Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
The modern social gospel being promoted across the land in many churches today speaks of a religion that has no costs, brings no change, and seems to give all glory to the wrong party… us. In fact, to hear most Christians discuss styles of worship, contemporary or traditional, you would think that worship itself was for the sole benefit of man. The humanism that has crept into the contemporary sermons, has led many a lost soul to believe that they need only to believe and they have their ticket punched for glory. Most then fall well short of what the apostle Paul called the ‘new creature in Christ Jesus’.
Why is this so? It goes all the way back to the Old Testament. Many of our gospel songs speak of crossing the Jordan River as though it was the passage from life on earth to life in eternity in heaven. This is flawed because unlike Canaan, Heaven doesn’t have enemies to be destroyed. Rather, the crossing of the Jordan River in the book of Joshua more aptly typifies our passage from the death of sin to the newness of life in Christ Jesus.
When the Israelites crossed the river, they went across by the way made of God. They went down into the river, dying to all that was behind them, and came up on the far shore to the new country. One of the first things they did was to circumcise themselves, identifying with the covenant with God, dying to the world and placing themselves at the mercy and protection of God while being surrounded on all sides by their new enemies. Likewise, when a sinner is saved, it is not only something they did not do, ie. praying a prayer or doing a good deed, but it is also not something they earned.
Salvation is not achieved by merely believing there is a God, that He has a Son who was crucified, or even that His Son died to set men free of their sins. ‘Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.’ – James 2:19 (KJV) A man or woman can believe and assent to all the correct doctrines of true Christianity and still go to hell. Why? Because salvation, just like the dry path across the Jordan River, was a thing made by God. Just like the first Israelite to cross the river, a sinner must trust the Lord as his or her Lord. And then, just as the Israelite men circumcised the foreskin of their flesh, we must allow the foreskin of our hearts to be cut away. ‘In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;’ – Colossians 2:11-14 (KJV)
In this miracle of salvation wrought within us by the precious Holy Spirit we are then crucified to the world which does not understand our bloody faith any more than the strangers of Canaan understood the circumcision of the Hebrews. Therefore we, in effect, become crucified to the world and the world to us. We no longer identify with our old master, Satan, but now identify with our new Lord and master Jesus Christ. Our desires become like His and our works soon reflect that. Also the world no longer has a drawing or enticing effect upon us, for it is crucified to us. The Bible says that ‘Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree’ meaning that Christ was made a curse for us and died the most shameful death being made the reproach of the world which He came to bring light to. When we are saved our old man is crucified with Christ, we lose our identity in Him. We die to our old selves, to sin and to the world. We, like Christ, become a reproach to the world. ‘Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:’ – Romans 6:6-8 (KJV)
Not only does the world no longer entice us but we are no longer enticing to the world. In fact, the world rightly hates the true Christian. Marvel not, for Christ said as much in John 15 when He told His followers that they are not of the world for if they were the world would love them for the world loves its own. But because He had chosen them out of the world, the world hates them. This is the true salvation that stopped Paul in his tracks on the road to Damascus and changed him forever. Therefore he could truly say, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
So having said all of that, my question, as I look around at modern Christianity which seeks to fill itself with prodigals that are told they never need leave the hog pens of sin and the world, is ‘HAVE YOU DIED YET?’
Think on these things …