The Church Was Born Crucified

Just as Eve was in Adam and was brought out of him at just the right time, so the church was in Christ, and she was brought out of Him in God’s perfect time.  She, the ekklesia, was not brought out from Him until He had displayed and produced crucified life for her.

This haunting quote comes from F.J. Huegel’s book, Bone of His Bone, and gives much insight into our co-crucifixion with Christ and our co-resurrection in Him:

The church, as has said the great French preacher Lacordaire, was born crucified; and until, like her divine head, she falls into the ground and dies, she abides alone. The life-giving streams cannot break forth from her bosom.

God grant you the grace to be clear about one thing: Christ does not come into your life to patch up your “old man.”  Here is where unnumbered multitudes of Christians have been “hung up.”  They thought it was Christ’s mission to make them better.  There is absolutely no biblical ground for any such idea.  Jesus said that He had no intention of pouring His new wine into old pigskins.  He said that He had not come to bring peace, but a sword.  He said that unless a man would renounce himself utterly, he could not be his disciple.

Christ does not come to you to simply straighten out your “old life.”  He has never promised to make us better.  His entire redemptive work which was consummated upon the cross rests upon the assumption (it is more than an assumption – God says it is a fact) that man’s condition is such that only dying and being born again can possibly make any change in you. He must impart to you an entirely new life.

Christ is the Vine, we are the branches. He is the Head, we form the Body.

Paul’s epistles again and again point us to Calvary and startle us with an imperative demand: We must consent to co-crucifixion with Christ. …

Two thousand years ago, there in the manger of Bethlehem, God gave the world his only-begotten son.  In Him was concentrated the infinite love of the Father.  But the full force of that redeeming love was not released upon a sin-stricken world until there on Calvary the flaming heart of the Beloved broke.  Then it was that the radium of the celestial realm was focused upon the great cancer of humanity’s sin and shame.  Radiation kills.  There is no power under heaven that can withstand its concentrated dynamic.

The Cross also kills.  The man who exposes himself to Calvary soon discovers that a hidden fire burns within his bones.  The old fallen life – so resentful, so fussy, so greedy, so touchy, so haughty, so vain, so blind to all except its own particular lust, so ready to sacrifice the good of the many if only its own glory may be secured – the old “self-life” can no more resist the impact of Calvary than can some frail canoe survive the onrush of a great tidal wave. …

Let us further examine this matter of identification with Christ. It is both a position that you take once and for all by an act of faith (in which you commit yourself to your place in the death of His Son) and a process of growth, in which you receive an ever-deepening life of sharing in the Savior’s death.  Even Paul said that he longed to know Christ and the power of his resurrection… being made conformable unto His death (Phil 3:10).  It is all summed up in the great paradox of the Gospel: “He who loses his life shall find it.”

There is not any nullification of personality involved.  Quite the contrary.  Paul was no less Paul after the realization of his oneness with Christ in death. He could, with infinitely more right, say “nevertheless I live.”  Once the cross deals with the “I-life” so that the soul becomes God-centered, personality and all of its glory and the full fruition of its powers begins to develop. You can only possess yourself when God is supreme in your life. …

Being in Christ, we are crucified. Your being a German or a Frenchman makes inevitable certain habits of mind, a certain temperament of soul.  Your being a Christian makes inevitable the crucified life.  The church did not come forth from the womb of the Eternal until, upon the cross, crucified life had been generated.

The only life given to the ekklesia, the body of Christ, is His crucified life.  This is the source of our new life, our new covenant, in Him.  This is why it is the Lamb of God that conquered death and sin, and why it is the Lamb that now sits on the throne.  Jesus Christ won the victory through His sacrifice.  The church is victorious through her own sacrifice, and in this is true Life.

What foolishness this is to our “old man”, but what life pours forth to those who embrace the way of the cross of Christ.

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5 thoughts on “The Church Was Born Crucified

  1. Yea his life will pour out of us when we allow him to and the fruit is so sweet but realizing our crucifiction can be painful..but it must be so.

  2. How gloriously freeing it is to be dead to self and this world and alive to Christ! His yoke truly is easy and His burden truly is light.

    Bone of His Bone is so good!!! One of the things from it that was huge for me was the fact that being crucified with Christ and then raised in a New Life actually enhanced and made safe my personality. For a while I was so uncertain of anything that seemed “natural” to me, and I thought that it could only be the Lord’s Life in me if it was entirely opposite of “Bridget”. After reading Huegel, I began to realize that now my personality was in the hands of Jesus, and therefore could be used to express His life whenever He wanted. Now I know that there will be times when my natural abilities and personality will be the conduits of Divine Life and other times when He will lead me to Live completely contrary to my “natural self”. We truly can do all things through our Lord who strengthens us in His mighty power.

    “There is not any nullification of personality involved. Quite the contrary. Paul was no less Paul after the realization of his oneness with Christ in death. He could, with infinitely more right, say “nevertheless I live.” Once the cross deals with the “I-life” so that the soul becomes God-centered, personality and all of its glory and the full fruition of its powers begins to develop. You can only possess yourself when God is supreme in your life. …”

    This is a beautiful post!
    Thanks, brother. 🙂

    • Beautifully said. Yes, I’ve struggled with that same thing. Our personality is not erased by the cross, as some might think, and yet it does pass through the cross. I think the cross-principle can help bring our personalities into balance (if we’re out of whack) and bring out the reality of who we are. The cross-principle leads us to use our personalities in oneness with the body. Without our varied personalities we lose the diversity and the beauty of the body.

      • Amen! The diversity of the Body has been a tangible expression of His vastness to me. How great He is to have so much diversity within Him!

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