I’m posting about embracing the cross of Christ. We have to follow the same path Jesus followed. If I work at saving myself, I’ll find myself on the path of ruin and loss. If, instead, I lose my life for the Lord’s pattern, then my destination has changed to that of increase and growth. That’s the path of the cross.
We need to follow Christ to the cross even though it’s offensive to us and against our very nature.
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
“Save yourself – come down from the cross!”
This is the part of our human nature that we need to contradict. This is being an adversary of the cross of Christ.
Many believers try, by their valiant efforts, to save themselves and bring about God’s plan in their own power. The result is that many in the church today are floundering around in mediocrity.
Paul was having the same problem in his day. There were some who were teaching that you needed to come under the law in order to be saved. What they taught was that Christ forgives your sin, but the law makes you acceptable to God.
Paul had an answer for these people that we need to take to heart in this generation.
Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
If our focus is on the outward, then we’ll avoid the cross at all cost. But we still want God’s grace to work in our lives. At that point our mind tells us that there must be something we can do to obtain God’s blessing. So we put ourselves under all kinds of rules and regulations in order to earn the grace of God.
Here’s why that approach doesn’t work. Under the law, you can live for yourself by invoking a string of technicalities. It’s the same thing the Pharisees of Jesus’ day would do. You simply tell yourself, “I’m okay. I go to church, read the Bible, and live a good life.”
In reality, these people want to avoid the fear of the cross. The word persecuted in the above verse comes from a root word that means to run away or retreat. That tells me that that these individuals are cowards who have decided not to embrace the cross. Instead of running from it, we must live in its shadow.
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.
Instead of trying to avoid being worldly by our own will power, we must embrace the cross. Think about what Paul is saying here. The world is nailed to a cross. I’m nail to another. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get over to that other cross. Neither can the world get to me.
That’s what we do to our flesh by invoking the power of the cross in our lives. When we nail our flesh to the cross there’s a power that’s released to work God’s righteousness in us. It’s not a struggle to keep pure, but reliance upon the Holy Spirit in us.
This is the path to all that God has for you. I’m talking about healings, increase, miracles and the provision of God. It’s everything you need for life and godliness.
It will only come in its fullness as we embrace the pattern laid down by the Lord. We must follow the path of the cross. Allow the Lord to work His pattern of salvation in us. It’s the way to freedom in Him.
Question: What would the church look like if we all embraced the path of the cross?
© Nick Zaccardi 2015