3: Precious Executioner

Posted: Thursday, May 29th, 2014
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About The Power of the Cross Series

Whenever we go to the flesh, we will go to our excesses of the past. Those excesses are ever possible apart from taking up our cross daily. Learn what it means to live dead and be free!

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The flesh is my predicament. The cross is my solution and resolution. His bloody cross…but also mine.

In Jesus’ cross, my sins were paid for. My death accomplished. But in MY cross, my flesh is executed. Slain for its hopeless evil. For Jesus did not die in our place. He died for our account, and that is a far different thing. Though we went to the grave IN Him, and the “old sinner” died, we still have our death to bear…a living visit to our personal tomb.

The Cross is somehow living still and is the tall and menacing sentinel over all that is God, against all that is human. Christ is ever and always seeking to expose and crucify the flesh, to let us see the enemy within. Only our desperate consent to its death brings the power of the Cross into the core of the old man.

In MY own cross, my selfishness is butchered, my ego embarrassed, and my determination, crushed. My goodness, too, is cruelly tortured…as it should be. The practical cross of daily confrontation is that donkey in the path of my Balaam appointment with God’s enemy. My cross is the King Saul to my David’s heart, the insane one who hates me with murder’s rage…for my love. My personal cross is the whale of God’s control in the escape plans to run away from my own fulfillment.

You can find what you covet by what God touches, by what is destroyed…spoiled…and taken away. The Cross attacks your treasure. The cross is perfect, for it comes for that which pampers the soul of my selfishness. It searches out what I love and kills the rivals of God. The cross…crosses my will, destroys my dream, dishonors my reputation, and humiliates my ego. And I must distinguish between the cross of my legitimate demise and His enemy’s schemes of defeat to shame God through my life.

To the One, I must surrender totally unto my own end. To the other I must resist to his ruin. And those two forces, the cross and the enemy, live in the same situation, often in the same person. They both, the cross and the enemy, are after my demise. I will die. Death – before the grave – pursues me relentlessly…daily, hourly. No choice. I will die. The only question: for whom?

The choice is mine alone. Will I die for my soul’s Lover, who died in Love for me? Or will I die at the hand of His mortal enemy, by the dishonor and oblivion in which he takes such delight. Will I die to live? Or live and die?

For the cross is my liberty. My jailer is not the enemy of God. My prison is the tyranny of my own flesh. My cruel unfeeling master: the selfish drives of my deviant parents, Adam and Eve, whose likeness I bear. The key is in the door, not obscure or hidden, but plain and given. Before my face…in the real and the practical.

It is my personal cross, ordained by God’s perfect knowledge of me. The key waits there for me to turn it and walk out into Life Unspeakable and its joy. But I must turn that key upon my Self. It will pierce me bloody and kill my independence. Even in its mystery, my hidden soul comprehends the ominous presence of the cross and avoids instinctively the very Key of my fulfillment.

I will run. I will lie. I will hide as David did in the face of his incessantly cruel cross…Saul. Only when I die to the self-worshiping idol of me, will I rejoice in and, yes, even love the hand that slays me. I must know that the cross spells liberty whenever I consent to welcome it. I must experience the reward of dying. David’s “cross” named Saul finally died in the very shame and humiliation that had been planned and drooled over for David. But instead of rejoicing over the end of his “cross,” David loudly lamented its end. David had come to love his cross. To love even the instrument of it – in the person of Saul – to clutch the very two-edged sword that pierced his every ambition, and slew his freedom.

For the cross comes to take our liberty in order to free us.

To hound us into a corner of helplessness with only one way of escape: the grave of our flesh’s lust for all the forms of fatness. The cross swallows us like a whale and forces us to face the self-preservation that is – in reality – the loss of our glory, the suicide of our destiny, and the end of our shining story.

By his willingness to die, David came to care more for Saul’s sick soul than for his own suffering. Valid proof of David’s liberty, only achieved through death. He saw Saul through the eyes of God, into the tragedy of his lost potential, of the splendor he missed and David wailed…

“Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights.
How the mighty have fallen!
For there the shield of Saul – no longer rubbed with oil.”

2 Samuel 1:19, 21

David – by the unjust death of his liberty – had vision to see God’s heart and found there the true picture of the Saul, a mighty warrior, but one who refused his own cross of…David!

Copyright © 1999 Martha Kilpatrick

Other Articles in The Power of the Cross Series

1: Stench of Flesh 2: Flesh Conquered
3: Precious Executioner (Currently Viewing)
4: Jesus' Words 5: St. Andrew