By: Jimmy Swaggart. March, 2011 4th
“First of all, we as Believers can never look at another Believer, no matter what seems to be on the outside, and know what is actually going on in such a person’s heart and life.”
QUESTION: CAN A BELIEVER LIVE A VICTORIOUS LIFE IF HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THE CROSS RESPECTING SANCTIFICATION?
The person asking the question went on to say, “I know quite a number of people who do not understand the Cross of Christ respecting Sanctification, and they live a victorious life.”
First of all, we as Believers can never look at another Believer, no matter what seems to be on the outside, and know what is actually going on in such a person’s heart and life. Only the Lord can do that. Furthermore, if a Believer can live a victorious life without understanding the Cross of Christ respecting Sanctification, then the statement given by Paul carries no meaning. He said, “For if Righteousness come by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21).
Righteousness can come only one way and that is by the Believer exercising Faith in Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross, which then automatically gives us a perfect, spotless Righteousness. If we attempt to obtain it in any other manner, it is constituted as “Law” or “works,” and always ends in self-righteousness.
WHAT EVERY BELIEVER OUGHT TO KNOW
Please understand, a person can be Saved, baptized with the Holy Spirit, used of the Lord respecting Gifts, and, in fact, used of God mightily, without understanding the Cross as it refers to Sanctification. In fact, there are no perfect people, Cross or otherwise. There is only a Perfect Christ, Who has a Perfect Redemption, which is given to us upon Faith.
Many Believers do not understand the manner in which the Lord uses people.
First of all, and as stated, there are no perfect people.
They simply don’t exist!
This in no way is meant to condone sin in any fashion.
It is meant, however, to see the situation as it really is.
No matter how much the Lord is using a person, with His use of them being real and genuine, if that Believer, whomever he or she might be, doesn’t understand God’s Prescribed Order of Victory, i.e., “of life and living,” such a person, despite being used by the Lord, cannot live a victorious life.
Let me use the Apostle Paul, who would be the greatest example of all.
The Ninth Chapter of Acts records the miraculous conversion of Paul, which took place on the Road to Damascus. Three days after his conversion, Ananias, at the behest of the Lord, went to where Paul was staying and said to him, “Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, Who appeared unto you in the way as you came, has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17).
So, Paul was Saved and then three days later baptized with the Holy Spirit and then he immediately began to “preach Christ in the Synagogues.”
“The Apostles had been eyewitnesses of Christ being raised from the dead and, by and large, this is what they preached. They knew nothing about the New Covenant, what it meant, and simply because the Lord had not yet given that information.”
Now, at this time and for a period probably of several years, Paul knew nothing about the Cross of Christ as it refers to Sanctification, or any other manner either. In fact, all of the Apostles, plus Paul, during that intervening time preached the Resurrection more than anything else.
The Apostles had been eyewitnesses of Christ being raised from the dead and, by and large, this is what they preached. They knew nothing about the New Covenant, what it meant, and simply because the Lord had not yet given that information.
In fact, He would give the meaning of the New Covenant to Paul (Gal. 1:12). Now, as stated, how long it was after Jesus ascended until this information was given to Paul, we aren’t told.
We do know the following: It is believed that Paul was Saved in the year A.D. 35. In approximately A.D. 44, Barnabas, no doubt, led by the Lord went to Tarsus, “for to seek Saul” (Acts 11:25). After Barnabas found him, the Scripture says, “He brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people” (Acts 11:26).
It is almost guaranteed that by this time, a time frame of some nine years after Paul was Saved, the Apostle had by now been given the great meaning of the New Covenant. In fact, even though the Scripture does not pointedly say, I personally believe that Paul received this Revelation when “he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter” (II Cor. 12:4).
He related this account in approximately A.D. 60; however, this was some fourteen years after he had experienced this tremendous phenomenon (II Cor. 12:1-2). This means that this Revelation was given to him a short time before Barnabas found him in Tarsus and then brought him to Antioch.
Now, we must understand, all of these dates are speculative at best, yet, I think we can say without fear of contradiction that it was at least several years after Paul was Saved before this great Revelation of the New Covenant was given to him.
At any rate, during this period of time, ever how long it was, even though the great Apostle was ministering, and constantly, still, he did not know how to live a victorious life, no matter how hard he tried.
“The great Apostle went on to say: “‘For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing.’”
vs.9 “For I was alive without the Law once (Paul is referring to himself personally and his conversion to Christ; the Law, he states, had nothing to do with that conversion; neither did it have anything to do with his life in Christ): but when the Commandment came (having just been Saved, and not understanding the Cross of Christ, he tried to live for God by keeping the Commandments through his own strength and power; in his defense, no one else at that time understood the Cross; in fact, the meaning of the Cross, which is actually the meaning of the New Covenant, would be given to Paul), sin revived (the sin nature will always, without exception, revive under such circumstances, which results in failure), and I died. (He was not meaning that he physically died, as would be obvious, but that he died to the Commandment; in other words, he failed to obey no matter how hard he tried; let all Believers understand that if the Apostle Paul couldn’t live for God in this manner, at least successfully, neither can you!)” (Rom. 7:9 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
PAUL FOUND THAT HIS WILLPOWER WAS NOT ENOUGH
The great Apostle went on to say:
vs.18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing (speaks of man’s own ability, or rather the lack thereof in comparison to the Holy Spirit, at least when it comes to spiritual things): for to will is present with me (Paul is speaking here of his willpower; regrettably, most modern Christians are trying to live for God by means of willpower, thinking falsely that since they have come to Christ, they are now free to say ‘no’ to sin; that is the wrong way to look at the situation; the Believer cannot live for God by the strength of willpower; while the will is definitely important, it alone is not enough; the Believer must exercise Faith in Christ and the Cross, and do so constantly; then he will have the ability and strength to say ‘yes’ to Christ, which automatically says, ‘no’ to the things of the world); but how to perform that which is good I find not (outside of the Cross, it is impossible to find a way to do good). vs.19 “For the good that I would I do not (if I depend on self, and not the Cross): but the evil which I would not (don’t want to do), that I do (which is exactly what every Believer will do no matter how hard he tries to do otherwise, if he tries to live this life outside of the Cross [Gal. 2:20-21])” (Rom. 7:18-19 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
Now, if Paul couldn’t live a victorious life outside of the Cross, again I ask, “How can we do such?”
A MODERN EXPERIENCE
“If a Believer could successfully live for the Lord outside of God’s provision, which is the Cross of Christ, then our Lord would not have had to come to this sin-cursed world and die on a cruel tree.”
Back in the mid 1950’s, if I remember the period of time correctly, a particular Preacher was drawing some of the largest crowds in the world and, in fact, seeing a tremendous work for God accomplished. Many were being healed and many were being Saved.
At a point in time, the dear brother was found to be having a problem with alcohol.
Now, many would say, as a result of this revelation, that he was a hypocrite and that his Ministry was not valid. None of that is correct!
His Ministry was valid. God was using him, and greatly so; however, he was trying to live for the Lord without understanding the Cross of Christ relative to Sanctification. In other words, he simply did not know how the Holy Spirit worked. So, he tried to beat this thing himself, but, as untold millions have found out, it cannot be done that way. There can be victory, but only God’s Way, which is the Cross of Christ, which then gives the Holy Spirit latitude to work in one’s life.
The tragedy then, as by and large is the tragedy now, was that very few preachers knew and understood the Message of the Cross as it regarded Sanctification. Respecting Salvation, yes! Sanctification, no!
Frances and I sat across the table in a restaurant with Brother Gordon Lindsay, who was editor of the very influential “Voice of Healing” Magazine. He knew this brother intimately.
I asked him as to the reason for the failure. Frances and I, in those days just beginning in Evangelistic work were, as well, totally ignorant of this which we now teach you.
Brother Lindsay said to me, “Brother Swaggart, I simply don’t know what happened.” And there are untold numbers at this very moment, and I speak of preachers, who are struggling with problems in their lives, which, to say the least, is a monumental hindrance to them. Some will be found out and will suffer tremendous reproach. Some will simply quit preaching, because they lack understanding concerning these things.
A PRESENT EXPERIENCE
I’m thinking now of a Preacher of the Gospel who is at the present time building a great church in a respective southern city, but, until he heard the Message of the Cross, he had simply quit. He couldn’t overcome particular problems within his life, and no matter how hard he tried. I heard him state, as he preached here at Family Worship Center just a short time ago, “Everybody told me what I had to do, but no one told me how to do it.” The reason they didn’t tell him how to do it is because they did not know how themselves.
There came an hour that he lost everything and, above all, lost his way with God. Reduced to working as a janitor, through a Latino that God used, this dear brother heard the Message of the Cross and his whole world changed. As stated, he is now building a great Church, and for the Glory of God.
If a Believer could successfully live for the Lord outside of God’s provision, which is the Cross of Christ, then our Lord would not have had to come to this sin-cursed world and die on a cruel tree. But, He had to do such, simply because without that, the fallen sons of Adam’s lost race would never find their way home.
A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
I know what it is to be on both sides of this fence, proverbially speaking. And, please believe me, to try to live this life without knowing what I now know, which the Lord has given to me and which I’m doing my best to give it to others, simply wouldn’t be worth living.
vs.20 “I am Crucified with Christ (as the Foundation of all Victory; Paul, here, takes us back toRom. 6:3-5): nevertheless I live (have new life); yet not I (not by my own strength and ability), but Christ lives in me (by virtue of me dying with Him on the Cross, and being raised with Him in Newness of Life): and the life which I now live in the flesh (my daily walk before God) I live by the Faith of the Son of God (the Cross is ever the Object of my Faith), Who loved me, and gave Himself for me (which is the only way that I could be Saved)” (Gal. 2:20 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
“We must ever understand that all Grace is made possible to us by virtue of the Cross of Christ, and no other way.”
Several things are said in this one statement.
In a very abbreviated form, the Holy Spirit here through Paul tells us how to live for God.
• The three words, “yet not I,” are some of the most important ever. The Apostle is simply telling us that he (we), within
..himself (ourselves), could not successfully live this life.
• If it is to be noticed, the great Apostle begins with the Cross (“Crucified with Christ”) and ends with the Cross (“Who loved
..me, and gave Himself for me”).
vs.21 “I do not frustrate the Grace of God (if we make anything other than the Cross of Christ the Object of our Faith, we frustrate the Grace of God, which means we stop its action, and the Holy Spirit will no longer help us): for if Righteousness come by the Law (any type of Law), then Christ is dead in vain. (If I can successfully live for the Lord by any means other than Faith in Christ and the Cross, then the Death of Christ was a waste)” Gal. 2:21 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
FRUSTRATING THE GRACE OF GOD
1. Let us state that the Grace of God is simply the Goodness of God given to undeserving people.
2. We must ever understand that all Grace is made possible to us by virtue of the Cross of Christ, and no other way.
3. The Believer can keep the Grace of God, i.e., “the Goodness of God,” coming to him in an uninterrupted flow as long as his
....Faith is anchored …..in Christ and the Cross. The moment our Faith is placed somewhere else, this “frustrates the
....Grace of God,” with all of its attendant problems.
This means that every Believer in the world at this present time and, in fact, it has always been that way, who doesn’t place his Faith exclusively in Christ and the Cross as it regards living for God, succeeds in doing nothing but “frustrating the Grace of God.” This means that most of the help which can be given to us by the Holy Spirit is stopped. Regrettably, that’s where most modern Believers are.
FALLING FROM GRACE
Paul also stated:
vs.4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you (this is a chilling statement, and refers to anyone who makes anything other than Christ and the Cross the Object of his Faith), whosoever of you are Justified by the Law (seek to be Justified by the Law); you are fallen from Grace (fallen from the position of Grace, which means the Believer is trusting in something other than the Cross; it actually means, ‘to apostatize’)” (Gal. 5:4 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
What does it mean to fall from Grace?
Once again, it means that such a Believer is placing his faith in something other than Christ and the Cross. Considering that the far greater majority of the modern church knows absolutely nothing about the Cross of Christ as it regards our Sanctification, in other words, how we live for God, this means that most modern Christians are living in a state of being fallen from Grace.
Are these Christians, which include almost all, aware of their situation?
A HOME-BORN SLAVE
Christians in this state know that something is wrong, but they don’t really know what it is.
The great Prophet Jeremiah said, “Is Israel a servant? is he a home-born slave? why is he spoiled?” (Jer. 2:14).
“Israel was a son, not a slave, yet they were about to become slaves! In fact, Israel had become a ‘servant,’ i.e., slave, to the heathenistic gods. As a result, they would soon become a slave to a foreign power.
“The question, ‘Is he a home-born slave?’, is interesting indeed! It has reference to an animal in a zoo. An animal was made by God to be free and unfettered. However, if born in a zoo and knowing nothing but the confines of such, it is a slave without really knowing it. Such was Israel, and such are so many modern Believers!
“But there is freedom in Christ, and freedom only in Christ.
“To be frank, they were influenced by the Word of Faith people, so-called, who openly denigrate the Cross.”
LIVING THE RESURRECTION LIFE
vs.5 “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)” (Rom. 6:5 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible
Many years ago when Frances and I were travelling from church to church in meetings, I would hear preachers mention the “Resurrection Life.” Much of the time when such was said, it was a denigration of the Cross. In other words, they were stating that they wanted nothing to do with the Cross, because they were “Resurrection People.” To be frank, they were influenced by the Word of Faith people, so-called, who openly denigrate the Cross.
It is certainly proper and right for the Believer to desire to live the Resurrection Life and, in fact, that’s exactly what we should do; however, to live this Resurrection Life, which means a life of Victory, and perpetual Victory at that, we must understand that everything is predicated on the Cross of Christ. In other words, it is the Cross which makes all of this possible.
No, again we state, no matter who the Believer is and no matter what it looks like outwardly, no one can live a victorious life in Christ and not understand the Cross of Christ as it refers to our Sanctification. In fact, this is the entire gist of Paul’s fourteen Epistles. This is at least a great part of the meaning of the New Covenant.
Free from the Law, O Happy ConditionSee Hymnary.org https://hymnary.org/text/free_from_the_law_o_happy_condition
1 Free from the law, O happy condition,
Jesus hath bled, and there is remission;
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Grace hath redeemed us once for all.
2 Now we are free, there’s no condemnation,
Jesus provides a perfect salvation;
“Come unto Me,” O hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.
(This message was derived from the book by Jimmy Swaggart, “Brother Swaggart, Here Is My Question About The Cross”.)
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