The Cart Before the Horse
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
There is an old adage that says don’t put “the cart before the horse.” What does that mean? It conveys the idea of reversing the accepted or logical order of things. The horse is to pull the cart and not vice versa and so it is a preposterous suggestion as it was intended.
This also illustrates how preposterous it is for us, as Christians, to think that we can perform effectively, to live the Christian life which is often promoted. Somehow suggesting that performing certain activities or rituals, or behaving a certain way, will bring about the desired change and enable us to grow spiritually. Many a well-intended person has done so in the energy of the flesh.
There are those who would suggest that the answer to this erroneous cart before the horse or performance-based acceptance or living the Christian life, is that we would die to self. However, this too is a self-based remedy whereby we would have to attempt to die to that which is not like Christ.
The reality is we have died. We died with Christ 2000 years ago when we were in Christ at the cross, and so He put to death the spiritual condition that we were born with and so there is nothing left to die, other than maybe the daily tendencies to walk after the flesh. If you are having to do anything it is just another method, another performance. It is easy to shoot down one erroneous concept only to end up finding we are choosing another erroneous method.
Our death has already occurred, and it was recorded for us by the apostle Paul, amongst other passages, in Romans 6 that the “old self was crucified” and so he goes on to tell us in that same chapter that we might live a new life, (Romans 6: 4). We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life and being able to live with Christ. (Romans 6 8). “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him being alive to God. (Romans 6: 11). You must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
The question that we need to ask ourselves then is what died? If we are dead, and we are, then what died? What was put to death and the answer is found amongst other passages in Ephesians chapter 2 and the first six verses, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
When Paul says that “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit,” that spirit would be (Satan's nature himself) was put to death, Rom 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin, or to use the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself in John 8: 44 “you are of your father the devil and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
The spiritual condition of Satan that we were born with has been put to death. We were crucified past tense, and so it is a reality. A spiritual exchange has taken place and we have gone from death to life. That's what's required to experience the new birth, which then allows us to experience spiritual growth, and our dependency upon the Lord Jesus Christ as our life, as we derive from Him.
Do not be putting the cart before the horse, let the Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Christ, lead you, guide you, let Him pull you, as He says in Matthew. “All you who are burdened heavy laden come unto Me and I will give you rest take my yoke upon you, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
May you experience Life As God Intended.