Monday, May 10, 2010

Not Understanding The Cross

 Not Understanding the Cross

The greatest misunderstanding of the church today is not understanding the cross.  In viewing the cross, we often fail to see the greatest task ever worked out "The Death of Jesus."  The death of Jesus gives us a marker for looking towards the deity of Christ and not our flesh.  The cross boldly stands as the death of self, when one is drawn by God to the cross, the ultimate result is death so that life may be shown.

2 Co 4:10  We always carry in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that the life of  Jesus may be manifested in our bodies too.

oddly enough we do not believe that verse, because this verse is the interpretation of understanding the cross.  Without the death of Jesus their is no life for us.  Jesus' Death is the revealing life on our behalf within, the resurrection is the avenue by which Jesus gives another in the holy spirit by which we have union with God through Christ.

We do a great job as the body of Christ of missing the point, in Mark 8:34 we see a great example of not understanding the meaning of scripture:

Mar 8:34  When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

Normally we hear the interpretation of this verse as a way of pointing others to "good works."  These good works are often translated in denying self as Spiritual work and  it has the face of religiosity.  The result of this is self-righteousness.  I grew believing that if I did not read my bible daily and pray that God would be upset with me!  This is a result of not understanding the cross; I turned the work back to self instead of resting in the finished work of Christ on the Cross and His righteousness.

Deny

The word of day is deny, the crucial part of understanding Mark 8:34 above; which is not found in what we see.  For instance, denying self is not looking to your flesh to find how you can rid yourself of sin.  Denying self is not looking to what the principles of the world says we should accomplish.  Denying self is not seeing and  listening to the voice of satan in temptation and fighting your way out. Denying self is not found in what we see in self and try to fix it.  The flesh, the world, satan, and what our eyes see is the deep meaning of self.  the description of denying self in its intended meaning is this ignoring what the flesh, what the world, what satan, and what our eyes see about self. 

This is the daily struggle, we can play the religious game and keep believing that our work for God will count in saving self.  On the other hand we can begin to ignore the false truths we have believed for so long and look at the cross as our final death stake.  Until we see the cross as final, we will never understand what it means to take it up. 

Taking Up the Cross

Taking up the cross is embracing its finished work, the finished work of the cross is embracing what we don't see about ourselves which equals faith.  Begin to practice the ignoring of religious self and you will understand what it means to embrace faith.  The cross finished the work, we carry around the death of Jesus in this flesh ignoring the details that cause sin because we can't fix sin.  Sin was fixed at the cross, you see the same cross that killed Christ killed our sin.  This verse in scripture just says it:

2Co 5:21  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
We embrace all the cross says about us which is the hardest thing we do as Christians because it removes the onus on self and finds rest in work of God through the cross.

Not understanding the cross leaves us with the terrifying aspect of wondering if we did enough!  I love the movie Saving Private Ryan, but it is a terrible picture of redemption.  The main character at the end is left questioning whether or not he earned it because he was told to by the man who saved him, "to earn this."  Is this not the picture we walk around with went it comes to taking up the cross?   Earning life does not find its rest in making self better, but in understanding that through the death of one on the cross, life was given, not so we could keep earning merit with our efforts of righteousness to gain life.

To understand the cross we must understand intimacy in a relationship with a loving Father.  Let these verses resonate with you:

Eph 1:7  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
Eph 1:8  which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
Eph 1:9  having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10  that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.

Jason.



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