In a small village stood a chapel upon whose arch were inscribed the words, 'We preach Christ crucified', that all who entered the chapel or stood outside might understand the purpose for which the meeting-room had been built.
For years godly men preached there and presented a crucified Savior as the only means of salvation. But as those generations of godly preachers passed, there arose a generation that considered the cross and its message 'the gospel of the shambles', and began to preach salvation by Christ's example and teaching, without the necessity of His sacrificial death on the cross. And a little creeper made its way up the side of the archway and covered the final word of the inscription so that it was completely hidden from view.
Now the inscription read, `We preach Christ', and so they did, but not Christ crucified. After some time some asked why the sermons should be confined to Christ and the teachings of the Bible, so the preachers began to give discourses on the social gospel, politics and moral disarmament without Christ. And the little creeper crept along a little further and wiped out the third word of the inscription, so that it read simply, 'We preach'.
Man's philosophies and social conditions had taken the place of Christ's Gospel. The Apostle Paul, one of the men who 'turned the world upside down' in the first century, determined when in cultured Corinth to know nothing among them but 'Jesus Christ and Him crucified'.
(1 Cor. 1. 18, 23, 24; 2. 2)
Many a believer will be fain to say, 'My old things have not passed away. My memory is loaded with the accumulated rubbish of unhallowed reading, conversation, deeds. Unholy scenes rise before my imagination and with the longing to be holy there co-exists the craving for things unholy. My heart is not pure but mixed.'
How can the old man be dealt with so effectively that he shall lose his power, with the evil which is all he can produce? Obviously this result would be obtained most simply and certainly if he could be killed, since a dead man has no power for mischief, being unable longer to suggest thoughts, inspire feelings or influence the will of another. But how can our old man be killed? Not by efforts of our own. Nor can he be persuaded to commit suicide. This death must be wrought by the power of God. What has God done in this matter?—Rom. 6. 8—Was crucified,' i.e., was killed at the cross of Christ. The assurance that God offers to us is that our old man is not alive because he was crucified at Calvary. He turns our attention from ourselves and bids us consider what He wrought in Christ. Thus the matter stands as God reckons, and thus we are to reckon it to be true.
We must accept as being true in our case that which God says is true in Christ. We have no other evidence of the death of the old man than the statement of God. We must face each day by telling the Lord that we take it for granted that by the power of the Spirit the death of the old man will be made good in our experience.—G. H. Lang
(Rom. 6. 11; 7. 21; Gal. 2. 20; Col. 3. 3)
To one who asked George Muller the secret of his service, he replied, 'There was a day when I died, utterly died,' and, as he spoke, he bent lower until he almost touched the floor—`died to George Muller, his opinions, preferences, tastes and will, died to the world, its approval or censure, died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends, and since then I have studied to show myself approved unto God.'
(Rom. 6. 11; Gal. 2. 20; 5. 24)