Triumph By The Cross

After I became a Christian, I often experienced “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Sometimes I drew back in my spiritual growth. It happens repeatedly in my life of seeking God. If I were like some of the Christians who sin without guilty and do not seek God, I will not struggle nor suffer. I have the desire to do what is good, but I have no strength to overcome my sinful nature. So I often sighed, “what a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” What a pity that I am a failure even though I have been a Christian for several years.

Through reading the Bible, I gradually understand that God’s salvation is perfect through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. “The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Why can’t I receive by faith? The reason is simple. Justification is the entrance and sanctification is the process. We must keep on seeking God. We need to crucify ourselves (all sins and weakness of our flesh) on the cross through the Holy Spirit by faith. Just as Paul said, “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:6-11) Moses lifted up the bronze snake in the desert. When anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Jesus must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life (Numbers 21:8-9, John 3:14-15). Just as Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, humbled himself to obey Elisha and washed himself seven times in the Jordan, his leprosy was cured. The change of life does not happen in one day. It happens when we cleanse ourselves with God’s Word daily and deal with our old self daily. Then I began to learn about God’s Word, and apply it in my life. Gradually and unconsciously, my life is renewed and changed by the Word and the Spirit of God. Although I failed, was discouraged or stopped growing sometimes, I insisted to keep on moving forward by God’s grace. As a result of it, I really experienced the power of salvation through Jesus. I have died with Christ, and I have lived with Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the sinful nature and actions I want to put to death include my pride, arrogance, jealousy, hatred, greed, vanity, selfishness, evil and filth, etc. Meanwhile, I live by faith with the character of Christ – love, righteousness, holiness, honesty, peace, sacrifice, and humility. I cannot do it by myself through my own struggle or effort. Christ has completed the redemption on the cross. Only by faith can I accept, apply and experience that the victory of Christ has become mine. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! God makes Christ be my wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). I also acknowledge the experience of crucifixion explained three times in Paul’s letter-Galatians (Galatians 2:20, 5:24, 6:14).

In fact, it is extremely difficult to learn the lesson of “death”. I cannot die thoroughly in my old self; I cannot live the new life in Christ. Why? Because I did not make up my mind before God. When I faced the struggle between the Holy Spirit and the flesh, I did not obey the Holy Spirit all the time. I did not determine to do good. Deep down my heart, I even liked sin, tended to sin, and clung to sin. How could I cut off sin when I did not hate nor leave sin that God hates? Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.” (Matthew 11:12) I realize that whenever I make effort to do good by the Holy Spirit and through Bible study and prayer, I can experience “sanctification by the Word” and triumph by the cross! On the contrary, whenever I am lazy, conceited, disobedient to the Word and the Spirit, I fail and draw back in spiritual growth. Even up to present, I am weak sometimes. But I give thanks to the Lord. His power is made perfect in weakness. “He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you.” (2 Corinthians 13:3) Therefore, we must insist on Bible study, prayer, and train ourselves to be holy consistently. Let us commune to God daily through obeying His Word, so our lives can grow daily. We must depend on the Holy Spirit, and resist sin without compromise even if we must bleed. We must renounce evil and overcome evil (Refer to Matthew 5:29-30).

When I recall my past, I see that God allowed me to experience a lot of failure and go astray. He wants me to see that nothing is good in my sinful nature! How corruptive is our old self. There is no other way of salvation except through Christ! So every triumph in life is from the grace of God. There is nothing to be boasted. If the branches are apart from the vine, they will wither, without bearing fruits. Apart from the Lord, you can do nothing! “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (James 1:17a) Therefore, all my life I only boast the grace and the cross of the Lord!

The process of our sanctification is the process of obedience to God’s Word, just as Christ asked the Father to sanctify us by the truth. God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). How can you be sanctified if you are apart from God’s Word? Apart from His Word is apart from God. Depending on ourselves only brings sin, and sin become worse and worse until unsolvable. Today we have the promises of victory and sanctification in the Bible (2 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). We must make our effort to seek God. We must forget what is behind and strain what is ahead. We must not sigh any longer and must sing the triumphant song with Paul: “Thanks to be God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25a)

Before the Lord is coming, Satan uses all the ways he can to deceive and persecute the children of God. His purpose is to lead us go astray and betray the Word! We are encountering great tests! We must be planted in the Word of God. Keep the Word persistently by God’s grace, and guard it steadily (2 Timothy 1:13, 14). Never stop seeking the life for it cannot be accomplished once for all! Otherwise, you will fail as David, who sinned due to easy life in his palace. Let us remember the teaching of the Lord: “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)

Let’s pray and ask God to help us keep His Word with alert all our lives, and abide in Him. Edify ourselves in His holy Word, and preserve us in His love often. Love what the Lord loves and hates what the Lord hates! Let us be like Paul, beating the body and making it slave, triumphing by the cross, sharing the Gospel as mission and debt. Let us lift up the cross all our lives, share the good news, and follow the Lord forever!

“In the cross, in the cross. Be my glory ever;
All my sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus.
In the cross, in the cross. Be my glory ever;
Depend on the Holy Spirit by faith. Crucify the old self.
In the cross, in the cross. Be my glory ever;
Look upon the cross daily. Live the life of Christ.”

Leave a Reply