Deliverance from the world through the cross of Christ

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world." [1]

What is meant by "the world" as used here?

The Greek word 'kosmos' is used in the New Testament for three different things: Firstly, as the material earth or universe, eg. "the God that made the world and all things therein." [2] Secondly, to refer to the people on the earth, eg. "God so loved the world ..." [3] And thirdly, the things of the earth that stir our desire and seduce us from God, eg. "If he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life ..." [4]

But behind all these things there is something more. In classical Greek usage, 'kosmos' referred to a harmonious order or arrangement. Behind all that is tangible we meet something intangible; we meet a planned system.

The world system

Three points need to be emphasized:

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Firstly, ever since the Fall when evil entered God' creation, this system has shown itself to be hostile to God. The world "hated" Christ, [5] "its works are evil", [6] and "friendship with the world is enmity with God." [7]

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Secondly, there is a mind behind the system. John repeatedly writes of "the prince of this world," [8] and his lieutenants are described as "the world rulers of this darkness." [9]

Thirdly, because of the character of the world order and its prince, the world is under God's judgement. "Now is the judgement of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out." [10] This does not mean that the material world or its inhabitants are judged. For them judgement is yet to come. What is judged is the world order of which Satan himself is the originator and head, so that "the whole world is under the control of the evil one." [11]

The "whole world"

We normally regard as 'worldly' such things as dance halls and nightclubs. But the 'kosmos' is constituted of everything that makes it an orderly system, and includes things like politics, education, literature, science, art, commerce, etc. Developments in these fields clearly demonstrate that the general trend is away from God and working towards the establishment of Satan's own kingdom under the antichrist. Thus the whole world is out of line with God's purpose.

John defines the things of the world as "the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does." He goes on to say that these things come "not from the Father but from the world." [12] All "cravings," even legitimate striving after success in art or sport is from the world. Everything that stirs pride in us and causes us to boast is of the world. If we congratulate ourselves even for an act of mercy instead of praising God for it, we have touched the world, our fellowship with God is broken and we come under His judgement.

Deliverance through the cross

Throughout the ages Christians have tried to escape from the world and the snares of the devil in two ways:

1. Avoidance, by separating themselves from the things of this world. But physical separation does not bring about spiritual separation. Moreover, Paul describes "the basic principles of this world ... its rules" as "do not handle, do not taste, do not touch." [13] Therefore by avoiding the things of the world, we are actually submitting to the rules of the world.

2. Consecration, by dedicating themselves anew and more wholeheartedly to the things of God. But we cannot escape from our sinful nature in such a way for Paul says, "I have the desire to do  what is good, but I cannot carry it out." [14] Therefore consecration will simply put us back into bondage.

Jesus Christ came into the world from heaven and "gave Himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil world." [15] This provision is available to those who "put (their) faith in Christ Jesus that (they) may be justified by faith." [16] This right standing with God becomes part of the inner life through union with Christ. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." [17]

Like everything else in the Christian life, the only way of deliverance is by the cross. "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world." [18] A revelation of the cross of Christ involves a discovery of the fact that through it everything belonging to the world is under sentence of death and has no future. We still go on living in the world and using the things of the world, but the cross has shattered all our hope in them. There is no true way of salvation from the world that does not start from such a revelation.

The world loses its grip on us and we are released from its power when we truly see that its nature is satanic and therefore it is at enmity with God.

References:

1.  Galatians 6:14
2.  Matthew 15:35
3.  John 3:16
4.  Matthew 16:26
5.  John 15:18
6.  John 7:7
7.  James 4:4
8.  John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11
9.  Ephesians 6:12
10. John 12:31
11. 1 John 5:19
12. 1 John 2:16
13. Colossians 2:20-21
14. Romans 7:18
15. Galatians 1:4
16. Galatians 2:16
17. Galatians 2:20
18. Galatians 6:14

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Murray, A. Like Christ, U.S.A.: Whitaker House, 1983.
2. Murray, A. Absolute Surrender, U.S.A.: Whitaker House, 1982.
3. Nee, W. The Normal Christian Life, Eastbourne, G.B.: Kingsway Publications, 1961.
4. Nee, W. Love not the World, Illinoise, U.S.A.: Tyndale House Pub., 1968.
5. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
6. Thompson's Chain-Reference Bible (N.I.V.)
7. Vine's Expository Dictionary of N.T.Words.

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Posted in: Bible by on March 23, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

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