Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray
The Crucified One
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.—(Gal. 2:20 KJV)
“We have been planted together in the likeness of His death.” —(Rom. 5:5 KJV)
"I am crucified with Christ:" Thus the apostle expresses his assurance of his fellowship with Christ in His sufferings and death, and his full participation in all the power and the blessing of that death. And, showing that he really did mean what he said and knew that he was indeed now dead, he added: "It is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me." How blessed must be the experience of such a union with the Lord Jesus! To be able to look upon His death as mine, just as truly it was His. To be able to look upon His perfect obedience to God, His victory over sin, and complete deliverance from its power as mine. And then to realize that the power of that death does, by faith, work daily with a Divine energy in putting to death the flesh, and renewing the whole life into the perfect conformity to the resurrection life of Jesus! Abiding in Jesus, the Crucified One, is the secret to the growth of that new life which is ever begotten of the death of nature.
Let us try to understand this. The suggestive expression, "Planted into the likeness of His death," will teach us what the abiding in the Crucified One means. When a graft is united with the stock on which it is to grow, we know that it must be kept fixed in place. It must abide in that place where the stock has been cut, and thereby wounded, to make an opening to receive the graft. There is no graft without wounding—the laying bare and opening up of the inner life of the tree to receive the foreign branch. It is only through such wounding that access can be obtained to the fellowship of the sap and the growth and the life of the stronger stem. Even so with Jesus and the sinner. Only when we are planted into the likeness of His death shall we also be in the likeness of His resurrection, partakers of the life and the power which are in Him. In the death of the cross, Christ was wounded, and in His opened wounds a place prepared where we might be grafted in. And just as one might say to a graft, and does practically say as it is fixed in its place, "Abide here in the wound of the stem, that is now to bear you," so to the believing soul the message comes, "Abide in the wounds of Jesus; there is the place of union, and life, and growth. There you will see how His heart was opened to receive you. How His flesh was rent that the way might be opened for your being made one with Him, and having access to all the blessings flowing from His Divine nature."
You have also noticed how the graft has to be torn away from the tree where it by nature grew, and to be cut into conformity to the place prepared for it in the wounded stem. Even so the believer has to be made conformable to Christ's death—to be crucified and to die with Him. The wounded stem and the wounded graft are cut to fit into each other, into each other's likeness. There is a fellowship between Christ's sufferings and your sufferings. His experiences must become yours. The disposition He manifested in choosing and bearing the cross must be yours. Like Him, you will have to give full assent to the righteous judgment and curse of a holy God against sin. Like Him, you have to consent to yield your life to death, as laden with sins and curses, and through it to pass to the new life. Like Him, you will experience that it is only through the self-sacrifice of Gethsemane and Calvary that the path is to be found to the joy and the fruit-bearing of the resurrection life. The more clearly the resemblance between the wounded stem and the wounded graft, the more exactly their wounds fit into each other, the surer and the easier, and the more complete will be the union and the growth.
It is in Jesus, the Crucified One, I must abide. I must learn to look upon the Cross as not only an atonement to God, but also a victory over the devil. I must look upon it not only as a deliverance from the guilt, but also from the power of sin. I must gaze on Him who is on the cross as wholly mine, offering Himself to receive me into the closest union and fellowship, and to make me partaker of the full power of His death to sin, and the new life of victory to which it is only the gateway. I must yield myself to Him in an undivided surrender, with much prayer and strong desire, imploring to be admitted into the ever closer fellowship and conformity of His death, and of the Spirit in which He died that death.
Let me try to understand why the cross is thus the place of union. On the cross the Son of God entered into the fullest union with man. There He entered into the fullest experience of what it says to have become a son of man, a member of a race under the curse. It is in death that the Prince of life conquered the power of death. It is in death alone that He can make me partaker of that victory. The life He imparts is a life from the dead. Each new experience of the power of that life depends upon the fellowship of the death. The death and the life are inseparable. All the grace which Jesus the Saving One gives is given only in the path of fellowship with Jesus the Crucified One. Christ came and took my place. I must put myself in His place, and abide there. And there is the only place which is both His and mine. That place is the cross. It is His by virtue of His free choice. It is mine, because of the curse of sin. He came there to seek me. There alone I can find Him. When He found me there, it was the place of cursing. This He experienced, for "cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree (Gal. 3:13). He made it a place of blessing. This blessing I experience, for Christ has delivered us from the curse, being made a curse for us. When Christ comes in my place, He remains what He was, the beloved of the Father. But in the fellowship with me, He shares my curse and dies my death. When I stand in His place, which is still always mine, I am still what I was by nature, the accursed one, who deserves to die. But as united to Him, I share His blessing, and receive His life. When He came to be one with me, He could not avoid the cross, for the curse always points to the cross as its end and fruit. And when I seek to be one with Him, I cannot avoid the cross either, for nowhere but on the cross are life and deliverance to be found. As inevitably as my curse pointed Him to the cross as the only place where He could be fully united to me, His blessing points me to the cross too as the only place where I can be united to Him. He took my cross for His own. I must take His cross as my own. I must be crucified with Him. It is as I abide daily, deeply in Jesus the Crucified One, that I will taste the sweetness of His love, the power of His life, the completeness of His salvation.
Beloved believer! It is a deep mystery, this mystery of the cross of Christ. I fear there are many Christians who are content to look upon the cross, with Christ on it dying for their sins, who have little heart for fellowship with the Crucified One. They hardly understand that He is inviting them to it. Or, they are content to consider the ordinary afflictions of life, which the children of the world often have as much as they, as their share of Christ's cross. They have no conception of what it is to be crucified with Christ, that bearing the cross means likeness to Christ in the principles which animated Him in His path of obedience. The entire surrender of all self-will, the complete denial to the flesh of its every desire and pleasure, the perfect separation from the world in all its ways of thinking and acting, the losing and hating of one's life, the giving up of self and its interests for the sake of others—this is the disposition which marks the one who has taken up Christ's cross, who seeks to say, ''I am crucified with Christ; I abide in Christ, the Crucified One."
Would you in very deed please your Lord, and live in as close fellowship with Him as His grace could keep you? O ask that His Spirit would lead you into this blessed truth...this secret of the Lord for them who fear Him. We know how Peter knew and confessed Christ as the Son of the living God while the cross was still an offence (Matt. 16;16, 17, 21-23). The faith that believes in the blood that pardons and the life that renews, can only reach its perfect growth as it abides beneath the cross, and in living fellowship with Him seeks for perfect conformity with Jesus the Crucified.
O Jesus, our crucified Redeemer, do not teach us only to believe on You, but to abide in You, to take Your cross not only as the basis of our pardon, but also as the law of our life. O teach us not only to love it because on it You bore our curse, but because on it we enter into the closest fellowship with you, and are crucified with You. And teach us, that as we yield ourselves wholly to be possessed of the Spirit with which You bore the cross, we will be made partakers of the power and the blessing to which the cross alone gives access.