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The Fourfold Work Of Christ In His Cross

We are now in a position to go a step further still and to consider how great a range is compassed by the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the light of Christian experience and for the purpose of analysis, it may help us if we recognize four aspects of God’s redemptive work. But in doing so it is essential to keep in mind that the Cross of Christ is one Divine work—not many. Once in Judaea two thousand years ago the Lord Jesus died and rose again, and He is now “by the right hand of God exalted” (Acts 2:33). The work is finished and need never be repeated, nor can it be added to.

Of the four aspects of the Cross which we shall now mention, we have already dealt with three in some detail. The last will be considered in the two succeeding chapters of our study. They may be briefly summarized as follows:

  1. The Blood of Christ to deal with sins and guilt.
  2. The Cross of Christ to deal with sin, the flesh and the natural man.
  3. The Life of Christ made available to indwell, re-create and empower man.
  4. The Working of Death in the natural man that that indwelling Life may be progressively manifest.

The first two of these aspects are remedial. They relate to the undoing of the work of the Devil and the undoing of the sin of man. The last two are not remedial but positive, and relate more directly to the securing of the purpose of God. The first two are concerned with recovering what Adam lost by the Fall; the last two are concerned with bringing us into, and bringing into us, something that Adam never had. Thus we see that the achievement of the Lord Jesus in His death and resurrection comprises both a work which provided for the redemption of man and a work which made possible the realization of the purpose of God.

We have dealt at some length in earlier chapters with the two aspects of His death represented by the Blood for sins and guilt and the Cross for sin and the flesh. In our discussion of the eternal purpose we have also looked briefly at the third aspect—that represented by Christ as the grain of wheat—and in our last chapter, in our consideration of Christ as our life, we have seen something of its practical outworking. Before, however, we pass on to the fourth aspect, which I shall call ‘bearing the cross’, we must say a little more about this third side, namely, the release of the life of Christ in resurrection for man’s indwelling and empowering for service.

We have spoken already of the purpose of God in creation and have said that it embraced far more than Adam ever came to enjoy. What was that purpose? God wanted to have a race of men whose members were gifted with a spirit whereby communion would be possible with Himself, who is Spirit. That race, possessing God’s own life, was to co-operate in securing His purposed end by defeating every possible uprising of the enemy and undoing his evil works. That was the great plan. How will it now be effected? The answer is again to be found in the death of the Lord Jesus. It is a mighty death. It is something positive and purposive, going far beyond the recovery of a lost position; for by it, not only are sin and the old man dealt with and their effects annulled, but something more, something infinitely greater is introduced.

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