The only solution for sin, the only answer to sin, is the Cross of Christ
Public Humiliation, especially on a worldwide basis, is a trauma that many people never get over. There is no way to describe it. When one has failed, despite doing everything that one knows to do not to fail, one is left with confusion. Since the Lord is never the author of confusion, the situation quickly becomes unbearable.
In such a situation, regrettably and sadly, everyone else knows why you have failed, and they are quick to voice their opinion. But the truth is, they do not know.
I came to find out in all of this, that most of the modern church has little idea how to live for God. Oh yes, one can definitely be Saved without knowing how to properly live for the Lord, but one most definitely cannot walk in victory without knowing how to live for God. If one does not understand the message of the Cross, even as it was given to the Apostle Paul, then simply put, such a believer does not know how to live for God.
The revelation of the message of the cross
After seeking the Lord day and night, so often with tears, for a period of some six years, suddenly and without warning, the Lord began to open up to me that for which I had so long sought. I honestly don’t remember the day or the month, but the year was 1997. I had spent some six years in concentrated prayer, seeking the Lord, imploring Him for guidance and direction.
Let me make something clear: The daily vigil of prayer purchased me nothing with God. As stated, it was for the purpose of my getting to know Him in a more personal way. In other words, He was preparing me for this Revelation of the Cross which He would give to me. For years I had known what He could do, but now I was learning, on a personal basis, Who He was, a description, incidentally, which can never be exhausted.
Very early, probably about 6 a.m., on the morning in question, I was in my office working on the Romans Commentary. In fact, I was working on the 6th Chapter of that great work given to us by the Apostle Paul, which actually is “The Theology of the Church.” I was studying some material written by the late Dr. Kenneth Wuest, a noted Greek Scholar and Brother, whose great love for the Lord was obvious in his writings. Dr. Wuest was explaining the “sin nature.”
All of a sudden, the Spirit of the Lord came over me, and He began to reveal to my heart the meaning of this aspect of our Christian experience. In a moment’s time, I saw it, and I saw it clearly. I can remember getting up from behind my desk and pacing back and forth across my office, tears streaming down my cheeks. The Lord then spoke to my heart and said, “You have asked Me the cause of your problem. It is the sin nature, and your lack of understanding about how it works and how it is to be controlled.”
Strangely enough, even though the Lord gave me this information, which was the answer to so many questions, still, at that time, He did not tell me how to control the sin nature. He just simply told me this was what constituted my problem, which also is the problem of every single Believer in the world who does not understand what the Lord gave to Paul, and which Paul gave to us. It is the 6th Chapter of Romans which deals with this extremely important subject, which I will explain momentarily to a greater degree.
Countless times, I had sought the Lord earnestly, asking Him how I could have the help of the Holy Spirit in doing the Work of the Lord, but not have His help regarding victory over the world, the flesh, and the Devil. I knew in my heart that this was not the way it was supposed to be, but, at that time, I did not have the knowledge about how perpetual victory could be attained.
I’ve always had a strong prayer life, and I tried my best to pray the problem away. To be sure, I was greatly blessed in my prayer vigils, which I continue unto this hour, and will ever continue, but I did not there find the victory I so earnestly sought.
For a while, I would pray an hour each day; then it got to the place where I would get up in the middle of the night and pray another hour. The reason I did this was because I did not know what else to do; I was fighting for my very life. The pain is even greater, more than words can even express, when the failure becomes obvious to all, and the Church, and I’m speaking of the Church world in general, claims that you are lying about your prayer life, and even resorts to making jokes at your expense about the whole situation.
Please read carefully the following:
“When a person is down, and can do nothing to defend himself, and anyone can do any negative thing to him they so desire, and will not only not be reprimanded, but rather applauded, then one finds out just how many true Christians there really are. Tragically, there aren’t many!”
If the sin nature is not properly understood, and thereby properly controlled, then “works of the flesh” are going to manifest themselves in one’s life. It does not matter who that person is, whether he is the Pastor of the largest Church in the world, or whether he is the Evangelist who draws the biggest crowds.
If such a person doesn’t understand the Cross as it regards Sanctification, works of the flesh will definitely manifest themselves in some way in such a person’s life and living. It is inevitable!
Works of the flesh
Paul tells us this in the 5th Chapter of Galatians. The entire Book of Galatians, but especially the 5th Chapter, is a warning from Paul to the Church at Galatia, which is also meant for us.
The warning is that if they place their faith in anything except “Christ and Him Crucified,” that “Christ shall profit you nothing” (Gal. 5:2).
The Apostle goes on to say that if the Believer doesn’t adhere to the Way of the Spirit, which is the Way of the Cross, then works of the flesh will manifest themselves.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).
Now let me say it again, because it is so very important:
If the Believer doesn’t understand the Cross of Christ, as it regards Sanctification, then, in some way, one or more of these “works of the flesh” are going to manifest themselves in his life. As stated, such is inevitable!
The first four,“Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, and lasciviousness,” are obvious and easily understood. But the modern Christian quickly dismisses “idolatry, witchcraft, and heresies,” thinking they do not really apply today.
Let us address that:
First of all, any suggested way of victory other than the Cross of Christ, such as the “Purpose Driven Life,” the“Government of Twelve,” the “Word of Faith,” or “Denominationalism,” etc., constitutes idolatry.
In effect, it is the same as Old Testament times, when Israel would begin to worship idols instead of Jehovah. To be sure, Israel actually referred to these idols as Jehovah; but the Lord definitely did not look at it in the same manner! And neither does He look any differently at modern idolatry!
Furthermore, all of this constitutes “heresies,” in which the modern Church abounds. Let me say it more clearly:
Any doctrine, way, scheme, or direction made up by men, which means it is devised by men and not by God, is constituted by the Lord as “heresy,” which is a “work of the flesh.”
Let me say it again, and because it is so very, very important! Any way other than “Christ and Him Crucified” is, in the eyes of God, “heresy.” Once one begins to understand these “works of the flesh,” these things become more obvious.
I knew what the Lord had given me regarding the “sin nature,” and that it was the answer to my question “Why?” But, as stated, when He revealed that to me, He didn’t give me the solution to the problem. He told me what the problem was, which was a great Truth, but yet, I didn’t have the solution; however, the Lord never does anything half way.
It was in one of the morning prayer meetings, actually only a few days after the Lord had given to me the Revelation of the sin nature. At that time, I was seeking the Lord, actually asking Him to reveal to me the solution to this problem.
How are we to address the sin nature?
How can we control it?
He began to speak to my heart.
“The answer which you seek is found in the Cross! The solution which you seek is found only in the Cross!”
I knew it was the Lord; of that I had no doubt. The Spirit of God flowed over my soul for the entire prayer meeting. I knew I had found the answer. I cannot even begin to tell you how I felt. It was like I had been in prison, the doors were now opened, and I was being told, “Go free!”
I had no doubt about what the Lord had told me. He said, “The solution which you seek is found in the Cross!” As the tears rolled down my cheeks and the Presence of the Lord filled my soul, I kept saying those words over and over again. In the days to come, He very speedily began to open up to me the Word of God, showing me exactly how it was, and is, the Cross.
He took me to Romans, Chapter 6
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin (the sin nature), that Grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, who are dead to sin (dead to the sin nature), live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1-2).
These Passages let us know that sin, i.e., “the sin nature,” is the problem.
While Preachers might try to say that this, or that, or something else is the problem, the Holy Spirit tells us that “sin” is the problem. It might be a sin of commission or a sin of omission, but, to be sure, sin is the problem.
He then tells us that the only remedy for sin, the only solution for sin, the only answer to sin, is the Cross of Christ. In other words, the Holy Spirit through Paul takes the Believer straight to the Cross. Remember, Paul is not speaking here to unbelievers, but rather to Believers. As we attempt to live for God, and I mean live for God properly, this tells us that we must ever understand that it is the Cross of Christ where we must begin, and where we must end. There is nothing after the Cross of Christ, because there needs to be nothing after the Cross of Christ.
“Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:3-5).
Now let’s examine these same Passages from THE EXPOSITOR’S STUDY BIBLE.
“Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ (plainly says that this Baptism is into Christ and not water [I Cor. 1:17; 12:13; Gal. 3:28-29; Eph. 4:5; Col. 2:11-13]) were baptized into His Death? (When Christ died on the Cross, in the Mind of God, we died with Him; in other words, He became our Substitute, and our identification with Him in His Death gives us all the benefits for which He died; the idea is that He did it all for us!) “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death (not only did we die with Him, but we were buried with Him as well, which means that all the sin and transgression of the past were buried; when they put Him in the Tomb, they put all of our sins into that Tomb as well): that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (we died with Him, we were buried with Him, and His Resurrection was our Resurrection to a “Newness of Life”). “For if we have been planted together (with Christ) in the likeness of His death (Paul proclaims the Cross as the instrument through which all Blessings come; consequently, the Cross must ever be the object of our Faith, which gives the Holy Spirit latitude to work within our lives), we shall be also in the likeness of His Resurrection.” (We can have the “likeness of His Resurrection,” i.e., “live this Resurrection Life,” only as long as we understand the “likeness of His Death,” which refers to the Cross as the means by which all of this is done.)
The Lord then took me to 1 Corinthians.
Paul said there:
“For Christ sent me not to baptize (presents to us a Cardinal Truth), but to Preach the Gospel (the manner in which one may be saved from sin): not with wisdom of words (intellectualism is not the Gospel), lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (This tells us in no uncertain terms that the Cross of Christ must always be the emphasis of the Message.) “For the Preaching (Word) of the Cross is to them who perish foolishness (Spiritual things cannot be discerned by unredeemed people, but that doesn’t matter; the Cross must be preached just the same, even as we shall see); but unto us who are saved, it is the Power of God. (The Cross is the Power of God simply because it was there that the total sin debt was paid, giving the Holy Spirit, in Whom the Power resides, latitude to work mightily within our lives.) “But we preach Christ Crucified (this is the foundation of the Word of God, and thereby of Salvation), unto the Jews a stumbling block (the Cross was the stumbling block), and unto the Greeks foolishness (both found it difficult to accept as God a dead Man hanging on a Cross, for such Christ was to them). “And I, Brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom (means that Paul depended not on oratorical abilities, nor did he delve into philosophy, which was the rage of that particular day), declaring unto you the Testimony of God (which is Christ and Him Crucified). “For I determined not to know anything among you (with purpose and design, Paul did not resort to the knowledge or philosophy of the world regarding the Preaching of the Gospel), save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified.” (That, and that alone, is the Message which will save the sinner, set the captive free, and give the Believer perpetual victory [I Cor. 1:17-18, 23; 2:1-2].)
Paul also said:
“But God forbid that I should glory (boast) save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (what the opponents of Paul sought to escape at the price of insincerity is the Apostle’s only basis of exultation), by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (The only way we can overcome the world, and I mean the only way, is by placing our Faith exclusively in the Cross of Christ, and keeping it there [Gal. 6:14).)
Seeing all of this, I began to understand that the story of the Bible, in its totality, is the story of “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.” Jesus said as much.
The Words of Christ
After His Resurrection, with His Disciples still not believing that He has risen from the dead, He suddenly appeared to two of His Disciples as they were going to a village called Emmaus. The Disciples did not recognize Who He was; they thought He was merely a stranger.
The Scripture says, “And He said unto them, What manner of communications are these that you have one to another, as you walk, and are sad?” (Lk. 24:17). They began to relate to Him all the things which recently had happened.
“Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the Prophets have spoken: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Lk. 24:25-27).
The Cross of Christ is the foundation principle of all Biblical Doctrine.
It is the foundation because it is the first principle of Redemption, brought about in the Mind of God even before the foundation of the world (I Pet. 1:18-20). This means that every single doctrine must be built on the foundation of Christ and the Cross, or else, in some way, it will be spurious.
And that’s the problem with the modern Church; it is building doctrines on other foundations.
Paul addressed this by saying:
“According to the Grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder (in essence Paul, under Christ, founded the Church), I have laid the foundation (Jesus Christ and Him Crucified), and another builds thereon (speaks of all Preachers who followed thereafter, even unto this very moment, and have built upon this foundation). But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. (All must preach the same Doctrine Paul preached, in essence,“Jesus Christ and Him Crucified.”) “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid (anything other than the Cross is another foundation, and therefore unacceptable to the Lord)¸ which is Jesus Christ (Who He is, God manifest in the flesh, and what He did, Redemption through the Cross [I Cor. 3:10-11]).
In 1 Corinthians 1:17, which we have just quoted, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle tells us exactly what the Gospel is.
To be brief, it is the “Cross of Christ.”
As our Lord said to me, “The answer for which you seek is found in the Cross,” in effect, He actually said, “In the Cross, and only in the Cross.”