The Apostle Paul was a spiritual juggernaut. The life of the Apostle Paul shows just what can happen when men have crucified their lives. There is power – indescribable power – in the crucified life!
Did you ever stop to think about Hebrews 11:3? The Bible says about God:
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb. 11:3)
Imagine the power that could create the visible world (the universe). And we are not talking about the world as we know it, no. The world as we know it is a perversion of what God created. God created a perfect world. Perfect in every sense. The Bible declares:
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31)
This was the world that God created. The world that God created was perfect in goodness. But the day Adam sinned, he was chased out of that perfect world, and ever since we now live in
“this present evil world.” (Gal. 1:4)
The world we live in today is imperfect and perverse. And yet we think it is some sort of paradise! Imagine such blindness!!
Think also of how we boast in our little accomplishments in this world, forgetting that there is a Creator who brought about all that there is.
But God is able to do exceedingly far above the visible world. He is able to make new creations out of us.
God is perfect in power. But we need to know the reason for this power. It is because God is also the Ultimate Sacrifice. He gave His Only Begotten Son as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. The power that God has, therefore, is the power of love.
The truly Good News is that the power that God has is available to every man and woman who is willing to crucify their lives to the extent that Christ did. And this was the sacrifice that the Apostle Paul sought to make of his own life, that he might live the full life of the Spirit, to reveal the love of God to the world. For this reason Paul declared:
“we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23), and;
“I am crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20).
You cannot make a mockery of a man whose life has been crucified with Christ.
In order to preach Christ and His power (which is the power of the Holy Spirit), we must cross the veil of the flesh. We must of necessity die to our flesh, or self; and henceforth when we preach, or live, our preaching and our life will be a distillation of the right Spirit right from Heaven.
This was the goal that Paul sought to attain to, and we see clearly his determination to arrive there through crucifying his flesh. And the impact that he made upon the church and upon the world was far, widespread, and palpable. Moreover, it will live on forever.
It is clear that the problem with the present-day church is that we have not died to the flesh. We have not crucified the flesh! (I am not saying we are not saved; although our not crucifying our flesh could also drastically impact negatively on our salvation.) God is not a respecter of persons. For this reason, we cannot bring the power of God to impact the world like the Apostle Paul did.
But we have done worse. We have refused to crucify our flesh. Instead of crying out to God to help us crucify our flesh, we have gone off and introduced other gospels, gospels which have not the resurrection power of Christ in them. This costly rebelliousness on the part of the church is what we will look at in the second part of this post.