WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT FOR BELIEVERS TO PLACE THEIR FAITH EXCLUSIVELY IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST?
It is difficult for Believers to place their Faith exclusively in the Cross of Christ because it goes against the flesh. In other words, it belittles our human effort, human ability, human strength, etc., which doesn’t sit well with most of us.
As well, we as Believers are very proficient at loading up the flesh with Scriptures, which makes us think it’s of the Spirit, when it isn’t. It’s very hard for us to admit to ourselves that what needs to be done, we cannot do. In fact, that’s probably the most difficult thing that the Holy Spirit has to do in order for us to understand this great Truth.
For instance, this Sunday morning, preachers will stand before television cameras and tell their audience that if they will take the Lord’s Supper every day, or some such time frame, they’ll have Victory within their lives and prosperity, etc. Another one tells their listeners that if they will memorize three Scriptures a day, as it regards their particular problem, whatever it might be, and quote them over and over again, this will bring God on the scene, for God has to abide by His Word.
While the Lord’s Supper is most definitely Scriptural, that is, if carried out in the right way, and while memorizing Scriptures is very profitable as well, which I do constantly, still, that is taking something that wasn’t meant to be, at least as we’re trying to make it, which the Lord will never accept. In fact, all of these religious efforts present themselves as the greatest fault of the Child of God.
While the Lord’s Supper is definitely not a work of the flesh, we most definitely turn it into one when we try to make it into something it was never intended to be. When we do this, it is an insult to Christ, and as well, to the Holy Spirit.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SPIRITUAL ADULTERY
Whenever our faith is placed in anything other than the Cross of Christ exclusively, we as Believers, in a sense, are living in a state of spiritual adultery. Listen again to Paul. While the following is quite voluminous, still, I think it is profitable for the Believer for us to copy it word for word from THE EXPOSITOR’S STUDY BIBLE.
“Know ye not, Brethren (Paul is speaking to Believers), (for I speak to them who know the Law,) (he is speaking of the Law of Moses, but it could refer to any type of religious Law) how that the Law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? (The Law has dominion as long as he tries to live by Law. Regrettably, not understanding the Cross regarding Sanctification, virtually the entirety of the Church is presently trying to live for God by means of the Law. Let the Believer understand that there are only two places he can be, Grace or Law. If he doesn’t understand the Cross as it refers to Sanctification, which is the only means of Victory, he will automatically be under Law, which guarantees failure.)”
“For the woman which has an husband is bound by the Law to her husband so long as he lives (presents Paul using the analogy of the marriage bond); but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the Law of her husband (meaning that she is free to marry again).
“So then if, while herhusband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress (in effect, the woman now has two husbands, at least in the Eyes of God; following this analogy, the Holy Spirit through Paul will give us a great truth; many Christians are living a life of spiritual adultery; they are married to Christ, but they are, in effect, serving another husband, ‘the Law’; it is quite an analogy!): but if her husband be dead (the Law is dead by virtue of Christ having fulfilled the Law in every respect), she is free from that Law (if the husband dies, the woman is free to marry and serve another; the Law of Moses, being satisfied in Christ, is now dead to the Believer and the Believer is free to serve Christ without the Law having any part or parcel in his life or living); so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man (presents the Believer as now married to Christ, and no longer under obligation to the Law).”
MARRIED TO CHRIST
“Wherefore, my Brethren, you also are become dead to the Law (the Law is not dead per se, but we are dead to the Law because we are dead to its effects; this means that we are not to try to live for God by means of ‘Law,’ whether the Law of Moses, or religious Laws made up by other men or of ourselves; we are to be dead to all religious Law) by the Body of Christ (this refers to the Crucifixion of Christ, which satisfied the demands of the broken Law, which we could not satisfy; but Christ did it for us; having fulfilled the Mosaic Law in every respect, the Christian is not obligated to Law in any fashion, only to Christ and what He did at the Cross); that you should be married to another (speaking of Christ), even to Him Who is raised from the dead (we are raised with Him in Newness of Life, and we should ever understand that Christ has met, does meet, and shall meet our every need; we look to Him exclusively, referring to what He did for us at the Cross), that we should bring forth fruit unto God (proper fruit can only be brought forth by the Believer constantly looking to the Cross; in fact, Christ must never be separated from the Work of the Cross; to do so is to produce ‘another Jesus’ [II Cor. 11:4])” (Rom. 7:1-4).
THAT WHICH GREATLY HINDERS THE HOLY SPIRIT
All of this tells us that any Believer, who places his or her faith in anything except the Cross of Christ exclusively, is being unfaithful to Christ, which means that such a person is living in a state of spiritual adultery. To be sure, that will greatly hinder the Holy Spirit. Thank God, He doesn’t leave us in such situations, for all of us have ventured into these areas, but it does hurt greatly.
As Believers, and as stated in the notes, we are married to Christ. We are to be faithful to Him in every respect; however, when we place our faith in anything other than the Cross of Christ, and no matter how good the other thing may be in its own right, the Lord looks at us as having committed and continuing to commit spiritual adultery. In other words, in the Mind and Eyes of God, it is the same thing as a husband being unfaithful to his wife or a wife being unfaithful to her husband. As anyone should understand, adultery is a most serious thing. In fact, most marriages in the natural sense do not survive such. But, we must also understand that in the spiritual sense, it is just as telling and just as debilitating.
Thank God that the Holy Spirit isn’t human. Were He, He would have abandoned us a long time before; however, He is God. As such, He will stay with us as long as He can and will, in fact, do everything He can for us, despite the fact that we are living in a state of spiritual adultery. Let us say it again:
Any Believer, who places his or her faith in anything except the Cross of Christ exclusively, is living in a state of spiritual adultery, which greatly hinders the Holy Spirit, and which is the cause of virtually all failure in the lives of Believers.
Regrettably, the modern Church, for all practical purposes, is Cross illiterate. In other words, we have strayed so far from the Gospel that anymore the modern church hardly knows what the Gospel actually is. In short, the Gospel is, “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified” (I Cor. 1:17).
THE CROSS PROVIDES THE LEGAL RIGHT FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT TO WORK
What do we mean by that statement?
The Work of Christ on the Cross was and is a legal work. Man had sinned against God, which means he owed a debt to God that he simply could not pay. It was a legal debt, and because the Law of God had been broken. Man is a lawbreaker.
For the account to be settled, in other words, for the thing to be made right, the debt would have to be paid. It was legally owed, and as a result, the debt must be legally satisfied. However, in this regard, man finds himself in an acute dilemma. In other words, it’s a debt he cannot hope to pay, no matter how hard he tries, but if man is to be salvaged, the debt has got to be paid.
It was paid, and by the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Only Son, Who gave Himself as a perfect Sacrifice, which God accepted as payment in full.
With the sin debt lifted, thereby paid, at least for all who will believe (Jn. 3:16), this made it possible, and makes it possible, for the Holy Spirit to come into the heart and life of the Believer and there to abide forever (Jn. 14:16-17).
Before the Cross, and because the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins, the Holy Spirit was limited as to what He could do with, for, and upon Believers. But since the Cross, the way has been opened for Him to function in our hearts and lives in a totally different way. All of this is not because of the great and good things we have done, but because of the great and good thing that the Lord did at the Cross of Calvary. Again, we go back to the Cross!
Now, unequivocally, we are told in the Word of God as to exactly how the Holy Spirit works. In fact, it is labeled a “Law,” referring to its legality. It’s the way that He works, and the only way that He works, meaning that He will work no other way. Let’s see what the Word of God says:
LIFE IN THE SPIRIT
“There is therefore now no condemnation (guilt) to them which are in Christ Jesus (refers back to Rom.6:3-5 and our being baptized into His Death, which speaks of the Crucifixion), who walk not after the flesh (depending on one’s personal strength and ability or great religious efforts in order to overcome sin), but after the Spirit (the Holy Spirit works exclusively within the legal confines of the Finished Work of Christ; our Faith in that Finished Work, i.e., ‘the Cross,’ guarantees the help of the Holy Spirit, which guarantees Victory).”
THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT
Now we come to the manner and way in which the Holy Spirit works and, in fact, meaning that He will work in no other fashion. This is a “Law.”
“For the Law (that which we are about to give is a Law of God, devised by the Godhead in eternity past [I Pet. 1:18-20]; this Law, in fact, is ‘God’s Prescribed Order of Victory’) of the Spirit (Holy Spirit, i.e., ‘the way the Spirit works’) of Life (all life comes from Christ, but through the Holy Spirit [Jn. 16:13-14]) in Christ Jesus (any time Paul uses this term or one of its derivatives, he is, without fail, referring to what Christ did at the Cross, which makes this ‘life’ possible) has made me free (given me total Victory) from the Law of Sin and Death (these are the two most powerful Laws in the Universe; the ‘Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus’ alone is stronger than the ‘Law of Sin and Death’; this means that if the Believer attempts to live for God by any manner other than Faith in Christ and the Cross, he is doomed to failure)” (Rom. 8:1-2).
In closing this Chapter, hopefully, we have given you the manner in which the Holy Spirit works, which is at least one of the single most important factors in the belief system of the Child of God. Understanding this, and we pray that we have made it easily understandable, such a Believer has now learned God’s provision of life and living, in other words, how to live a victorious life, victorious over the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
The promise of this Revelation was some nine years before it was possessed. As we often say, there is a great distance between the Promise and the Possession.
The year was 1988. It was the month of March, and my whole world had crashed, and I was left with little understanding. How could it happen? Why did it happen? How was such possible?
The day in question, both Frances and I had stayed home from the office for the purpose of spending the day in prayer. To be sure, we had much to pray about.
Our house is outside the city limits and sits on some twenty acres of land. In those days, whenever I prayed each day, I would walk around the perimeter. At that particular time I was at the back of the property.
Never in all of my life have I experienced such demonic oppression as I did that particular morning. Satan can be very convincing in his accusations. He began to tell me how I had disgraced my family, disgraced my Church, disgraced myself, and above all, had disgraced the Work of God.
If I remember correctly, I had eight hundred dollars in the bank. He suggested to me, “Take that money and just disappear.” He went on to say, “You’ll be doing the Work of God a service, if you are out of the picture.”
In fact, his oppression became so powerful that I remonstrated to the Lord, “Lord, You promised that You would not allow anything to come upon us any harder than we could bear, but with every temptation, that You would make a way of escape.”
I then said, “Lord, I think that You are allowing more than a human being can stand.” I then sobbed out, “Please help me!”
THE MOVING OF THE SPIRIT
In all of my life I don’t think that I’ve ever experienced something such as that which happened that particular day. One moment it seemed like there were a thousand pounds on my shoulders, and growing heavier by the moment. And then, all of a sudden, it happened.
The next moment, the Spirit of the Lord covered me. The weight instantly lifted, and it was like I was floating in air. One moment it was impossible, and the next moment, anything was possible. It was like the Lord said, “That’s enough,” and Satan immediately left.
As I stood there weeping before the Lord, He then spoke to my heart. It was very short and to the point. He said:
“I’m going to show you things about the Holy Spirit you do not now know.”
As I stood there thinking about that for a moment, I realized instantly that there were all kinds of things about the Holy Spirit I did not know. He is God, so, how much do we really know? Yet, I realized that the Lord was addressing the situation at hand.
TIME WHICH FOLLOWED
I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Lord had spoken these words to my heart, but there was nothing that happened. Days went into weeks and weeks into months, and still nothing. Oftentimes I thought about it, knowing that the Lord had spoken to me, yet there was nothing I could put my finger on that I knew was the fulfillment of that Promise. In fact, nine years passed. As I’ve stated, there is a great distance between the Promise and the Possession.
THE REVELATION OF THE CROSS
To fast-forward to 1997, the Revelation that changed my life was to take place at that particular time. Without going into detail, first of all, the Lord showed me the meaning of the sin nature, taking me to Romans, Chapter 6.
A few days later, while in one of the morning prayer meetings, He showed me the solution to the sin nature, saying to me three things, but all very similar. They are:
• The answer for which you seek is found in the Cross.
• The solution for which you seek is found in the Cross.
• The answer for which you seek is found only in the Cross.
Nothing about the Holy Spirit was said, and yet, I knew that whatever the Lord did, the Holy Spirit was very much involved.
However, the Lord did not mention to me the Holy Spirit at that time, only the Cross. While I was literally ecstatic with joy, so much so that it was like I was in another world, at least for a short period of time, still, there was the nagging question about the Holy Spirit.
If the Cross of Christ were the answer and, in fact, the only answer, where did this leave the Holy Spirit?
I knew that the Holy Spirit had helped me to touch a great portion of the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, seeing literally hundreds of thousands brought to a saving knowledge of our Lord. As well, I had seen tens of thousands baptized with the Holy Spirit, for which we give the Lord all the Praise and all the Glory.
I prayed about it very much, but all I could do was leave it with the Lord.
HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT WORKS
Several weeks passed, and rejoicing night and day, I began to teach the Cross over our very small radio network. Then it was only two or three stations, where now it is seventy-eight stations.
At any rate, as we were nearing the conclusion to the program that morning, all of a sudden, I made a statement that shocked me. I had not studied the statement, had not heard the statement, had not read it anywhere, yet, I knew it was true. I have never had anything like this to happen to me before or since.
I made the statement, “The Holy Spirit works exclusively within the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ, and will not work outside of those parameters.”
As stated, I had never read such a statement, had never heard such a statement, and had not thought about it previously to this moment. I just made the statement and then sat there stunned at what I had said, yet I knew that it was right.
As I paused, Loren Larson, who was seated across the table from me, spoke up, saying, “Can you give me Scripture for that?”
Once again, how could I give a Scripture when I didn’t even really know what I had said! But then, the Spirit of God began to move upon me exactly as He had a few moments before. He drew my attention to Romans 8:2. I then quoted it:
“The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, has made me free from the Law of Sin and Death.” And, once again, I knew it was right.
The program was coming to a conclusion and when it ended, I sat there for a few moments literally stunned at what had taken place.
I then arose and turned to my right to walk out the door in order to leave the Studio, but then, the Spirit of the Lord came on me again, and I stopped.
The Lord spoke to me, saying, “Do you remember what I told you that day in March, 1988, that I would show you things about the Holy Spirit that you did not then know?”
I stood there a moment with tears running down my face and said, “Yes Lord, I remember!”
He said, “I have just fulfilled My Promise to you. That which I have given you, you have not previously known.”
In fact, that which the Lord gave to me that morning in 1997 has completely revolutionized my thinking in every respect. I now know how the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and lives. He works exclusively by and through the Cross of Christ. That means, as I have repeatedly stated, that the Cross of Christ must ever be the Object of our Faith.
A NEW TRUTH?
No, it’s not a new Truth! It’s that which the Lord gave to the Apostle Paul nearly two thousand years ago; however, having said that, it must as well be recognized that this is a Truth that the modern church knows little or nothing about. Considering how important that it is, how all-encompassing it is, it’s a great Truth that the Holy Spirit intends, even demands, that all of us know.
“We would see Jesus, for the shadows lengthen,
“Across this little landscape of our life;
“We would see Jesus, our weak Faith to strengthen,
“For the last weariness, the final strife.”
“We would see Jesus, the great Rock Foundation,
“Whereon our feet were set with sovereign Grace;
“Not life, nor death, with all their agitation,
“Can thence remove us, if we see His Face.”
“We would see Jesus, other lights are paling,
“Which for long years we have rejoiced to see;
“The blessings of our pilgrimage are falling,
“We would not mourn them, for we go to Thee.”
(This message was derived from the book, “Brother Swaggart, Here Is My Question About The Holy Spirit”.)
Several weeks passed, and rejoicing night and day, I began to teach the Cross over our very small radio network. Then it was only two or three stations, where now it is seventy-eight stations.p