• Old Man Crucified

    by Published on 12-02-2012 07:40 PM     Number of Views: 579 
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    A Mistaken Notion Concerning Co-Death with Christ

    The conditions for passivity in a believer may come about through a wrong interpretation concerning the truth of “death with Christ.” Paul says that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2.20). Some misconstrue this to connote self-effacement. What they deem to be the summit of spiritual life is “a loss of personality, an absence of volition and self control, and the passive letting-go of the ‘I myself’ into a condition of machine-like, mechanical, automatic ‘obedience’.” (Penn-Lewis, WOTS, 86) They thereafter must harbor no feelings; they should instead renounce all consciousness of personal wishes, interests and tastes. They must aim at self-annihilation, reducing themselves to corpses. Their personality must be totally eclipsed. They misapprehend the command of God to mean a demand for their self-effacement, self-renunciation and self-annihilation so they may no longer be aware of themselves or their needs but may be conscious only of the movement and operation of God in them. Their misconception about being “dead to self” means for them the absence of self-consciousness. So they endlessly deliver their self-consciousness to nought till they sense nothing but the presence of God. Under this mistaken notion they assume they must practice death; on each occasion therefore when they become aware of “self” or are conscious of personal wants, lacks, needs, interests or preferences they consistently consign these to death.

    Since “I have been crucified with Christ,” they argue, then I no longer exist. And since it is “Christ who lives in me,” then I no longer live. I having died, I must practice death—that is, I must not harbor any thought or feeling. Because Christ is alive within me, He will think or feel in my place. My personality is annihilated, therefore I will obey Him passively, permitting Him to think or feel for me. Unfortunately these people overlook what Paul further said about “the life I now live in the flesh.” Paul died, and yet he has not died! This “I” has been crucified, nevertheless “I” still lives in the flesh. Paul, upon having passed through the cross, still declares of himself that “I now live”!

    This confirms that the cross does not annihilate our “I”; it exists forever. It is “I” who will one day go to heaven. How can salvation ever benefit me if somebody else goes instead of me? The true purport of our accepting co-death with Christ is that we are dead to sin and that we deliver our soul life to death; even the most excellent, most righteous and most virtuous soul life we deliver to death. God beckons us to deny the desire to live by our natural power and to live instead by Him, leaning upon His vitality moment by moment for the supply of every need. This does not in anyway imply that we are to destroy our various functions and settle into passivity. Quite the reverse is true: such a walk with God requires us to exercise our will daily in an active, consistent and believing manner for the denial of our own natural energy and the appropriation of divine energy. Just as neither the death of today’s physical body means annihilation nor the death of the lake of fire suggests extermination, so co-death with Christ in the spirit cannot denote effacement. Man as a person must exist; his will must continue: only his natural life must die. This is the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.

    The consequences of a misconception of the truth such as this are (1) the believer himself ceases to be active; (2) God cannot use him because he has violated His operating principle; therefore (3) the evil spirits seize the opportunity to invade him since he unwittingly has fulfilled the prerequisites for their working. Due to his misinterpretation of the truth, and his practicing of death, he becomes a tool of the enemy who has disguised himself as God. Alas and alack, this misapprehension of the teaching connected with Galatians 2 has come to be in many cases the prelude to deception.

    After such a “death” as this the individual is deprived of any feeling. He cannot feel for himself, nor can he feel for others. He gives those around him the impression of being like iron and stone, utterly devoid of feeling. He does not sense the suffering in others nor is he sensitive to how much pain he has given people himself. He has no ability to sense, to distinguish or to discern things within or without. This person is totally unaware of his own manner, attitude, and action. He speaks and acts without exercising his will and knows not from whence his words, thoughts and feelings originate. Without having made any decision through his own volition these words and feelings nonetheless flow like a river. All his actions are mechanical; no knowledge has he of their sources; he is only spurred on by an alien power. Strange to say, however, unconscious of self as he is, yet is he most sensitive to the treatment accorded him by others. He tends to misunderstand and hence to suffer. In any case, this “unconsciousness” forms both the condition and the consequence of the enemy’s penetration. By. it the evil spirits are enabled to work, to attack, to suggest, to think, to press or to suppress without the slightest resistance from the believer who is completely unaware of anything.

    Let us consequently keep in mind that what people commonly term “death to self” in essence signifies death to the life, power, exercise and activity of self; in no way does it refer to the death of one’s personality. We must not efface ourselves and render our personalities non-existent. This is a distinction we must comprehend. When we say without self, we mean without any self-activity, not without self-existence! If a Christian accepts the interpretation which envisages a loss of personality and refuses to think, feel or move, he shall live as one in a dream. Though he conceives himself to be truly dead, entirely selfless, and intensely spiritual, his consecration is ‘not towards God but is as to the evil spirits.
    by Published on 03-06-2011 03:44 AM     Number of Views: 1702 
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    Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin. Romans 6.6.

    The sin here points to that sinful nature which reigns in man. The old man speaks of the self which delights in listening to sin. And the body of sin means this body of ours which is sin’s puppet and which actually sins. Thus sin reigns within as master. It directs the old man to cause the body to sin. The old man represents all which comes from Adam; the old man naturally inclines toward sin. He it is who steers the body to sin. In order for us not to sin, some have suggested that the root of sin needs to be eradicated from within; whereas others have expressed the thought that we must harshly suppress the outside body. Yet God’s way is totally different from man’s. He neither eradicates the root of sin nor ill-treats the body; instead, He deals with the old man. "Our old man was crucified with him."

    If you ever wonder why you are unable to defeat and overcome your selfishness it is because you have not appropriated God's salvation. You may have thought in your head these things but they have not touched your innerman. Why is that? Because there is a necessary condition that needs to be fulfilled which is consecration and trust in these accomplished facts. I have really died with Christ. My old man has really been crucified. Therefore, I can really put to nought the deeds of the flesh.

    If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Mark 8.34.

    We do not know what the way of the cross is. We do not realize that all which comes our way is permitted by God. Whatever is against our will, whatever causes us to be misunderstood, makes us suffer, blocks our way, or shatters our hope is a cross given by God to us. Yet how do we face such a thing? Do we resist in heart? Do we complain to people? Do we long to avoid these difficulties?

    Whenever God allows a cross to fall on us, He has a particular reason. Each cross has its spiritual mission, that is to say, it is sent to accomplish something special in our life. If we endure according to God’s will—as the Lord Jesus endured the cross (noting, however, that His cross is to atone for sin whereas ours is not)—our natural life will be further dealt with and we shall have a greater capacity for being filled with the resurrection life of the Son.

    But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. James 1.22.
    We often misunderstand the word "do." We take it to mean that after we have heard and known the word of God we must try our best to do what we have heard and known. But this is not the meaning of "do" in the Bible. True, we need to will to do what we have heard. Yet the "do" of the Scriptures is not the doing with our own strength, it is instead allowing ...