SELF-HELP OR CROSS-HELP?
The great battlefield for the Christian is whether he attempts to find victory by his own machinations, or trust completely in what Christ did at the Cross? In fact, this is the same battlefield for the unredeemed. Do they trust in their own efforts to save themselves, or do they trust in what Jesus did at the Cross? The Cross ever stands at the intersection of life, and for all people, and for all situations.
Of course we know and understand that the unredeemed cannot be saved, unless they trust in what Christ has done at the Cross on their behalf (Jn. 3:16). Admittedly, they don’t have to understand much about it, but they must evidence Faith, at least in some degree. Of course, the Holy Spirit supplies them the Faith as they hear the Word of God. But when it comes to the Christian, the following can happen, to which Paul addressed the entirety of the Epistle to the Galatians. Theologians refer to this problem as “Galatianism.”
It simply means that people come to Christ by trusting in what He did at the Cross, but after being saved, then transfer their Faith from the Cross to something else entirely. Even though they of course remain a Child of God, simply because they continue to trust Christ as it regards their initial Salvation, by no means, however, can they walk victorious. So we have “Salvation by Faith,” and “Sanctification by works,” which as stated, is the greatest problem for the Child of God.
In fact, the Galatians had been brought to Christ through the Ministry of Paul. Of course, they were taught correctly as would be obvious. But then, false teachers came into these respective Churches, telling the people, that they must add Law to their experience. In other words, now that they had accepted Christ, they must also engage in circumcision (for the boys and the men), and Sabbath keeping, etc. This was the way to deeper life, etc., they claimed!
If it is to be noticed, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians drips with scorn, and in fact, is His most strident Epistle. In fact, the Apostle is downright angry, and rightly so!
He knew that if the Galatians followed that error, they were going to lose their victory, and possibly even their souls. So, the Holy Spirit had him to write the Epistle to the Galatians to address this terrible error.
Unfortunately, the problem didn’t die with the Galatians. It remains with us today, and in fact, it is the greatest problem faced by the Child of God.
After coming to Christ, which means that we now have a new nature within us, which of course is provided by the Holy Spirit by and according to what Jesus did for us at the Cross (Jn. 7:37–39), we instinctively know that we must live right, and in fact, we want to live right. But the great question is, how is this done?
If we don’t know the Message of the Cross, which is God’s prescribed order of victory, and I might quickly add, His only prescribed order of victory, then we will cast about attempting to find a method of victory on our own. That’s what I meant by Salvation by Faith, and Sanctification by works.
And let it please be understood, that if we do not know the Truth of the Cross, this Truth is just not going to simply fall on us. The Word of God concerning this great foundational Truth in some manner, in some way, must be ministered to us. This is the only way we can come by Truth. As stated, it cannot be given by laying on of hands or any other manner, except the preaching and teaching of the Gospel. So what do we presently have?
Due to the fact that almost none of the modern Church knows or understands the great Message of the Cross, the far greater majority of the Church walks in defeat.
But there’s another problem attached to all of this:
“Works” always produce self-righteousness. In fact, that’s why the Religious Leaders of Israel crucified Christ. The whole Jewish system by the time of Christ had degenerated into “works”; consequently, self-righteousness was paramount at that time, and self-righteousness always must kill the Righteousness of the Lord. In fact, we have a perfect example of this in Genesis Chapter 4 with Cain killing Abel.
The Cross produces humility, even as the Cross alone can produce humility, while works always produce self-righteousness.
However, “works” are very subtle. Most of the time they are cloaked with all manner of religiosity, which makes us think that what we’re doing is of the Lord. In fact, the greatest weapon that Satan uses is to actually take that which is of God, such as prayer, fasting, or manifestations of the Spirit, even as we’ve already addressed, and make us think that the doing or the engaging in these things will bring about the victory which we must have.
While to be sure, these things we’ve mentioned, plus many we haven’t mentioned, are very necessary in the life of the Child of God; still, if we try to use them in the realm of the source of victory, we will find that we have turned them into works, which God can never bless or recognize.
I am victorious totally and completely, not because of the things I do, but totally and completely because of what Christ has done at the Cross. That and that alone, which demands my Faith, brings victory to the Child of God, and in every capacity I might quickly add. Proper Faith in the Cross, which guarantees the help of the Holy Spirit, is the only manner, the only means, the only way, that the Child of God can walk in victory. And to be certain, there is no power of darkness that wasn’t defeated at the Cross of Christ.
~J. Swaggart Ministry