Why does the cross of Christ mean death to my old self-life and my own sinful will? I would like to suggest a number of things (but feel free to share your thoughts as well):
- Christ was dying at Calvary because of sin. Sin put Him there, and sinners nailed Him to that tree. To demand my own sinful way, void of God, is to sin against God, mirroring the hearts of those who crucified Him. They would have their sinful way, not His, and to gain their way, they had to crucify the Lord of glory. Shall I sin, that grace may abound? May it not be so! That sin nailed Him to the tree, and how can I delight in that which made Him suffer? (Rom. 6:1-2; Gal. 6:14)
- Christ was the perfect man dying a perfect death. He lived as every person ought to live. He is our perfect example, and we should desire to follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21 NASB). He said, “not My will, but Thine be done” and submitted Himself to the Father (Luke 22:42).
- When Christ died, He was dying as my substitute, in my place. I should have died there. In dying, He took my sins away. Thus, my old life is buried in the sea of Calvary and gone forever. If He died in my place because of my old life of sin, then my old self and way of life is crucified with Him (Rom. 6:1-11).
- Through His going away, the Comforter came. With the Holy Spirit, we have new desires, new aspirations. To desire the old life is to go against He who lives inside me and to do what is not natural for a child of God (John 16:7; Rom. 8:1-14; Gal. 5:22-24).
- When Christ died, He was completing the greatest, most costly purchase that has ever been made. He was purchasing you. It is a wonderful thing to be able to say “I am His, and He is mine!” (Song 2:16, 6:3) That fact binds me to Him, and His purchase of love should cause me to understand that I am not my own: I have been bought with a great price (1Cor. 6:19-20).
- Submitting to the Christ of Calvary as “my Lord and my God,” obeying the gospel by faith and trusting in the Savior, means that I now have a new Master. Christ has conquered death, and I am no longer a slave to death and sin, but a servant of righteousness (Rom. 6:20-23).
- The cross is the greatest manifestation of love the world has ever (and will ever) know. How can I live for myself, when Christ has endured infinite suffering with infinite, eternal love, and has given Himself for me? How could I continue to live only for myself, when He has given all for me? “For the love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor. 5:14-17 NASB). “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me “ (Gal. 2:20 NASB).
Oh for the grace to stand with Christ on resurrection ground! Oh for the heart to love as He loved!
Father, fill me with Christ! Let me fix my gaze on the man in the glory with wounded hands and feet, and let me be filled with His glory, grace and love until He comes to take me home.