The Significance of the Death of Christ
"He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the Cross" (Phil. 2:8)
So far we have been occupied with that side and aspect of the Cross of the Lord Jesus that has to do with sin, and we have seen that sin is the basis and nature and power of the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of satan. We come now to one further inclusive word on the matter of the nature of sin before we say a word about the result, and then we are brought immediately to the Cross of the Lord Jesus.
The Essence of Sin - Independence of God
What does this whole matter of sin amount to? Can we put it into a word? I think we can, and that word is "independence" - independence of God. Yes, the kingdom of satan is really built upon independence. Before he became satan he was lucifer, the covering cherub. The Scripture says "thou wast created" (Eze. 28:13), and a created being must be less than, and dependent upon, the Creator; but this one decided to be independent of Him and to proceed to have everything centered in himself and not in God, to be his own lord, to be god himself and to refer and defer to no one - absolute independence; and it was that which he introduced into the race by Adam. "Hath God said ...? God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:1, 5). The inference of his words was this - 'Why not have your eyes opened? Why always have to refer to God? Why not be as God? To that suggestion man fell. He used the greatest gift that God has ever given to created beings - the power of choice, will - he used his great trust, freewill, and chose independence.
There are many ways in which this independence words out. It works out along the line of self-sufficiency, and we see that history right up to date is only the story of independence, self-sufficiency, in one form or another. At different times or in different sections of the race this independence expresses itself variously. Sometimes, and in some places, it takes the form of definite and positive Godlessness, where God is deliberately and openly and unashamedly thrown over, repudiated, denied. That sort of thing covers a very large section of this earth today and is powerfully at work - utter and positive and deliberate Godlessness, giving Him no place. Sometimes and in other places this independence has been, and is, expressed in a system of ideas of human greatness. The word "ideology" has sprung so much into our vocabulary. It is simply a system or scheme of ideas about human greatness - how great man is and how inherently good he is; you have only to give him scope and facility and suitable conditions, and you see what a wonderful creature he is, both as to his ability, his potentialities, and his inherent goodness. It is only another form of independence of God, of man's blindness; for man's blindness is most of all seen in his inability to recognize his own need.
(continued with # 38)