II. DETHRONEMENT (2 Cor. 5:14, 15)
“We thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again (R.V.). The question in every life is, Who is on the throne? The power ruling within determines the character of the life manifested, for a throne implies a king.
Are we living unto ourselves, or unto Him Who for our sakes died and rose again? If we are living to Self we shall find that Self is “the long, low, ugly tap-root” out of which all that is hateful springs. If the power of the Holy Spirit has been claimed against Self for its dethronement, we shall find out in daily experience the truth of Charles Wesley’s words:
More of Thy life and more I have,
As the old Adam dies;
Bury me, Saviour, in Thy grave,
That I with Thee may rise.
Romaine, writing on The Inward Cross, says: “If Christ be not all in all, Self must still be looked upon as something great, and there will be food left for the pride of self-importance and self-sufficiency. Seek for the death of sin where thou wilt, it is not to be found but in His death. Dethroned in the life by the power of the Cross of Jesus … sin is put to a lingering death, kept upon the Cross, dying daily.”
Self as a personality is not destroyed but displaced. Christ takes His place on the throne, and the outcome is no longer the Self-life but the Christ-life. We are never meant to be our own centers, and we are eccentric until we find our true center, which is Christ. When Self vacates the throne, and Christ becomes the center of our personality, then everything is adjusted to His sovereign will.
Weymouth’s translation of Paul’s words is very luminous: “The love of Christ overmasters us, the conclusion at which we have arrived being this – that One having died for all, His death was their death, and that He died for all in order that the living may no longer live to themselves, but to Him who died for them and rose again.”
This is Paul’s explanation of the overmastering love of Christ. So fully had the Apostle entered into the purpose of his Saviour’s death and resurrection; so absolutely was Christ enthroned in his life, that Self had no place whatever in it. He could say, “no more I.” There are multitudes who never differentiate, in their prayers and utterances, between Jesus as Saviour and Jesus as Lord and King. He must be absolute Ruler, else the inexpressible possibilities of the Christian calling can never become actualities. There must be no more living to ourselves. “I was quite willing,” said one, “that Jesus Christ should be King, so long as He allowed me to be Prime Minister.” In other words, I want to be permitted, now and again, to assert my independence; there are certain matters which I wish to decide on my own account. There is certain business in the kingdom of my being that I want to transact. But that can never be. Jesus can never be Lord at all unless He is allowed to become Lord of all.
I very much question whether the change, from absolute selfishness to absolute selflessness, has ever been more effectively described than by Theodore Monod in his well-known hymn.
The first verse describes Self enthroned as Sovereign:
Oh! the bitter shame and sorrow,
That a time could ever be,
When I let the Saviour’s pity
Plead in vain, and proudly answer’d,
“All of Self and none of Thee,”
The second verse describes the beginning of Love’s conquest, and the shaking of the dominion of Self:
Yet He found me; I beheld Him
Bleeding on the accursed tree:
Heard Him pray, “Forgive them, Father,”
And my wistful heart said faintly,
“Some of Self and some of Thee.”
The third verse describes the anxiety of Self to be retained as Prime Minister, if not as King:
Day by day His tender mercy,
Healing, helping, full and free,
Sweet and strong, and ah! so patient,
Brought me lower, while I whispered,
“Less of Self, and more of Thee.”
The last verse describes the complete subjugation of Self by the Christ of Calvary, and the enthronement of Jesus as King:
Higher than the highest heavens,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Lord, Thy love at last has conquered;
Grant me now my supplication,
“None of Self and all of Thee.”
That great disciple of William Law, Dr. Alexander Whyte declared:
“Let me henceforth seat Christ, my Redeemer and my King, on the very throne of my heart, and then keep every gate of my body and every avenue of my mind as all not any more mine but His. Let me open my eye, my ear, and my mouth, and all my members, as if, in all that, I were opening Christ’s eye, Christ’s ear, and Christ’s mouth; and let me thrust nothing on Him, as He dwells within me, that will make Him ashamed or grieved, or that will defile or pollute Him. Yes, O Paul, I shall henceforth hold with thee that my body is the temple of Christ, and that I am not my own, but that I am bought with a paralyzing price, and must therefore, do nothing less than glorify God in my body and in my spirit, which are God’s.”
Part 2 of 5 From Beyond Humiliation: The Way of the Cross, by John Gregory Mantle. Washington, D.C: Testimony Book Ministry, 1974. 8th edition, Chapter 16.
This aspect of the Cross is inspired and enabled by another aspect of the cross–the believer’s spiritual identification with Christ (Gal. 2:20) see The Dimensions of the Cross, part 2: https://gracenotebook.com/the-dimensions-of-the-cross-part-2/