Lately a pilgrim in India, making his way to a shrine, was so loaded with chains and iron bands that, when he decided to make part of his journey by railroad, the company demanded that he pay for his passage both regular fare and freight. It was estimated that there was on his body about two hundred pounds of iron; and at night, in his journey on foot, he would stake himself out like an animal. The object of all this was to do penance, to make atonement, for his sins. In relating the occurrence, the Interior very justly remarks: "What is Lent, throughout three fourths of Christendom, but an attempt by personal sacrifice to propitiate God? The same thought which lay at the basis of the Indian fakir's conduct lies at the basis of Lent's abstention. It is that man must pay at least part of the penalty of his sin in bodily pains. It is that he must atone, in part at least, for that sin which the Bible says was completely blotted out by the one sufficient Redeemer. 'Old Dan Chaucer' struck the key-note of the Reformation in his pre-Reformation line, when he wrote, 'Either he forgives us every whit or not a dele.' But direct as that lesson is taught in the holy Gospels, it has not yet been mastered by Greek, Romanist, or Protestant." The "Studies in Galatians" now being conducted in the REVIEW AND HERALD will help, on this subject, everybody who will read them.
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”
Christ having been set forth, crucified among them, it was easy for the Galatians to understand the words of chapter 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ.” When he was set forth, crucified among them, it was easy enough for all who were willing, to be crucified with him.
Paul preached only “Christ, and him crucified.” This he preached wherever he went. And wherever he went, he preached Christ crucified among the people in that place. That is, when he was in Galatia, he preached not only Christ crucified down in Judea, but also in Galatia. When he was in Corinth, he preached not only Christ crucified away over at Jerusalem, but also Christ crucified there in Corinth.
In other words, Christ crucified at Jerusalem in Judea, was also Christ crucified wherever there is a man on the earth. And the preaching of Christ crucified at Jerusalem in Judea, to be the true preaching of that fact must be also the preaching of Christ crucified wherever the fact is preached. It is simply the preaching of the universal and ever-present Christ the Saviour.
The preaching in Galatia, in Corinth, in Rome, in Britain, in the United States, of Christ crucified only at Jerusalem in Judea, is too far away both in distance and in time for the people readily to grasp it as a power in their own lives. But the preaching of Christ crucified at Jerusalem in Judea, and also wherever there is a human soul,—this brings to each soul, just where that soul is, Christ, the crucified, the risen, and the ever-living Saviour. And then and there each soul who hears the preaching can be crucified with him (Rom. 6:6), can rise with him (Eph. 2:5, 6), and can live with him (Rom. 6:8), as the ever crucified, ever-risen, and ever-living Saviour.
Such preaching, and such alone, is the true preaching of Christ and him crucified. Such preaching, and such alone, is the true preaching of the cross of Christ. Such preaching of the cross of Christ is the preaching of “the power of God;” and such preaching of Christ crucified is “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Cor. 1:17, 18, 23, 24.
We can do no better than to say again, in this connection, what we said two weeks ago, on chap. 2:20: Jesus Christ was “us.” He was of the same flesh and blood with us. He was of our very nature. He was in all points like us. “It behoved him to be made in all points like unto his brethren.” He emptied himself, and was made in the likeness of men. He was “the last Adam.” And precisely as the first Adam was ourselves, so Christ, the last Adam, was ourselves. When the first Adam died, we, being involved in him, died with him. And when the last Adam was crucified,—he being ourselves, and we being involved in him,—we were crucified with him. As the first Adam was in himself the whole human race, so the last Adam was in himself the whole human race, so the last Adam was in himself the whole human race; and so when the last Adam was crucified, the whole human race—the old sinful human nature—was crucified with him. And so it is written: “Knowing this, that our old man IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
Thus every soul in this world can truly say, in the perfect triumph of Christian faith, “I am crucified with Christ;” my old sinful nature is crucified with him, that this body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth I should not serve sin. Rom. 6:6. Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. Always bearing about in my body the dying of the Lord Jesus—the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, for I am crucified with him—that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in my body. For I who live am always delivered unto death, for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in my mortal flesh. 2 Cor. 4:10, 11. And therefore the life, which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
In this blessed fact of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, which was accomplished for every human soul, there is not only laid the foundation of faith for every soul, but in it there is given the gift of faith TO every soul. And thus the cross of Christ is not only the wisdom of God displayed from God to us, but it is the very power of God manifested to deliver us from all sin, and bring us to God.
O sinner, brother, sister, believe it. Oh, receive it. Surrender to this mighty truth. Say it, say it in full assurance of faith, and say it forever. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Say it; for it is the truth, the very truth and wisdom and power of God, which saves the soul from all sin.”
[Advent Review and Sabbath Herald | November 7, 1899]