Contemplations On The Cross
This is the final installment of the Cross Purposes Series. The articles are in reverse order, so if you'd like to read them first to last, you will need to scroll down the list to the first to read them in ascending order. There are a total of thirty three, one for each of the thirty three years traditionally thought to be the length of the earthly life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is fitting that they are now completed just before Lent.
This final offering of Cross Purposes could be subtitled Cross Eyes, The Horizontal Attitude. Let’s explore this a bit. Basically the vertical beam of the Cross represents the believers’ relationship with the Lord. The horizontal beam stands for our relationship with one another. A Christian has to be "Cross eyed” in both directions in order to see straight!
This is it - the thirty-third, one cross and one corresponding chapter, honoring the traditional thirty-three years of the life of Jesus Christ. “It is finished” was the declaration He made that His work was complete, and thus it is a fitting ending for this series as well.
Since a number of the preceding chapters seem centered more around the “vertical beam” of the Cross - seeing how we personally relate to Jesus in co-crucifixion (See Galatians 2:20), it’s time to make it even more personal and practical by expressing how to be Cross eyed on the “horizontal beam”, that is, how we view and relate to one another in this life. It cannot be only about “Jesus and me”. It also has to be about Jesus relating to others through me.
If we view ourselves in terms of the finished work of the Cross, might it be right to also view others and relate to them in terms of the same finished work - even when we may not see the evidence of its effectualness being lived out? Even when persons are caught up in horrendous bondage in sin? In other words, we see them by faith as complete in Him. And we love as He loves us!
We behold them according to the vision of the finished work of God, even as His “work in progress” - not according to the “flesh”, by our “natural assessment” of them: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” (2 Corinthians 5:16)
No, this does not mean we condone and affirm sin, nor are we “inclusive” of it, nor should we ever bow to its “come hithers” as the people of God! It means we essentially view sinners as God sees them through Jesus, and relate to them that way. And when we speak the truth, we speak it through His Love and see them through His eyes, imploring the Holy Spirit for the approach God would have us use!
There are no exceptions when it comes to “beaming” Christ love, even to our enemies. The condemnation and criticism seen among believers these days makes one wonder how well it’s really understood that we are to carry the power of unconditional Christ Love to the world - how we’re to be the vessels of that Love here on Earth - filled with it to overflowing... That’s what sons of God in the making do.
That horizontal beam means I see myself right there on that cross, in Jesus, my arms outstretched with His, opening them wide! I’m crucified. My ego bit the dust and has no say about anyone else. This is the horizontal vision of Cross eyes - our arms open wide to sinners, since it is through this wondrous Love alone that they may be set free. (See Romans 5:8 - “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”)
It’s frankly disappointing when Christians are found, especially in today’s electronic social media, publicly bashing Souls that the Father loves who are in severe chains and bondage. Clearly, yes, there is sin to be addressed! No question about that. But it seems almost to have reached the point of the frenzy of blood sport to criticize and condemn, never getting around to the Gospel of the Cross and its power to set free and to transform.
That kind of “witness” is not only ineffectual; it profanes the Name of the Lord, and that is the deeper meaning of “taking the Lord’s name in vain” - standing by our opinions, not His Truth. It’s a personal agenda, almost a personal vendetta. This is not being about the Father’s business. And we are, after all, here on family business, are we not - as ambassadors of Christ? (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Anger and hostility are often placed upon someone who is deeply entrapped as a prisoner of war! An attitude like that is as insane as pushing the head of someone who is drowning further under water, rather than tossing them a life preserver and helping them back up into the boat... or stoning a woman caught in adultery.
Certainly some sins are highly politically charged today, perhaps more than ever before. It can be difficult to maintain our balance with information coming our way in copious amounts at light speed continually.
The solution? It might be to our advantage, when faced with all this “info-glut”, to get into the habit of routinely stepping away from the fray, and quietly getting into the Presence of our Lord in prayer and in His Word, so as to deeply discern and perceive in our heart's and mind’s eye the finished vision of victory in Jesus, on behalf of those whom our little peevish egos instead might like to see frying in hell.
Regular daily time spent in prayer works wonders on us too, as an attitudinal adjustment, by the way.
In this silence, stillness, and reflection we might instead see them stepping hand in hand with Jesus, out of the sepulcher on Easter morning. They have been brought up out of the darkness, led out of captivity, and raised up in Him! That is a kind of prayer we may not be used to. It is a picture with intention, and a picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. How brightly they shine! They are free from the power of death and sin!
I have often thought also of the story of the raising of Lazarus that way. Jesus calls him forth, but then He says to the bystanders, “Loose him and let him go.” The rest is up to us, in other words! And there certainly are no “innocent” bystanders. The question is, are we binding, or loosing others and letting them go? And in the process are we getting back what we’re putting forth along these lines? Father, forgive them... if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you. To forgive is to release to God, to let them go into His keeping. And as we forgive, we are forgiven and released!
The people we’d like to bury or keep buried are no more or less worthy of the gift of redemption than any of us. They are cosmic POW’s just like us! We’d like to think we’re better, or that our sins are not so severe - we who are so full of self. What we have in common is our need of Christ Love to be set free.
His work is finished - from Gethsemane to Ascension - and now it’s up to us to be the vessels whereby the healing of Christ's Passion is manifested through the power of the Holy Spirit in us! His work is finished, but ours is not, and we must get really Cross eyed if we’re to see Souls the way He sees them, and love them as He loves them.
It’s up to us to announce the great emancipation proclamation of the Good News so that they too can know they are free at last, and can walk in that freedom by the power of the Holy Spirit, enjoying the life and blessing God intended for them - now and forever. So be it. Amen.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth...” (Romans 1:16)
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God...Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 24b)
Power: From the Greek “dunamis”, δύναμις: miraculous power, force, a miracle itself, ability, abundance, mighty deed, worker of miracles, power, strength, violence, a mighty or wonderful work. A “dynamic” which is active, not static!
Just mull over these thoughts for a moment concerning the “power” of God. It’s there for everyone who believes! It is operative toward all, yet not all receive and manifest this “dunamis”. Why?
I can understand why this is so disturbing to people who are worldly minded. They see too many Christians whose walk does not match their talk. They may be “seekers”, enamored of gurus or other teachers who offer “enlightenment” but not salvation. There are trinkets - astrology, psychism, do-it-yourself rituals, meditation techniques, and so forth. But where is the “power of God unto salvation” in any of that? I would offer that these people may be seeking greater spiritual reality, but wind up wandering in the wastelands hearing the whispering of many winds of doctrine.
We “believers” are criticized, and perhaps rightly so, that we offer nothing to the world besides a belief with no power, yet Scripture clearly teaches that the Gospel and the Cross are the very power of God at work in everyone who receives them! Where’s the evidence? Where’s the fruit?
We’re clearly shown by John, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12) Now that’s a mouthful! Not only some sort of vague spiritual power, but the very dynamic power to become the sons of God!
Yet when such wonder working power is available and given freely to all, what is it that prohibits the people from reaching up and grabbing the gift offered to them?
Perhaps they fear having something grab ahold of them? But then again - something may already have ahold of them, a fear producing thing.
That kind of fear ought to be disturbing to us who do “believe”. But is it enough to believe, as in mental assent, or should there be something beyond belief which is so real and powerful that it tantalizes and creates a hunger in others, so that it makes them say, “I want what you have”?
The above passage from Romans is a dynamic affirmation from the Apostle Paul: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ!” Are we of the same mind, affirming God’s truth with the same confidence within ourselves? Perhaps we realize that this dynamic power, this “dunamis”, δύναμις, may not exactly characterize how we go about living our life.
If so, we have some work to do. (Who doesn’t?) We’re not a finished work of Grace yet, as long as we’re still in skin.
The Christian life is really all about that. It begins within the Cross, the greatest metaphysical event in history! Revelation 13:8 presents Jesus Christ as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” This takes us outside time and into the eternal and timeless - and is all encompassing. This One Lord Jesus Christ impacts from “infinity” our life here on finite Earth! How? It always seems to go back to Ephesians 2:10 - “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” And also “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Crucified and re-created in Christ, through His cross. Dismantled and re-assembled. Old me exchanged for new me, an entirely “new creation” - for “good works”, the righteousness of God through the Holy Spirit, in which God ordained us to walk from of old! That’s “dunamis”, the power of God!
The question each of us must ask ourself is, is this what the rest of the world sees when they look at me? What would my particular expression of “dunamis” look like?
First of all, we’re directed to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking to receive the Holy Spirit (see Luke 11:13). And then...
What if each of us affirms daily, often, and with regularity these scriptural proclamations of St. Paul? Maybe it could be short and sweet, like this: “Let me never be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, since I have been crucified with Christ. I have been raised up with Him. I sit in heavenly places in Him! Everywhere Jesus is, there I find myself!” (per Ephesians 2:6 - “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”)
What if we wrote this on an index card and pulled it out of our pocket at numerous times of the day and reminded ourselves of our truth in Jesus Christ? Would the “dunamis” become our reality? Would the world see The Way, The Truth, and The Life visible in us, and behold the exit out of its conundrums, through the transformation of one Soul at a time?
It seems pretty clear that God has this divine vision that we ought to actually be set free from the devil, the world, and the flesh, and that He actually implemented that freedom through our Elder Brother Jesus Christ! Is He not that in which we live, move, and have our being? To top it off He gives the Holy Spirit to those who cry out persistently.
What would happen if the truth became our truth? That is the beauty of affirming Bible truth to ourselves. This is a way for the transforming power of the Gospel to take hold of our minds first of all. For are we not admonished to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2)? This is where it must begin! The seed of Truth must be planted inwardly in order to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit outwardly. There is no truth more exciting, for in the final analysis this is the truth that sets us free. And how sweet it is!
It amazes me that so many of these dynamic passages are found in the opening chapters of these epistles. It signals that these are the beginnings or basic reminders! The “dunamis” is there at the very outset! The primary things! The Christian’s “prime directives”! So, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...” As in do, re, mi?
How and where has this basic idea of the dynamic power of God become lost? Where did ears become hard of hearing? When did eyes no longer see this basic introductory truth of the Gospel and the Cross being the utterly transformative Way that sets us free? (Please also refer to 1 Thessalonians 2:13 and James 1:21.)
I’ll leave you, dear reader, to grapple with these questions, as we all “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)
Truly amazing, dynamic, not static grace! May it be so in all!
The opening words of the following passage from the Gospel of St. John are often repeated on holidays where we are remembering and honoring those who gave their lives for the ideal of freedom. Certainly they deserve our respect and a hearty salute. What an incredible sacrifice! Yet not often do we call these words to remembrance in their more all embracing context, in remembrance of our one Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave His life for friend and foe alike.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:13-15)
Servants, slaves, soldiers, employees, or even perhaps children participate in the directives of their overseers (or even captors) without reason and without question. This is blind obedience, often based in fear and without comprehension. Jesus’ words preceding this passage can trip us up a little, as He prefaces His remarks with an idea that gives the impression that friendship with Him is very conditional: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you”. He clears this up for His disciples as He develops His conversation with them.
Here’s the simple difference: Servants obey without understanding. Friends participate and cooperate enthusiastically with understanding, affection, and love. Understanding of the mission trumps blind obedience any day as the motivating factor for those Jesus calls His friends! That’s what He’s clarifying here. He makes known to disciples all that He hears from our Heavenly Father! That’s the difference between religion and Christianity: understanding versus blind obedience. It’s a “heart matter” in so many ways! Christianity moves us from religious blind observance into salvation consciousness.
We pick up our cross and follow Jesus as His friends once we “hear” what He shares with us from the Father, as the “Word” of the Lord enters our hearts with understanding. We can then willingly embrace the “mission” of Salvation and understand its ramifications. It’s why we’re here. It’s what we are and what we do - with understanding!
We can then also grasp with heartfelt conviction that, in spite of outer appearances, we really have no enemies! The whole world is instead filled with friends, brothers, and sisters in need of being sprung from the status of P.O.W.s on a cosmic scale, to being set free and on their way “up and out” toward being sons of God!
Wow! Blind obedience does not bring this view. Only the inward understanding provided by Jesus, based on His written Word, through the Holy Spirit, can enlighten us to the realities of the mission. We certainly need the “outer” Word, but we are motivated by the “inner” Spirit of the Word and the Divine Love, light, and fire that it kindles.
Then we carry forth God’s own Love into life, His infinite unconditional Love toward all. If Love is unconditional, it is not selective or exclusive. Romans 5:7 demonstrates this Love very, very clearly: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” That’s the difference between finite, human, conditional Love and our Heavenly Father’s infinite, divine, and unconditional Love expressed through Jesus Christ. The apostle goes on to explain in verse 8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Divine unconditional Love is the only Love powerful and enduring enough to pull off a rescue like this on a cosmic scale - until the job is complete. But what else would our Father in Heaven do in a situation where His own sons and daughters are not only cosmic P.O.W.s, but have also experienced such massive Luciferian programming that they suffer from spiritual Stockholm Syndrome? (Defined as feelings of trust or affection felt in circumstances of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward his or her captor. The victims may even buy into, support, and embrace the goals and objectives of their captors.)
His promise abides, however, per John 14:18 - “I will not leave youcomfortless: I will come to you.” And so it is!
What great Love our Father has for us, that our Elder Brother Jesus Christ, second Person of the Holy Trinity - fully informed of the risks and the cost - would descend from on high, in full agreement with our Heavenly Father, with the intention to set every one of us free from sin, death, and the power of the devil, and to bring us back Home with Him!
Can we speak of this enough? Can we sing His praises loudly enough, once we have experienced the status change from servants to friends having a solemn awareness of the situation?
Our beloved Savior moves us through spiritual rescue to redemption to resurrection and restoration! He took our sins to a gory death on the cross in Himself. Our servant status died there too. We’re resurrected as His friends, free to follow Him, fully informed and convinced, completely into everlasting glory - with a hotline to our Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit.
Now there’s the freedom worth dying for!
Once we understand the magnitude and nature of what He reveals to us through the Holy Spirit’s counsel, revealed to heart and mind, as we ask, seek, and knock, we can receive the magnificent “Vision” of our Father’s Love, our true home, and where this thing called “history” is destined to go. For we are no longer servants but friends, the recipients of endless, fearless Love!
Thanks be to God for His provision for our everlasting freedom through the life, teachings, death, resurrection, ascension and eternal reign of Jesus Christ - in Whom we live, move, and have our being! Let us always keep these things in eternal remembrance in our hearts and minds and never forget His unfathomable Good.
An acquaintance of mine commented on how disgusted she is with religious people. “They aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. They are such hypocrites.” At first I was a little surprised at the rest of her remarks, some of which were quite heated and full of popular, over-used expletives. She claims to be “open minded” concerning just about everything. However, when it comes to “believers”, she cuts them no slack!
Instead of reacting to her reactions to believers, I decided to explore this a little myself. Is there evidence for her conclusions? This is what I came up with, based first of all on her challenge. After doing some self examination as well as a little spiritual “time travel” into the past to revisit some religious “worlds” of past involvement, I discovered that her claims may carry some weight.
These “reviews” amounted to the formation of a question: Why are people involved in religion, or “spirituality”, as some prefer, since they regard themselves as “spiritual” and not “religious”? Unfortunately the two seem to have become mutually exclusive in some minds. However, Lucifer is a spirit and he certainly “believes in” God, so I guess that makes him “spiritual” too, eh?
Please, mind you, these are observations, not judgements. I cannot “judge”. I do not sit behind a tall desk, dressed in a black robe, a gavel in my hand dispensing sentences for crimes, offenses, or misdemeanors. But I can make observations about why people are religious / spiritual. Here are a few:
1. You grow up in a tradition. The whole family - immediate and extended - follows “THE Tradition”. Blindly. You “believe” because it’s your family’s belief, but you may not really know God. You may be nominally Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Pentecostal, whatever. “It’s what we do.”
2. Religion is entertainment. You know - the parlor games crowd. Dabbling with no commitments. Spiritual one night stands. Tarot readings, astrology, palm readings... reading everything but the Bible. Seances, visiting haunted buildings, dancing in circle under a full moon, spoon bending, retreats and workshops on how to discover or enhance your psychic abilities or see auras.
3. You have a curiosity about the “unseen”. So you involve yourself in metaphysical research. The word itself simply means “beyond the physical”. There are many branches of metaphysical science. It’s essentially the study of how the unseen - “energy” - effects the realm of matter, what we can see. It is the study of the interplay of cause and effect - prayer, positive thinking, science of mind, affirmations, and the like. Personally I do not actually regard this as a religion, except to add that paradoxically all religions have metaphysical practices and tools. Metaphysical “science” observes and theorizes how religious practices work, for example, how does prayer / ritual affect physical situations? This could also include the effects of light or color (art and symbolism), sound or vibration (music), and integrative healing settings.
4. Another reason why people do religion is that the church basement is the nearest thing to an exclusive social club where you can get the latest gossip about who should be excluded from your clique. The rule of thumb is to always bring your yardstick to the quilting circle. That way you can decide how someone who’s not there does not quite measure up to your standard for them, but you yourself indeed wind up being tall in the saddle of self righteousness, pilgrim.
5. Or maybe you are someone who likes to win, even at church in the men’s Bible study. You like to impress with all your knowledge, which certainly exceeds that of anyone else in the room. But you’re on your fourth marriage, and your current wife hasn’t yet mentioned to you that she’s filed for divorce. Your his-hers-ours batch of kids are pretty much little hellions whose respect you’ve never managed to win, and who may, if they’re fortunate, not grow up to be like you. But you’re too heavenly minded to be any earthly good, so who cares?
6. Maybe you’re afraid of hell when you die, and the life you’re living now is riddled with guilt and drama. So you’re into chastisements, punishments, penance, and really love a good hellfire and brimstone sermon every now and then. Your life is so bad that this kind of thing actually gives you comfort. It leaves you temporarily feeling better (or bitter?) about yourself, and you think if you can please God with your ego attempts at being good. Self righteousness and self efforts surely will give you a better crack at Heaven.
7. Then you may be one who chooses a religious path that shows you how to keep your sunny side up, but the reality is that you’re torn apart on your insides and the outside of your life. It’s a place where you can learn principles and affirmations that basically instruct you on how to serve a gourmet dinner on top of a dumpster, but the garbage and its smell never get taken away, as the inner stench permeates every area of life. You just can’t get away from it, because you haven’t realized that it’s what’s inside a man that defiles him, as Jesus taught. It may be a religion of “getting ahead” in the world, or how to attract more stuff into your life. But it isn’t changing you, and that’s where the work needs to be done.
8. You’re into politics, so you join a religion that may run anywhere from ultra-conservative right to ultra-liberal left. Whatever it is, it must be politically correct, having its particular agenda for mankind, just as long as it’s a religion informed by those who know what’s best for everyone else - “the” cause or party you blindly support with vigor. You may have never really heard Jesus when He says, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
9. Last but not least, is that of Jesus Christ’s Way of salvation through His cross and resurrection, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s not about tradition, habit, religion as entertainment, trendy spirituality, the unseen, Bible thumping, gossip, self righteousness, fear, guilt, positive thinking, politics, or even how to have a better shot at your fifteen minutes of fame.
It is about the narrow Way! It is about the Jesus Christ way of inner spiritual transformation! It’s your real reason for being! It’s about being freed from sin, death, the world’s way of doing things, and the hooks of the evil one on your Soul. At some point you’ve come to the place where you’ve experienced the life-transforming call of Jesus Christ the risen Son of God. You’ve heard Him say within you, as He looks into your Soul, takes you by the hand, and says, “Follow me!” And you surrender in full!
You leave your “stuff” right there and walk away from it. As the Door opens, you walk into the transforming power of the Presence of the Living God, as He seals the promise on your Heart, “I will never leave you or forsake you!” And everything changes, especially your priorities. None of those other “reasons for religion” can hold a candle to His divine reality.
If you’re like me, and you’ve been in those other spaces or something close to them, the people who questioned you then may really criticize you now. They may always see you as they formerly perceived you, refusing to admit that a sea change has occurred, and this can be deeply disturbing to them.
When St. Paul was still Saul of Tarsus, he was a Pharisee who had overseen the martyrdom of many Christians. But when Jesus introduced Himself to Paul in a blinding vision, it transformed him beyond his former identities. The old Saul was gone, whether anyone was for him or against him. He now labored on behalf of those he’d formerly persecuted, in order that Christ be formed in them. (See Galatians 4:19). In other words the change was so radical that his name was no longer Saul, but Paul.
Being made new - going from inner darkness and sinning to being radiant and shining with God’s own Light through the Holy Spirit living within - is what it’s about. This can only be brought about through surrendering to the Cross, where we are made a new creation in Jesus Christ!
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
“Were you there when they crucified my Lord,
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh... Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”
So asks the old spiritual. Profoundly simple. Simply profound! It asks us to look deeply into the mystery that is the cross. So, what do you say, dear reader, in answer to this question? Were you there? Do you know you were there?
Indeed, mysteriously, the cross is my story. It is your story. It is everyone’s story, in our Lord Jesus - if we can only see it as such.
At first glance, we may only see the cross in historical and physical terms. It has always been seen as a device of torture and execution from the ancient world. People who perceive the cross only in this way often ask, “Why do you wear a crucifix? It’s a very negative symbol.” But is it really just that? Or is there something more?
The natural history of the symbol is not really the issue. The supernatural history of the cross of Jesus Christ is the issue! The question really remains a spiritual one: was I there, were you there - when they crucified our Lord? How do you see yourself in relationship to that cross?
The cross was a place where crime and insurrection ended, in no uncertain terms, as far as the occupational forces of Rome were concerned in any land the empire conquered. These brutal crucifixions were public events, reminders to all about who ruled the roost and what would happen to trouble making dissenters.
Does that ring any bells, strictly from the perspective of the cross being the place where rebellion ends? Let’s explore further.
Even the cross’s natural and repugnant use depicts something to us about our own ancient skeletons in the closet. In the beginning, we were the insurrectionists, complicit in a cosmic coup set against our Heavenly Father, His Kingdom, and His divine plan for our uninterrupted eternal Good.
Someone was insanely jealous of this Kingdom and those created to occupy, administrate, and enjoy it. Ultimately our first parents were “tricked” through this very cunning, hateful, and jealous adversary into rebellion.
They fell for the Serpent’s treachery and swallowed his tempting idea. They were complicit in a crime against all humans - the first crime against humanity. How sweet that first bite of fruit must have seemed to Eve, then to Adam. Yet how hard and fast the plunge into captivity - meaning a fall into sin and death. Power over us was handed over to our adversary the Evil One. Not just for the Primal Parents, but over the whole human race for that day forward.
They certainly bit off more than they could chew!
You can laugh at this if you want to, but the rest, as they say, is history. This is the real reason things have gone the way they have, since the children of God were tricked into surrendering their birthright and their world to the Evil One and fallen beings who followed him. We were coerced into a rebellion against our Father and against ourselves. Crazy, isn’t it? But it’s been the pattern ever since. We were essentially sold into captivity for something temporary and tasty.
Yet our Heavenly Father’s unconditional and everlasting love is such that He provided a Way for us to be free. He could not bear to see His children taken captive, imprisoned, blinded, programmed, maimed, crippled, and enslaved to this arch fiend and his hordes!
The Father enacted a plan, along with His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Granted the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit, we perceive ourselves crucified, dead, and more importantly resurrected to new life in the Redemptive Act of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Surrendering ourselves and our will to Him (by the power of the Holy Spirit) on an ongoing basis, we are set free from sin (and its wages - death), self, and Satan! We are granted not only a pardon but the gift of a whole new state of being. We are restored to fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
Jesus Christ Himself, the perfect and spotless Lamb of God, took upon Himself our sin and put it to death on the cross. His blood paid the ransom on our heads, so we could walk away free of the stranglehold of darkness, into a whole new life!
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Restoration to full sonship - becoming the righteousness of God - is the intended path of salvation!
In other words He, the One Who was sinless, took upon Himself our sin-full rebelliousness and its results. He crucified these in His own body on the cross. We - the human former insurrectionist component of that ancient coup - can therefore say with a resounding yes, that we were there when they crucified our Lord!
We can then re-affirm every day, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Thanks be to God! Jesus took upon Himself the burden of all the sin of humanity, from the beginning of time to the end of all things, put it to death in the cross, and offers His own new Resurrected Life to us through the Holy Spirit.
So we revisit the question, were you there when they crucified my Lord? Do you see yourself - with the eyes of faith - dead through that cross but made alive through His resurrection? And more than this, were you there when He rose up from the dead? The answer should be a resounding yes!
May the Holy Spirit open to us the inner seeing of His supernatural faith - to perceive His remarkable gift, receive it, and live our life forever within this new reality, now and throughout all eternity.
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but that’s an offer I can’t refuse - Jesus has taken me from insurrection to resurrection and beyond! Thanks be to our God and Father for His unfathomable love for us all! May our eyes be open to perceive, receive, and live in the newness of His life!