BACK TO THE CROSS

BY:  KENNETH GREATOREX

JULY 22, 2006

“But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14 (NAU)

The cross is the focal point of history. While our western Gregorian calendar is dated on the approximate time of the birth of Jesus the Christ, it is, and was, the outpouring of the love of God in bringing all creation home to Himself by means of the CROSS, that is important, as is the fulfillment of His heart of love in ages past.

We miss our Father’s purpose when we get absorbed in various aspects of truth. Good truths like creation, salvation, healing, ultimate reconciliation, sonship and more. It is the truth that every man has the seed of God, the Spirit of God in him because God breathed spirit into the dust form of the man he called Adam. Thus, Adam became the head or first of the human race. The present fact for most is: the “seed” is dormant, and for all intents and purposes, doesn’t seem to exist. It requires the grace of God to quicken it in His due timing.

A good illustration comes to memory. In Isaiah Chapter Six we may get excited about the revelation of the Lord that the prophet had, and even of his own personal need and cleansing, and even get excited about his response to the call in Verse 8, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”

When Isaiah gets the commission spelled out, it is a surprising one. Certainly it is not one to preach at a convention of preachers, unless you wanted to get stoned by them. The commission was to preach until there was no one left, and the land would be totally desolate. YET! Verse 13 says something of interest.

“Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be {subject} to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump.” (NAU)

Yes, more destruction – burning, and is our God not a “Consuming Fire?” And when the fire is done, we find that there is a burnt stump left. Well that is over and done with most of us would say. BUT, do you get it? “The holy SEED is in the stump.” In this setting of utter gloom and destruction there is HOPE! When we look about today and see gross sins and the horrors of war, and natural calamities, it may seem hopeless. BUT, every SEED is a LIFE source! No matter how buried, or how long it takes to geminate, and some seeds take many years, there is a speck of LIFE that our Father intends to grow – in HIS time.

Lately I have found myself going back to many of the old hymns, and finding them to be a great blessing. Many, but clearly not all, have a measure of truth in them. To some friends I have kidded about “backsliding” because of this. It is a term I learned well in the abomination (denomination) of my childhood, where you sinned, or back-slid and in effect had to get saved all over again. I recall a Baptist chap I knew who said that the Pentecostal theme song was. “You must be born again, and again.” I have since learned that the term was only in reference to Israel prior to 70AD when at that time, God dealt that system the ultimate death blow, only after He had extended His grace for about 40 years after the death of Jesus Christ when the Old Covenant was superceded by the New Covenant in the blood of Jesus.

We now should know that the true “Israel of God (Galatians 6:16),” is no longer an earthly people who, as someone has suggested, were the “womb” for the True Israel, or Seed, to be carried in until birth. Romans 2:28-29 is clear about whom our Father sees as the true Jew. “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” This of course excludes none, and includes all.

What is the meaning of the “POWER OF THE CROSS?” To most in the evangelical world, it seems to be a way of getting one’s sins/misdeeds forgiven and of ensuring that one would go to heaven. If that is what we think it is, we have tragically missed the point. The issue that God was concerned with was the root of the problem – SIN, not sins. Religion hammers away at sins, or missing the mark.

There has been much focus on having a religious sin free morality, much like the Pharisees of old. “SIN IS NOT WRONG DOING, IT IS WRONG BEING.” [Oswald Chambers] God has dealt with the root of the problem. As John the Baptist said, “The axe is laid to the root of the tree,” or the CROSS we could say.

Many of us who believe that it is within God’s purposes to save every man and woman, at times tend to forget that it is all based upon the love of God, demonstrated by having His Son die on the cross. The cross was not for good people. It was for bad people. So what did/does our Father think of you and me? Frankly, if he didn’t see us in Christ, we would be in big trouble. His view of us outside of Christ was NOT positive, but with great hope. His LOVE did a miracle, do you remember John 3:17? He took you and me and placed us IN Christ Jesus, so that when He died, we ALL died IN Him. In our Father’s sight, we are DEAD, DEAD, DEAD! Thank God it is not the end of the story!

Remember the “seed in the stump?” It went through death. That seed was Jesus Christ. And, IN Him is LIFE. Now here is a great verse from a great chapter. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be SAVED BY HIS LIFE.” Romans 5:10 (NAU) what life? Resurrection life that brings for regeneration for it is by His life that we now live.

Note: The next two paragraphs were added on August 14, 2006

A dear sister from Northern Alberta wrote to tell me that a plant called “Fireweed” would be among the first to grow in a burnt out forest. Also, I have since learned that plants such as the Raspberry bush may have been burned to the ground, but after the fire was over, a buried root will come to life and a new version of the plant appeared. Another interesting fact is the Jack Pine can only release its seeds from the cone when there is a forest fire.

Concerning forest fires, Parks Canada says: “It is often thought that fire destroys all plants and leaves nothing but charred, barren ground in its wake. However, in areas with periodic wildfire, plants have evolved many adaptations for surviving fire and some actually need fire to reproduce. Plant adaptations to fire include increased seed release, increased flowering and fruiting, fire resistant bark and buds, and vegetative re-sprouting from undisturbed root systems.”

Romans 6:3-5 has more to say: “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 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. For if we have become united with {Him} in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be {in the likeness} of His resurrection,”

Here is the picture, when He died, we died, when He was buried, guess who else was buried? So, when He was raised, was resurrected, who was also resurrected with Him? AND, when He ascended to the Father we ascended and are spiritually seated in the heavenlies.

Many years ago there was a teaching called “the grace message.” Thank God for it! But, some took the message that set us free from religions bondage and used it to live after the flesh. We must not teach/preach the salvation of all, and then let some use it as an excuse to go and do whatever they want because they know that God isn’t going to toss them into a pit to burn nonstop. Our God is a consuming fire, and He will purge out the dross as He goes about the business of bringing forth sons in the likeness and image of The Son. We must NEVER forget that the “salvation of all,” is based upon the love of God, demonstrated to all by the death of Jesus Christ on the CROSS.

The truth of the cross is that by it, our salvation WAS accomplished, our glorious REDEMPTION which has brought forth our REGENERATION IN Christ. Hallelujah! As Paul taught, we have been crucified with Christ. That is, when He was on that cross, you and I and all of the humanity were there also in Jesus Christ. When he shouted, “It is finished,” it was FINISHED, once and for all time. From this point on, we are as “dead men living.”

My prayer is that this brief, and hardly all inclusive, and not necessarily perfect, writing will be a blessing to you and others. Love, mercy and peace to all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BACK to the CROSS [Kenneth Greatorex] 7-22-06          1

 

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