The Cross and the Will of God

It’s time again to contemplate the cross by posting some clips from Born Crucified.  How can I tell the world this message?  God does not call sinners to discipline themselves so that they sin less and less over time.  God has no use for disciplined sinnners.  God calls us to be crucified that the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit might live in us who are now completely dead to sin.  In being dead to sin, we are dead to our selfish will and alive to God’s will.  The very first illustration in L.E. Maxwell’s chapter titled "The Cross and the Will of God" drives this point home.
 
I AM THINKING of a poor little lassie of India, Mimosa by name. She heard one brief message concerning the love of the great Creator. How that love had been manifested in redemption "she knew just nothing; there had not been time to tell her." She was hastened away by a cruel father, lest she become like her sister, Star, who was in the mission school. She was unseen by the missionary for twenty-two years. How could the little thing be expected to remember that one brief message about the loving Father above? But miracle of miracles, her soul was captured. Then she went home, to face only suffering, betrayal and deception. At length she was deceived into an unfortunate and miserable marriage. But she slaved in the fields to pay her lazy husband’s debts. At last, in agony, she cried aloud to the One of whom she had heard so very, very little, "Oh God, my husband has deceived me; his brother has deceived me; even my mother has deceived me; but You will not deceive me." Then waiting a little, and looking up and stretching out her arms, she continued, "Yes, they have all deceived me, but I am not offended with You.  Whatever’ You do is good." (Untaught, she used the familiar "You!’) Later on, in the house of her hateful heathen brother, she was given "a public affront, unforgivable from an Indian point of view, unforgettable." It was so horrible that "it has no English parallel." Shortly before this an old lukewarm Christian she had met by chance (?) had given her the second sermon in her life, a sort of sentence sermon, saying, "In every least thing He win wonderfully guide you." Could it be possible that she had been "guided to that heartless house with its hateful outrage? As she saw it and felt it again, hot shame scorched her. She had been flouted in her brother’s house." But by the Divine Presence Mimosa took heart; she forgave; she slept. She accepted. it all from her Father in Heaven; "Whatever You do is good."
 
After quoting from Amy Carmichael, which Maxwell does in many chapters of his book, he comes back to Mimosa’s point of view from another angle.
 
For a time we had contact with a circle of dear friends where the phrase, "Thy will be done," was never used in prayer for a sick person. They held that healing was in the atonement in the same sense that sin was there. They therefore consistently refused to add in their prayer for the sick, "Thy will be done." Was it not the will of God to heal everyone, just as He is unwilling that any should perish? Such praying, of course, leads to a resisting and straining of nerve and mind that can drive one almost to insanity. During a sickness, poor untaught Mimosa (perhaps fortunate for her, for she was not mistaught by the Spirit), experienced that when "relief did not always come at once, peace did." She took it for granted that the Lord could heal, but "in acceptance lieth peace."  In her simplicity she said, "And is not peace of more importance?"
 
Writing of Job’s example of resignation to the will of God, Maxwell delivers this powerful sentence.
 
How could he have better foiled the devil than to resign himself completely to the good hand of God?
 
Maxwell concludes the chapter by going back to creation and man’s rebellion.  I appreciate this return to the origin of our sinfulness which is characteristic of Maxwell’s approach throughout his entire book.  Maxwell has a knack for identifying Adam’s sin with our sins.  Contemplate his thoughts here.
 
No sooner had Adam rebelled against King El Shaddai and plunged out into the far country of his own self-will than God held up before him the bruised Redeemer as the only remedy for the rebellion, the ruin and the wretchedness of sin. For what is sin but "the erection of self unto the supreme power within us? And self will reign, until a Mightier One occupy the throne it has usurped." "I was quite willing," said one, "that Jesus Christ should be King, so long as He allowed me to be Prime Minister." But self-will in its very nature–it is inexorable law–is self destructive. "He who will not be sweetly ruled by the divine will," said Bernard of Clairvaux, "is penally governed by himself; and he who casts off the easy yoke and light burden of love, must suffer the intolerable load of self-will."

With the Almighty dethroned and with self enthroned, God had to begin again with a new Adam as the new Head of a new race. The last Adam came to undo the work of the first and to crush the head of the serpent. Did the first Adam exalt himself? The last Adam emptied Himself. Did pride drive God from the heart of the first Adam? Christ chose not the palace of a Solomon but an oriental stall for the place of His birth, despised Nazareth for His earthly life. Was the first Adam tested with a paradise of plenty with no need of denial? The last Adam chose to be tested in all points like unto His brethren: in a wilderness, with the wild beasts, forty days without food, "then cometh the devil." His whole life was a total self-denial. He had not where to lay His head.  Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered. Finally, after that thrice repeated cry, "Not my will, but thine, be done," He embraced the Cross–the logical terminus of His life of utter self-renunciation. But no man took His life from Him. He was a willing victim, "was willing to be spat upon, willing to be reviled, willing to be classed with criminals, willing to hang in ignominy before a jeering rabble upon the accursed tree" (Huegel). "Behold the lamb of God that beareth away the sin of the world" (John 1:29 R.V.). Did He come to save others? "Himself he cannot (and would not) save." Forsaken by His friends, and derided by His enemies, and under the curse of our disobedience-yea, obedient unto such a death He was willing. The last Adam was undoing the willful first. It is eternally true, then, that "he who does not welcome the Cross does not welcome God."

And how foolish this message is to the world and many Christians as well.  We must fight for ourselves, not allow ourselves to be wronged or trampled upon, and speak our minds since what we have to say is so valuable.  How foolish is the message of the cross!  Yet there is no salvation without it.

Have fun and stay crucified – Galatians 2:20

-The Orange Mailman

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