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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802454560
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Publication date: 05/13/2010
Series: Moody Classics Series
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 855,972
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

L.E. MAXWELL founded Prairie Bible Institute in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada, in 1922. In his fifty-seven years of service with the school, he held many titles, including professor, principal, and president. A prolific author, he wrote many books including Women in Ministry and Crowded to Christ.

Read an Excerpt

Born Crucified


By L. E. Maxwell

Moody Publishers

Copyright © 2010 The Moody Bible Institute Of Chicago
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8024-5456-0


Chapter One

The Believer's Identification

* * *

During the Civil War, George Wyatt was drawn by lot to go to the front. He had a wife and six children. A young man named Richard Pratt offered to go in his stead. He was accepted and joined the ranks, bearing the name and number of George Wyatt. Before long Pratt was killed in action.

The authorities later sought again to draft George Wyatt into service. He protested, entering the plea that he had died in the person of Pratt. He insisted that the authorities consult their own records as to the fact of his having died in identification with Pratt, his substitute. Wyatt was thereby exempted as beyond the claims of law and further service. He had died in the person of his representative.

There we have the truth of identification in a nutshell. God's way of deliverance is through death-through identification with our Substitute in His death and resurrection.

After setting forth the truth of our justification through faith in Christ's death for us (in Romans 5), the apostle Paul sets forth at once (in Romans 6) the believer's identification with death. In chapter 5 it is Christ's death for us; in chapter 6 it is our death with Christ. Christ's death for us in chapter 5 is foundational and essential, but we should move on immediately into the next chapter. It is in chapter 6 we learn that our justification is no mere formal or legal transaction (although it is essentially a legal matter), but that it is also in essential union with Christ.

When God declares the ungodly sinner just, He makes no mere legal and lifeless imputation of righteousness apart from a real and deep life-union of the believer with Christ. God has indeed declared righteous "the ungodly," but not apart from Christ, not outside of Christ. We are justified only in Christ; that is, having come into vital life-union with Christ through faith in His atoning death. Those whom God declares righteous are "created in Christ Jesus." We are actually new creatures "in Christ."

After Paul's declaration in Romans 5:20 that "where sin abounded, grace abounded much more," the question naturally arises in Romans 6:1, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" The emphatic "Certainly not!" is based upon our identification with Christ in His death. Having been joined to Christ, it follows that we have been "baptized into His death" (6:3). Since we have been united to Christ crucified (in our justification-Romans 5), our position must be one of death "in Him." Paul says, "One died for all, then all died" (2 Corinthians 5:14). The death of Christ for all inevitably involved the death of all. We therefore died in Christ to sin. Shall we continue in sin? Perish the thought! "In sin" and "in Christ"? What an ethical contradiction!

Christ dying for me makes inevitable my death with Him. The very character of Christ's work on Calvary renders inseparable this double aspect of the once-for-all atonement. "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." The cause of Christ suffers greatly today through what has rightly been termed a "dissected Cross, a decapitated gospel."

In taking upon Himself my "likeness of sinful flesh" (Romans 8:3), apart from which Christ could not have borne the penalty for my sin, He took me up into Himself-made me one with Himself. I am legally and ethically involved; I have been sentenced to death in Christ. It is my judicial position. Think a moment. Did I not accept death in order to be saved? When I realized I was death-doomed, I trusted the death of Another. Christ's death for sin is automatically my death to sin. God's way of victory and deliverance is to cut us right off from the old Adamic tree and to graft us into Christ, joining us to Him in death.

Apart, then, from any choice of my own, as a believer "I am crucified with Christ." My being a Christian makes inevitable a crucified life. It is the Christian life-not the deeper spiritual life. As an old theologian puts it, I have been "born crucified" {that is, when I was born again).

Has the reader labored and agonized to please God? You have resolved to read your Bible, to be more meditative and prayerful -all without effect. You are conscious of crushing failure and defeat. In spite of all your effort, you are not like the Lord Jesus. The commands of Christ seem grievous. They come with no glad welcome. They haunt you. You are conscious that your life is an utter contradiction of the standards erected by the Lord Jesus as the normal Christian life. You may actually have wondered why the Savior made such demands. They only tantalize and torture you. And no matter how deeply you are shamed, pained, and repentant, your struggles avail you nothing.

Christ's requirements are indeed unattainables-that you must learn first of all. In His demands Christ goes far beyond the natural. He asks for no mere imitations. On the one hand He well knows your incapacities; on the other hand He demands the utterly impossible. And the necessary shock that has to come to the believer is that Christ's standards are completely beyond the reach of the flesh. Who naturally loves his enemies, rejoices in persecution, hates himself, and goes the second mile? Yet these things are native to the true Christian life.

We are at once indicted and hopeless. There is an impassable gulf between the humanly possible and the requirements of Christ. The flesh profits nothing. F. J. Huegel, in Bone of His Bone, rightly summarizes our failure thus: "We have been proceeding upon a false basis. We have conceived of the Christian life as an imitation of Christ. It is not an imitation of Christ. It is a participation of Christ."

Indeed we are to be partakers of the divine nature; and the doorway into such an experimental participation of the life of Christ is through identification-identification with Christ in His death and resurrection.

George Wyatt did not find deliverance by fighting the law or endeavoring to please the authorities. He took his death-position according to the government record. He acted on the basis of "It is written." He had died in the person of his representative. Even so, I, too, have a Substitute and Representative. He entered a deadly combat and died my death. I have been "crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).

That is a great fact. No amount of struggling on my part can make it more true. I am an actual partaker of Christ, and, therefore, of His death and resurrection. Christ actually liveth in me. His is a life of death to sin and aliveness to God; it is mine to yield my all to Him-to believe and rejoice and rest in Christ.

An old missionary had long lived a defeated Christian life. In his despair his eyes fell upon the words, "Christ liveth in me" (KIV). "What," he said, "is Christ actually living in me?" He jumped up-solid Presbyterian though he was-and danced round and round his table, saying, "Christ liveth in me! Christ liveth in me!" When he realized that he was actually indwelt by the Crucified One, he came into blessed emancipation from the old self-life.

The life that is identified with Christ will be a life of sufficiency and fullness and victory. While it must not be confused with a life of emotion or of feelings, it is a life filled with "all joy and peace in believing." We must learn not to live in our feelings, for these are often misleading. The Lord Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32; italics added).

The experience of a great pioneer of modern missions, J. Hudson Taylor, greatly illuminates this reality. After months of agony and struggle to realize more life, holiness, and power in his soul, he came in final and utter self-despair to "rest upon the Faithful One." In a letter to his sister he said in part:

The sweetest part, if one may speak of one part being more sweet than another, is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything ... for He, I know, is able to carry out His will and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me. For the easiest positions He must give me grace, and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient. So, if God places me in great perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trial, much strength? ... As to work, mine was never so plentiful, so responsible, or so difficult; but the weight and strain are all gone. His resources are mine, for He is mine ... all this springs from the believer's oneness with Christ (italics added).

Though I be nothing! I accept The uttermost Thou givest, One life alone between us now, One life-the life Thou livest. -LUCY A. BENNETT

Chapter Two

The Secret of Victory over Sin

* * *

During wartime, a man reported to his commanding officer, "I have taken a prisoner."

"Bring him along with you," his commander said.

"He won't come," complained the soldier.

"Well, then, come yourself," replied the officer. "I can't. He won't let me," was the final acknowledgment.

I fear a great deal of Christian victory is no deeper than that. All Christians have indeed been freed from the penalty of sin. But what about sin's power? Are we to camp forever around the truth of our justification that "where sin abounded, grace abounded much more"? Were we justified that we might be legally safe, or that we might become morally and spiritually sound? Were we not declared righteous in Christ that we might be holy in life?

Most of God's children seem to have assumed the position that, having been justified, it is quite optional whether or not we live unto ourselves. Our restless and uneasy consciences would often stir us up to heart conviction of our unholiness. But we have contented ourselves with our judicial standing in Christ. We have misused and abused the blessed truth that "if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1). Perhaps unconsciously to ourselves, we have settled down to an ordinary and defeated Christian life, a customary unholiness. When the Captain of our salvation looks to us to be more than conquerors, to triumph in every place and take captivity captive, we cannot bring our sinful lives into obedience. "Well, then, come yourself," cries our Captain. But indwelling sinful self "won't let me."

Some Christians have been scared by the fanatical extremes of perfectionism. Their fears are not without foundation. However, we commend to the reader the wise words of Dr. A. J. Gordon:

Divine truth as revealed in Scripture seems often to lie between two extremes. If we regard the doctrine of sinless perfection as a heresy, we regard contentment with sinful imperfection as a greater heresy. And we gravely fear that many Christians make the apostle's words, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves," the unconscious justification for a low standard of Christian living. It were almost better for one to overstate the possibilities of sanctification in his eager grasp after holiness than to understate them in his complacent satisfaction with a traditional unholiness. Certainly it is not an edifying spectaclc to see a Christian worldling throwing stones at a Christian perfectionist.

But what says the Scripture? "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!" (Romans 6:1-2).

Is the reader one of those souls who has discovered that, whereas you thought you had taken a prisoner captive, you find yourself a slave, a veritable victim of self and indwelling sin? Do you find yourself "double-minded ... [and] unstable in all [your] ways" (James 1:8)? Maybe you cry with Paul: "The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice" (Romans 7:19). You have watched and prayed. You have struggled and fought, you have mourned and wept over the futility of your effort to live for Christ. You may have tried to pray all night, or to "pray through" in order to "get the blessing." How often you have been filled with disgust and shame and secret weeping over your reward wrongness! But in spite of all your agonizing and strivings, you find your resolutions only so many ropes of sand.

Self can never cast out self. You are becoming weaker and weaker in your struggle against sin. Even your faith seems to be fading out. When you "will to" take sin a prisoner, bring him along, lock him up, and let him have no liberty, you find that you are actually the captive. Sin and self are in virtual control of the entire sweep of your life. What inward tragedy and conflict and defeat! Oh, the folly and futility of self-effort!

But there is a redeeming feature. Faith is often born in despair. To become exceeding sinful in our own eyes may bring us to Paul's heart-rending cry: "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24).

What is the matter? Wherein is our trouble? We have proceeded on the wrong basis. We have missed God's way of victory over sin. James H. McConkey well says: "God lays His foundations deep. Victory over sin He lays in the deeps of death. The Holy Spirit begins His triumphant teaching of the believer's victory over sin by one terse, striking, graphic phrase, 'dead to sin.'" Notice in Romans 6 the Spirit's emphasis on this death to sin: "dead to sin" (v. 2); "died unto sin" (v. 10); "dead indeed unto sin" (v.11; all KJV).

In verse 10 we have the truth that Jesus Christ died not only for sins, but that "he died unto SIN" (KJV; emphasis added). When He was "made sin," God exacted of Him sin's penalty to the full. That penalty was death. In death, sin's penalty and power were exhausted. Sin's power, as well as sin's claims, are no more. Hence we read "death no longer has dominion over Him" (v. 9). Christ died unto sin. He now lives forever unto God beyond the touch and reach of sin.

Paul asks: "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" (Romans 6:1-3). Note that Paul does not say we have actually died, neither is he saying we are literally "dead to sin." But Paul is saying that which is true of every believer, namely, that he is dead to sin through his union with Christ. Each and every believer has been baptized by the Spirit into Christ. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" -one with the Crucified.

When Christ took upon Himself my humanity, apart from which He could never have borne the penalty for my sins, He made me one with Himself. I am identified with Him. He not only died for me, but I died with Him. He took me with Himself into death, and His death was my death to sin. He took me through the Cross, down into the tomb, and out of the tomb on and beyond the reach of sin's dominion. This is the great basic fact. The Holy Spirit says to you and to me: Know that Christ took your place, fastened you to Himself (Himself being in your very humanity), and took you into death, and through death out into glorious resurrection and emancipation from sin's dominion.

Regardless of our feelings, we are to reckon on this great fact -of our union with Christ in death and resurrection. "Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). Note that Paul does not say, reckon sin dead to you. God's way of victory over sin is not through the suppression of sinful desires, nor through the eradication of the old nature, nor yet through the cleansing of inbred sin. God's way of victory is through crucifixion-deliverance is only through death.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Born Crucified by L. E. Maxwell Copyright © 2010 by The Moody Bible Institute Of Chicago. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

Foreword 7

Author's Preface 15

Biographical Introduction 17

1 The Believer's Identification 21

2 The Secret of Victory over Sin 27

3 The Cross and Death to Sin 33

4 The Cross and the World 39

5 The Cross, Conflict, and Final Victory 45

6 The Cross and Consecration 51

7 The Cross and the Crucified One 57

8 The Cross and Self 65

9 The Cross: Contrary to Nature 73

10 The Cross and the Two Natures 81

11 The Cross and Dying to the Old Nature 89

12 The Cross and the Flesh 97

13 The Cross and Relationships 109

14 The Cross, Suffering, and the Will of God 115

15 The Cross and the Will of God 125

16 The Cross and Discipline 135

17 The Cross and Daily Discipline 145

18 The Cross and Fruitfulness 155

19 The Cross Day by Day 163

20 The Cross and Attainment 171

21 The Cross, Contentment, and Complacency 179

22 The Cross and Satan 185

23 The Cross and Kingship 195

24 The Cross and the Crown 201

25 The Cross and Methods 211

Acknowledgments 223

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