The Wonderful Cross –His & Ours

August 19, 2013

Friends,
Through His accomplishment by way of the cross, Jesus has called to everyone. (John 12:32) He has called, “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15) And, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (v. 17)

Belonging to Christ means: Repent, believe the Gospel, follow Christ faithfully, walk in His Kingdom, and through Him, save others. To not do these things is contempt toward God who has provided salvation from the dark realm for all mankind. To pledge to do these things, but to not follow through, is unfaithfulness to Christ.

When we say we’ve repented of sin, this means we renounce sin forever. It means we submit to being washed by Christ and in-dwelt by His Spirit. It means we make the commitment (pledge) to follow (obey) Jesus and His instructions and to learn to do so with ever-increasing perfection. (Mt. 5:48 & 28:19,20)

The only way we can achieve these requirements is to be crucified with Christ, to undergo death to Self, to be raised a new creation, and to walk this reality daily. (Rom. ch. 6) This walk is the daily cross-carrying which Jesus said we must live out. (Luke 9:23) However, it is also the gratefully relieving death that sets us free to live –to really live. (v. 24 // John 8:36 & 10:10) Through the cross of Christ we, with Him, are crucified (Rom. 6:6), unshackled, forgiven, and liberated (v. 7 // Col. 1:13,14), and empowered to unreservedly allow Christ Himself to live through us. (Gal. 2:20) This is the amazing Gospel!

Because of this, and though the cross is a bloody, painful instrument of death, we take joy in the cross. We glory in Christ’s death and victory as well as our own death and victory. And by dying daily we live daily –in victory!

Therefore, Christ-followers should all say, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Gal. 6:14) For only by being “baptized into Christ’s death” (see Rom. 6:3) are we released from the world’s grip so that our Lord may then say of us, “They are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” (John 17:14) And that when He says, “My Kingdom is not of this world” (18:36), He will be referring to us, His citizens, who have renounced the world completely so as to live solely, radically, and undeniably for Him and His cause, without ever a consideration of retreat.

The cross upon which Christ hung is wonderful. It was awful, but it was also our escape from an eternity without God, and so it is beautiful. Crushingly horrible, yes, but also that which we profusely thank and praise God for. Our own personal cross, that one which Jesus commands us to pick up daily, is the same: Devastation to Self –to our own dreams, our own plans, our own thoughts and desires, our own fame, our own comforts, our own dignity, our own protection. There is a true pain in keeping Self nailed to that wood, but the new self is then free to live for Christ –to live His life in His Kingdom for His glory, to live for the release of others, and to walk in great joy, honor, and eternal life.

The cross is indeed wonderful.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

P.S. Here is a beautiful song, a remake from Isaac’s Watt’s original hymn, about the wonderful cross.

The Scriptures there are ones to truly meditate on, as are the lyrics to the song itself:

When I survey the wondrous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain, I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

See from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet?
Or thorns compose, so rich a crown

Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
All who gather here by grace, draw near and bless Your name

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
All who gather here by grace, draw near and bless Your name

Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live

Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

It’s the beauty and the shame
It’s the glory and the name
Wonderful Cross

Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
All who gather here by grace, draw near and bless Your name

Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live

Songwriters
Christopher Tomlin;J.d. Walt;Jesse Pryor Reeves

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