The Centrality of the Cross of Christ

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

I Corinthians 2:1-5

 

Verse one; Paul declares the testimony of God.  What is God’s testimony to the world?  Verse two, Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

There is no other message from God that is more important than that.

 

Back in Genesis, God announced the coming of the Savior and has been shaping the world ever since, to bring about his coming, his death, his resurrection, and his soon return for final judgment.

 

Any other message is secondary.  Any message that conflicts with this is antichrist, a false gospel.

 

All other religions and schools of thought that violate the truth of Christ are lies of Satan.  Jehovah’s Witnesses are not His witnesses.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is not the Church of Jesus Christ, nor are the members saints.  The devotees of Mohamed are not children of Abraham, For in Isaac shall thy seed be called” (Rom. 9:7).

 

Much of the church today has fallen into the trap of “I’m ok, you’re ok” thinking.  The church was never meant to be a place to meet all your “needs”.  The church is the fellowship of believers, gathering together to adore and worship the One who died for us.

 

We have added to the true gospel, a message of social reform.  We tend to accommodate the culture rather than transform the culture we are in.  Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth.  Salt can serve three functions.  The first is to flavor and enhance the food it is placed on.  The second is to cleanse.  The third is to destroy.

 

The church of Christ fulfills all of these functions.  We flavor and enhance the world by living for Jesus.  We make Christ attractive to the unbeliever by our righteous example of the Holy Spirit working in us.  Secondly, we cleanse the culture by our influence in day to day living, the business world and in government.  Thirdly, like salt spread over a field to poison the land and destroy whatever grows, Christians poison the evil environment we must live in, and destroy the growth of evil by shining the light of truth.

 

“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” I Peter 4:17

The Church of Jesus Christ is described as a body throughout the New Testament.  We are individuals that make up a corporate whole.  None of us can survive long without the rest.  The Church is also described as the Bride of Christ.  He is shaping us to be spotless on the day of His return to take us to His home that he has been preparing for us.  But are we, the bride, preparing for Him?

 

We spend major time fighting minor battles.  Like Jesus, we should be about our Father’s business.  His business is declaring the crucified sacrifice to the world.  It is the power and wisdom of God.  To the world it is foolishness.  To the darkened mind, God’s plan is just plain stupid.  Why not just forgive everyone and be done with it?  Why go through all this trouble and pain?  Why be so exclusive and judgmental?  God loves everyone, so why shouldn’t everyone get in to heaven?

 

There are certain immutable laws in this universe that our faithful Creator made.  The first and foremost is that God is holy.  The second is that without holiness, no one will see the Lord.  God’s natural holiness is so pure, so divine, that those who share His home must share that holiness.

 

When Adam sinned, he lost that holiness.  He immediately came under judgment and became subject to death, first spiritual (separation from God and the death of His pure image in man), then physical death.  In order to be released from the penalty of his sin and receive forgiveness, he must shed his life’s blood.  The paradox is that once your life’s blood is shed, you are dead in sin and eternally lost.  For a time God covered sin with the blood of bulls and goats, all the while promising a better covenant, a better sacrifice down the road of time.  These early coverings pointed to what Christ would come and do.  His sacrifice was perfect, because he was perfect and sinless.  He was as holy as the Father himself, even though he was a man, in the flesh, just like us.

 

These things are the elementary doctrines of the church.  God made man; man sinned; man died. God became man; God-man did not sin; God-man died for man; God-man rose again; God-man offers his life and holiness to man.  Man repents of his sin; man dies; man rises again in new life; man is in union with God once again.

 

This is the Gospel in its simplest form. Do you believe this?

 

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About navyguns

Orthodox Christian, father of three, husband of the most wonderful woman in the world. Navy vet.
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2 Responses to The Centrality of the Cross of Christ

  1. Daniel7 says:

    To clarify a point if I could, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus died for our sins, but it was not on cross, but rather an up-right stake. Thayer’s G-E Lexicon defines Strong’s #4717, “to stake, drive down stakes:”. It was not until much later that “The Church” started to define as cross.
    The book The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons (London, 1896), says: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross. . . .

    • navyguns says:

      Thanks for your comment, Daniel. The following comes from an article titled “The Cross” on St. Vladimir Orthodox Seminary website. It is a long article and well worth the read. I have excerpted part of it. The link to page is here: http://www.saintvladimir.com/article.php?id=52

      While “stauros” does indeed mean “stake”, the form the Roman’s used did have a cross bar.

      The earliest forms of the Cross in Christian art took the form of the depiction of the Cross as a monogram of the name of Jesus Christ. One of the earliest pictorial form of the Cross, for example, was the Greek letter X (dating from the 2nd Century), which later became known as the Cross of St. Andrew. Later this X was bisected vertically by the Greek letter I, forming, in Greek, the name Jesus Christ. By the middle of the 3rd Century, the meaning of this Cross as a monogram gave way to the idea of a six-pointed Cross symbolizing the original image of the universe, for its six points represented the six days of the creation of the world.

      The actual instrument of execution used in the Roman Empire, however, normally consisted of a three-pointed cross made of two planks knocked together in the shape of the Greek letter T. According to Tertullian (2nd Century), both the Greek letter T and the Latin T were images of the Cross of Christ. According to Church Tradition, St. Anthony the Great (f 356) wore the T-Cross on his clothing and St. Zeno, Bishop of Verona, had a T-shaped Cross erected on the dome of a basilica built by him in 362 A.D. Thus, with a greater desire of Christians to imitate the actual Cross of Christ, the T-Cross became prevalent.

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