The Narrow Way of Bearing the Cross and Denying the Self unto New Jerusalem

Matthew 16:24-25, “Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it; but whoever loses his soul-life for My sake shall find it.” These words are followed by the Son of Man coming in His glory and in His kingdom, both of which point to New Jerusalem. This is the constricted way the Lord spoke about in Matthew 7.

New Jerusalem

This subject seems negative, BUT remember, the death of our natural life manifests the resurrection life, the only life present in New Jerusalem. “Always bearing about the putting to death of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested” (2 Cor. 4:10).

Here is one key point or verse from each post in this series, with a link to the post.

The death of Christ terminated all negatives, redeemed God’s people, released the divine life, and created the new man.

We were crucified with Christ and also raised with Him (Rom. 6:6, Col. 3:1).

Christ offered Himself to God through the eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14). In this Spirit His death and His life are available to us.

Objectively, positionally, we are in all that Christ has done. Yet now we need to grow into this subjectively, experientially. Galatians 2:20 is about our experience.

Christian growth in life is gradual (Gal. 4:19). To deny ourself is the key to growth.

The Lord’s words about denying our self, our soul life, begin in Matthew 10:38, “he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”

Luke adds a word not in Matthew, “If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

Luke 14: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own soul-life, he cannot be My disciple.” If we are not disciples, how will we be in New Jerusalem?

Denying and losing the soul life is our responsibility, yet self cannot deny self. We apply the death of Christ in Spirit. Romans 8:13 says, “by the Spirit you put to death…”

The Lord told us to deny ourself, and He did this. An example: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26).

In John 7 and 8 the Lord declared that He did not seek His own glory.

To deny ourself is to deny our opinions, preferences, like and dislikes, complaints, and vain talking. Perhaps none are evil, but they are self and will not be in New Jerusalem.

Denying and losing the self seems negative, but death is followed by resurrection. We are being put to death that the life of Jesus may be manifested (2 Cor. 4:10-12).

The word of the cross is…to us who are being saved…the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)

We boast in Christ Jesus and long “to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:3, 10).

To deny the self requires constant exercise, empowered by His resurrection with a longing for the fuller resurrection at His return and the fullest in New Jerusalem.

Looking away unto Jesus” enlivens us to be delivered unto death and to deny ourself.

The denial of our soul life is presented in Ephesians 4:22: “That you put off, as regards your former manner of life, the old man. Then we put on the new man who continues into New Jerusalem.

To deny our self and lose our soul life is to take the constricted way which leads to life (Matt. 7:14), eventually to the city of life, New Jerusalem.


Bible verses quoted in these posts are from The Holy Bible, Recovery Version, published and © by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim CA, 2003. The New Testament of this Bible, with its outlines, footnotes, and cross-references, is at online.recoveryversion.org; this too is © by Living Stream Ministry.

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The Word of the Cross for New Jerusalem

New JerusalemThrough the cross our natural life, our fallen life, our soul life, is put away. This opens the door for the increase and spread of Christ, our new life, our resurrection life, in us. This life, not our old life, is the life of New Jerusalem.

First Corinthians 1 speaks about the cross, which delivers us from our old life.. Verse 18: “The word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. If we think speaking about the cross is foolishness, then we are in the wrong realm.

Verses 23-24: “We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called…Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Christ crucified, to release the resurrection life, is God’s wisdom and God’s way.

Now the cross is being applied within us, making us new and living for New Jerusalem. Because of this wonderful result, Paul boasted in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 6:14).

The believers in Christ have been crucified (terminated) with Him (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6). After being organically united with Him through faith, they should remain on the cross, keeping their old man under the termination of the cross (cf. Rom. 6:3; Col. 2:20-21). This is to carry their own cross.*

Remember that the purpose of the cross is not suffering; the purpose is to kill the old man so hat the new man can come forth in reality for New Jerusalem.

Part of the footnote on Luke 14:27 in the Recovery Version NT, footnotes written by Witness Lee,

Deny the Self for New Jerusalem (2)

Our path through the cross to New Jerusalem includes 1) the accomplishments of the Lord Jesus in His death on the cross, 2) their objective application to us through believing and baptism, and 3) our subjective experiences by denying our self, taking up our cross, and losing our soul life, our fallen natural life. The degree to which we lose our soul life is the degree to which the Lord’s eternal life can grow in us.

New JerusalemThe Lord’s word about denying our self in Luke 9 is “let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” This is not once-for-all; it is continual, throughout our Christian life until we die or until the Lord returns.

In Luke 14 the Lord gives us another unique word—we need to hate our soul life. He makes this equivalent to carrying our own cross and says that without this hating and carrying, we cannot be His disciple.

If we are not His disciples, we should not expect to be in New Jerusalem. However, He is merciful, and He will eventually discipline us to be worthy of New Jerusalem.

This is the narrow way of the cross to New Jerusalem.

Photo by R. L. Lake, courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Through the Cross to New Jerusalem (2)

The death of Christ on the cross had a terminating aspect which consummates in the lake of fire. It also has redeeming, releasing, and creating aspects which consummate in New Jerusalem. All of these steps are for our path to New Jerusalem.

The first aspect ended our flesh, our old man, and our sinful nature. It also terminated the world and the ruler of the world. The second aspect bought us for God and includes the forgiveness of our sins. The third aspect released the divine life which has now been imparted into us to regenerate, renew, transform, and glorify us. The fourth aspect brought us into God’s corporate new man in the new creation. All of this is necessary for New Jerusalem. Praise the Lord for His accomplishments.

New JerusalemThe epistles state definitely that we were crucified with Christ. Romans 6:6: “Our old man has been crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin as slaves.” Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ.”

The epistles also state definitely that we were raised with Christ. Ephesians 2:5-6: God “Made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up together with Him.” Colossians 3:1: “You were raised together with Christ.”

Our participation in the death and resurrection of Christ have nothing to do with our birth date nor with what kind of person we are naturally. It was accomplished by God who is outside of the limits of time. And He accomplished it for His eternal purpose, to bring us to His goal, New Jerusalem.

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com.

Freed from Self for God’s Building Work

Ephesians 2:22 speaks of our “being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit” and 1 Peter 2:5 says that we “as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” This spiritual building comes out of our growth in life, the eternal life we received in regeneration (see related posts).

Matthew 16 and Luke 14 show the other side of the coin: if we love our soul-life and do not take up our cross, then we cannot participate in God’s New Testament building work. In Matthew the Lord speaks of His building of the church and in Luke He gives an example of a man building a tower.

In both chapters the Lord instructs us to deny ourself and take up our cross. We have been crucified with Christ and baptized into His death (Romans 6:3-6); this is the spiritual fact and our spiritual history. Now, we need to cooperate to apply this fact to our daily living.

We apply this fact by the eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14) in our spirit. In Romans 8:13 we by the Spirit we put to death the practices of our body. This is equal to Galatians 5:24-25 where we crucify the flesh that we may live and walk in the Spirit.

New JerusalemDenying our self for God’s building is expressed in a hymn (words music) which begins:
__Freed from self and Adam’s nature,
____Lord, I would be built by Thee.

This hymn concludes by looking toward New Jerusalem:
__In God’s house and in Thy Body
____Builded up I long to be,
__That within this corporate vessel
____All shall then Thy glory see;
__That Thy Bride, the glorious city,
____May appear upon the earth,
__As a lampstand brightly beaming
____To express to all Thy worth.

Related posts:
We Have the Life Supply for the NT Building
We Grow into Christ for His Building
Holding Christ, We Grow unto Building Up
Let’s Go On to Maturity for God’s Building

Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

The words of the hymn are © by Living Stream Ministry.

%d bloggers like this: