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ARTICLES

The Discipline of the Cross

"I have been crucified with Christ: and I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me . . ." (Gal. 2: 20; "The Book").

"But all those things that I might count as profit I now reckon as loss for Christ's sake. . . .

I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of . . . the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.

For his sake I have thrown everything away. . . . All I want to know is Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life.

" (Phil. 3: 7-11; "Good News Bible").A negative world-view? Hardly! Only such a profound consecration can protect us from the overwhelming tides of a pleasure-mad, flesh-pampering society. In times like these, clarifying the definition of the cross, and appraising Calvary's discipline in our lives is especially imperative.

Considered negatively, the cross signifies the death of our old nature. Unredeemed humanity considers the discipline of the cross to be a negative worldview. But the Scriptures explicitly declare that the believers' sin nature - "the old man" - was crucified with Christ Jesus at Calvary. In identification with our Lord, we died. Our old man, who was shackled in slavery to sin's dominion, no longer exists. Sin's tyranny over us has been abolished.

We are free, and are enjoined to regard this as an accomplished fact. (Romans 6: 6-18; Amp. Bible.).Considered positively the cross, with the subsequent empty tomb, denotes our new birth: In actuality, the cross-life is a positive worldview. After our old man was executed with Jesus at Calvary, he also was buried with Him in the tomb.

(Romans 6: 1-6; Amp. Bible). In union with our crucified and risen Lord, we were ". .

. buried with Him in baptism in which [we] were also raised with Him to a new life." (Col. 2:12; Amp.

Bible).As resurrected, cross-disciplined disciples, we view Calvary and the empty tomb as our demarcation point. It was at Calvary that God destroyed our old sin nature. And, in the tomb, through the resurrection power of Christ, we experienced a rebirth.

God created us ". . . in fellowship and in union with Christ.

He gave us the very life of Christ, the same new life with which He quickened Him." As new creations, we departed the tomb with our risen Lord (forever free of the death shroud of sin; now everything is new! (Eph. 2: 1-10; NKJ; 2 Cor.

5: 17-21 Amp.).Considered from a life orientation perspective, the cross orbits us around Jesus. He now is central to our world-view. Disciplined by the cross, we make Christ our priority in all aspects of life! Clearly decreed by our Master, this imperative cannot be misunderstood.

"Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after Me . . . whoever of you does not . . .

surrender claim . . . to all that he has, cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14: 26- 33; Amp.).

The discipline of the cross focuses all that we are or ever hope to be, all our possessions and desires, in our crucified and risen Master. He is our worldview. Though it may appear paradoxical to the carnal mind, it is our crucifixion with Christ that authenticates our resurrection with Him. Like the risen Lord, our resurrection is validated by the marks of crucifixion. In absolute union with Him we have been eternally imprinted by Calvary, and we relate to this world as He does.

(1 John 2: 15-17; 4: 17; John 15: 16-21; Amp.).To the Doubting Thomases of this present age, who refuse to believe that we have risen to new life in Jesus, we display the evidence of this wonder. We bear the marks of Calvary - the discipline of the cross. Josprel (Joseph Perrello).

josprel@verizon.net.

.

By: Joseph Perrello



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