Keep Coming Back to the Cross
The cross is the anchor of our spiritual existence, the center on which our relationship with the divine nature turns. But we don’t always see it that way. There are distractions and distortions that we have to wrestle with. Our sinful and moral weakness affects not only how we behave but how we see. Romans 1:21 tells us that our sin affects our ability to think and see. Men refused to believe in Jesus because their ability to see him rightly and think about him clearly was corrupted by their own selfishness.
Because of this sinfulness, we take our eyes off of the Christ and his cross, and we engage in ungodly behavior that contradicts and degrades the cross in the eyes of others. Sometimes we flatly turn our backs on a truth and deny it. But other times we just delay it and minimize it because it costs us a lot to pursue it. Very often we do this because we don't want to face the consequences of that truth or go where it will lead.
But it isn't only our sinfulness that leads us to take our eyes off the cross; we also neglect it because we are simply IGNORANT of its meaning. We think we've thoroughly understood it and it becomes a bit boring to us; so we move on to other issues. The cross is so rich and full of transforming truth that we could never fathom it all. But if we continue to plunge in over our heads thinking, studying, praying about the cross, who knows how our vision and so our behavior will change. Maybe we'll see our fellow-Christians and ourselves in an astonishingly better way and feel less burdened in following Christ when the meaning of his cross begins to light up in us.
The cross makes it clear that God means to transform us (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) and make us like Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Notice that there is more to this salvation than just the forgiveness of sins committed—it's aboutlife. But what we need to transform us is the rich profound truth about Jesus and him crucified. To repeat over and over again that Jesus died for me is not necessarily a bad thing, but there comes a time when the rehearsing of thebare act grows tedious. We can't keep drumming up a tearful condition or an emotional stirring by going over the details of his suffering and abuse. This is not what we're called to. Paul did not just repeatedly rehearse the facts of the crucifixion itself. Rather he delved into the meaning of it – what it implies for us. When it is reflection/study time we're encouraged to sit down and look at the cross and ask, "What exactly does that mean? What is happening there in that event?" The life and death and subsequent resurrection and exaltation of Jesus our Lord is the center of creation's history, past, present and future. No wonder Paul told the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2:1-2), "I have only one message!" No wonder he told the Galatians (6:14), "I will glory in nothing—absolutely nothing—but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!"
As we grow up in Christ, our Bible study should be conducted so that we can keep coming back to the cross with new tools and insights that will help us uncover truths that shake the universe.
Adapted from Jim McGuiggan, www.jimmcguiggan.com
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