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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Were You There When They Crucified Him?

By Robert C. Cunningham
Mar. 24, 2013

How profound are the simple words of the old spiritual, and what pathos lies in the haunting melody: “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” No, we were not there, and so we can only guess what depths of pain and shame our Lord Jesus bore for us that day. We can only read about it in the Book and weep in gratitude for the redemption He bought for us that day.

No, we were not there physically, but in a very real sense we were there —every one of us. In a legal sense we were hanging on that middle cross at Calvary. We were crucified that day. The Bible says He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died as our legal representative, bearing our sin and paying the price we should have paid for all our transgressions.

Now our sin is gone. It has been “put away” by the sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 9:26). It has been cast into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). God will never remember it again — and neither should we.

When Jesus died, we died. When He arose to walk in newness of life, so did we. It is true potentially for every human being. We have only to believe it and it will become true [experientially].

As the apostle put it, we may be “dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God” (Romans 6:11), because we were there — we were in Christ at the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Conybeare gives a striking translation of Galatians 2:20 — “I am crucified with Christ; it is no more I that live, but Christ is living in me; and my outward life which still remains, I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Here we see two aspects of the Cross. The apostle said, “Christ was crucified for me,” and he also said, “I was crucified with Him.”

The one aspect brings us deliverance from sin’s condemnation. The other brings us freedom from sin’s power — if we believe it and act upon it.

Unfortunately some have entered into the one aspect of Calvary and not the other. Some are not yet free from pride, stubbornness, self-will and self-indulgence. Our Lord wants us to identify ourselves more fully with His cross. He wants us to realize that when He died, we also died; that when the sentence of death was passed on Him, the sentence of death was imposed upon our entire life of sin with every sinful way.

So the Cross stands between us and our former way of life. Our old life is crucified with Christ. Next time we are tempted to sin, let us remember this. Sin is not our master. We have been set free from sin. It cannot force us back to the old ways. The flesh, with all its affections and lusts, has been crucified (Galatians 5:24) and we must stand firm in this great victory.

Christ finished the work of redemption for us, but He has not yet finished His work of sanctification in us. That requires our daily cooperation.

ROBERT C. CUNNINGHAM (1914-2000) served as editor of the Pentecostal Evangel from 1950 to 1984. Excerpted from the April 15, 1973, editorial.

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