“And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
The Cross of Jesus Christ was a place of great suffering for our Lord. It was there that He paid the penalty of sin for the sinner and broke the power of sin for the Believer. For the Child of God, the Cross of Christ is a place of great blessing.
The Believer cannot take up their blessings (their “cross”) until we deny self. Denying ourselves, our self will and self efforts, requires submission to God…to His Will and His Ways, not ours. God’s way for dominion over sin is Grace, the atoning work of Jesus Christ of Calvary’s Cross (Romans 6:14). If mankind could overcome sin on our own self efforts, the Cross of Christ was in vain. God forbid no!
Faith placed solely and exclusively in the Atonement to break the power of sin in the Believer’s life allows the Holy Spirit to isolate our sin nature. The Holy Spirit dethrones the reigning monarch on our heart (the sin nature) and takes up His place. With the Holy Spirit on the throne of our hearts and our sin nature isolated, the Believer is then able to willingly submit to God. We can then partake in the Divine Nature when our sin nature is isolated.
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4
Please understand, only the Holy Spirit has the power to isolate our sin nature, we do not have the ability within ourselves to do this. The only Law stronger than the law of sin and death is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). The Holy Spirit is not commissioned to free us from the law of sin and death, to isolate our sin nature, when our faith is placed in our self efforts, self will and resolution.
Sadly, untold millions will be attending Sunday services and home groups which present different methods to isolate our sin nature and we simply cannot. Again, if such were so, the Cross of Christ was in vain. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Who He is and what He has done, is manipulated, diluted and twisted into a gospel about self. This other gospel is humanistic psychology and the other Jesus is an example, not the Source and His Cross the means by which we overcome the world, the flesh and the devil.
“5 Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, The Spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?
6 But He gives more Grace. Wherefore He said, God resists the proud, but gives Grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:5-7
The Holy Spirit is jealous, He “lusts to envy”, over the areas in our life that we have turned over to vain philosophies. He is not commanded to isolate our sin nature to that problem, whatever that problem may be, when our faith is placed in our self efforts and self will. We in fact remain bound by the law of sin and death because that law we have placed upon ourselves to gain our victory, we have also unknowingly placed our faith in as well. In other words, our faith is in our resolution to be obedient to that law. Please understand, that “law” is not necessarily the Mosaic Law but any law, rule or method we place on ourselves to perform that which only the Spirit of God can do in our hearts and lives.
” 9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” Romans 7:8-11.
We do not fight this good fight of faith; faith in Jesus Christ and Him crucified, to “gain” anything. The only fight the Believer is called to fight is the fight of faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning work daily to “maintain” what the Lord Jesus has freely given whosoever will believe. We cannot follow Him until we have denied ourselves. The sinner is called to believe and the Believer is called to follow. Jesus Christ has made a way for us to follow Him and it is the same way by which we believed in Him…by Grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).
“9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over Him.
10 For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He lives, He lives unto God.
11 Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:9-11.
-Donna Clark Warren