Living the Normal Christian Life Begins at the Cross
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
The Christian life is lived at the foot of the Cross; there, forgiveness is found, grace received, and victory gained. In Christ’s death, we died to sin. In his burial, our sin is put away. In his resurrection, sin’s bondage is broken. We are saved at the foot of the Cross and we are transformed into Christlikeness at the foot of the Cross. At the foot of the Cross is where normal Christian living begins.
No one can really live the normal Christian life until he has begun to recognize the fullness of the work of the Lord Jesus on the Cross. We have touched on four aspects of that work: let us mention them again.
(1) OUR SINS. No one can be a Christian whose sins have not been dealt with and cleansed in the Blood.
(2) OURSELVES. Not only have our sins been dealt with by His death, but our old man has been crucified with Him. It is possible to be a Christian without seeing this fact, but it is only possible to be a very miserable Christian!
(3) OUR WILLS. The will has also been dealt with by the Cross, and once we definitely accept this, in an act of unqualified yielding to the Lord, we are no longer governed by self-will, and are ready for Him to work out His will in us.
(4) OUR NATURAL LIFE. When the Cross has delivered us from the law, we see that the Lord has dealt with our carnal powers, and we reach a point where we dare not trust ourselves at all, but acknowledge that of ourselves we can do nothing whatever to please God.
These four points are fundamental and we cannot live the normal Christian life without seeing them, and seeing them experimentally. “Who shall deliver me?” is the cry of Romans 7, but Romans 8 gives us the answer. Paul’s shout of praise is: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25). So we learn that the life we live is the life of Jesus Christ alone. The Christian life is not our living a life LIKE Christ, or our TRYING to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving US the power to live a life like His. It is Christ Himself living His own life through us: “no longer I, but Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
Watchman Nee, Twelve Baskets Full, Vol. 3 (Hong Kong: Church Book Room, 1969), 97.