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Walking in integrity Part 3

The integrity of God and applying the cross


The integrity of God assures believers that faith in Him is always entirely appropriate. The integrity of God’s being is fully consistent with all He says and does. All the divine attributes of His being form one consistent, indivisible whole i.e. His total person—with each of the divine attributes working together in complete harmony for the ultimate blessing of all believers.

God has always possessed integrity as part of His eternal, infinite, unchanging and perfect being. The integrity of God is composed of two divine attributes working in tandem which are perfect righteousness and absolute justice. Divine integrity cooperates with the divine love; together forming one perfect, integrated system through which God deals gracefully with humanity. Grace is the expression of God’s love, and integrity is the uncompromising method of His justice. Divine integrity ensures that the God of love and grace is neither inappropriately emotional, nor does He play favourites, nor does He fail to be decisive in any human situations.

If God lacked integrity in any way, we could not trust what He has said or promised. We know that God cannot lie as Hebrews 6:18 says, “that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie.” Second, God and His word are one. This key is found in the first verse of John: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.”

God the Father showed his integrity by not sparing Jesus from the cross. In Psalm 22 we find the Messiah crying out ‘My God my God why hast thou forsaken me’? The Father and the Holy Spirit turned their back on Jesus as he became sin on the cross.


The integrity of Jesus Christ

After his baptism Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days. While he was there, the devil tempted him. But Jesus showed amazing, perfect integrity to the Word of God and to his character! Jesus quoted the Old Testament to stay strong and showed faithfulness to his mission as the Son of God.

Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane displayed his integrity to his Father’s word and will despite the natural recoil of his flesh.

Matthew 16:24 But Jesus Himself spoke this way about following Him when He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”.

Some bible teachers think that when we are told to take up our cross it means doing God’s will ahead of all our natural wishes and desires.

The integrity of Jesus is our example.


Applying the cross to our self-life.

‘We must also experience the cross. The enjoyment of Christ is something on the positive side, while the cross is on the negative side to deal with all the things that are not Christ Himself. The old creation, the self, the flesh, the natural man, and the soulish life all need to be dealt with by the cross. If we want to take Christ every day, we need to experience the cross. Christ and His cross are the unique solution to all the problems in the Christian life and church life. All problems in the Christian life and in the church can be solved only by Christ with His cross’.[1]

His cross becomes our cross.

Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha, and what did he do there? He died on it. Jesus Christ is talking in a spiritual sense here about our own cross which we take to Golgotha and die there as we follow him at any price.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, put it like this: “When Jesus Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

The purpose of the cross of Calvary is to mature us to be more like Jesus.

We need to count the cost by need being aware that the cross.

1. Will cause pain and suffering.

2. Will probably take time.

3. Can only be applied by God himself but we need to be willing to submit to it.

The cross must be taken up daily and applied to put our self-life to death if we want to walk in integrity before God and man.


How do we apply to the cross to our lives?

The cross also represents a call to discipleship and self-denial as Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

In different Bible studies, applying the cross can mean different things depending on the context of the passage being studied. For example, it can mean applying the principles of self-denial and sacrifice to our daily lives or it can mean understanding how Christ’s death on the cross fulfilled Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.

We can apply the cross to several areas of our lives by simply killing (or sacrificing) all our natural desires and preferences thus allowing God’s wishes, commands, and desires to prevail in any given situation.

Our personal targets for the application of the cross in our lives must include setting us free from the following.

a. Our attachment to the present evil age (Galatians 1:3-4).

b. Any hope of salvation through keeping sets of rules (Galatians 2:19).

c. The domination of the self-life as expressed in worldly ambition, pride, self-love, and self-absorption. (Galatians 2:20). The cross must be applied to our wants, our thinking, and even our feelings when they are contradicted by God’s will and word or by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

d. The works of the flesh including sexual sin, the occult, wrong thinking and relationships, and fleshly self-indulgence (Galatians 5:24)

e. The love of the world system (Galatians 6:14).

As Father God always showed integrity in his dealings with Jesus, and Jesus always showed his integrity by being full obedient to his Father’s word and will, so our challenge is to develop integrity in our life-walk by regular application of the cross to our self-life just like Jesus did.

Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.


Amen

Personal Prayer


Materials consulted.

The integrity of God (2005) by R. B. Theme Jnr.

What It Means to "Take Up Your Cross" (and How to Do it) by Dr Roger Barrier on crosswalk.com

The Cross in my life Part 2 -4296 (1990) by Derek Prince


Footnotes

[1] Excerpt from General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 2: Romans through Philemon, by Witness Lee.

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