“How much more shall the blood of Christ, through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience. . .!”[Hebrews 9:14]
The cross is Christ’s highest glory. The glory which He received from the Father was entirely owing to his having humbled himself to the death ot the cross. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him. . .!” The greatest work which the Holy Spirit could ever do in the Son of God was when He enabled him to yield himself a sacrifice and an offering for a sweet smelling fragrance. And the Holy Spirit can now do nothing greater or more glorious for us than to lead us in to the fellowship and likeness of that crucified life of our Lord.
Have we not here the reason that our prayers for the mighty working the Holy Spirit are not more abundantly answered? We have prayed too little that the Holy Spirit might glorify Christ in us in the fellowship and the conformity to his sufferings. The Spirit, who led Christ to the cross, is longing and able to maintain in us the life of abiding in the crucified Jesus.
The Spirit and cross are inseparable. The Spirit led Christ to the Cross; the cross brought Christ to the throne to receive the fulness of the Spirit to impart to his people. The Spirit taught Peter at once to preach Christ crucified; it was through that preaching that the three thousand received the Spirit.
In the preaching of the Gospel, in the Christian life, as in Christ, so in us, the Spirit and the cross are inseparable. It is the sad lack of the mind and disposition of the crucified Christ, sacrificing self and the world to win life for the dying, that is one great cause of the feebleness of the Church.
Let us ask God fervently to teach us to say: “We have been crucified with Christ; in him we have died to sin–always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” So shall we be prepared for that fulness of the Spirit which the Father longs to grant.
O Christian, when the world crucified Christ, it crucified you with him. When Christ overcame the world on the cross, He made you an overcomer too. He calls you now, at whatever cost of self-denial, to regard the world, in its hostility to God and his kingdom, as a crucified enemy over whom the cross can ever keep you conqueror.
What a different relationship to the pleasures and attractions of the world the Christian has who by the Holy Spirit has learned to say: “I have been crucified with Christ; the crucified Christ lives in me!” So let us pray fervently that the Holy Spirit, through whom Christ offered himself on the cross, may reveal to us in power what it means to “glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me …”
Biblical allusions: Phil. 2:9; 3:10; John 16:7-15; Acts 2:41; Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 4:10; Luke 9:23; Gal. 6:14.
This article was published in Pressing On, the devotional newsletter of New Testament Missionary Union: http://www.NTMU.net