Friday, April 10, 2009
From Cross To Crown: Part One
I want to start off this article by giving all praise and honor and thankfulness to God for the Cross. I am forever indebted to Him and grateful beyond description for the laying down of His life on my behalf. I am undeserving of such a sacrifice and He first loved me. Even in my defiance and rejection of Him, He laid down His life and bore my sins in order that I might live. As I grew older and went my own selfish ways, He loved me. He preserved me. His sacrifice purchased me. I am enabled to be made a new creation by Him because of His suffering, His death and His resurrection.
With this being said, it is time for the Body of Christ to move past the cross. I do not mean, in any way, that we are to move past it in the sense of “forget it ever happened”. That would be ridiculous and major error. But I do believe that it is detrimental to the Body of Christ to forever “cling to the ‘ol rugged cross” and never move into the deeper revelations of Jesus, The Christ.
In fact, I believe it is time that we turn it loose!
It is time for balanced Christianity. Jesus did not rise from the dead as the same man that walked the earth. Nor was He some new-and-improved Jesus. He was Jesus, The Christ, the anointed Messiah!
We constantly hear about the cross. The average Gospel message is seemingly always limited to the cross and my sin. But this is only a piece of the entire puzzle! The Cross is the action that needed to take place in order for us to be restored to God. After I embrace the Cross and what truly took place at my salvation, it is time to move into deeper matters. It is time to embrace The Christ and understand what the Cross has enabled me for. The way I see it according to The Word is this – the Cross is the starting point. Embracing what Jesus Christ has done and exchanging my will of flesh for His will of the Spirit is the catalyst to thrust me into new creation status. It is in vain if I stay there at the foot of the cross always weeping over my sinful ways and horrific past that Jesus’ death and resurrection redeemed.
Jesus did not die on the Cross in order for us to put up a tent at the foot of it!
For just one small example of how prevalent this mindset is, here is the title of a fellow blogger’s most recent article, and I quote, “We’re all just jacked-up, dirty, rotten, filthy, nasty sinners”. I say, speak for yourself! I am in Christ. I am a new creation. A King. An approved son. A Priest. An heir. An Ambassador for Christ. A representative of the Kingdom of God. Reborn, renewed and enamored with the things of the Spirit! I'm not ignorant to the fact that I now live in a body of flesh but for the life of me, I just can’t figure out why in the world the Body of Christ is so enamored with their sin and wretchedness all the time. Well, I believe that much of the reason why is because we’re always sitting at the foot of the cross weeping over how “horrible” we are as sinners.
I believe this is error and not what the LORD desires. I believe, if He were writing this, He would say the following. I encourage you take heed to these words.
“Do you not see why I suffered and died? Do you not understand that My resurrection was set in place in order to set you free? Salvation means deliverance, healing, freedom, liberty! Move on! Move up! Get past your sin and failures! Be what my death and resurrection were meant to enable you to be. Be an overcomer! Be a heavenly race that holds their head high and boasts in My name! You’re so worried about being prideful that you never move out of your past and live free. Stand up! Move! Live! Just as I did not stay bound to death and the grave, neither should you. I did not stay on the cross. I did not stay in the tomb. You too, arise! Come forth and live! Proclaim that I am alive!”
In order to explain what I mean a bit more, I thought that it would be fitting to post a small excerpt of some studies and writings that I did several months ago regarding the qualities and characteristics of The Christ.
To get right to the point and boldly state it, He is not "just Jesus" any more, for He is no longer flesh and blood. He is not just a little baby in a manger. He is not just the sacrificial Lamb. He’s not that guy with the beautiful, wavy hair in the old wooden framed picture that is hanging on the wall of your church! (gasp) He is not just the One that overcame death and the grave. Jesus, The Christ in the form of man, was simply part of the plan hidden in the heart of the Father before time began. In His transformation, we should see ourselves. Just as Christ is no longer in the flesh as Jesus, I am no longer merely flesh and bone, but it is Christ who lives in me.
His entire journey is the metaphor: In God before time – came to earth as flesh – died – resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit – a new creation, seated now at the right hand of the Father. Do you see yourself in this beautiful journey? I pray that you do because this is your salvation! Still don’t see it? Let’s read Romans chapter six, verse four: “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” We are now in Christ so that we too might move on, raised from death to life. Jesus did not stay on the cross, nor did He remain in the tomb! Why should we? He came that what? "That we might have life and have it more abundantly!" (John 10:10)
* Part Two of two will be posted tomorrow