Contemplations On The Cross
“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.’” 2 Timothy 2:19.
It seems clearer than clear that, yes, the Holy Scriptures do reveal Jesus Christ. It doesn’t stop there, since we are also guided to let the Mind of Christ be in us (Philippians 2:5). The Mind of Christ is that of humility and full surrender of our will to God our Heavenly Father, manifesting His righteousness through the Holy Spirit, “that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2Timothy 3:17.
We could say that if we are His “house of prayer”, then we are to be properly “furnished”.
For some reason when believers take their cue from what is politically correct these days, a tale is disseminated of a very unbalanced and incomplete half truth about the nature of being saved by grace. Certainly this is where the salvation journey begins, but it does not end there - as in, “OK, I’m saved now, so I can live any way I please, and I’m still right with God. I do not need to repent, to turn away from evil.” But this is not how it works.
This is as foolish as being given a reprieve from a life sentence in prison, but refusing to leave the jail! You have to use that “get our of jail free” card. It's the one with the Cross on it.
The Christian path is the Way of freedom from sin and the stranglehold of Satanic bondage. Christianity ought to be a grappling with spiritual reality, but so often is only seen in terms of mental assent to a doctrine. Anything short of a genuine spiritual experience, impacting the mind and the heart being set free from what is clearly evil, robs the soul of its salvation and its freedom to walk in the Way of the Lord. Scripture confirms over and over again that Jesus provided our salvation through His cross, but we have to live as new creatures in that new reality brought about through His resurrection. That’s the whole point.
The Holy Spirit confirms this to our hearts and minds, as the desire for righteousness and good works follow as a result of faith, “... that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Salvation is a process wherein we ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking (see Luke 11:9,10, especially in the Amplified Bible).
Salvation is experienced as the awareness of the reality of heavenly intervention and the willingness to walk in the power of God. We walk out of darkness into “His marvelous light”! (1 Peter 2:9) In other words departing from iniquity clearly means heading in the direction of righteousness, our beacon and lighthouse in the tempest. This is the way of repentance.
True - it is not our righteousness but the righteousness of God Himself, His holiness, His perfection with which we are adorned. We have the promise from Malachi 4:2 that upon those who fear the name of the Lord “shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings”! God’s love radiates out to us. As we walk toward that Light of God, He draws near to us, and we are enveloped in His Light of transforming Grace! His righteousness becomes our righteousness as a manifest reality. His Light causes all the darkness within us to flee! Our world is changed as we are changed.
If indeed we have received Christ in this way, in a real way, there is a genuine hunger and thirst for righteousness. Another promise of Jesus then comes into view, that we shall be filled (Matthew 5:6). Where there is no appetite, one does not partake of food - physical or spiritual. Even this hunger comes from Above! It is always by God’s Grace that we are becoming “saved” as His likeness is restored within us. This is real divine intervention, for through the Holy Spirit we are then filled and shining with the Sun of Righteousness Himself.
Once Christ is genuinely received within our heart in His fulness, our personality, priorities, goals, life directions, and motivations change radically - from the inside out. The desires of the Lord become our desires! We become new creations, with the old passing away, and all things becoming new (See 2 Corinthians 5:17) by the Holy Spirit - from the inside out… Yes, I know I keep repeating that phrase “from the inside out”.
Apathy, selfishness, new age material success emphasis, and the like seem to run rampant among believers. But why? Could it be that people are satisfied with “easy belief” and “religion”, or continually look for some new type of spiritual entertainment, but have not really had a conscious, life-impacting brush with otherworldly reality - for good or for ill?
Maybe therefore we are not actually convinced that there is more to reality than what our five senses connect with. We’ve lost track of the mission in many instances - that as the Body of Christ we have the same purpose as our Head, Jesus Christ - to participate in the destruction of the works of the devil and to come personally into the fulness of Christ. What will it take to get us to awake?
This is real! It requires the righteousness of God, not our ego programs, or self righteousness, to do His work. His shining Righteousness is the only pure Light capable of routing out all the works of darkness!
We’ve lost track of greater spiritual reality and how it has impacted Planet Earth, and we may not even see ourselves as having been affected by it. We’re not convinced, in our age of rationalism and relativism, that there is sin and evil, or in some cases even that God is real. We may go to a church or play church, but have we stepped up to the plate of being the church, the "ecclesia" - the ones called out of the world system and set apart for God and for His purposes?
Might it be that for lack of a vision that the people are unruly, or they perish? (See Proverbs 29:18.)
May the Sun of Righteousness forever enlighten our heart! Let us ask, seek, and knock as St. Paul did - “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:17-23)
It doesn't get any better than this!
John 20:21. “Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
Maybe it’s simplistic to ask this question, but have you ever wondered why there is so much resistance to the claims of Christianity, and the testimonies of Christians who have experienced the reality of those claims? This resistance takes the form of anything from simple skepticism and scoffing to genuine explosive hostility and persecution.
Might it go a little deeper than the surface disagreements between denominations, or even the shameful history of one Christian group against another for two millennia?
What it it about “the Church” that really evokes hostility here on Planet Earth from the non-Christian world?
Simply put, the Church – in spite of her foibles – represents something of a very powerful otherworldly Presence on a planet which has known little but “alien” (demonic) occupation for thousands of years. The Church is a threat to the status quo of the powers that illicitly occupy Planet Earth. (Sadly it seems at this point to represent only a potential threat to the dismantlement of these adversarial strongholds, due to its lukewarmness and lack of understanding of its real calling and purpose.)
The Church represents a Kingdom not of this world. It is the “embassy” of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. The Lord’s people claimed by the Blood of Jesus Christ are to be ambassadors for Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, and Ephesians 6:18-20).
Certainly there are differences in many doctrinal positions and perceptions among denominations, but the one constant, perceived consciously or unconsciously, is that the Earth and the human souls which inhabit her are not the property of the current occupational forces which have no real authority here.
This Luciferian authoritarian regime ended over two-thousand years ago, as Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” The Serpent’s head of old was finally crushed. The adversary was defeated through the redemptive work of the Son of God. We were and are redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, in order for us to live within the original estate of the loving will of our Heavenly Father and God!
Whatever occupational forces that remain in place are here in the same manner in which they were originally put in place – by the complicity of men’s wills through cunning, coercion, and control.
The Embassy, however, “stretches” in its expanse from the physical Body of Christ - the ones called forth from and out of the world system and its religions - up through celestial orders of loyal holy angels still true to their domains, to the Holy Trinity of the Godhead itself. We have friends in high places! The Embassy exists on Earth to deliver mankind – the children of God – from this current occupation, its world systems, and from the “programming” called original sin, through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This programming in the hearts, minds, and souls of humankind is the cause of this resistance to the claims of Christianity, creating spiritual blindness, deafness, lameness, and hardness of heart. The Embassy exists to set men free from this condition.
This Gospel message is laid out in many ways throughout the Holy Scripture, the Bible. It is the “mission manual” stating the challenge and the history of it, the goal of how it is to be taken down, the Vision of the final outcome, and who the key players are, as well as what our understanding needs to be concerning the fulness of salvation to be completed in the last days of the age (also called by some the “end of the world” system). This little synopsis is a poor one, but it needs to be considered and pondered at length, deeply, and prayerfully by every soul who names the Name of Jesus Christ.
Messengers are sent to call our attention to this greater reality, to which so many have fallen asleep. Who takes this seriously anymore – that we are here to pull off the spiritual jailbreak of the ages – setting free the “POW’s” of the Luciferian occupation?
We are to get past boot camp and into the fray, as good soldiers, on behalf of the Embassy. Souls must be reclaimed from the power of the devil, the world, the flesh, and sin (a very unpopular word these days). There’s a lot of unfinished business here on Planet Earth. Jesus didn’t die so we could have a free for all and let the good times roll! (His joy unspeakable and full of glory is of a much higher order!) The occupational forces seem to have more of a foothold than ever, and so we must wake up, come to attention and genuinely come to grips with the magnitude and seriousness of the mission.
The “Church” is not a social club for gossips and people who want to look good on the outside to the world. It is not to be a propaganda machine informed by popular political agendas. It is not here to teach New Age success and prosperity doctrines, or how to follow your dream. It is here to bring souls first to salvation and then to the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). It is here to be the Body of Christ in this world, one with its Head, so that the world may be saved. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Are we up for that or not?
The peculiar thing about the weapons of our warfare is that this is not about guts, guns, and personal ego glory! It is about first of all full surrender of personal will and ego to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to hearing His “word” to us (both the Holy Scripture and the word of His Still Small Voice in our hearts, the Holy Spirit. The two need to confirm each other).
Like Jesus, we are to be about the Father’s business! We are to put on the Mind of Christ – humility and unconditional Love, to be singly focused of mind, heart, soul, strength, and intention in Jesus alone. Jesus promises that it is the “meek” who will inherit the Earth – those fully surrendered to the Lord God of Hosts! We love as He loves us! (See Psalm 37:11 and Matthew 5:5.)
This is an important realization. There are too many today rallying to other lesser causes than the reality of the Embassy of the Kingdom that is not of this world, but to Whom this world belongs.
It is important that we remind one another of the real reasons why we are here, as we are reminded by St. Paul to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)
“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:14-21)
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
“Behold the man!” These words of Pontius Pilate seem to be a strange place to begin. “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!” (John 19:5) Yet they echo the words of John the Baptist at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, as he says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
The question is, what do I see when I “behold the Man”? It occurred to me that perhaps I ought to answer that as a sort of affirmative prayer...
Let this be my prayer, my affirmation wherein I stand, giving all thanks to You, oh Savior and Lord of all, that I may behold You first of all, myself within You in Your Passion, and You within me. Another facet of Your Incarnation. Amen.
Soon comes the day, the Day of the Lord, when all things are accomplished and restored - the sons of God manifested, the Earth and all her inhabitants no longer under the dominion of evil. Then will be the reign of the Prince of Peace with the restoration of all creation, which has labored as a woman in childbirth, awaiting the revealing of the sons of God.
It took the Cross to begin this work. One by one. The old song asks, "Where you there when they crucified my Lord?" Each of us might do well to ponder the implication of this question.
This is the purpose of our faith - that the sons of God are restored and manifested, to be as Jesus was in this world, coming about through the redemption wrought by our Elder Brother Jesus Christ, walking the path of repentance and humility, the Way of salvation. It means that the Holy Spirit calls us to and keeps us in His work by Grace through faith. With the vision of faith, as we “behold the man”, we become in fulness what we already are in seed, as the acorn becomes the oak. Christ in us the Hope of Glory. “For me to live IS Christ, and to die is gain.” He increases; I decrease.
I see this in type as the ancient symbol of Moses’ serpent on the staff (Numbers 21:6-9), a picture of the crucifixion of the “serpent” nature in us, and as we behold ourselves within His passion in the Cross, we are set free and healed. His heel was bruised, but the serpent’s head was crushed. Once and for all! And with Him we cry out in acknowledgment, “It IS finished!” This is where all true healing begins - as we behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
Oh say, can you see this? “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)
Let me live, Holy Spirit, ever in this vision, this truth, this reality - crucified, dead, buried, raised up and ascended - in Him, with Him, and through Him, in and by Whom we live, move, and have our being - to Whom belongs all might, power, and dominion, now and throughout all ages forever and ever. Glory to the Lamb Who was slain, the Risen Savior! Amen.
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For contemplation and consideration: Psalm 1, and also 1 John 5:19.
Point for consideration: ”Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19 NASB.
Where is the confusion in this simple remark by Jesus? It seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? Or is it just that we think we ought to be entitled to “reinterpret” His directives, informed more by what we’d rather do, or what is politically correct (and spiritually unsound), that brings us to the conclusion that the moral and universal laws of God do not apply to our Christian life?
Substitutes? Doctrines of cheap grace in the form of “all we have to do is believe” - making the cross, redemption, salvation, and sanctification ineffective? Another favorite: substitution of rituals for realities, memberships in a church as a substitute for the Divine Life of Christ within us by being born of the Holy Spirit?
The apostle Paul reminds us most sternly and without mincing words, “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?” 1 Corinthians 13:5 KJV.
A few synonyms for “reprobate”: unprincipled, bad, wicked, rakish, shameless, immoral, degenerate, dissipated, debauched, depraved, knavish, lawless. And does it need to be restated that, just because we have the “legal right” to do something, is it necessarily morally right or in our best interests?
Here’s how it’s supposed to work: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life 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 KJV.
Miracles beyond description happened through the Cross! One of the biggest of these is that the old reprobate me died there - in and through Jesus!
When a soul experiences this “death”, and a rebirth takes place, that soul begins to experience freedom from sin and the passions of the flesh. What Jesus Christ did for that soul now manifests in that soul! An old life dies. A new life begins. He or she is no longer driven by a reprobate mind or behavior. He or she has been set free, having received in real time the “get out of jail free” card, so as to walk in newness of life.
The thing is, we must then continue to walk free. “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1. KJV.
Many of us have undergone this “conversion” experience, or begun it. That is what it means to be born again. It is very, very real. There is no more desire for sinning; one is no longer motivated by it.
That is why it is so difficult to understand where all this “liberal theology” comes from, with its anything-goes positions, that tells us we can go on sinning once we have realized that we have been set free from sin through the Lord Jesus Christ, and are now free to live the blessed life by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Anyone who has experienced this freedom no longer wants to sin and live a reprobate life. It’s that simple. Management, motivation, and mission have changed hands!
Churches, which are more politically informed than they are Holy Spirit and Word of God informed, should simply stop referring to themselves as “Christian”, for they are not living in the holy name of Jesus Christ, but are only profaning it before the world.
None of this carries any power of salvation, and it certainly does not promote any sort of Biblical sanctification. It is in fact complete “ignore-ance” of the Holy Word of God and the Holy Spirit, teaching instead that what is corrupt and defiling within a soul is just plain OK, acceptable, and supported.
Those sticking to the understanding of the implications of the Cross have been accused any number of times of being “judgmental”, the favorite accusation of peddlers of New Age hedonistic relativism and the cult of self-will. God’s Word on the matter simply states, “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge; but he that hateth reproof is brutish.” Proverbs 12:1. KJV. The NASB take on it: “... But he who hates reproof is stupid.”
If God did not love us, He would let us wallow in our reprobate state, instead of making a way for us to come home and to be made whole through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Where are the lovers of the knowledge of God? Where are they who yearn for His instruction? It seems we live in a world where much of the church has gone reprobate and stupid in its hatred of divine Wisdom and reproof!
Where is the salt of the Earth? Or are so many among us as salt that has lost its savor, always looking back and yearning for Sodom?
The purpose of the Cross and the shedding of Jesus’ Blood is so that we may be set free from self, sin, death, the world system, and the power of the devil - not so that we can get a free ticket to heaven while still wallowing in reprobate thinking and doing.
As far as the Cross is concerned, Jesus “nailed it”! It really is that simple.
It really is true that when we become Christians in spirit and in truth, we exchange our old reprobate life for the pure Mind and Heart of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are new creations, the old has passed away, all things are become new! We live increasingly according to the power of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing unloving or judgmental about that! However, original sin, that source of rebellion within, can prompt a defensive posture, since it is the “end of the world” for the reprobate mind and the forces that drive it! What is passing away is certainly reluctant to surrender to its inevitable fate.
Apparently some who are under the impression that surrender to the Cross is unnecessary have not bothered to read the Bible for themselves, come to know the Christ of Whom it testifies, nor allowed the Holy Spirit to lead them into the truth or bring to mind all that Jesus taught. If they did, they would not embrace the foolery that they have, nor would they be allowing politics to inform church beliefs and practices.
How theologians and ministers continue to debate against the simple Way provided through the Wisdom that is Jesus Christ, after over two-thousand years, seems rather baffling. You’d think they’d know better by now.
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Maybe instead of calling it Bible Study or Sunday School, we might consider calling our Berean-like activity “S.T.E.P.”: the Sonship Transformation Exploration Project, or even the Satanic Termination and Eviction Process. Both go hand in hand - one of them very empowering, the other very freeing, and both absolutely necessary.
John 1:12 and13 jump out at us with a very amazing idea. “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.” It’s an amazing thought. Not one of those things you can take lightly once it impacts your awareness and opens your eyes. It also challenges the expectation of seeing ourselves as “believers”. We “believe” on His name. But what does that mean? And where does it go from there?
There’s so much more! We may feel a sentimental rush when we sing that little chorus, “To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, all I ask, to be like Him...” Yet do we consider that this is not only within the realm of possibility, but actually one of the big reasons for being a Christian? To actually be like Jesus!
And didn’t Jesus also promise, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father”? (John 14:12)
The first time I encountered these verses (or maybe they were encountering me) I had to wonder, Am I missing something here? There seems to be so much more in the way of powerful, transformative experience that goes with being a “believer”!
The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, it turns out, took on some really dynamic implications in light of our becoming sons of God. His finished work means the way is open for being restored to sonship lost through the sin of our first parents. He gives us His teaching, and the Holy Spirit’s input in the process of salvation - which leads us along as we are formed into sons of the Most High.
Romans 8:19 reveals that “the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” It appears that the creation itself is anxiously awaiting the revealing of not only the Firstborn Son Jesus, the Second Adam, but the rest of the His “younger siblings” we might say - to whom He gives the authority to become as He was in this world. This is in order for all of creation to be set free from slavery to corruption “into the freedom of the glory of the children of God”! This is a much bigger picture than we’re usually used to considering.
Jesus, now - through the Holy Spirit - is still always about our Heavenly Father’s business, freeing and restoring God’s children in order for us to participate likewise in an entirely new way of being. And there’s more! It’s with a view to the glorious freedom of the entire creation. That’s a tall order!
This is a spectacular bit of news! In fact much of the entire chapter of Romans 8 has to do with our becoming “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ!” It is also pointed out that this process does not come about through being some sort of spiritual couch potato, but through mortification of the deeds of the body, and through suffering. This is where the evil one experiences eviction!
This isn’t a real popular idea these days. Mortification has to do with the mind set on the spirit, not on the “flesh” and its agendas for “happiness”. To “mortify” means tosubdue - to put to death - the desires rooted in the sin nature - not only through self-denial and self discipline, but by realizing that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us. God is doing a work in us through suffering that leads us into glory!
It’s an attitude that begins in the mind “set on” and motivated by the Holy Spirit, who testifies with our spirit that we are children of God - as we see God at work transforming us into sons through the difficult aspects of our lives. Nothing separates us from our Father’s Love! Even the threats of our times - two millennia after the Bible events of Jesus’ life and the early church and the Apostles’ writings - take on a different meaning in light of all this!
This understanding that’s gotten lost in a worldly-minded Christianity focused on its mini empire building, or what feels good as being exclusively “God’s will” for us... Strange. If Jesus had embraced that idea, there would have been no Cross and no redemption. Have we considered that in this light before? “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10)
Could we dare to go as far as to look upon the “negative” events in our life as a kind of experiential co-crucifixion, cleansing us and preparing for an infilling of the Holy Spirit, the likes of which we have never seen, in preparation for becoming sons of God? Something to consider, to pray for, and to ponder.
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