We need to understand this truth about the beloved Son of the heavenly Father, Jesus Christ. He couldn’t go back to Heaven and its glory until He had given Himself over to die on the Cross. Once this truth unfolds in our mind, it will help us understand how impossible it is for us to participate in Christ’s life, until we first give ourself over daily to die, both to sin and the world. Then we’ll be able to live in continuous association with Christ crucified.
What can we know about Christ that is the highest and holiest, even in the glory of heaven? His death on the Cross, and that His Holy Spirit is able to do a work in us to take us up and keep us associated with His cross.
The Apostle Paul said “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). This was an inner spiritual truth, but also a useful and real experience concerning the world and its enticements. Jesus talked about the world’s hatred for Him, and that He had to overcome the world. Paul realized in Christ’s crucifixion that the world which nailed Him to the cross had done the same thing to him. Paul could therefore now boast that he had been crucified to the world, which had become his powerless enemy. This is why he gloried in the cross of Christ, which had worked out his complete deliverance from the world.
“But God forbid that I should glory,” (Galatians 6:14), or boast, or lean on anything I am, or have, or do—except what Jesus suffered and did for me so God will accept me. Paul had no plans in his mind to get glory from those he had won to Christ. The gospel was all he wanted to glory in, and how he had suffered to proclaim it to them. It put him in agreement and harmony with Christ because he suffered for preaching the Gospel. Some people glory in how much zeal and talent they have for Christ. Others glory in knowing the laws of Moses and how orthodox their doctrine is. Some glory in how wealthy they are and the family they come from. But the highest glory and boast a Christian can make is in the cross of Christ.
Oh, how we can rejoice and glory that such a Savior is ours! The world only had scorn for Him and the Jews considered Him a stumbling block. The Greeks thought He was foolish. But to His people, His cross is their glory, because they love the One who suffered and died there for them. They also glory in the pure and holy character of the One who was innocent, yet died for the guilty. He honored the Law of God by dying to keep it undefiled. At the cross He made reconciliation for sin, accomplishing what no other gift offered to God could ever do. And through His sacrifice of Himself, we receive pardon for sin, and are able to die to the world and be made alive unto God. His cross also allowed us to be admitted to heaven.
We shouldn’t try to get glory from how strong we are because that will weaken. We shouldn’t try to get glory from our good looks, because all look alike in the grave. We can’t count on our education or achievements either, because they can’t get us to heaven. What should we glory in then? That we have a Savior who is God’s Son! He is love and pure and holy. He took up our cause and died to save us from sin and the world. We can receive no higher honor than being saved by the only begotten Son of God! This is what lifts and glorifies our nature, that Someone as glorious as He is obtained salvation for us! God’s Son came down from Heaven to sinful earth to die so we could be redeemed.
We need to believe in Christ and to live in Him so we can glory in the cross. Everything about the cross is glory. He was led by glorious love to die for our sins. His object was to redeem the world. And, because of His death on the Cross, He will raise up lost and ruined sinners to glory. This is why we glory in Him.
Let’s seek total dependence on the Lord as we continue to expect to receive our salvation and everything good from Him. Then we will learn to die to self and to the world, and to receive into our heart the crucified and glorified One into. May His Holy Spirit also continue to work in our life to preserve and maintain us.
Paul said that he was crucified to the world in Christ, and delivered from the power it once had over him. Let’s earnestly pray that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He will reveal to us what it truly means to “glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world had been crucified unto me” (Galatians 6:14). Then Christ will be able to keep us in fellowship with the cross and take us up to be with Him.