By G. Christian Weiss
I am crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh (Gal. 5:24). Our old man is crucified with Him (Rom. 6:6). Likewise recon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin (Rom. 6:11).
Enough has been said thus far to convey to the sanctified, thinking mind that attainment to the knowledge of God's perfect will demands self-crucifixion. The natural man, the old self nature, is utterly depraved and beyond hope of any true spiritual capability or attainment, permanently so. It cannot be improved or cultivated into any spiritual capacity or ability, God cannot fellowship with depravity or communicate with it, or to it; He requires death for the carnal nature of the natural man. When a soul accepts Christ as his Saviour and Lord the old self-life is placed upon the cross, and is never to reign in that soul again.
Self-ism is, in the last analysis, the very essence of sin. Dr. A. H. Strong defines sin as (1) A state; (2) A state of the will ; (3) A selfish state of the will. If you will study and ponder this definition you will see how truthful it is, and how full of meaning. The Bible views sin as the supreme choice of self, supreme love of self, supreme service to self. It is the putting of one's own selfish will, the self-will , in opposition to the holy will of God and the doing of what self desires instead of what God wills. To make our own happiness the ultimate aim of life in itself sin, in its primary form.
Sin is essentially egoism, or selfism, putting self in God's place, (Samuel Harris). It has four principle characteristics or manifestations; (1) Self-sufficiency, instead of faith in God; (2) Self-will, instead of submission to God; (3) Self-seeking, instead of honoring God; (4) Self-righteousness instead of contrition and humility before God. All the different forms of sin can be seen to have their roots in selfishness. Sensuality is selfishness in the form of inordinate appetites. Avarice, ambition, and pride are selfishness in the form of personal esteem. Falsehood and malice are selfishness in the form of personal justification and vengeance. Instead of making God the center of the life and unconditionally surrendering to Him, sin causes the heart to be turned against Him and makes our own interests the supreme motive and rule of our existence.
Let us give our attention now to a consideration of this vital and important matter of self-crucifixion. In order to do that properly we must consider crucifixion itself, for surely there is significance in the fact that the death prescribed for the self-nature in the Word of God is described by this awful figure.
Crucifixion is An Unnatural Death. It cannot be state too emphatically that the flesh, the old sinful nature, will never die a natural death . It will never die of old age, but rather increases in vigor with the passing of time, so that an old person who has not been wrought upon by the Spirit of God will be much more confirmed in his natural tendencies and propensities, and far more unrelenting in them, than would have been the case in earlier years of life, This accounts for the fact that the majority of the people who are saved were saved in their teens.
Not only is it true that self will not die a natural death, but it actually resists deathis determined not to die. This is clearly evident. Self will not die, it must be put to death . This must be done by violence and force, as in the case of crucifixion. How violently and forcefully the Holy Spirit apprehended the Old Saul on the road to Damascus, and nailed him to Christ's cross! It was more than likely this incident that the apostle had in mind when he wrote, I have been crucified with Christ. The old man will not die in any of us unless we enter into the same experience with Paul and are crucified with Christ.
In the second place it must be recalled that Crucifixion is A Criminal's Death . It was a death of ignominy and judgment, and was never inflicted upon an innocent or law-abiding citizen. It was not for the righteous, but for the unrighteous, the bad man, the outlaw. Now our natural man is all this and more. He is an outlaw in every sense of the word, having utterly broken and defied the just and holy law of God, in every form in which it has been revealed; he is a guilty criminal, a confirmed rebel . That is the reason God demands crucifixion.
May God give us the grace to cry out against our flesh, as wicked men once cried out against our Saviour, Let him be crucified! Let us show no mercy, no compassion, no tolerance to the old sinful self, even though it loudly cries out for consideration. Justice demands death; a life in the knowledge of God's will and in obedience to God's will demands it; self-pity is giving ear to the voice of the evil one. Bear in mind that there is nothing good in self, only sin and iniquity, and thus secure it to that cross upon which the Son of God was counted as sin for us!
Again, Crucifixion is a Painful Death . It is one of the most terrible deaths that cruel men could invent. Its agonies cannot be fully realized unless actually endured.
Oh, the pains of crucifying self! The old man dies hard, and the pangs of his death are sometimes most excruciating. But we must not relent. As there cannot be such a thing as painless crucifixion, so there cannot be the crucifying of the flesh, with its affections and lusts, apart from pain. IF there are no pains in a man's soul it is a sign that self is not on the cross, and no spiritual progress is being made. But when the pains are the sharpest and most vicious, we must beware lest we give in to the pleadings of self for leniency; we must follow in the steps of Paul, and others who have more recently joined his train, as Bunyan, Brainerd, Judson, Carey, Taylor, etc.
The more a crucified man resists his inevitable death, the more intense will be the suffering. Every move, every effort toward release adds to his torture. The best thing for a victim of crucifixion to do was to resign himself to his inevitable death, and remain as still and quiet as possible. Oh, that the old nature in us would but quietly resign itself to death! How much spiritual pain we would be spared. How many times of weeping before the Lord in deep remorse, how many seasons of inward agony, could be spared us. But, whether pain or no, self must be kept on the cross in the lace of death, and it must die .
Lastly, Crucifixion is a Slow Death . This fact holds the secret of the saint's most vital experience. Paul declares in Roman's 6:6 that we have been crucified with Christ, and later in the chapter (esp. v. 11) he says, Likewise (i.e. accordingly) recon ye also yourselves to be dead Here is the truth in a nutshell: the old man is crucified but not dead yet.
A man may be crucified and live three days or more, and during that time he may speak, revile, rage, sneer, beg, and demand. The old man' does the same in the believer, though he was certainly crucified with Christ. Our old self does not die at once but lives on, speaking, reviling, pleading and demanding, and will indeed continue to do so until our Lord in His own time and way calls us out of this world.
But once a man was legally crucified his end was inevitable; he was as good as dead , knowing he must surely die though he might linger on the cross several days. Such a man may be described as living, yet dying . When the Romans crucified a man his execution was recorded on the day he was nailed to the cross, and not the day he actually died. You see he was reckoned (counted) dead.
If some say the teaching that the old nature lives on in the believer is one of bondage, it is because they have not understood this point aright. An illustration: If a certain people had been governed by a tyrant king, and then a revolution took place in which that tyrant were crucified, would his subjects be bound to obey his commands and ragings while he was nailed to a cross, doomed to die? Certainly not. They would count him conquered, helpless, as good as dead . So the Christian, although still conscious of the life of the old fleshly nature, can and must reckon him dead and consequently, he will enjoy true victory and liberty in his soul.
The Old Tyrant may be living, but is not reigning in the child of God, and none of us are bound or obligated to do his bidding. By virtue of our relationship to Christ we can reckon ourselves dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God; we need not yield our members as instruments of sin in submission to self-desires, but may learn God's will and submit ourselves to it. This is the way to victory and joy.
In my study on self-crucifixion today, I find your article powerful, scriptural, and helpful. its my first time reading your articles and I wish to read more. Thank you.
THE ANSWER GIVING REALLY HELPED ME IN PREPARING AN OUTLINE ON SELF CRUCIFIXION
This was a super article, ant truthful. Ive experienced a lot of the suffering to the above statements.
Thank you. That was a great blessing and a challenge to me personally.