SOURCE OF SIN
"I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8).
When the believer first becomes aware of the sinful self-life, he often makes the mistake of attempting to deal with its symptoms. He struggles to curb his sins and tries to live righteously. The resultant failure leads him to reliance upon the work of the Cross, which is effectively applied to the root of the matter by the Holy Spirit. The old life is crucified; the new life is manifested.
"We are apt to think that what we have done is very bad, but that we ourselves are not so bad. God is taking pains to show us that we ourselves are wrong, fundamentally wrong. The root trouble is the sinner; he must be dealt with. Our sins are dealt with by the Blood, but we ourselves are dealt with by the Cross. The Blood procures our pardon for what we have done; the Cross procures our deliverance from what we are." -W.N.
"It is for want of a complete or adequate realization of the meaning of the Cross, that so many Christians are carnal, or try to live for God out of themselves. This goes to the root of the ever-present weakness and poverty of spiritual life. There is much prayer for 'revival,' and much effort for 'the deepening of the spiritual life.' The only answer to this is a new knowing of the Cross, not only as to sins and a life of victory over them, but as to Christ as supplanting the natural man." -T. A-S.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).
THE ALL-PERVADING CROSS
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14).
It will save years of frustration and effort for one to understand that prayer can never be learned, or developed. Prayer is the outflow of the new life; as one grows, as the Cross frees the new from the old, there is the growth of effective prayer.
"Without the Cross, prayer becomes a mere religious formality without prayer, the Cross is arrested in its purpose. As the Cross works in us, keeping in the place of death every assertion of the old man, and everything in our natures that is against God, our spirit finds a clear way up to the communion at the throne and a clear way out into conflict with our enemy.
''Prayer is the spring of power in conflict, and conflict gives the proof of the value and need of prayer. It cannot be too frequently emphasized that for the believer, the ground or basis of prayer is the death of Jesus Christ the victory won by the Son of God on Calvary, just as the ground and basis of His intercession at this moment is His propitiation on the Cross. Away from the Cross prayer becomes nothing more than an ecclesiastical ordinance or a religious exercise expressed in devotional phrases; and I beg of you, when you read a book on prayer, to find out the place in it which the author gives to the Cross, and you will be able to estimate its value." -G.W.
"God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you" (1 Samuel 12:23).