The Cross: Dying To Self

40 Min Study

40 Min Study

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

 When Jesus asks us to “take up our cross”, He is not merely asking us to die, He is asking us to die a painful death. It is as though He says, “If any man wants to follow Me, he must not only be willing to die, but be willing to die a painful death – he must be crucified’. (Luke 9:23, Gal 2:20). What Jesus is really saying is, ‘If you wanna follow Me, then follow Me. I died a painful death, you must die a painful death’.

 I don’t have to be a genius to say that this call doesn’t sound appealing. This isn’t a health, wealth, easy life non-gospel that is popular today. This is the real deal. So, let me suggest: We will never want to be crucified until we see the beauty of crucifixion. In this post, I want to show the beauty of being crucified, so that you and I will want to, desire to, beg to, be crucified.

 Briefly, what is crucifixion? Crucifixion is one of the most painful ways to die. It involves driving nails through the wrists and feet of the person; outwardly there was fever, thirst and bleeding; inwardly the arteries of the head and stomach were surcharged with blood; till the sufferer’s body is exhausted and he sinks into unconsciousness and death.[1] Indeed, this is where the word ‘excruciating’[2] comes from. But what or who is being crucified? Paul replies, “the self with its passions and desires”. (Gal 5:24)

 Let me first give you the bad news. Crucifixion means suffering. Suffering is real. As noted above, it is painful. Paul didn’t pretend that it was easy. He wrote, “I suffered the loss of all things”. This suffering we are talking about is real.

 Crucifixion means more than this, though. Crucifixion means freedom. Crucifixion means killing the evil self, the root of self-centeredness, self-love, self-importance, self-sufficiency which leads to self-destruction. If we believe the Scriptures, then we must believe that the old self is evil – without salvation, left to ourselves, we have the potential of doing great acts of evil – in line with the tragedy of 9-11, the Syrian Crisis or even the Holocaust. Without Christ we are evil. Without the salvation we are enemies – children of wrath Paul says in Ephesians 2:3.We must come to a point where we get tired of our selves, being evil and causing evil, being a slave to sin (Rom 6). It is only then that we can realize that crucifixion means freedom – freedom from the chains of sinfulness, evil and destruction. Crucifixion also means justice. It means giving sin what sin deserves.

 But Crucifixion also means hope – a new beginning. Do we look on our lives as failures? Do we want to get a second chance to try living again? Crucifixion means a new beginning. After crucifixion, there is the resurrection. After death, there is life. After the old passes, the new will come. When you decide to die to self, you decide to live in Jesus. Crucifixion means hope.

 Finally, Crucifixion means healing. The old self walks into the operating room with cancer, but after the surgery of crucifixion, the new self walks out a healed man. Bring your failures, disappointments, depression and sins to the Cross, leave them there, let Jesus operate on them, kill them once for all, and them come out a new person, full of hope, to live for Jesus!

 My friends, crucifixion is beautiful. Let us follow Jesus to the Cross, follow Him to resurrection and, eventually, glorification, all for the glory of God!

Daryl first got acquainted with  Transform Student Ministries in 2011 serving in the Summer Intern Program. When we asked Daryl for a short bio for the blog, he told us that he is a great sinner, and has a great Savior.

 


[1]The suffering of death by crucifixion was intense, especially in hot climates. Severe local inflammation, coupled with an insignificant bleeding of the jagged wounds, produced traumatic fever, which was aggravated the exposure to the heat of the sun, the strained of the body and insufferable thirst. The swelled about the rough nails and the torn lacerated tendons and nerves caused excruciating agony. The arteries of the head and stomach were surcharged with blood and a terrific throbbing headache ensued. The mind was confused and filled with anxiety and dread foreboding. The victim of crucifixion literally died a thousand deaths. Tetanus not rarely supervened and the rigors of the attending convulsions would tear at the wounds and add to the burden of pain, till at last the bodily forces were exhausted and the victim sank to unconsciousness and death. – International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

[2] Origin:

1560–70;  < Latin excruciātus,  past participle of excruciāre  to torment, torture, equivalent to ex- ex-1  + cruciāre  to torment, crucify (derivative of crux  cross); see -ate1

 

40 Min Study

40 Min Study

 

 

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