Thursday, November 11, 2010
SUMMING UP THE UNIVERSE
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing
“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.
Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
what counts is a new creation.”
There is such overwhelming truth here, that we miss it. These statements sum up the universe, the eternal purpose of God in Christ, and the eternal priorities of God in our lives.
This is a pivot upon which our understanding either sets and turns in rhythm with God, or we stand and watch befuddled from a distance, confused and frustrated at the unfathomable activity of the Almighty.
We are either on one side of the cross or the other.
From eternity, God purposed in Christ the creation of the world, mankind, and its salvation and redemption through Christ.
The cross was always in God’s thoughts. It is the pivot point of eternal history, heaven’s history and earth’s history, and it was no accident—no quick-fix on the part of the Father—to save His errant creatures.
Do we understand today that our God, the eternal Father, purposed Christ and His cross as the centerpoint—the pivotpoint—of eternal history from eternal ages past, from even far before the creation of His creation? That He has in mind, and is working, His plan out for mankind, no matter how it appears to us? That Christ is all, and His death and resurrection are the “turning point” upon which the universe dances?
Many of us are feeling overwhelmed today. Many of us who claim Christ in some way are stressed, stretched, fearful, angry, upset, disturbed, troubled, anxious, and in general, act as if God doesn’t exist at all. It is because we don’t have the “eyes of our understanding” opened, as Paul taught, to the great mystery that is Christ, which mystery is revealed only by the Spirit of God, through our complete dependence upon the Father and His Son. We have our eyes upon this world, and upon ourselves, and upon all the light, momentary, temporary things that have no weight in eternity.
God purposed faith. We were chosen (Eph. 1:9-14) by God before time began to show to the universe His purposes in Christ through our complete dependence upon Him. Those who respond to God’s call are to live God’s Way, which is shown us in Christ. This upside-down living shows the world, and all the powers in the universe, what God is really all about.
We, meaning those in Christ, embrace death to find life. We embrace loss to find gain. We walk by faith, and not by what we see. We shed the Old Man, the pre-cross Man, in order to live as a New Creation, not bound by temporal things.
We, meaning those who have passed from death to life through our own crucifixion and resurrection with Christ, know that our weakness means God’s power is shown. That we can do nothing, but Christ does everything through us. That the foolishness of the cross is the wisdom of God.
But, brothers and sisters, we must embrace and carry this cross today with Christ. It will mean certain suffering, and certain death. It will mean we no longer care about “circumcision or uncircumcision”, which represent earthly, worldly ways of judging things by outward appearances. As New Creations in Christ, we care only about what He cares about, and we leave all other things behind. There is no way to carry man-made religious or carnal baggage with us on the narrow road with Christ.
This is why many stand confused, watching the universe, not from God’s viewpoint, after the cross, but from the ground in front of the cross, where they mill about in consternation. They see the cross, and they may even revere the cross, and sing about it, and have affection for it, but they’ve never embraced it themselves and picked it up to carry it. They’ve mistaken God’s intentions.
I grew up singing a hymn called “The Old Rugged Cross”. Beautiful hymn, I loved it. But it reveals a disturbing trend among believers in Christ. That is to set up the cross as an icon we worship, a symbol we admire, a wonderful piece of ‘Christian history’ that we forge and hang on our walls to remind us of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
Meanwhile, Christ is beckoning us to pick our crosses up and follow Him. God’s purpose in Christ was to create a New People, who would walk through Him (Christ—the Narrow Gate), and He would live His life through them.
The cross is not some sentimental token of our life in Christ. If you’ve ever truly gone with Jesus, you know the cross is scary, hard, and represents sacrifice, pain, and loss. Yet it is our life, and the riches of resurrection power we begin to experience are worth every splinter.
Christ’s cross is like a door. Either you embrace it, pick it up yourself, and agree to follow Jesus wherever He goes, or you don’t. After you walk through Christ, and you are crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to you, then you will begin to see. Your eyes will be opened to the wonders of God’s great purposes, His mystery in Christ.
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart
may be enlightened in order that you may know
the hope to which He has called you,
the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints,
and His incomparably great power for us who believe.
That power is like the working
of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ
when He raised Him from the dead…”
Stop being anxious and confused, wondering where the power is. It is in front of you now. Step into the Christ-life, empowered by His strength, the strength that only comes after crucifixion. Lose your life to find it today, along with others who live now by the Spirit of God, and boast of nothing except the foolish cross we carry!
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