“JESUS CHRIST, AND THIS ONE CRUCIFIED”
In 1 Corinthians 2:2 Paul said, “For I did not determine to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and this One crucified.” What Paul knew was of two aspects: one was Jesus Christ, and the other was Jesus Christ crucified. To Paul, if there had been only Christ and no cross, he would have had nothing to preach. The degree to which the cross breaks us determines the extent to which Christ is released through us. The degree to which the cross works in us determines the extent to which Christ is expressed through us. Our very being is an enemy of Christ and a hindrance to God, and it needs to be dealt with by the cross. We have truly been saved, but Christ has no way to come out from within us. Christ cannot be released from within us because we have become a hindrance to Him. The problem today is not with others but with you and me. May God have mercy on us to show us this vision. This vision has two aspects, two emphases: one is Christ’s being in us, and the other is the breaking of the cross.
We often think that sins and the world are the most difficult things for Christians to deal with. Hence, we assume that as long as we have thoroughly dealt with sins and are absolutely delivered from the world, then we are good Christians. We must see, however, that although some people have already dealt with sins thoroughly and have been delivered from the world absolutely, there is still a problem in them. This problem is that they have not yet been broken. For example, a bottle may contain some water, yet the water cannot flow out. You may say that the water is stopped because the bottle is too dirty, but after you wash the bottle, the water still cannot flow out. Or you may say that it is because of the decorative patterns on the bottle, but even after you remove the patterns, the water still cannot flow out. However, if you break the bottle, the water will flow out. In the same way, even though you may have gotten rid of the filthiness and the worldly flavor in you, life still cannot flow out through you. The problem lies in the fact that you have not been broken.
Hence, we need to ask God to have mercy on us to show us that the cross must do a breaking work in us. When we were first saved, we thought that if we could deal with our sins and the world and do good deeds, we would be good Christians. However, this is not adequate. God’s goal is that we would be broken in order that Christ may come out through us. This is why Paul said that he did not determine to know anything except Jesus Christ, and this One crucified. The cross is seeking an outlet in us for Christ. Many Christians have truly been saved and are zealous for the Lord. They have been delivered not only from sins but also from the world. Yet they do not make any progress in their spiritual condition, and the Lord still does not have a way out through them. Therefore, it is not our zeal, our dealing with sins, or our getting rid of the world that gives the Lord a way out. Rather, the greatest frustration that Christ encounters in us is our self. Even though we may preach the gospel successfully and bring thousands upon thousands of people to be saved, Christ still may not have a way out through us. Christ will have a way out only when our being, our self, has passed through the breaking and the dealing of the cross. Only through this kind of breaking will Christ have a way out of us.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)