The Creation Of man - Part VI
Unfortunately, much of the modern church world, in fact, virtually all, has opted for the psychological way.
Let the reader understand first of all that the psychological way and the way of the Cross are diametrically opposed to each other. They are so diametrically different and originating from such totally different sources that there is no way the two can be wedded.
As for preachers who claim that the two can be melded, it shows either a terrible ignorance of the Cross of Christ, or else, gross unbelief.
The Lord began to open up to me the revelation of the Cross in 1997. That revelation continues unto this hour. At that time, I felt that the foray of the church into humanistic psychology was, for the most part, caused by ignorance of the Word of God. While that certainly is the case with some, after several years now of observing the church scene with much more knowledgeable eyes, I regrettably must come to the conclusion that the real reason the Cross has been abandoned is because of rank unbelief. To be sure, that is the most dangerous position of all. Ignorance can be corrected, but it is far harder to correct unbelief.
In fact, for unbelief to be corrected, one has to completely and totally renounce the erroneous way that one is traveling, which is very difficult for most to do.
The reason that virtually all of the church world denounces my person is because of this very thing that we are presently addressing—the Cross. They may claim other things constitute the reason, but the other things are actually only excuses. The real reason has always been, and is presently, our stand regarding the Lord Jesus Christ and the Cross upon which He died. We claim the Cross is the answer and, in fact, the only answer for hurting humanity. They claim, whomever they might be, that other things are the answer, hence, the juxtaposition.
Admittedly, in 1988, I did not know and understand the Cross as it regarded the sanctification of the saint. To be sure, I understood the Cross as it regarded the initial salvation experience, and I preached it about as strongly as anyone in the world. As a result, the Lord gave us literally hundreds of thousands of souls, for which we give Him all of the praise and all of the glory.
However, not knowing and understanding the Cross as it regards our everyday walk before God, in fact, I was actually reliving Chapter 7 of Romans.
Romans, Chapter Seven
This chapter catalogs Paul’s experience after he was saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit and actually called to be an apostle. However, at that time he did not know the victory of the Cross and, as a result, was attempting to live for Christ by his own strength, etc. Despite trying so hard, he failed, and the following are his exact words: “For that which I do I allow (understand) not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Rom. 7:15).
Then he said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:18).
He plainly tells us here that he was trying to live for God by the virtue of willpower but found to his dismay that the will alone wasn’t enough.
That’s where I was, and that’s where millions of Christians are presently. They’re trying with all of their strength to live as they ought to live but failing miserably. The sad fact is that the harder they struggle, the worse the situation actually becomes. They are left very, very confused. So, what are such Christians doing?
Strangely enough, many of these particular Christians are some of the hardest workers for the Lord in the world. In fact, some of them are extremely consecrated to the Lord.
The Victory Of The Cross
Now, an unbelieving church may not agree with that, claiming that such cannot be, but the truth is, the ones doing the criticizing are in worse shape, spiritually speaking, than the ones toward whom they are leveling the criticism.
It doesn’t matter what a believer does or how hard he tries, if he doesn’t know and understand the victory of the Cross, he will fall. Understanding the victory of the Cross simply means that he is to know that everything comes to him from God by and through what Jesus did at the Cross, and that his faith must ever be in the finished work of Christ (Rom. 6:3–5, 11, 14). With this done, and continuing to be done even on a daily basis (Lk. 9:23), the Holy Spirit will then work mightily on behalf of the believer, which will guarantee victory on a perpetual basis (Rom. 8:1–2, 11).
However, if the Christian doesn’t know this and, thereby, seeks to live for God by other means and ways, he is doomed to failure, irrespective of whom he might be.
As stated, in 1988, I did not know this, and despite trying so very, very hard, I failed. I might quickly add that such failure is inevitable if the believer doesn’t understand the Cross.
Despite the shame, humiliation, pain, and suffering, if the believer continues in his lack of understanding, the failure will continue, as well, no matter how hard he tries otherwise. Unfortunately, pain and suffering are not the cure that will give victory over the attacks by the powers of darkness.
So, my enemies, of whom I seemed to have had many, took full advantage of that. However, the real reason was that I was preaching the Cross. Admittedly, I was only preaching it as it regarded the salvation of sinners, but at the same time, I was still loudly saying on a worldwide basis that the psychological way was wrong. That didn’t set very well with the leaders of particular denominations, considering that they had embraced the psychological way in totality. So, when an opportunity presented itself for them to exact their pound of flesh, they took full advantage. However, again, the reason wasn’t what it seemed to be to the world, but rather what I preached, and I speak of the Cross.
The Offense Of The Cross
Paul said, “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the Cross ceased” (Gal. 5:11).
The Holy Spirit through the apostle plainly tells us here that the Cross of Christ is an offense, not only to the world, but to many in the church. In other words, if one preaches the Cross, lives the Cross, and places his faith and confidence totally and completely in what Christ did at the Cross, that will be an offense to many so-called Christians.
One of the reasons this happens is that there is something in all believers that desires to live this life for Christ by our own strength and ability. It is a carry over from the fall. As a result, it’s very hard for us to completely deny ourselves and, thereby, totally trust Christ (Lk. 9:23). So, the tendency is always there as it regards dependence on the flesh.
Then again, religious man doesn’t mind working unceasingly and untiringly, depriving himself and his family, if he thinks that will grant him favor from God, simply because such effort ministers to his own self importance. Look what I have done! However, it is effort that God cannot accept because it’s built on the wrong foundation.
Organized religion always builds up a dependence on the organization. In other words, little by little it pulls preachers into a dependence on what that organization can do for them, which even carries over to their everyday life and living. In fact, all believers who belong to that particular denomination are, much of the time, made to believe that the mere association with that organization brings some type of spirituality. This, of course, is done a little bit at a time.
So, trust, faith, and dependence on Christ and what He has done for us at the Cross are eroded a little at a time and are replaced by faith in the denomination. It is so subtle that the person hardly knows that it’s happening.
When the believer begins to depend totally and completely on the Cross of Christ, and I speak of what Jesus did there for us, he will run headlong into “the flesh” of organized religion. This is what Paul was talking about as it regarded the offense of the Cross.
At the first part of Galatians 5:11, Paul mentioned the preaching of circumcision. In effect, he was saying that if he continued to preach circumcision (speaking of a dependence on the law) and joined that to Christ, then the offense of the Cross would cease. However, when he told the church that circumcision and adherence to the law availed them nothing at all, but rather that which Jesus did at the Cross, that struck a nerve. To be sure, that nerve is still in view presently in many and varied ways.
So, if the believer charts a course that takes him strictly to the Cross and total dependence on the Cross, it’s going to rub a lot of fur the wrong way. To trust completely in Christ and what Christ did for us at the Cross, at the same time, means to throw over everything else—all the religious props, denominational attachments, personal strength and ability, everything.
No, this doesn’t mean that it’s wrong to belong to a denomination or a church. It just means that it’s wrong to put faith and confidence in these things, considering that they are merely man-made and man-devised efforts and institutions. However, the point I wish to make is this: Once we begin to trust exclusively in Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross, of necessity this cuts off everything else.
This is actually what Paul was meaning when he said, “I would (wish) they were even cut off which trouble you” (Gal. 5:12).
In other words, there were Judaizers who were trying to get the Galatians to embrace the law along with Christ, and Paul, in essence, was saying that these people, plus their influence, had to be cut off from those who had embraced the Cross.
Until the Lord showed me this, it grieved me.
Let me explain: I want and desire fellowship with other brothers and sisters in the Lord. Being shunned, ostracized, and rejected is not exactly very pleasant. So, I sought the Lord earnestly about the matter.
Ultimately, He showed me that it was the Cross that drew the line. In other words, there was no way that fellowship would be forthcoming with those who had rejected the Cross. Fellowship could only be with those who had accepted the Cross. To be sure, it’s not a separation that one has to enforce. The Cross itself will force the separation.
So, this means that almost all (I speak of present times) who associate themselves with denominations will little respond favorably to those who place their trust completely in the Cross. Am I saying that one cannot belong to a denomination and, at the same time, place one’s faith totally and completely in Christ and what Christ has done at the Cross?
I’m not saying that at all; however, I am saying that the tendency of denominations, even as we’ve already stated, is to foster dependence on the denomination instead of Christ and Him crucified. As one might say, it’s the nature of the beast.
Then there are those who look to the flesh, in other words, their own ability and strength. They reject the Cross in favor of commandments. There can be no fellowship in that capacity either!
So, the Lord showed me that it was not so much me they were rejecting but, in effect, the Cross.
Are they saved? Some are, and some aren’t!
This article is an excerpt from the book 'The Fall Of Man' by Jimmy Swaggart.