Book Review: The Secret of the Cross

The Secret of the Cross” Andrew Murray, Christian Literature Crusade

Critical read 
Must read 
Good read 
Read if you want 
Read something else

Why read this book? We are a people who, even though we have grown up or been involved in Christian churches for years, we really have no idea of what it means to follow our Savior. We are schooled in doctrine and trained in religiosity, neither of which will lead us into following Christ as a true disciple.

A true disciple will follow the master. Our master, Jesus, made it clear in four separate incidents recorded in the gospels what it would take to follow Him: daily self-denial, daily taking up the instrument of our death to self to follow Him, daily losing our lives for His sake so that we can find His life as our own.

You’re not going to hear that in a sermon any time soon, I am guessing. That is why it is important to read this book. In 32 short sections (meant to be read one-per-day) you will find Murray making the case for living a life characterized by the cross, along with clear helps in how to do that consistently.

The point of the book – Jesus was not using hyperbole when he stated that we must die to self daily, continually, as a habit of mind and style of living. This is what it means to be a disciple. the promises of our God for the faithful are for those who choose to live this life. They are not for those who choose to live a life of man-made religiosity or popular easy believism. We must come to grips with the truth of surrendered living if we would apprehend our God and be apprehended by Him.

The impact of the book – Murray’s format of daily, short reads is intended to provide a steady “line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept” building of the truth into the heart of the reader. He wrote a number of books like these for use by young pastors and evangelists working remotely in southern Africa. The books provided a steady mentoring process for these young pastors who were often isolated from others with whom they could not regularly share in spiritual communion and nurture. They were effective then, and they remain effective now for those who want that same kind of daily growth into the truths the books present. These are very impactful by the time you finish each book.

Quotes – “The reason that God’s children live so little in the power of the resurrection life of Christ is because they have so little understanding of our faith in their death with Christ. How clearly this appears from what Paul says: “If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” It is the knowledge and experience that gives us the assurance of the power of His resurrection in us. “[Chris] died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives He lives to God.” It is only because and as we know that we are dead with Him that we can live with Him.”

Oh that Cod’s redeemed children might learn the double lessons. In me (that is, in my flesh, in the old nature which I have from Adam), there dwells literally no good thing that can satisfy the eye of a holy God! And that flesh can never by any process of discipline, or struggling, or prayer, be made better that it is! But the Son of God in the likeness of sinful flesh – in the form of a man – condemned sin on the cross. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.””

Similar booksThe Crucified Life by A.W. Tozer. The Calvary Road by Roy Hession. The Three-fold Secret of the Holy Spirit by James McConkey. Union With God by Madame Jeane Guyon. The Indwelling Life of Christ and The Mystery of Godliness both by W. Ian Thomas. Christ Life by A.B. Simpson.

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