The Cross and the Overcoming Life

There is only one Overcomer in the universe, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and if there are ever any other overcomers, they will not be others at all, they will simply be the extension of His overcoming — the expansion of His victory…

God said — “I will dwell in them and walk in them.”[1] [It is] God who has come out of eternity, first incarnating Himself in a separate individual historic body [Jesus Christ], and accomplishing that immense work of the Cross, who has changed the form of His incarnation after that accomplishment and become, as the factor in Calvary, incarnate in the Body and in all its members.

There you have the eternal secret of God’s victory, which is Christ’s victorious resident by the Holy Spirit within the believer — within the House of God. The great difference between the two dispensations of the Bible — the Old and the New — is that the one is always objective, and the other is subjective. The Old, up to Calvary, including the experience, was objective. Everything was objective. You get back in the wilderness, the Cross in the figure of the serpent lifted up — it is objective, and he that looked, lived.[2] [But now] we have got to look for that spiritual reality to be made real and experimental within our own spirit. The great difference is between the objective in the old dispensation, and all becoming subjective in the New…

Have you really had a spiritual quickening [a making alive] to that basic fact? It would make the biggest difference possible in your experience. One spoke of how the Master was always referring to this very thing. You remember how frequently He was speaking of it. Take His parable of the vine and the branches.[3] I think Hudson Taylor’s discovery of the reality of corporate life with Christ through that parable is one of the most beautiful expositions of the truth that we could have. I would like just to give it to you:

“As I thought of the vine and the branches, of the Lord, the blessed Spirit poured direct into me, how great seemed my mistake in having wished to get the sap, the fullness out of Him. I saw not only that Jesus would never leave me, but that I was a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. The vine now I see is not the root merely, but all – root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit – and Jesus is not only that, He is soil, and sunshine and showers and ten thousand times more than we have ever dreamed, wished, or needed.”

Oh, the joy of seeing that truth, the oneness, that the one Life is in all, in every part to the uttermost leaf or twig or bit! And that Life, beloved, is the Life whereby Jesus conquered death! That is the Life of His resurrection.

Now our mistake has just been to try and achieve victory on the outside, to fight, to struggle, to be overcomers and to wage a terrific warfare, without recognizing that the only triumph and the only warfare is that which Christ, Himself, wages and achieves….Oh, the difference from appealing to Him as somewhere objectively, outside, to come in and deal with the situation! Nothing ever happens along that line, but [rather] to recognize that He dwells within — the realization and fulfillment of that eternal intention in the mystery of God. “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith”.[4] …”This is the victory that overcometh, even our faith.”[5] … That is, faith reckons upon the fact that if you have received the Holy Spirit into your spirit, you have received God into your spirit. You have received the triumphant Christ right into the centre of your being, and in faith, appealing to that, He manifests Himself, and you discover that this is the secret of overcoming.

This is the victory that overcometh, the faith which turns to the Lord not [only] as objectively, but as within and says — “Now, Lord, as within me, I appeal to You to rise up and meet this situation.” There is a vast deal of difference between that, and our calling upon the Lord and going out ourselves to meet the situation. That is Old Testament, that is not New Testament.

The New Testament [perspective] is the Lord rising up within our spirit to meet the situation, He who already has the victory, who possesses it, and dwells within us; and that is why one said at the beginning we shall never be overcomers in that detached, or separate sense. He is the only Overcomer, and He will have to do all the overcoming in us, and for us. He will have to work out His overcoming, work out His victory, simply sharing with us that which He has within, and this is how “He prepares a table in the presence of our enemies.”[6]

[“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” 1 Cor. 15:57.]

Adapted from an address at given the September Conference, 1927. Courtesy of

Bracketed words and footnotes added. Older English spelling has been Americanized.

[1] Lev. 26:12; 2 Cor. 6:16

[2] Num. 21:8

[3] John 15:1-5

[4] Eph. 3:17

[5] 1 John 5:4

[6] Psalm 23:5

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