The death of Jesus Christ on a cross over two thousand years ago, was the defining moment of history. That moment in time separates the just from the unjust. Many today choose to identify with that event in a myriad of ways, from attending church to wearing a piece of jewelry around their necks. However, many might not be so eager to identify with that particular event, if they understood they were identifying with an instrument of death and torture. If they, in common vernacular were told to, “Take up your electric chair, and follow me!” In a compilation of essays by A.W. Tozer called The Radical Cross, the author seeks to clarify for the reader just what the cross of Christ signifies, and what their response to it should be. First and foremost it is a radical thing, the most revolutionary thing to appear among men. The cross of Jesus Christ means death, to all who honestly come to it, death to the self-life that they have been living, and new life in and through Jesus Christ. All self-rights and self-rule are to be left behind the moment they bow before the Savior. “The cross brings not only Christ’s life to an end; it ends also the first life, the old life of every one of His true followers. It destroys the old pattern, the Adam pattern in the believer’s life, and brings it to an end. Then God who raised Jesus from the dead raises the believer and new life begins.” Each person must do something about the cross, and there are only two things one can do, run from it or die upon it.
The cross of Christ is the power unto salvation to all who will believe. Isaac Watts penned these words about Jesus’ death on the cross, “God the mighty Maker died for man the creature’s sin”. Tozer points out that God the mighty Maker died on a cross for all of mankind, and all the power of the universe was in that atonement. You can never overstate the efficaciousness of the cross. You can never exaggerate the power of the cross. “The unjust sinner can no more go to heaven than the justified sinner can go to hell. Oh friends, why are we so still? Why are we so quiet? We ought to rejoice and thank God with all our might!” The glory of the Christian faith is that the Christ who died for our sins rose again for our justification. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33
The true awareness of the work of the cross leads to a deeper life. It leads men to surrender their whole being to the destructive power of the cross, to die not only to their sins, but to their righteousness as well. Dying to everything in which they formerly prided themselves. These saints will encounter a deeper awareness of the life in Christ. They will experience, as Tozer points out, “The thought of the indwelling of Christ, acute God-consciousness, rapturous worship, separation from the world, the joyous surrender of everything to God, internal union with the Trinity, the practice of the presence of God, the communion of the saints and prayer without ceasing”. They will be in this world, but not of it. They will be citizens not of this world, but of their heavenly home, which is to come. This true separateness from the world will set us apart. We will be different. We may even be lonely, because not many follow that closely. We see that Enoch walked with God and was not, for God took him. He obviously lived his life differently than the others of his day. Are you willing to walk this closely to your Maker, to be set apart for Him?
Many chapters in this book will challenge you in your walk with the Lord. A few include:
- No One Wants to Die on a Cross
- Each His Own Cross
- The Old Cross and the New
- Not Peace, but a Sword
- We Must Die if We Would Live
- Joy Unspeakable
- Our Hope of Future Blessedness
A wealth of information is contained in this book to help you examine your own relationship to the cross of Jesus Christ. Challenging and convicting, it is a tool for self-examination to see if you be in the faith. Read and consider how you may be encouraged to grow, because infant or seasoned saint will find much here to help in correcting error and encouraging deeper life with our blessed Savior Jesus Christ.
Book Review written by Diane Caston