C63aSource de Vie - http://www.sourcedevie.com
© SdV - Toute reproduction autorisée et même encouragée
mis sur le site le 18/12/01
The above teaching is the transcription in English of a spoken message recorded on audio-cassette given in French by Henri Viaud-Murat. The written transcription and subsequent translation have been done in such a manner so as to preserve the spontaneity of the spoken word. Only a few minor changes have been made when necessary for the comprehensiveness of the text.
All that Jesus accomplished on the Cross for us
This evening, I would like to speak, well, try to speak to you by the grace of God, because it is so profound, so important, that I need all the Lord's grace in order to be able to explain it, and you as well need the Lord's grace to be able to understand it. I'd like to speak about all that Jesus accomplished on the Cross for us.
There are things that we know very well, but there are other things that we do not know very well. Whether we belong to the Lord or not, we need to know and to hear what He has done for us. When we do not belong to the Lord, when we haven't yet given our lives to the Lord, we ABSOLUTELY need to know what Jesus did on the Cross in order to enter into His salvation. But once we have entered in, we absolutely need to go further into the knowledge of what He has done on the Cross in order to go onward with Him, till the end -- especially in these times, when we know that He is coming again soon, to seek what belongs to Him.
Therefore, this evening, I am going to speak to you, or speak to you again (because you know we must go over this often, for in going over it again, the Holy Spirit makes it penetrate more and more into our hearts). I'm going to speak more deeply about four (4) things that the Lord accomplished on the Cross. These are things that He accomplished 2000 years ago ; they've been done once and for all. And once He accomplished them, He made them available to all those who would be willing to accept them : therefore, to us today. It is still valid for us. What He accomplished 2000 years ago is still for us today. I'm going to enumerate these things and develop them by reading some (scripture) passages.
The first (1st) thing He accomplished when He died on the Cross is the expiation (making amends) of our sins by His blood. We need to have an inner-revelation from the Holy Spirit for all of these things, because I can speak to you, your ear can hear, but it must not just stay at the level of comprehending in the brain. It must enter into the heart, and for that, we must open our hearts to what the Holy Spirit, God's Spirit, wants to do there. Therefore, the revelation must be given to us at the same time our ear hears. First of all, Jesus Christ died on the Cross and poured out all His blood. He had to pour out His blood in order to pay for our sins, and to wash all our sins away. This is the first thing. And it's the most fantastic thing in the world because that has opened the narrow gate of salvation, and I'll explain in what way later on. So first of all, the BLOOD that He poured out at the Cross has the power to cleanse all the sins committed in the lives of those who believe. To blot them all out, completely. They're over and done with. He washes away everything. He paid for us with His blood.
And the second (2nd) thing that He accomplished at the Cross -- that God, the Father, has accomplished in Jesus for us at the Cross -- is that at the moment Jesus died, God, the Father, placed all those who would believe in Jesus, in advance, to DIE WITH HIM on the Cross. That is already a little bit more complicated to understand. There, as well, we need help from the Holy Spirit. Because when we explain that Jesus died 2000 years ago, that He shed His blood, and that His blood washes away all sin, that is something relatively well-known. We can accept that rather easily. But to think that 2000 years ago, God had put, in advance in Jesus Christ, all those who would believe in Him, to die with Him there, is already a little more complicated, and the Holy Spirit has to explain it to us in our hearts. When Jesus died, He died in a physical body that God the Father had given Him, but He had never committed any sin. He died, not only because He had to pour out His blood to wash away our sins, but by His death He had to solve the problem of our sinful nature.
When Adam and Eve sinned, sin entered into the lives of men and women, and all their descendants were placed under the bondage and curse of sin. Our human nature : spirit, soul and body, is completely under the bondage of slavery to sin. When we don't know Jesus as Saviour, we CANNOT resist sin. It is a power which dominates us, and makes us complete slaves. The will cannot do anything to go against this. Therefore, it wasn't enough to cleanse past sin. The problem of our sinful nature, which was causing us to sin, had to be solved as well. If God cleanses our sins, and if our nature constantly pushes us to sin -- of course the blood of Jesus can always wash them away, that's what He continues to do, thank the Lord -- but the answer had to go much deeper. Our sinful nature had to DIE in Jesus Christ. And that's why He died in the flesh for us, so that our carnal nature would be destroyed in Him, at the moment He died : for all those who would believe in Him. And that's fantastic because that sets us free from sin's slavery. That frees us completely. That's the second thing He did.
The third (3rd) thing He did was that He didn't stay in the grave. Three days later He rose from the dead. He rose by the power of God, who wasn't willing to keep Him in the grave, because it wasn't for His own sins that He died, but for OUR own. He wasn't meant to see corruption and to remain eternally dead, that wasn't the Messiah's role. In God's plan, He was destined to resurrect, to come back to life, to be re-born to a new life, He who had been dead. And on the third day His body came out of the tomb. He is risen. Today, at this moment, while I am speaking to you, Jesus is not just a doctrine from 2000 years ago, or the founder of a religion from 2000 years ago who died and is buried like all the other founders of religions. That's not it at all! Jesus has risen, like the HEAD of a NEW BODY that is His Church which is made up of all those who believe in Him. And it is in the LIFE of Jesus that WE are born again, risen with Him when HE rose from the dead.
So this is the 3rd important thing because it doesn't suffice for us to die to our old carnal nature and remain dead. That would be very passive and negative. But Jesus wants to make us partakers of an entirely brand new life through His resurrection, a life that has NOTHING to do with the past life : an entirely godly life, a resurrected life, that He plants in us at the moment we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, at the moment we ask Him to forgive our sins. He accomplishes these three things all at once :
- He washes away all our past sins by His blood the moment we repent, and ask forgiveness
- He makes our old nature die completely, because it died in Him 2000 years ago, and
- He causes us to be born again into a new life, by His Spirit, that comes into us the moment we open our hearts to ask Jesus to come in. When we ask for forgiveness of our sins, His Spirit enters us. He re-creates a new spirit in us, a completely and entirely brand new spirit, that has NOTHING to do with the old nature that is dead. He puts a brand new spirit into our present bodies that then become the temple of His Spirit. So, at the moment HE resurrected, all those who would believe in Him were IN ADVANCE born again IN HIM ; and we now as well, who have believed in Him. We must never forget that, "... if any man be in Christ...old things are passed away; behold all things are become new" -- in Him. He has given us a NEW life, a NEW nature. 100% brand new!
But the problem is that He has placed this new nature into a body that is not yet resurrected. That will take place when Jesus comes back to seek those who are waiting for Him. At that moment the last step of salvation shall be accomplished : He is going to transform our mortal bodies into immortal ones. He is going to raise them up from the dead. He is going to to give them Resurrected Life. But in the mean time, He wants this new nature that He has put in us, along with His Spirit that He has put into us, to be manifested completely -- to be demonstrated throughout every facet of our lives -- through this mortal flesh.
And that is the fourth (4th) thing that He accomplished for us at the Cross. That is, after having understood and received by faith these first three things that I've just spoken about which are already accomplished realities, which God has planted in our lives at the moment of our new birth, from that moment on, the Lord is going to work by His Spirit to make manifest this resurrected Life in every area of our lives. Jesus has already accomplished this for us in advance, because He is our life, and He lives in us. Once we have accepted Him as Lord and Saviour, at that moment, He begins a work in us, that is now still taking place, and that will not be complete until the day He returns, or the day when death comes to take us. That means : a work of making manifest this resurrected Life in our everyday lives.
This new nature (this third thing) has been acquired once and for all in Christ. But the fourth thing is that, DAY after DAY, the Spirit of God, and the Lord, who lives in us, works by His POWER to transform us into His own image. In order to do this -- and here is the crux of the matter -- He asks us to carry our cross every day. He carried His, and we have been swallowed up into His death and resurrection. But included in this work of manifesting His divine nature through us, this FLESH (which was crucified 2000 years ago) must be PUT TO DEATH EVERY DAY, in all its aspects, because that isn't done, that isn't manifested, instantaneously. Do you understand what I mean? I am going to explain this to you again because it is a bit difficult to understand.
Two-thousand (2000) years ago Jesus Christ accomplished EVERYTHING. Already spiritually in Him we are perfect. IN HIM we are new creatures. IN HIM we are born into a new life. IN HIM God sees us as already being perfect. But what counts for the Lord, isn't that we simply stay on this level of spiritual comprehension of what we have in Him, but that we manifest this in a concrete way in our everyday lives. And THAT doesn't happen the day we are converted. What happens the day we are converted is the personal acquisition, by the Spirit, of all that Jesus has accomplished for us. It is already ours, completely beforehand. And from that moment on, the Lord BY HIS POWER (and by our faith in His work as well) is going to go to work for REAL this time, in a concrete manner, of PUTTING TO DEATH all that is not spiritual in our daily lives, and of manifesting all that is spiritual. IT IS HE WHO ACCOMPLISHES THIS IN US. It is not OUR personal efforts that are going to do this. This is why I've made this the fourth point. What He accomplished 2000 years ago, He acquired it for us. That means to say : this gradual transformation, all the way up to the manifestation of its perfection. It is HE who is going to do it in us, provided we remain attached to Him and, that we believe His Word. This is the precise image of the vine.
Some of you are grape harvesting at this time. You've seen how the cluster of grapes is formed. The branch is attached to the vine, and it didn't make a personal effort to produce fruit. Staying attached to the vine is enough, and the LIFE that is in the vine is manifested little by little, causing the fruit to grow and ripen, all the way up to the moment we harvest it. That hasn't been the result of the branch's effort. The only work the branch has had to do, in a manner of speaking, is to remain attached to the vine. If there is the least injury, it must be treated in order to permit the sap to flow through the branch, and then, day after day, the fruit is formed. But you can well understand that it is the life of the vine that allows the fruit to be formed. Already in advance, at the instant the wine grower sees the first flowers on the branch, he ALREADY knows that, if the conditions remain good, the harvest will follow. He will simply watch to see that the conditions be well met, that the branch remains attached to the vine, and that certain natural conditions be preserved as well : protection, fight against disease, etc. .
These are spiritual images of what the Holy Spirit does in us provided we remain attached to Jesus. So, that's marvelous, because when our eyes have been opened to what He has done, then the Holy Spirit wants to make us understand that LIFE with Jesus isn't a religion. It's not a new religion, it's not the best religion, it's not entering into a religion saying, "You have to make yourself be Christian" and from that moment on you're going to attend meetings, and accept certain commandments, and do or not do certain things anymore. That's not it at all. That is the method of the religions of the world. But with the Lord Jesus it is LIFE that we receive, a change of nature that we receive from the INSIDE, a transformation that the Holy Spirit does in our HEARTS. HE is the one who makes us able, at that moment, to obey the Lord's commands and to manifest His glory; but it's His LIFE we receive. To receive Jesus is to receive His life. It's not to enter into religion, it's receiving His life. It's His LIFE that works in us, that changes us, that gives us joy, peace, and all the blessings of heaven.
So, if I come back to the first point... I am going to read in Romans chapter 3 verse 9, "What then ? are we better than they ? No, in no wise : for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles..." (During his day and age there were only two catefgories of persons : the Jews that had the word of God, and the others, the pagans, who were the Gentiles. I'll continue), "... they (both Jews and Gentiles) are all under sin..." (This means to say : all are slaves to sin), "...as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one : There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable : there is none that does good, NO, NOT ONE."
Here is something to reassure ourselves with. When we see each other with the eyes of God, we don't have to say, "You're better than me ; I'm not as good as you." We're ALL completely perverted in the eyes of God because of the sin we've inherited from our ancestors. You can say, "Yes, but it's not my fault." All right, it's not your fault at the beginning, but it becomes your fault when you refuse Jesus. Because, when I refuse Jesus, that means that I don't have the way to get out of the inherited state I'm in anymore, whereas, He gives me, as a free gift, the way to get out of this condition. Jesus says to me "You need to understand that you're a SLAVE to sin." "Under (the Empire of) sin" means a complete slave. There's NO WAY to avoid sinning. There are only hypocrites who are able to lead you off the track, or the religious that put up a front, but haven't had their hearts changed. Those are the only ones who can try to fool you, but GOD, who sees the hearts, sees us ALL at the same level ; in other words, ROTTEN from sin, and He loves us. But He doesn't want to leave us in this condition, and that's why He sent Jesus.
He says a little further on, beginning with verse 23, "For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Sin separates us from God. Sin keeps us from understanding, and even from seeing, God. It separates us completely from God, and God, who loves us, wants to reestablish this contact between Himself and us. That's why He says, "ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". And, we are "justified FREELY..." (this means made righteous, forgiven, washed) "...by (His) Grace...". He gives us grace, like a President of a nation who grants pardon to a death-row prisoner. We deserve death, but He gives us grace, because someone else died for us, in our place : Jesus on the Cross.
"...by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (the first of the four points I spoke to you about) ": (He) Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation (victim of conciliation) through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness, etc ". He clearly says, "...(for) those who have faith in Jesus" in what He has done. And faith is given to us when we hear the Word of God. The Word which says that we are all sinners. Sin leads to death, and to hell. But God who has loved us with an eternal love didn't want this for you. He sent Jesus in a body without sin, to die on the cross, to carry out the punishment there: the punishment that we should have had because of our sins. He poured out His blood there, and this blood makes us righteous before God, when we believe.
We hear this message, and immediately in our hearts the Holy Spirit gives us the conviction that it's true, that before God we truly are sinners, nothing at all. But God who loves us, doesn't want to leave us in this condition. He sent His Son, who died on the Cross for us. He shed His blood, and by PAYING for us, Jesus satisfied the Justice of God that demanded sin to be condemned. By being condemned in our place, by shedding His blood, He allows us, we who believe in Him, to benefit from this salvation that He has given us by Grace. When someone dies in another man's place, this "other man" doesn't have to die anymore to fulfill (pay) the condemnation. He needs only to accept what another has accomplished for him in order to receive his liberation. That is what Jesus accomplished for us.
And we MUST RECEIVE it by FAITH. It is not by our works that we enter into heaven. It's by faith. "Lord, I realize that I'm nothing before you, that I'm "good for nothing" before you, and that this sin has led me to death... I don't know you." After physical death, well, there is a hell and condemnation. But God, who is good, wants ALL MEN to be saved, and that's why He has given us this message of the Gospel, "Jesus died for you. He shed His blood. This blood that has the power to wash you of all your sins, and to make you righteous before God. His justice is satisfied."
Now, if you turn the page, we go further on, in Romans 6, he speaks to those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord, therefore to the Christians, and he says to them, "You Christians are going to understand something greater, something a bit deeper, after having understood that the blood of Jesus has washed your sins. I'm going to explain something to you." In chapter 6, verse 3, he tells them, " ...don't you know" (apparently certain ones didn't know) "... don't you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus...", (baptised means plunged, immersed into Him.) "...were baptised into his death?"
He means to say to the Christians (and you're going to have to undertand this) that when Jesus Christ died, you were plunged into His death. What was plunged into His death was ALL your old sinful nature ; it was completely swallowed up, into the death of Jesus. Completely. At the moment He died, you died with Him -- not dead in the sense that you're going to go to hell -- not that at all, on the contrary, it's His death that delivers us from hell ; but He delivers us from the POWER of the old nature that was swallowed up into the death of Jesus. "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 : knowing this," (listen well to this) "knowing this, that our old man (our old sinful nature) is crucified with him..." .
Knowing this is important. Because the fact of knowing that the blood of Jesus has completely washed us of our sins isn't enough in God's plan. It is entirely enough to give us salvation, but it isn't enough to solve the problem of our old sinful nature. He wants us to know that our old carnal (fleshly) nature, that constantly caused us to sin, HAS BEEN CRUCIFIED with Him, so that the BODY OF SIN should be destroyed. This body of sin, this body that was a slave to sin, is now DESTROYED.
He uses the example of a master and his slave -- a man who is a slave to another who is his master. If the master is mean (sin can be compared to a master) and we were slaves to this master, sin ruled in our members, and we were its slave. In theory there are two solutions in order to be set free from this slavery. Either : escape or die. We can't escape when we are a slave to sin. When we are a slave to sin the comparison stops here, BECAUSE sin DWELLS in us. There's no escaping something that is within us. Therefore, the only solution is through death, and to understand and to believe, that when Jesus died, this old sinful nature that held us captive is dead with Him, so that we can then be set free from sin. He says this in verse 7, "For he that is dead is freed from sin." Free, truly set free. We are no longer slaves. That means to say, the master called sin is still alive, he's still around, he's still there, but the slave is dead -- in Christ. Therefore, the master has no more power over this slave, because the slave is dead. Sin still dwells in the body, but the slave, he is dead. Sin, the master, can no longer have authority over someone who is dead. That's over. One can't have authority over someone who is dead. If you are a slave, or a prisoner for life, once you're dead, in a sense, you're set free from all bondage. Only this doesn't stop here.
He says in verse 8, "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him : Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over Him." He is resurrected. He lives forever. He is living today. He has received a glorified body. He is alive today, and He could appear to us right now in His glorified body if He wanted to. He is at the right hand of the Father in heaven, waiting to come again to gather up His Church and carry her away with Him, to save her from the apocalypse that is coming on a rebellious earth. He still exists, He is alive, and He lives in our hearts by His Spirit. Death has no power over Him any longer. "For in that he died, he died unto sin once : but in that he lives, he lives unto God."
Having made us to understand this, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and at this moment while you're listening to this, I pray in my heart that this revelation be truly given in the deepest part of ALL our hearts. All this has been accomplished by Jesus. This is reality, what He has done, has been perfectly accomplished : this death in Him, and this resurrection in Him, are perfectly accomplished and available right now for all those who believe. He is ready to give us this revelation if we desire it. Our heavenly Father is READY to give us this revelation in the deepest part of our hearts if it's our desire. He is not going to force us. He will simply respond to our desire. Do you desire to have this revelation ? of sin, and of death where sin leads us, but as well, that of salvation in Jesus? Of forgiveness of sins by the blood of Jesus, of the death of our old nature in Jesus, and of our resurrection to a new life ?? He can give us this revelation, immediately, if we desire it.
Now we've come to the third point of birth into a new life. Concerning this birth into a new life, the Lord begins by revealing this to us by His Spirit, by making us understand. He says to us, "The problem of your old nature is settled. You are now a new creation in spirit and in Christ." I can receive this revelation in my heart, be filled with joy and say, "Lord, in You it's done. You have given me this new life, and now that I know that, now that I'm a new creature, well, everything is for You. Now I'm going to live entirely for you. I'm going to consecrate myself completely to you, and live for You." We begin like that if we are sincere. So, we begin right from the start of our Christian life -- that was the case for all of us , and our mistake as well -- so filled with thankfulness when we receive this revelation, and so sad to see so many people all around us that haven't had this, that when we receive this revelation we would like so much to share it. We want to make Jesus known to others. We want to do lots of things for the Lord, to make others understand, and make it known to others. When we receive this revelation we begin by involving ourselves in all sorts of things that we DO FOR the Lord, out of love for Him. We want to witness. We want to say what the Lord has done in us, etc. ; and that is often where our first mistake begins, since we haven't yet fully manifested the new, holy nature that He has given us.
We begin by making the mistake of wanting to DO things for Him, because we learn His Word, we see His demands, we learn His commandments. Jesus tells us for example, "Love one another... forgive one another..." We're going to receive this commandment, and in our hearts we're going to say, "You're right, Lord, you ask me to love others, so I'm going to love them. We begin by trying to make ourselves love others, because Jesus asks us to. And we realize that it doesn't really work all the time. We force ourselves to do something, but once we try to force ourselves to do something, we see the sinful nature reappear, and yet, we received the revelation that it was dead in Him.
We have all had this experience of receiving the revelation of our old nature being dead, and that the new one has been given us. We begin doing things for Him, and immediately we make a wrong move, we stumble, we fall, we get angry, we have an impatient reaction, an impure reaction, a mean reaction, and we say to the Lord, " Why, Lord, I shouldn't act like that. Forgive me." The Lord forgives us, and we make a good resolution saying, "Lord, now this is it. I won't start over again because I know your Word. I know that you ask me to love my brothers and my sisters. Now it's over ; if someone speaks unkindly to me, You can be sure, I'm not ever going to get angry again. I want to express Your love, and that's going to be the case." And then, unfortunately, fifteen minutes later or the next day, we begin again. We succeed in not getting angry the first time. And then the seventh time that the same person, the same day, does the same thing, well then, we explode. We say, "Lord, no." We see this carnal nature reappear and that frustrates us, because we know we're doing wrong and we're honest with the Lord.
This is the experience he talks about in Romans 7, which I'm going to read, when he says there is a second degree of liberation of not only realizing by faith that He has given me a new nature that dwells in me by faith, and if I believe, I will see this made manifest in my life (that is certain). But He gives me a greater revelation ; he says in Romans 7, "Know you not, brethren, for I speak to them that know the law," (He's speaking of the law of God.) "...how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman which has a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives ; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband." This is God's law. In passing let me say, that when you are married, it is for life. Only death can separate a couple. But here, He uses the image of this association of a husband and wife to show us how the Lord wants to free us from all law, in the sense of what He means. In verse 3, "So, then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress : but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no (longer an) adulteress, though she be married to another man."
He uses the example of a man and wife that are married for life. And this husband is very demanding. The law of God is very demanding. One can't do better. The law of God is perfect. All the commandments that God asks us to observe, is what he calls the Law. This woman, that is married to this husband, is bound to him as long as the two are living. She cannot be set free from this Law, from the constraint of the Law, from this demanding husband, that is constantly bossing her around saying, "This isn't right. That isn't good. You're going to have to improve there." It would be difficult to have a husband like that. I'm speaking to those wives that have very demanding husbands, who are constantly knit-picking, pointing their finger at what isn't right, and constantly saying, " You need to improve, be more perfect", and "That isn't good." But no one can say a thing because he is perfect. He is perfect. We can't find anything wrong with God's Law. It is perfect. But here we are, with things not as they ought. We'd like to do what's right, but we can't. We're constantly under a spirit of continual condemnation, because we want to do what's right, but we aren't able to. This woman is unhappy. And he says, "Only if the husband dies can she be freed" ; but here, it's not the husband, but it's the wife who must die.
"Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ." We were married to the Law before, and the only way to be freed from the Law is to die in Christ. This means to say that, the Lord is going to make me understand as a Christian that I must go a step further in this resurrected Life He gives, to be able to WALK in this resurrected Life that He gives us. There are a lot of Christians that stay at this level, at this legalistic level, of constant condemnation from the Law. They are sincere. They know the commandments of God. They would like to put them into practice. They try putting them into practice by FORCING themselves. They FORCE themselves to love others, they FORCE themselves to be patient, they FORCE themselves to be good, they FORCE themselves to do things for God, they FORCE themselves to evangelize, etc., etc.. They do these things by their OWN strength, and at that moment, they are slaves to the Law of God, because the Law produces and develops SIN in those who want to walk in their own strength. The only way to be free from the slavery of the Law of God is to die in Christ.
I'm going to use another more simple example. Suppose that you're boss, and that you have an employee that is a real "good for nothing", who does everything wrong. He's the perfect Homer Simpson. He does everything wrong. As soon as he lifts a finger he breaks everything, he doesn't do anything right. He is completely incapable. You're his boss, and this poses a problem. In spite of you're saying, "Do this like this, and do that like that", there's nothing you can do, it's in his nature. He is INCAPABLE of doing something right, except when he stays still. If you say, "Sit there and don't move", then he doesn't break a thing. That's perfect. He looks like a perfect employee. But once you ASK him to do something, that means to say that, once the Law begins to take effect, God says, "Love your neighbor", then I'm going to get up, I'm going to love him, and boom! a disaster! because I, myself, am unable to. I'm a completely incapable servant, if I try to do things myself.
The commandments of God are like a boss that is perfect, that gives us good rules. But WE are like incapable servants. Once we try to get up and obey His Law by our own good resolutions, (disaster!) we aren't able to. He SETS US FREE from this slavery of the Law BY THE DEATH OF JESUS, and He makes us to understand. He says, "You see, you've understood something -- that you are dead and resurrected in Jesus, but once you've understood this, I want you to understand something deeper still : that it has to be the LIFE OF JESUS that expresses itself in you, to make you do all that I demand". That is through Jesus.
We just sang earlier, "Oh Lord, you give me Life, Peace and Love. All that we do, it is You who accomplishes it for us and in us." Paul was to say, "It is Christ who lives in me." Jesus himself was to say, " I do nothing of myself" (but by the fullness of the divine life in Him) He did all the Father asked of him. He did this, not because he forced Himself to do it but because He let the divine life, that of His Father, the life of the Holy Spirit, express itself fully. The only thing he did was to accept leaving his own will aside (because Jesus also had a personal will. He has a different personality than that of the Father, even though the same God). He said, "...nevertheless, not my will but thine (Father) be done." Therefore, He had a personal will, but He chose to set it aside, so as to let the will of the Father be done in Him, by the POWER of the Spirit that dwelt in Him fully. It wasn't an effort of the will in the life of Jesus. He simply set his will to His Father's service, and the divine life in Him flowed through Him. He wants to make us understand. And that is our stumbling block, when we want to do things for Jesus, when we are sincere and we want to walk with Him. We go to great efforts to please Him. We go to great efforts and we stumble and fall every time. We make good resolutions, "Lord, I won't sin anymore, I'm going to make an effort not to", and I sin, and I sin.
When you see the picture that Paul describes in Romans 7 it isn't a very pleasant picture, because he says in verse 14, "...the law is spiritual : but I am carnal, sold under sin (in my carnal nature)". And what is characteristic of the carnal nature is that it immediately expresses itself once we give it an opportunity to. Once we want to do something ourselves, it is our carnal nature that expresses itself. Once we want to do something ourselves, even if we want to do it FOR God, it is OUR carnal nature that expresses itself, and that is a catastrophe ; because our carnal nature CANNOT obey God, not at all. It must be completely set aside.
Here is where the fourth point comes in, because everything is done by faith. I understand that God has set me free from the law of sin. He has set me free from slavery to this body of sin, by His death and resurrection. Now, I understand that He FREES me from every PERSONAL EFFORT in order to serve Him. This is the most difficult and painful thing for Christians to understand. There are Christians that stay stuck in this place all their lives. Because they love the Lord, and because they were really well TAUGHT all the commandments, "you are going to have to do this and then that", "that you don't wear a skirt or a dress or trousers", I don't know what, or "wear a vail", or "do this but not that", or that you "pay your tithes", and all that. "Oh Lord, I want to serve You. I accept it and I WANT to put it into practice." But we do this by an effort of PERSONAL WILL that, at that moment, comes from our will, our flesh, our soul (carnal, "animal" soul), and which is NOT a FRUIT of the LIFE of the HOLY SPIRIT in us, a NATURAL FRUIT from my communion with Jesus. For when we are in COMMUNION with Jesus, when we've understood these things, when we LET the life of Jesus express itself, He will have us wear a vail, have us dress in a certain way, speak a certain way; He will make us polite, nice and kind. But that is going to be a NATURAL FRUIT that is going to come from the fact, that growth is going to be accomplished by God, and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is going to become greater and greater in all the realms of my life. It is CHRIST that is going to do it in me, if I let Him.
If I go before Him and say, "Lord, I understand that before You, my personal efforts, even my good efforts to serve You and do right, are rotteness" (excuse the term, but that's what it is). God doesn't want what comes from us. He wants us to receive from Him ALL that we need, so that He lives through us. He simply asks us to believe in His presence in us, and in the power of His Holy Spirit. To offer our members, our bodies, as a living sacrifice, so that He can take over and express Himself through us. This doesn't mean to say that we are going to become puppets, and marionnettes in His hands. God will always need OUR agreement, OUR decision to personal consecration, OUR FAITH in His action, and in His Word. It's the Word of God that will guide us constantly in this work of manifesting the life of Christ.
The fourth point is that which consists of seeing, day after day, the perfection of Christ manifest itself in our lives...the perfection of Christ. Once I have been set free from slavery to the law, that I've understood that it is no longer my efforts for God that count, and there, completely broken, I present myself before God saying, "Lord, for years I WANTED to do things for you. I've DONE a lot of things for you, and apparently that was able to bring forth much fruit for you. I've been around the whole world evangelizing thousands of persons, Lord, but that came from my flesh, because I wanted to do things FOR you. And before you, if it isn't You operating in me, if it isn't Your perfect will manifested in me, it isn't acceptable." When I get to this point of completely, personally, surrendering to Jesus, at that moment the work of the Cross (the fourth point) can deeply take effect in me.
And that is the final purpose of the Cross : to make me fully understand how much the Lord wants to manifest HIMSELF in me, and that it isn't me doing it for Him anymore. He wants it to be His sweet perfume coming out of a broken vessel. Remember the woman who broke the jar full of pure perfume and poured it on the feet of Jesus. That sweetness had filled the whole room. The disciples were not happy because she had wasted hundreds of dollars in a very expensive perfume. Jesus said, "Let her alone; why trouble...her? she has done a good work...wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, what she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Because she did exactly what Jesus wants us to do : with a quick, sharp snap, to break the seal that keeps the perfume of Christ from being manifested, this seal of personal will, this seal of one's own life, one's personal life, that God wants to completely break at the Cross.
If you look at Romans 8... it is in this fourth point, of what He wants to do, and to teach us, day after day : to walk in a crucified life that is at the same time, a walk in the Spirit. If I want to learn to "grow-up" in Christ and not only to stay in this attitude, of faith (for sure), that consists in saying, "Lord I'm a new creation in you", but it must have a positive effect in my everyday life. So, I received it by faith, and I should know WHAT to do in a concrete manner in my everyday life. Well, in concrete terms, that is something to be learned : to LET the life of Christ express itself, to WALK in the Spirit and not in the flesh anymore. That is LEARNED concretely by having personal communion with Jesus every day. When He says in Romans 8 : 1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are IN CHRIST JESUS, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." And in verse 4 he says, "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk NOT after the flesh, BUT after the Spirit." From that point on, the daily apprenticeship of walking in the Spirit begins.
So then, how does one learn to walk daily in the Spirit ? He says further down in verse 11, "Because you know that the Spirit of God dwells in you. You have a powerful Helper in you." And he says, "...if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead DWELL in you" (that is the case for all those who have accepted Jesus) "he that raised up Christ from the dead" (that means to say God our Father that resurrected Christ by His Spirit) "shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you. Therefore brethren we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if you live after the flesh, you shall die : but if YOU through the Spirit do MORTIFY the deeds of the body" BY the Spirit that lives in you, " you shall live." That is our daily apprenticeship. How then do we receive that apprenticeship ?
1 By knowing that in Christ we are a new creature.
2 By knowing that HIS SPIRIT DWELLS IN US, and His Spirit has the power to render life to our mortal bodies, and to completely put to death the actions of this body, provided that we allow the Holy Spirit to do this; and that we don't put our personal will in the way of the Holy Spirit, by saying, "Now I'M going to do good works, now I want to obey." No. LET THE HOLY SPIRIT DO IT in you. Trust Him, and have faith in the action of the Holy Spirit that will lead you, and reveal to you the present situation that you're going through. We need the light of the Holy Spirit to show us where we are today.
If you have a dirty face, and you want to wash yourself, what do you normally do? First of all, you get in front of a mirror, and you look at yourself, because we can't see our own faces, it's the one part of the body we can't see very well. So, you get in front of the mirror. You look to see where the dirt is, and then you wash yourself. You must have a mirror. And what else?? A LIGHT ! Get in front of a mirror in the middle of the night and try to wash-up. It's not going to work, even if you have the best mirror in the world, and the best soap in the world. If you're in the dark, you're not going to be able to wash yourself. God is light -- God is light.
Therefore the answer to my practical, daily problems isn't going to consist in doing like the psychologists do, by examining myself, looking back into my past, and giving myself a christian "soul cure", those sorts of things : all that comes from the FLESH. What comes from the flesh is flesh. It cannot give birth to the Spirit. What is of the Spirit is spirit. Jesus said that everything you receive from the flesh is going to produce rotteness. So if you want to see the state in which you're in today, you'll get in front of the mirror of the Word of God (the Bible is compared to a mirror), and you'll let the light of the Holy Spirit enlighten you. Both are necessary : the mirror of the Word, where I will see myself as I am, and the Light of God, the Light of the Holy Spirit. With these two, I'll see the state I'm in today. At that moment, I'm going to put to death those actions of the body, because God has shown me in His Word, because He has given me the Light of His Spirit, at that moment, I'm going to say, "Lord I see that I am dirty, wash me in your blood. I ask you to forgive me. I see now, in the mirror and in the Light of Your Word ; I've understood this is no good. Now Lord, work in me. You work in me to transform me in the way you want. Work in me. Now I see clearly." That is called walking in the Spirit, day by day, in the Light of the Lord. The Lord is going to show me, day after day, what is spiritual in my present life and what is still carnal (fleshly). He's going to show me.
Seeing that the Lord doesn't like what is carnal in my Christian service, in my Christian ministry, the Lord is going to get rid of it. Sometimes He will have me go through some very painful experiences so that I understand that I have to let go and relinquish all personal, carnal, self-will, even that of serving Him. I have to let go. That is why so many Christians have had to go through so many difficult trials where they have had the impression of being completely abandonned, put aside by God. Because in that situation they had to let go of their own personal will and relinquish the last remaining roots of personal self-will that they had in them, so that the Cross of Jesus could come and kill these last remaining roots of personal will. When I say "personal will", that means wanting to do "what I want, the way I want".
God doesn't want to destroy our will, He wants to destroy our personal will. He wants our will to be submitted to His service. He doesn't want our will to direct our lives, but His Will to. Therefore, He is going to show me each time all the places in my life that are still directed by my personal will. He's going to bring them to light and tell me, "Now the answer is for you to understand that MY CROSS has dealt with that," Jesus says. "And now you are going to pick up your cross." That means to say, "You are going to carry your personal will so that it be replaced by My Will. That's my cross. You're going to be willing to renounce what is costing you so much at the moment, what you want to keep for yourself."
Do you remember the parable where Jesus speaks to a man that had respected the whole Law of God? He said to him who was extremely rich (perhaps a millionaire), "You're lacking one thing : go your way, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, ... and follow me." That was his problem. He respected all the Word, but he still had an idol in his heart that kept him from being a disciple of Jesus, and from really receiving the Lord's life, the life of salvation. And in the Light of the Holy Spirit, and that of the Word, He is going to show us ALL THE AREAS where we are still attached to doing our own personal will. We are going to relinquish these, if we love the Lord of course, we're going to let go of one thing after another, until there is NOTHING LEFT, allowing that which Jesus acquired at the Cross for us to be fully manifested at last.
And I will end by reading two passages. In Luke 17, verse 30, He says, "Even thus shall it be when the Son of man is revealed." He is speaking about being caught up in the air with Jesus at the rapture. And He says in verse 31, " In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away." (Don't be like Lot's wife. The Lord had told her, "Don't look back or else you will perish." She looked back because her heart was attached to Sodome. She was transformed into a statue of salt and died.) "...let him not come down to take it away : and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife. He who seeks to save his life will lose it." This means to say, he who tries to save his life -- by his OWN means and his OWN will to do what he wants -- will lose it. He will not even be raptured -- we are in the context of being raptured, caught up in the air with Jesus here. "And whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken and the other shall be left." So beloved, this means to say that if your heart is still attached to to something down here, to something MORE than to Jesus, you will be so heavy you won't be able to be lifted up. You won't be lifted up because your heart will be wanting to come back behind. You're attached to a man, or a woman, or a ministry, or to something that you are doing.
Suppose, for example, that you are a servant of God accomplishing a great work for God right now. It isn't quite finished at the moment the last trumpet sounds, and you say to the Lord, "I haven't finished yet, Lord. Look at Your work. What You're doing is wonderful, but it's not quite finished." What is Jesus going to say to you ? He'll say, "Stay and finish it . You want to stay? Stay, and finish it, but I'm going to carry away all those who are ready to leave with me." If your HEART is stuck on DOING something, when Jesus says to you, "Leave all that and come", and you say, "NO, no Lord, there are still things to be done for You. I want to stay, because I still have things to do for You." You're still looking to do your own will. You are not yet detached. And yet it's for God.
Be FREE to do what GOD asks you to do. Like Philip in Samaria where there was a great revival, where thousands of souls were converted, where there were miracles and everything. Jesus said to him by the Holy Spirit, "Stop! Go to the desert for one man." He immediately left everything. He could have said, "Lord, there is a great work here. I can't leave these sheep here. They need to be fed, a church needs to be organized, name the elders, etc. ." He left everything in the hands of the Lord who is the Head of the Church, and left. He was LED by the SPIRIT. He walked according to the Spirit. Do you understand ?
And I'll end this passage, verse 35 : "Two women shall be grinding together ; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field ; the one shall be taken, and the other left." All that, because they sought to save their lives. Whereas those who will lose their life, that means to say, that are willing to renounce their personal will when they know the will of God, and they don't follow their personal desires any longer in order to do the will of God the way He wants, at that moment, you will find your life, forever.
In John 12 : 23, "And Jesus answered them, saying, 'The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.'" And we know how He was glorified : by fully accepting the will of God, His Father, to go to the cursed Cross to pay for us, and to undergo death. It was there He had to be glorified, at that moment. "Truly, truly, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth much fruit. He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates HIS LIFE in this world ..." (his personal life, his personal ideas, His personal desires) if you have hatred for these, at that moment you "shall keep it unto life eternal". "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me him will my Father honour."
The Lord knew very well what He was saying when He said, "If any man serve me, let him follow me." "You want to follow me? Follow me all the way to the Cross", because it is by experiencing the Cross that you will manifest the resurrected Life. A grain of wheat can stay tens of years in a dry place where certain conditions permit. Staying there, it will remain alive, but it won't bring forth a harvest, because it is not going to die in the sense of it's being planted in humid ground, lose it's outer protection, fall apart and manifest the life that is in it, and produce ten, twenty, a hundred grains.
And Jesus said, "If you stay attached to your will, this life that I've placed in you is not going to come out of its shell, its outer protection. It will stay locked up and you will remain alone." Whereas, Jesus has put us into a body together. We are His body, He is the head. But If the body is formed of little grains all shut up to themselves, envelopped in their shells, that is not going to be a body where life can circulate. That Life is going to be blocked in each little cell. Whereas, He says, "If this Life that is in you is manifested outside of you because you have accepted that the outer shell, your flesh, your personal will, die in order to do the will of God, at that moment, all that Life is going to come out and be manifested, and that will be a harvest to the glory of God. And it is only by means of the Cross that this can be done. JESUS HAS DONE IT FOR US.
In conclusion, I want to go back over these four (4) points of the magnificent work that Jesus accomplished for us at the Cross so that they be kept well in mind. It is so stupendous, and every day I pray, "Lord, continue to reveal to me more of all that you have done at the Cross, because I still see only partial aspects, but I pray that you will continually enlighten me more and more.
- The first (1st) point is that we were all sinners. Jesus died for us, to pay for us. His blood was shed, and His blood has the power to completely wash away the sins of those that repent and that ask for forgiveness, in the name of Jesus.
- The second (2nd) point is that at the moment He died, all our old nature died in Him, and He wants to reveal that to me by the Holy Spirit.
- The third (3rd) point is that at the moment He resurrected, WE who believe in Him, WE ARE RESURRECTED with Him into a new life that is entirely free from the slavery to sin, the body of sin, and the Law of God that now cannot be kept by our personal effort ; but God will have us keep it by His Spirit who lives in us. And His Spirit is going to lead us into a natural obedience of the Law.
- The fourth (4th) point is that ALL that Jesus has accomplished for us, this death and resurrection, HE PERFORMS DAILY in my life, provided that I am willing to renounce my personal will. And seeing as it is a growing process, He will always show me, by the Light of His Word and His Spirit, more of the areas in my life, where I am still holding on to something personal, because that is going to block the resurrection Life. This whole growing process in me is going to consist in applying the Cross everywhere where there is personal will, in order for it to be put to death in a concrete manner. So that I can say from the bottom of my heart like Jesus did, "Not my will, Father, but thine be done." "Not mine, but thine."
If we were all to do that before God, and if we have faith in the work Jesus accomplished, because it is HE who does it in us. When he says, for example, that "your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ", spirit, soul and body..., He adds, "... it is HE who will do it." It is HE who will do it in you, if you stay attached to the Lord, if you love Him, if you abandon all personal will, and you say, "Lord, do Your work in me. I OFFER myself entirely to You." ("Offer yourselves, your members, a living sacrifice...") "I offer all of myself to You completely. Do Your work of crucifying my own will. I'm willing, in order that everything, right now, may truly be at your disposal, and that Your life expresses itself through me, for Your greatest glory." At that moment, we are going to see marvellous things begin to happen. Amen !