Here are some clips from the next chapter in Maxwell’s book, Born Crucified. I am soaking these truths in anew as I meditate on them again, especially going into work and delivering on my route each day.
A WILD MAN, if imprisoned in a cage," says D. M. Panton, "so long as he is alone, is gentle, tractable, quiet, and appears quite civilized and reasonable; alone in the cage, he follows his own will, and has his own way, and is at peace. But unlock the door and push a civilized man into the cage; and watch. The wild man’s countenance changes; an angry scowl darkens his face; and in another moment he hurls himself on the intruder, and the two are locked in deadly conflict." A close fellow worker once said: "I didn’t know I had a temper until after I was saved." Until then her house had not been divided against itself. Self was in complete control. She chose her own path; she went her own way; she followed her own will. When, however, she became "a new creature" in Christ, she began to discover the poisonous principle of selfishness which was lodged in us at the Fall. The Saviour said plainly to religious Nicodemus: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" – it can never enter the realm of spirit. It is unconvertible, incurable, incorrigible. Only "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." There is, therefore, in each believer the old man and the new. When Scripture speaks of the "first man," the "natural man," and "the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts," it refers to what we are "in Adam," and from him by nature. On the other hand, those who have been born again have become new creatures "in Christ"; they have put on the new man."
As a believer I am shocked when I first discover that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing." The mind of the flesh is death. "It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). It is unmitigated antagonism against the things of the Spirit. It is not merely an enemy, in which case it might be reconciled. But it is "enmity against God." Paul says: "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other" (Gal. 5:17). But the most startling and distressing shock to me personally is to find that I am both: "I am carnal, sold under sin," and "I delight in the law of God after the inward man." Most every sincere Christian will therefore at some time or another cry out, consciously or unconsciously, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
This war, according to Scripture and experience, is of all wars the very worst–a civil war. It is a war, not with an external foe, but with an internal "fifth column" within the very citadel of Mansoul. And it is wrong to suppose that this relentless and undying antagonism can settle down to a deadlock, a kind of stalemate where neither side wins. We also fear that many Christians, having adopted what might be termed a defeatist position, attempt to make "the old man" responsible for their daily misdeeds.
Our old man was crucified with Him. We fear that many believers are holding the truth of the two natures in such a way that forbids audience with the King. On what grounds do we seek access to the throne? There is no mercy for the flesh. It dare not approach the holy place, lest God say, "Take him from mine altar that he may die." We must go in as crucified or not go at all. The Cross has fixed an eternal separation between us and the old man.
Remember about signing your own death sentence? Here it is from another perspective.
But to illustrate. It has often been true of a Jewish or Hindu convert to Christianity that the relatives, in order to express how completely they cast him out, actually celebrate his funeral. Henceforth they treat him after this contemptible display of death as though he no longer exists. We once heard a Jewish Christian thus describe his own "burial." Just after that funeral bad been celebrated, the father made as though he would kiss the son goodbye. But the mother stepped between the two and said to the father, "Would you kiss that dead dog?" When Christ came into my humanity, He fastened me to Himself and took me to the cursed tree and down into the tomb that He might "once-for-all" terminate my relationship to my ‘.old man." Having been buried, I am "married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead." Has it ever dawned upon me what an ethical and moral contradiction I am to the Bridegroom of my soul when I step back to "kiss that dead dog"? Let me, then, solemnly sign my death sentence, and for-ever celebrate the funeral!
Not long ago we were preaching along this line when a perfect "dandy" commented after the message, "I don’t know what he was talking about-I am not as bad as all that." A friend said: "Do you mean that you are never bothered with envy or vanity or pride?" (Such things were all too manifest.) "Oh yes, of course," he replied. "Well, what do you do about those things?" Glibly he replied, "Oh, the Blood takes care of all that." To this poor, self-sufficient young Christian, sin has not yet "become exceeding sinful." In the meantime the Lord Jesus is indeed a convenient fire escape out of hell, and His blood a handy rinse, absolving this superficial Christian of all responsibility.
It seems that many Christians have the attitude portrayed in Maxwell’s story here. But myself included! I want to say, "Oh I’m not so bad as most." The cross condemns me through and through.
Have fun and stay crucified ~ Galatians 2:20
-The Orange Mailman