• “Experience has taught me that the Shepherd is far more willing to show His sheep the path than the sheep are to follow. He is endlessly merciful, patient, tender, and loving. If we, His stupid and wayward sheep, really want to be led, we will without fail be led. Of that I am sure.” – Elisabeth Elliot

Chapter 3

THE SACRIFICE OF THE CROSS 

"HE sawed others ! Himself He cannot save ! " (Matthew 
* 27 : 42) were the mocking words addressed to the dying 
Christ as He hung upon His Cross 011 that 1[ grew hill far 
away ". Mocking words, but embodying the very essence of 
the life and death of the Son of God ; the very essence of the 
dealings of God with the world — the very essence of Calvary. 
" God so luvcd the world that He gave His Only-Begotten 
Son. . . ." To save others — sinners, rebels, enemies— the 
Father cannot save Himself from sending forth out of His 
bosom the Son of His love. To "save others'* the Son 
cannot save Himself, but must pour out His sou] unto death, 
and thus see His seed, and divide the spoil with the strong. 
To " save others " the Holy Spirit cannot save Himself from 
anguish, even like unto the anguish of the Son in Gethsemane,* 
in His entry into the heart of those once sunk in sin, and 
often willful and disobedient to His pleadings. 

" He saved others. Himself He cannot . . ." embodies in 
few words the whole history of the God-Man's path on earth, 
and thus He manifested to fallen man the " express image" 
or * character ', as in the Greek " (Hebrews 1 : 3), of the 
Father in heaven. [ * Herein was the love of God manifested. 
God hath sent His Only-Begotten Son . . . that we might 
live ..." (1 John 4: 9). " Hereby know we love, because 
He laid down His life for us " ( I John 3 I 16). The character 
of God was revealed in His Son; the divine nature manifested 
in Him Who was the " very image of Hb substance ". Briefly, 
it is God-like to save others, refusing to save yourself. 

* See Ephesians 4:30, " Grieve not the Holy Spirit or God." The 
very word used of the Lord's sufferings in Gethsemane. 

" He saved others, Himself He cannot ! " This does not 
mean that He had not the power and the resources for saving 
Himself. On the contrary. He had the power — but would 
not use it ! To M save others " when it means no cost to 
yourself is within the scope even of fallen creatures ; but to 
" save others " and refuse to save yourself when you have the 
power to do it — this is divine. He " cannot " save Himself 
because it is contrary to the divine nature to save self at the 
cost of others' loss. 

" Himself He cannot ! " Wondrous words, spoken in 
mockery, and by the lips of sinners crucifying their Saviour, 
Even in the temptation in the wilderness this law of His life 
was revealed. Later on He fed others, but in the wilderness 
He could not, because He would not, feed Himself, He 
could draw upon all the power of the Godhead to bless others, 
to feed others, to save others, but as concerning Himself— 
nothing ! No using of divine resources to save Himself one 
moment's pang of hunger; one word less of scorn; one stroke 
less of the scourge^ and smiting with the hand. Even so must 
the child of God be conformed to the image of the Son, to 
show forth His divine character, as the Son revealed the 
express image of the Father. " He saved others, Himself He 
cannot . . ." is the law of the life of Jesus, and must be the 
law of the life of every follower of the Lamb. 

To have the power to save yourself, and refuse to use it, 
because thus others cannot be saved, is the life of Jesus mani- 
fested in those He has redeemed. To pour out your life for 
others who reject and misjudge you, when you need not — this 
is Calvary 1 To have the power to save yourself and not use 
it, because it means loss to others — this is Calvary ! To be 
used to deliver souls from the power of Satan, and then to lie 
at the apparent mercy of the " hour and power of darkness " 
yourself, as Christ did — this is Calvary in truth. 

Oh, child of God, " He saved others ", but " Himself He 
cannot save ", must be the way for you in every time of sore 
stress and storm for the followers of the Lamb. God has used 
you to deliver others^ and you are wondering, maybe, why 
you arc not delivered from, the " fightings without " and 
" fears within " which are besetting your own life. Others 
come to you in their deep need, and, with your own heart 
breaking, you yourself are called upon to give out of your 
emptiness and loss what it seems you need for yourself. You 
are asked to " claim victory " for others ill distress, when it 
seems that you are in greater distress yourself. Thus it was 
at Calvary ! He Who had loosed others from the power of 
Satan was given up, as it appeared, lo the full rage of the 
power of darkness. He Who had done the mighty works of 
God for others, lay in impotence and weakness in the hands 
of men. Yes, this is Calvary. Life, power, blessing, deliver- 
ance for others — and — nothing for yourself, but to lie in the 
will of God, and accept from the Father's hand all that He 
pleases to permit to come upon you. 

" He saved others " — ail the resources in God and the 
power of God for others 1 " Himself He cannot " — power- 
lessness, emptiness, suffering, conflict, death for Himself. 
Even so was the hall-mark of the highest manifestation of the 
spirit of the Lamb seen upon the heroes of faith as recorded 
in the eleventh of Hebrews, and among these heroes who 
reached the highest place in this roll of honour were women, 
who were "beaten to death" (R.V.m.), not "accepting 
deliverance", that " they might obtain a better resurrection ". 
Yes, this is the very highest mark of the spirit of the Lamb. 
To "subdue kingdoms", "obtain promises," "stop the 
mouths of lions," " quench " fire, escape the sword, wax 
mighty in war — all as the result of faith in an omnipotent 
God — is mighty: but to be "beaten to death", and "not 
accept deliverance " — this is Cabary. The voluntary choice to 
suffer and to die, rather than save yourself, is higher than 
even faith to conquer and subdue. 

And, if we mistake not, this is the highest path put before 
all those who press toward the upward calling of God in 
Christ Jesus at the present time. " Fresh evidence has 
reached me this morning that God is mightily at work to 
raise up and establish a people really conformed to Christ's 
death — a much mare serious and potent matter than the 
granting of ' gifts ' ! " writes a minister of wide experience, 
and In a position to sec and know in a special way the trend 
of the work of the Spirit Yes, God is " mightily at work in 
my direction ", many deeply tried souls will say,, as they think 
of their own case, and. the strange and special ways m which 
they are individually being led that they may know the 
pathway of the Cross, and enter into the spirit of the Lamb. 
Two paths seem clearly opening before the Church of God, 
with a choice for each member of the Body of Christ which 
has eternal issues. There is the conformity to the Lamb 
which we have already referred to, and which needs divine 
vision to discern in its heavenly beauty and glory. On the 
other hand, the path of saving ourselves from the full extent 
of all that following the Lamb means an earth, with the loss 
in the glory of the sharing of the Throne of the Lamb. For 
it Is written, " If we suffer we shall also reign with Him . . ." 
(2 Timothy 2:12). " If so be that we suffer with Him, that 
we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8: 17). The 
suffering of Christ was entirely voluntary, for He said, " I lay 
down My life. . . . No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it 
down of Myself " (John tor 17, 18). And in the path of con- 
formity to His death many who have chosen to follow the 
Lamb whithersoever He goeth, find themselves in a path of the 
Cross, which they could escape if they would ! They could 
accept deliverance, and thus save themselves, but — lose the 
" better resurrection ". This in truth is the spirit of the Lamb 
slain, supplied by the grace of God to redeemed sinners. All 
that is of earth, in the voices of friends and of the world, and 
of their " own life ", cries out, " Save thyself and us ". But 
the Spirit of Christ within them leads on in the path of the 
Lamb, for like Him they " cannot ** save themselves. To 
see a " way of escape " from suffering, and of their own free 
choice refuse to take it because it would be saving themselves 
— this is thankworthy with Cod, for it is the nearest path of 
likeness to Him of Whom it was mockingly said, " He saved 
others, Himself He cannot save ".
Share to Google Plus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  • “I entreat you, give no place to despondency. This is a dangerous temptation–a refined, not a gross temptation of the adversary. Melancholy contracts and withers the heart, and renders it unfit to receive the impressions of grace. It magnifies and gives a false colouring to objects, and thus renders your burdens too heavy to bear. God’s designs regarding you, and His methods of bringing about these designs, are infinitely wise.” – Madame Guyon

Verse of the Day

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, — Ephesians 5:25-26 (NKJV)

Recent Comments