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Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Cross We Bear Must Be Assumed Voluntarily

"For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake" (Philippians 1:29)

In the Christian faith there is a real sense in which the Cross of Christ embraces all crosses and the death of Christ encompasses all deaths: "If one died for all, then were all dead ..."

This is in the judicial working of God in redemption. The Christian as a member of the body of Christ is crucified along with his divine Head. Before God every true believer is reckoned to have died when Christ died. All subsequent experiences of personal crucifixion is based upon this identification with Christ on the Cross.

But in the practical, everyday outworking of the believer's crucifixion his own cross is brought into play. "Let him ... take up his cross." That is obviously not the cross of Christ. Rather, it is the believer's own personal cross by means of which the Cross of Christ is made effective in slaying his evil nature and setting him free from its power.

The believer's own cross is one he has assumed voluntarily. Therein lies the difference between his cross and the cross on which Roman convicts died. They went to the cross against their will; he, because he chooses to do so. No Roman officer ever pointed to a cross and said, "If any man will, let him!" Only Christ said that, and by so saying He placed the whole matter in the hands of the Christian believer. Each of us, then, should count himself dead indeed with Christ and accept willingly whatever of self-denial, repentance, humility and humble sacrifice that may be found in the path of obedient daily living.

~A. W. Tozer~

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