Page 5 - Good News March 2005 paper
P. 5

The  cross  of
           Christ  is  the
           m o s t   r e v o -
           lutionary thing
           ever to appear
           among men.
           The  cross  in
           Roman  times
           knew  no  com-
           p r o m i s e ;   i t
           never  made
           It  won  all  its
           arguments  by
           k i l l i n g   i t s
           opponents and
           silencing them
          for  good.  lt  spared  not  Christ,   ends also the "old life" of every one of His true
          but slew Him the same as the         followers.  It  destroys  the  old  pattern,  the Adam
          rest.   He  was  alive  when  they   pattern, in the believer's life, and brings it to an
          hung  Him  on  that  cross  and      end. Only then can the God who raised Christ from
          completely  dead  when  they         the  dead  raise  the  believer  so  that  a  new  life
          took Him down six hours later.       begins. This, and nothing less, is true Christianity.
          After Christ was risen from the      We  cannot  help  but  recognize  the  sharp
          dead  the  apostles  went  out  to   divergence of this conception from that held by
          preach His message, and what         the rank and file of evangelicals today. But we dare
          they  preached  was  the  cross.     not  qualify  our  position.  The  cross  stands  high
          Wherever  they  went  into  the      above the opinions of men, and to that cross all
          wide  world  they  carried  the      opinions  must  come  at  last  for  judgment.  A
          message of the cross, and the        shallow  and  worldly  Christian  leadership  would
          same  revolutionary  power           modify the cross to please the entertainment-mad
          went  with  them.  The  radicaI      saintlings, who ever desire to have their fun – even
          message  of  the  cross  trans-      in  the  very  sanctuary.  But  to  do  so  is  to  court
          formed  Saul  of  Tarsus.  It        spiritual disaster, and risk the anger of the Lamb
          changed him from a persecutor        turned Lion.
          of  Christians  to  a  tender        We must do something about the cross, and we
          believer  and  an  apostle  of  the   can only do one of two things – flee from it or die
          faith.   lts  power  changed  bad    upon it! If we are so foolhardy as to flee, we shall
          men into good. It shook off the      by that act put away the faith of our fathers and
          long bondage of paganism and         make of Christianity something
          altered  completely  the  whole      other than it is. We shall have left
          moral and mental outlook of the      only  the  empty  language  of
          Western world.                       salvation. The power will depart
          All this it did and continued to     with our departure from the true
          do as long as it was permitted to    cross.  If we are wise we will do
          remain  what  it  had  been          what Jesus did: "Who for the joy
          originally,  a  cross  that  means   that was set before Him endured
          death!  Its power departed when      the  cross,  despising  its
          it  was  changed  from  an           shame...”
          instrument of death into a thing     To do this is to submit the whole
          of  beauty.   Men  made  of  it  a   pattern  of  our  lives  to  be
          symbol,  and  hung  it  around       destroyed and built again in the
          their necks as an ornament, or       power  of  an  endless  life.   We
          made  its  outline  before  their    shall  find  that  it  is  more  than
          faces as a magic sign to ward        poetry,  more  than  sweet
          off  evil.  As  such  it  became  at   hymnody  and  elevated  feeling.
          best  a  weak  emblem,  and  at      The cross will cut into our lives
          worst  a  fetish.  Today  the        where  it  hurts  worst,  sparing
          outward  symbol  is  revered  by     neither  us  nor  our  carefully
          millions  who  know  absolutely      cultivated  reputations.  It  will
          nothing about its real  power.       defeat us and bring our selfish
          The real cross effects its ends      lives to an end. Only then can we
          by destroying one established        rise in fullness of life to establish
          pattern  (the  victim's),  and       a  pattern  of  living  wholly  new
          creating  another  (its  own).  It   and free and full of good works.
          always has its way! It wins by       The changed attitude toward the
          defeating  its  opponent  and        cross  that  we  see  in  modern
          imposing  its  will  upon  him.  It   orthodoxy, does not prove that
          always  dominates.  It  never        God has changed, or that Christ
          compromises,  never  dickers         has  eased  up  on  His  demand
          nor confers, never surrenders a      that we carry the cross; it means
          point  for  the  sake  of  peace.  It   rather  that  current  Christianity
          cares  not  for  peace:  it  cares   has  moved  away  trom  the
          only  to  end  its  opposition  as   standards of the New Testament.
          fast  as  possible.  With  perfect   Indeed! So far have we moved,
          knowledge  of  all  this  Christ     that it may take nothing short of
          said, "lf any man will come after    a  new  "reformation"  to  restore
          Me,  let  him  deny  himself,  and   the cross to its rightful place in
          take  up  his  cross,  and  follow   the  theology  and  life  of  the
          Me."  So  the  cross  not  only      Church.  (From:  "The  Root  of
          brought Christ's life to an end, it   Righteousness" by A.W.Tozer)
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