I enjoy how Maxwell links John the Baptist’s words in this next section with the entire human race in its fallen condition rather than with national Israel.
For the inexorable and unalterable terms of discipleship are these: Except a man denies himself, forsakes all that he has, yea, all his own life also, Christ says he "cannot be my disciple." When Christ went to the Cross, therefore, the "axe was laid to the root of the tree." The old Adamic stock–yea, lock, stock and barrel–was done away. The Cross reveals our utter bankruptcy, and pronounces a death sentence on Adam’s race. It is God’s master-stroke to undo and drain away our natural life, that the life supernatural may take its place. Christ came not to straighten us out, but to "cross" us out; not to trim us back, but to cut us off; not to get us doing, but to bring us to an undoing. The Cross contradicts all fleshly doing and reveals a divine dying.
Maxwell cuts through some other passages normally applied to Israel and applies them to the relationship between holy God and the fallen human race. Eschatology students will note Isaiah 5 and Romans 11 among the implied passages.
Is there not a tendency, however, even after we have been rooted in Christ, to be prompted more often than not from the old springs and roots of the tree of self? It is in this connection the Christian must learn the dynamic of the Cross as it applies to the believer. But let us illustrate. Jesus said: "I am the vine, ye are the branches." As a branch of the old Adamic stock, I "brought forth wild grapes." As a partaker of Christ, I have been grafted into Him. When I believe into Christ crucified, I was cut off, cut away from my former natural connections, and grafted into Christ, the living Vine. However, ours is a grafting "contrary to nature." According to the ordinary laws of grafting, the good branch of a desirable fruit is grafted into an inferior trunk. Contrary to nature, we have been grafted into a good tree. The True Vine was crucified, and into the riven side of the Redeemer we have been grafted, a bad into a good. But there is another "contrary to nature" that is allimportant. When the life-union of the vine and branch is effected in nature, the branch still bears fruit "after its kind," i.e., according to its own original life. But I died in Adam. By the life I received from Adam, I brought forth "fruit unto death." "The mind of the flesh is deith." In order, therefore, to bring forth "fruit unto God," this natural life must give way, must "yield up the ghost." Having been condemned to the Cross, I must come to feel by a deep work of the Spirit that by nature I am unfit to live. The Cross says so; and I must consent.
When Christ comes into the life He must "take over" entirely; and He is on a sitdown strike until He starves the "me" out.
And here’s a section that is particular condemning to me in particular.
Let us listen to the little scion as he repeats Galatians 2:20: "I have been cut off from my family tree; I am crucified to my former connection and family; I have been ruthlessly torn away; I am dead to them; nevertheless I live–I still know that I am the same little wild branch and no other–I am still myself. I live. And yet it is no longer I that is living; it is the life of another that liveth in me so that none of the beautiful grapes are of me. They are the product of the life of another, continually contradicting my old life and pushing on out through me to bear precious fruit to glorify the great husbandman." In speaking of the violation of these principles of our fallen selfish natures, F. J. Huegel says: "We are so addicted to self, so wrapped up in self, so entwined with self, so infatuated with self, that our spiritual natures cannot be centered in God by means of a deep union of love without a violent contradiction of our old natures. This is the secret of the Cross. It does violence to corrupt human nature. It slays the old life."
Have fun and stay crucified – Galatians 2:20
-The Orange Mailman