Take Your Cross

Matthew 16:24

If any man will come after Me, let him...take up his cross and follow Me.

There is an important omission in the verse, as quoted above. Before the statement to take up the cross comes the injunction to "deny self." As in all things, we must begin at home. Little things indicate the direction of the current. Both actions are voluntary. Let him deny himself and take up his cross. There is much talk of following the Lord amongst us, but where is either the denying of self or the taking up of the cross? It is noticeable that this statement comes in the section that speaks of Christ's sufferings (Matt. 16:21) and glory (Matt. 16:27 and Matt. 17:1-3). The denial and the cross are but for a time; glory is ahead, and as Christ has suffered in our stead, no wrath from God can be ours. Our cross is not the curse of a broken law. Phil. 3:1-12 seems to give a very similar thought, the denial of self, counting all things as loss, and the fellowship of His sufferings, with The Resurrection in view. May we not "follow afar off" as Peter did, who denied His Lord, but follow closely by denying one's self.

"That ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness" (Phil. 1:10-11).

In Phil. 1:9, abounding love leading to knowledge and judgment and discernment, leads right on to the day of Christ when we shall stand before Him. We know that so far as our eternal salvation is concerned, we shall be without blemish (Eph. 5:27). Phil. 1:6 says what the Lord will do until the day of Christ comes, but Phil. 1:10-11 shows how we are to walk until that day. The word translated "sincere" means "tested by sunlight"; our every action and thought will be laid bare. Oh, to remember this! The word is suggestive; it teaches us to avoid any appearance of shame, all must be genuine to please the Lord. "Without offence". This includes two things:

(1) That we shall be able to stand before the Lord, and receive His "well done," and

(2) That we have not caused our brethren to stumble. How difficult is the path, and how can we walk that will be pleasing in His sight? Phil. 1:11 gives an answer "filled with the fruits of righteousness." We, as Christians, are considered to have the righteousness of God through Christ, and this secures our entrance into the joys of eternity, but to be rewarded, not to be ashamed, to avoid suffering loss with regard to the Judgment Seat, true sincerity and fruitfulness are required.

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