt with first. We pick and choose which part of our flesh will die. That isn’t what the “crucified life” is all about.

Now some of us know better than that and we think we let Him do it, but this winds up just being us praying harder and going up to the altar every week and wondering why we still want to do those same old things. With both scenarios it is still we doing it in sense.

However, the bible says we have already crucified the flesh, and that we just need to walk in that (Galatians 5:24-25). That is where the misunderstanding takes place, going from the position in Christ to the condition in life, and beginning to realize, to make real this crucified life in our daily walk. The truth is that this should be a daily walk to the cross.

Now consider this about crucifixion. Crucifixion is not putting yourself to death. Rather, it is yielding yourself up to death at the hands of others. The crucified victim doesn't get to choose his own death (John 13:37-38, 21:18-19). You don’t kill yourself, you let yourself die; you let yourself be killed. The truth is that you are already dead (Colossians 3:3); the role of others whether they realize it or not is to help you to reckon it so (Romans 6:11).

This is a big difference that people just don’t seem to get. When Jesus says follow me He means to the cross and into the hands of people who want you dead, it is the other people and other situations that kill you, but of course this is used by God to bring resurrection life.

Just as it was with Jesus, to be able to see and understand the resurrection power there must first be the cross, and before the cross there must be the garden. The question is in that garden will you plant the seed of surrender (not my will but thine be done) or the seed of self. You surrender and suffer death in the church community, or you barricade yourself in your own flesh at home. You visit the garden every day, friends. There are always new crops to harvest.

Consider John 21:21-22 – looking at others and their cross is not the Way in it is looking for a way out. Live out the truth of 1 Peter 4:1 – believe it and receive that cross when it comes, carry it, follow Him, and have life. If we win the battle of the mind we will win the battle with sin. It is time to stop sinning and start winning.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"We think this means that the Spirit gives us power to put those deeds to death, but the reality is not that we put to death the flesh, but that through the Spirit we are to do it. This may seem subtle....."

"This is a big difference that people just don't seem to get....."

Even So- I think you're right....I don't get it! This seems contrary to what's "out there" in Christiandom. Guess I will need to "think" on it for awhile.

Even So... said...

Perhaps I do not articulate it all that well, but I believe it is the difference between allowing the circumstances of life to show you that you are indeed dead to sin, and "picking yourself up by your bootstraps", simple moral exhortation, suppressionism, etc...reckoning that Christ has indeed given me new life...

Anonymous said...

You articulate fine--this is just hard for me to grasp/take in because it is contrary to what I have been taught/received.

So even if/when I do that thing that I don't want to do is it reckoned dead to me?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I get exactly what you are saying. Is this an example of letting others crucify your flesh...if an SUV cuts in front of me while I'm driving down 95 and almost causes me to have an accident and I say, " Thank you Lord for those angels you have round about me, instead of you so and so,you could have killed us both." Is this what you mean? Sometime I forget to go to the garden first. That is a good point. First surrender self will to the will of God and let Jesus live His life through us. Easy to say ...hard to do sometimes. Love and prayers, Mom

Even So... said...

Yeah, that is about it mom, BTW, I am coming over Tuesday to a Bible conference at Pastor Garry Weaver's church in Titusville, I will come ealy to visit if you would like...are you still thinking about tomorrow and the strawberry festival?

Anonymous said...

The sermon on this topic is still somewhat fresh in my mind, I guess that kind of gives me a foot up from the rest who read it here.
I agree with what your mom said, it is sometimes hard to do. To intentually put oneself out there to be scarred by the world.
I always think about Steven in the Bible and John the Baptist, They simply (or perhaps not so simply) would not relent, even to the point of death. And indeed death is the point, no?

Anonymous said...

This is different. I never thought of Jesus' directive to "Follow Him" in this manner.

Anonymous said...