Knowing the Cross through Conflict
It is only through
spiritual conflict that
the cross of Christ can
truly become a part
of our being
In last week’s Note (“Character through Conflict”) I shared how I have been helped so much over the years by T. Austin-Sparks’ pamphlet, “The Spoil of Battle” (1933), which a dear brother gave me some time ago when I was passing through a real turmoil as I served the Lord. To sum up what Sparks speaks of in that pamphlet, he states,
It is by conflict, by battle, by grim and terrible warfare spiritually, that the moral excellencies of our triumphant Head are brought out in us.
To make this very practical, Sparks then goes on, in the quote below, to share how it is only through conflict that the cross of Christ becomes something real to us in our experience:
It is one thing to have a theoretical appropriation of Calvary’s victory and say in an hour of emergency: “I take the victory of Calvary.” But very often nothing happens, and although you take a position like that, you find yourself called upon to hold on, and hold on, and hold on, and during that time of being called upon by the Lord to hold on, faith is being tested, Calvary’s victory is becoming something not objectively taken hold of but inwardly established, and at last that victory is in us as it is in the Lord. But it has become a moral quality in our being, and in the next time of testing it is not a trying to get hold of something, it is there with its roots in us, something has been done in us, it has been made a part of us.
That is, we may speak of the cross and even claim its power, but not until the Lord brings us through a time of testing will we know what the cross really is.
As the writer of Hebrews tells us:
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?…Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
— Hebrews 12:7,11
May the Lord grant us the grace to endure His discipline, that we may enter into the real experience of the cross!
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— 19 November 2022 —