The title of this message is taken from Psalm 9:16. The Lord is known by the judgment which He executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of His own hands. In order to properly understand what the Holy Spirit wants to teach us in this verse, it is necessary to construct a foundation for it.
Too many Christians do not have the understanding of the work of the cross that is needed. When I speak of the work of the cross, I am not speaking of the cross on which Jesus was crucified. I am speaking mystically of the cross we must experience. Although the blood of Christ has cleansed us from our sins, we still have a sinful nature. Our flesh nature, from which the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21 originates, is still alive. That is why Christians need a cross experience. We need the fruit of the Spirit to replace the works of the flesh. In other words, we need our flesh nature (self-life) to be replaced by the Lord’s nature (divine life). The process by which our self-life is replaced by His life is called the work of the cross. It is a principle of displacement. As the life of the Lord comes forth in us, our self-life is pushed out. It is a process of dying out to self. Every honest Christian knows that his born-again experience was not completed when he accepted Christ as his Savior.
What too many Christians don’t seem to realize is that we are to experience this nature change in this life, not after going to heaven. We are not only to begin experiencing this change now but we have to initiate it. Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me (become as I am), let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life (save his self-life from the work of the cross) shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).
The purpose of our cross experience is to crucify our self-life so that the life of the Lord can come forth in us. It doesn’t just happen. We must deny self and take up the cross. Do you see that? It is at our initiative. If we don’t take up the cross, then we are walking time bombs. At any time some of the works of the flesh in our self-life could erupt and destroy us. Receiving the divine nature of the Lord is at our initiative, too. When we take up the cross we must also begin appropriating the life of the Lord. Both must be done – take up the cross and appropriate the divine nature. Many Christians have become totally frustrated because they were endeavoring to appropriate the life and presence of the Lord without also taking up their cross. You can’t appropriate the life of the Lord without dying out to self.
It is also necessary to understand that we do not conquer our self-life, only the Lord can do that. View your flesh-life as antichrist because that is what it is. Taking up the cross simply means that you are giving the Lord complete access to your life. Take all your walls down. Say, “Here I am, Lord. My life is as Canaan, inhabited by Canaanites, Hittites, and all the other 'ites'. Come forth in my life, Lord, conquering and to conquer (Revelation 6:2). Establish your rule and Your Kingdom in me!” When you give the Lord that kind of access to the depths of your life, He will begin His ministry of judgment in you. Your flesh-life is His enemy and your enemy. As He destroys the kings of your self-life, His life comes forth in you, and He begins ruling and reigning. He must become King in your life. It is then that you really begin to know the Lord, for it is then that you begin experiencing His life. The Lord is known in the judgment He executes in your life.
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose