EVERYTHING OF THE OLD CREATION HAVING BEEN CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST
We have said many times that we have to follow the Lord to take the way of the cross. But what does this mean? This means that we must receive the breaking of the cross. What is the meaning of the cross? The Bible shows us that when the Lord was hanged on the cross, He was crucified with the human body which He had put on. In God’s eyes, when He was crucified, all those who belong to Him were also crucified with Him (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6). If you ask a Jew, “Who was crucified?” he would say, “A Nazarene, the son of a carpenter.” If you ask a Gentile, “Who was crucified?” he would say, “A man of universal love was sacrificed on the cross.” If you ask a Christian, “Who was crucified?” he would say, “My Savior.” This is the reply of a newly saved one. An advanced Christian, however, would say, “My Savior and I. I was crucified with my Savior.” Moreover, all things apart from God—the soulish things, the sinful things, all the created things, and everything of the old creation—were crucified with Christ.
Genesis 6 is the story of Noah building the ark. The ark’s passing through the flood signifies our passing through death. However, it was not that Noah simply passed through the flood but that Noah was in the ark, and when the ark passed through the flood, Noah and his whole household also passed through the flood. From God’s perspective, we have already died on the cross. Everyone who belongs to the Lord has already been crucified with Christ. This is a fact, not a doctrine. In God’s eyes, you and I are already dead, already finished. The cross has done the terminating work. For us to have such an experience, however, we need light and revelation. We need light, vision, and seeing in order to experience Christ as our life within; in like manner, we also need light, vision, and seeing in order to experience our co-crucifixion with Christ. May God have mercy on us to show us not only that Christ is our life but also that we have already been crucified with Him. To be terminated is an attitude, not a mere doctrine. This requires light and revelation.
The cross is first a fact, then a revelation, and finally an experience. We have already heard the word of the cross, but we still need the light to reveal to us its reality. After we see it, we will joyfully say, “O Lord, I praise You. That which I never saw, I now see. I have already died on the cross. What a rest! What a release! What a deliverance!” On the one hand, death is not a good thing, but on the other hand, death is very wonderful. Once we die, all the burdens of our lifetime are swept away; hence, one death solves all problems. Some people may exhort us to crucify ourselves. However, who can crucify himself? It is impossible to crucify yourself. The crucifixion of the Lord Jesus was God’s work and was under God’s ruling. God gathered the Romans, the Jews, and the Greeks, and He crucified the Lord Jesus through those who were against God. Jesus the Nazarene did not crucify Himself; rather, He was crucified under the sovereign arrangement of God.
Due to the fact that it is impossible for a person to crucify himself, God gives man the light concerning the cross, showing him first the fact of the cross, then the revelation of the cross, and finally the experience of the cross. What is the experience of the cross? It is when our faithful God arranges our circumstances to prepare the cross for us in our daily living. Our family, our physical body, and all of the people, events, and things around us coordinate together to become the cross that works in us in order to break us. Hence, after we have seen the fact of the cross, we have to be prepared, because God’s hand will come in to do the breaking and smiting work in us.
CHRIST AND HIS CROSS ISSUING IN LIFE AND THE WAY OF LIFE
For those who love the Lord and are pursuing the Lord, herein lies the way to follow the Lord. According to God’s view, we are already on the cross. Today God is speaking such a word to us. The day will come—perhaps today, tomorrow, in a year, or in ten years—when we will be willing to receive the breaking of the cross. We will be willing to allow God’s hand to arrange our circumstances to carry out the breaking work in us so that we may have scars and wounds in us for Christ’s life to flow out through us. Therefore, everyone who is willing to receive the cross is graced and blessed. He is also a channel of living water through which Christ may flow. Such a one, just as Paul said, does not know anything among the saints except Jesus Christ, and this One crucified. Without Christ, there is no life; without the cross, there is no way. Christ and His cross issue in life and the way of life for God to flow out of us.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)