THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S SALVATION BEING TO PUT MAN ON THE CROSS
After a person is saved, he thinks that he should never lose his temper or speak any idle word. Hence, he prays, “O God, give me the strength, and help me not to lose my temper or speak any idle word.” However, God listens to every kind of prayer except this kind. We all may have had such an experience. We asked God to help us not to lose our temper, but in the end, we lost our temper in a bigger way. This is because the purpose of God’s salvation is not to help us but to crucify us and terminate us. Suppose a bad-tempered person is dead. Will he still ask for help to not lose his temper? When a person is dead, his temper is dealt with. When a person is dead, his idle words are gone.
In the same principle, if a meek person is dead, can he still be meek? Regardless of whether a person is irritable or meek, once he is dead, there will be no more irritability or meekness. Only those who are alive have all kinds of expressions and problems. With those who are dead, all their problems are gone and over. If we see that we are on the cross, our temper will be gone and our meekness will be over. If we see that we are on the cross, our hatred will be terminated and our love will come to an end. When we are dead, everything is finished. The meaning of the cross is death, and the experience of the cross is the termination of our entire being.
GOD’S LIFE BEING EXPRESSED THROUGH US WHEN WE ARE FINISHED
Perhaps some people will ask, “If we are terminated, does it mean that we are through?” Many years ago, a Christian once said that if we bury a piece of stone in the soil, the stone will be terminated and through because it does not have life. However, if we bury a seed in the soil, this will offer the seed an opportunity to grow out of death, because there is life in the seed. This is the distinction between those who have God’s life and those who do not. For those who do not have God’s life, once they stop all of their activities, they will be finished; however, for those of us who have God’s life, once we are finished, we will allow God’s life to come out from within us. In other words, once we stop our love, our morality, and all of our human activities, we will see that God’s love, God’s goodness, God’s attributes, and God’s life will be spontaneously expressed through us.
Today the main problem among Christians is not committing sins but doing good. We might not live out sins, but if we merely live out our own goodness, we will be at most a good man who has turned from evil to good; we will have no way to experience the cross. Those who have experienced the cross do not have evil, and they also do not have good. Christ can have ground only in those who experience the cross, and only such ones can live out God’s life.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE CROSS HAVING NO EFFECT ON MAN’S LIVING
If a person merely has the doctrine of the cross but does not know or experience the cross, then the doctrine will have no effect at all on his person or living. Some people claim that they know the cross, that they are already on the cross, and that they are already finished and terminated. However, when you see their living, you find that they do not know what the cross is. Their entire living is according to their self. They think in their own way, they look at people according to their own view, and they deal with matters according to their own judgment. Everything is according to their self. People of this kind can only tell good from evil; they want the good but not the evil. They can at most discern right from wrong; they want what is right and reject what is wrong.
However, a person who really knows the cross is one who is enlightened by God. Day by day he lives under the light of the cross and is able to tell, in big or small things in his living, what is of the self and what is of Christ, which view is from the self and which view is from Christ, which idea is from the self and which idea is from Christ, which action is from the self and which action is from Christ. He does not care whether something is right or wrong, good or evil, but whether it is of Christ or of himself.
One day under God’s enlightenment, if we really see that we have been terminated, this seeing will give us a deep understanding of our actions, thoughts, and responses every minute of our daily life. This will enable us to discern whether they are of ourselves or of Christ. If we really have the light of the cross, whenever we have an attitude or thought that comes out of ourselves, we will immediately have an inner sense of condemnation.
One day God will show us that everything that comes out of the “I” is His enemy. If the “I” is not done away with, God’s life will not have an outlet. This seeing will make it impossible for us to live out our own life. Because of this seeing, whenever we want to express our opinion, we will not be able to express it. This is the experience of the cross.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)