Catholics and Rock Stars
When I was growing up, Catholic priests and rock stars were the only folks who wore crosses. They were always sybolistic of the death of Christ but no one in the church seemed to pay much attention to the cross or its meaning. people would use crosses in letters and on stickers and church stationary, but beyond that there was not much talk about them. In fact, I don’t remember any preacher spending time at all speaking about the cross itself, or its role in our redemption.
Today, there are evangelical denominations in America (of which I will not name specifically) that view the cross with disdain. They will tell you it’s the single greatest tragedy in the history of the world. “It killed our savior!” they say. My friends, this is a gross misunderstanding of one of the most beautiful, inexhaustible, and powerful objects of love the world has or will ever know. If we don’t get a right understanding of the cross of Christ, we are sure to fail in our daily walk for it hoods power we can’t afford to live without.
The truth is, we cannot live the Christian life apart from the Cross. And of all the disappointing things I have seen in my days, a Christian, who doesn’t understand the work and purpose of the Cross, trying to live victoriously for Jesus, has got to be the one that takes the cake. Lest we understand the Cross and put our faith in its power, we will most surely fail.
Christ and Him Crucified
The defeated Christian is the norm that we see in our churches today. There are very few believers who are actually living the abundant life Christ came to give to those who will follow him. Paul said, For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2 KJV). Every time that Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ he preached the cross. Why is it so significant that we understand it today? It is crucial because, at the cross Jesus not only bore our sins, he paid for our provision, protection, healing, opened up there doors of heaven to the common man, etc. Everything we need to live the victorious Christian life was provided by way of the cross.
Coming Back To The Cross
If you are over 40, you probably remember a famous evangelist named Jimmy Swaggart. If you do, you probably remember the scandal that brought him down as well. Jimmy was just like us, in that he trusted in his ability to live the Christian Life and misunderstood the cross himself – which led to disaster. In an answer to prayer, Jimmy tells the story of how God showed him the revelation of how the Spirit really works in our lives. This revelation led him down the path to spiritual freedom and brought him a new calling, The Message of The Cross. I urge each one of you to click on the link and go read Jimmy’s inspiring story of triumph over sin’s bondage. One of his favorite sayings explains the work of the cross as simply, yet thoroughly as humanly possible,
" The Holy Spirit of God works exclusively in the parameters of the cross of Jesus Christ." - Jimmy Swaggart
How exclusively you say? Totally exclusive! From the 1st century through the protestant reformation, the cross was at the center of the Christian Faith. Faith giants of old understood the necessity of the cross, as well as its power in our lives. Somehow between the protestant reformation and today, Christians have lost the doctrine of the cross and replaced it with the doctrine of regeneration through human ability.
I coined the name for this new doctrine and am quite pleased with myself for it, lol. However, this is no laughing matter. Too many Christians today are living lives that are littered with stories of failure and defeat at the hands of false teaching about what they are capable of and what the cross actually does for us.
Somewhere down the line, we started to believe that we held the power within ourselv