The Spirit Leads to the Cross
“Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God.” (Hebrews 9:14)ERV
The cross of Christ is the highest expression of the Spirit of Christ. The cross is His chief characteristic; that which distinguishes Him from all in heaven and earth; that which gives Him His glory as Mediator on the throne through eternity. Until we truly know the Spirit that led Christ to the cross, we neither know it, nor Him.
When we have discovered what the Spirit was that led Christ to the cross, we shall see how this is only one part of the great subject, the Spirit of the cross. We shall see how the Holy Spirit of Pentecost is still the Spirit of the cross! As He led Christ up to the cross, He flows forth from the cross to us as its purchase, and the impartation of its power. And we shall then further find that as He led Christ to the cross, and the cross led to the giving of the Spirit, so the Spirit will always lead back to the cross again, because He alone can reveal its meaning, or communicate its fellowship. The Spirit led Christ to the cross; the cross leads Christ and us to the outpouring of the Spirit; the Spirit leads us back to the cross!
The Cross Our Life
Scripture does not teach that with the bearing of the cross and the atonement, the meaning of the cross is exhausted; that when we trust to its finished work, our only relation to it is that of grateful confidence with what we are to it. No it tells us that in the most intimate spiritual fellowship the cross is to be our life. We are to live as crucified with Christ: we are to walk as those who have crucified the flesh, and can conquer it in no way but by every hour regarding it as crucified. We are day by day to bear the cross and to glory in it, because each moment our relation to the world is to be that of men who are crucified to the world and know and feel the world crucified to us (Galatians 2:20; 5:24; 6:14). If the Spirit of the cross is then to make and mark the only true Christian life; if this is to be our like-mindedness to Jesus, we want to know what it was that made the Spirit of the cross the only power by which Christ could win life for us, or by which we can possess and enjoy life in Him.
The path in which Jesus Christ walked had its value in the first place, not from the amount of suffering, or the actual surrender to death, but from the disposition which animated Him. And that disposition was not something strange or different which came in His last hour, but what animated and inspired Him through the whole course of His earthly life. And it is only as this Spirit becomes the animating principle of the life of the believer, that the thought of being “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20) can have anything like true meaning. Whence had our Lord this mind which was in Him, and the power at any cost to carry it out? we have the answer in our text: “who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God.” (Hebrews 9:14)ERV
It was this Eternal Spirit that was in Christ from His birth, that taught Him to say—words that contain the seed of the obedience of the cross—“I must be in the things of my Father” (Luke 2:49). It was this Spirit that led Him in baptism to humble Himself to be treated a sinner. It was this Spirit with which He was then afresh baptised, to fit Him for the death, to which the baptism had set Him apart. It was this Spirit that led Him into the wilderness, there to resist, and overcome and begin the struggle, that ended on Calvary. It was through this Spirit, that He was led on, step by step, to speak of, and meet, and bear, all He had to suffer. As it had been in the prophets, “the Spirit of Christ which… testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ,” (1 Peter 1:11) so it was through the Eternal Spirit that all was fulfilled and accomplished. The Spirit of God, dwelling in flesh, leads inevitably and triumphantly to the cross.
The cross is the most perfect expression of the mind of the Spirit; of what He asks and works. God taking possession of human nature to free it from sin, and fill it with Himself, can do so in no other way but by slaying it. There is in the wide universe no possibility of liberation from the power of sin, but through personal separation from it in entire death to it. What God demands, the Spirit works! He worked in the man Christ Jesus, the spotless Holy One, Who yet in virtue of His union with us, and as our forerunner in the path of life, needed to die to sin. He works it now as the Spirit of Christ in each of His members.
The Crucifixion Spirit
Let us all who desire to be filled with the Spirit, stay and worship here. The Spirit leads to the death of the cross. As He had nothing higher to do for us in Christ, ere He quickened Him in the grave, He has no higher work He can do for the believer than to lead him into the perfect fellowship of the cross. Pause and worship here, and pray to know what it means. Hast thou yielded truly to the Spirit to lead thee, as He led Christ, in the path of the cross? though seeking for the fulness of the Spirit, in full unity of heart with His one purpose to be in thee the crucifixion Spirit, as He was in Christ? To thee, as to Christ, this is the sure, the only path, to glory.