“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:14-17 NKJV).
…Here we have the outcome of the changed centre in a wholly new point of view, i.e., when the ‘I’ is crucified there is a changed outlook! We view no man from the ordinary standpoint of the flesh, we have exchanged the earthly vision for the vision of God. The Corinthians had charged the Apostle with being ‘mad’ in his zeal for God [v.13], but he replies showing how the centre-spring made all the difference. Now turn to the Gospel [of John] to see that this was the very kind of life lived by Christ when He walked on earth as man.
Let us read first the Lord’s words in John 5:19,30. “Truly, truly I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. …”. “I can of Mine own self do nothing ….”
This is the position and privilege which the Cross is purposed to bring us into. Not only identification with Christ in His death, as a judicial fact, but a practical life where the ‘I’ is kept in the place of death, so that there results such a union with the Risen Lord, that moment by moment we rely upon Him as our new centre, our source of action-even of speech, as He depended upon His Father, saying, in our measure, as He did, “I can do nothing of myself”. When Christ is thus the centre spring of a believer’s life, as he is taught of the Spirit he draws upon Him even for words. What a revolution this would make in our conversation and our general tenor of speech.
The ‘old creation’ life is very profuse. But as Christ becomes our centre., and the ‘I’ is yielded to the Cross, the whole life is brought into light to be placed under His control…
“The Son can do nothing of Himself.” Let us lay down at the Cross our natural abilities, and be willing to really feel these words are true. Then we should be freed from all pomposity and ostentation in our work, and we should become simply dependent and helpless, actually relying upon the Living Christ every minute. It was Jeremiah who said, “Lord, I cannot speak, I am a child”! In His great grace, the Lord Jesus Christ was a child with His Father in all things. As He moved among men He said, “I speak not of Myself,” and He was listening to, and relying upon His Father for judging all things, and all men around Him, all the time (see John 5:30.) We sorely need that discriminating power. We may know it if we press on to realize that Christ will live in us. To this end let us put aside everything which feeds and strengthens the ‘I’. Because of sin in the mind and will, it is an impossible thing for the natural man to have a judgment without a self bias. But “My judgment is just” said the Lord, because He was ‘judging’ in reliance upon His Father. The cry among the people today is for ‘justice’. They crave for righteous judgment. Any man who sees that you have no self-bias in your judgment will trust you. “My judgment is just.”
Now let us turn to John 7: 17 “If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of Myself… .” … The self-centre taken to the Cross for the displacement of the ‘I’ as the originating spring of actions in word or deed, is the principle upon which alone God can reveal Himself and make known His truth to men. In this way, as the Word of God is revealed to us, we can stand unshaken and immovable on that Word as in very deed the Word of God.
Again in John 8: 28 we read, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall you know that I AM, and that I do nothing of myself, but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things.”
Now the question for us is, shall God bring us individually to the bedrock fact of the ‘I’ crucified for Christ to be the new centre of our being? Shall He reach the very core, so that ‘I’ shall be recognized by us as displaced and crucified, for the Holy Spirit to re-create and produce a new personality, after the pattern of the Man Christ Jesus? Shall we ask Him to do it?
[“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Gal. 2:20 NKJV]
From The Centrality of the Cross, chapter 3, The Overcomer Book Room, England. In U.S.A. The Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, PA. “Jessie Penn-Lewis (1861-1927) was a Welsh evangelical speaker and author of a number of Christian evangelical works.” New title, Bible translation updated, and bracketed content added – ed.
For a similar GN, see gracenotebook.com/how-did-jesus-do-what-he-did/