First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, May 1926, Vol. 4-5.
1. As to the Cross.
Why do we make so much of the Cross, and refer to it so constantly?
Why not speak of the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit, the Second
Coming, etc., in equal measure? Firstly, let it be said that the
physical death, or the cross in material form, is not in mind when
the word is used. The mentality which creates physical pictures in
spiritual matters is always open to many perils and misconceptions,
as see the vogue of the crucifix in some circles. The all embracing
spiritual realities back of the historic act must govern our
conception of the Cross.
In the same way when "The Blood" is mentioned many find a revulsion
and a sense of repugnance rise within them. It is never the crimson
fluid which is pictured in the imagination of the spiritually
instructed and enlightened. Blood and Life are synonymous terms and
the "shedding of blood" is in other words, the "pouring out of the
soul (or life) unto death."
Secondly, be it strongly emphasised that the Cross is basic to
everything else, and all else is related to it. There can be no
subjective experience of resurrection, ascension, and reigning life
in Christ, only as we are initially, and progressively baptised into
His death, and "bear about the dying of the Lord Jesus." The Cross
never leaves us and we never get beyond the Cross. There is no
Pentecost until there has been a Calvary, and even then the Spirit's
work is to constantly lead us on the one side ever more deeply into
the Cross, that, on the other side He may lead us more fully into
the Resurrection. Paul linked these together always. His ambition
was to "know Him in the power of His resurrection," by being a
sharer in His sufferings, so "having been made conformable to His
The "Second Coming" is not some isolated event in history, but at a
point of the fulfilment of the work of the Cross, and it must needs
wait for this. When we get beyond that, even in the glory, it will
still be "The LAMB (as though it had just been slain) in the midst
of the Throne." The Cross is eternal. It is the hub of the wheel,
and all other things are the spokes fastened to it, moving out from
it, and at the same time coming to it. Let the following passages be
considered: Phil. 3:10; 2 Cor. 4:10,11,12; Rom. 8:36; 2 Cor. 1:8,9;
Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 13:4.
2. As to the Adversary.
It is often asked why Satan and his system are so much in evidence
in the language and thought of this ministry. Many objections are
raised, which need not be dealt with separately. The answer will be
in a general way, which embraces most of these interrogations and
Firstly. Let it never be thought that it is necessarily the power of
Satan that obsesses us. (There is no obsession at all in this
matter.) Many think that we put the adversary in a position only a
little less than almighty, and allow him attributes which are almost
equal to those of God Himself. This is utterly false. If it were but
a matter of power Satan could not stand before the Lord for five
minutes. It is not might but right. The flesh is the heritage and
rightful ground of Satan and his operations, and he must have it.
His resources are doubtless very great, and he uses all these when
he can find the suitable instrument for their expression and his
purpose. The instrument is the "flesh" as the condition and active
law of the fallen nature or creation. Hence, believing that the
fallen state is not the end of Satan's work, but only the reducing
of things to a condition suitable to a far greater work on his part,
we must emphasise -
1. The need for the "putting to death of the flesh" by being
"crucified with Christ."
2. The walk and life in the Spirit and not in the flesh made
possible only by union in resurrection, and therefore
3. The "destroying (lit., "putting out of action") of the works of
the devil by abiding in the Cross.
It only requires a little bit of flesh in one's personal life, or in
a Christian community to give the enemy the means of working
terrible havoc and of robbing spiritual effectiveness beyond a
Then it must ever be borne in mind that the Bible from Genesis to
Revelation makes clear that it is not just a human state which is
the basis of the Divine activities, but a false spiritual system
which in different places and in different ages manifests itself in
different forms. Back of the religious systems there are intelligent
spiritual forces all of which are antagonistic to God and His
purpose to "sum up all things in Christ."
Until the nature of our conflict is recognised and we accept the
meaning of Christ's Cross in this direction we shall always find
that there is a realm which lies beyond our power of effectiveness.
We shall go so far, but beyond that we are beaten and bewildered.
Scripture need not be quoted to show this, and indeed there is too
much of it to quote.
"Why could not we?" - may be the tragic question resultant from a
failure to recognise the nature of the problem quite as much as the
nature of the equipment.
The simple study of the word "power" in its two Greek forms in the
New Testament is sufficient to show that the first of these -
authority or jurisdiction - relates to a position held in a
spiritual kingdom superior to that which is back of the world and
men in their fallen state. This judicial ascendency is resultant
from a destruction of the other judicial basis of the counter
spiritual heirarchy. The new uprising of spiritual forces and their
impact upon the Christian consciousness today is going to create a
situation which only those who know their nature, methods, and
intents, and the relationship of the Cross of Christ to them will be
able to meet.
Prophecy foretells how things will
be, not how things need
be. Had the Church abode by the conception of the spiritual
background of things which is patent in the New Testament these
waves of spiritual forces so devastating in spirit, mind, and body,
would not have had the chance and success which they have had.
Hence the need for a constant testimony and a strong emphasis upon
the superior jurisdiction of the saints in the "Sovereign Head" over
this authority of Satan.
The system is one, whether it be that behind the African witch
doctor or the scientific spiritist, and the principles for dealing
with it are the same in all the world.
"It is not with mere flesh and blood (that is the fallen nature)
that we are wrestling," but those forces which find fallen nature
the very means by which to pursue their purpose of trying to thwart
the Sovereignty of the Christ.
Let us repeat, we are not obsessed, but simply "not ignorant of his
devices." This is not a treatise upon the Satanic system but simply
an explanation of the attitude taken.