Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Life of Denial or The Cross of Redemption

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:24-26 KJV

"And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:59-62 KJV

Grace and mercy are relentless. They are like the gentle streams of water that flow in and fill up the low places.

"For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things - things that belong to salvation." - Hebrews 6:4-9 ESV

Once a person has had the light shine in the darkness they can't go back to the pretense they used to live in before. You can't un-tell the secret. You can't un-taste the peach. Once a person has been given the true meaning of the cross and it's significance they can't go back to thinking that somehow they can save themselves. If they do it is like a farmer who works hard to place a crop and work a piece of land only to find that thorns and thistles have sprung up. The frustration is more than if the field had just been left as fallow ground.

The word used here for tasted is the same word used in Heb 2:9 when Jesus 'tasted death' it is the Greek word Geuomai (G1089). It is the place where perception and experience meet. It is when food no longed is separate from you but becomes integrated into your physical body and part of you in a different form.

The Gospel will either ruin someones life or save it forever but either way it destroys the possibility of living comfortably in the illusion that morality will be enough to be a protection from death and and entrance into eternal glory.

If you leave the plough in the field and seek to pick up pleasure and self justification you will always live a life of 'What if?'... I life of settling for second best... your field will become a by word of overgrown weeds with the sign 'Used to be a Christian' over it because no one who has tasted of the Heavenly gift is ever going to really fit into the fallen World again anyway.

Yes. Grace is relentless and mercy will follow us all the days of our life.

But, The crazy thing is that when we do pick up His cross and make it our cross we find that the yoke is easy. Our lives make sense again. Christ's cross is a cross of redemption and time is bought back. Mistakes are covered and redeemed. Not erased but incorporated into a redemptive history instead of a broken identity. The cross separates our past from our future like it separated life from the criminal.

Once the illusion is no longer 'on the table' as an option truth is revealed to be much better than the fiction ever could be. The thorns and thistles give way to the fruits of the Holy Spirit and they are peaceable fruits indeed.

God is holy and will never compromise with our flesh. When we make that decision also by responding to grace and living in the finished work instead of an Earthly program then we really walk with God as a disciple and miracles happen on the road with the one who has no place to lay His head in this world.

1 comment:

  1. This 'impossible to renew them again to repentance' part talks about isolation. The isolation of deception that happens when someone rules out the correct choice and refuses to budge from it. They refuse to turn in a certain direction because of a stiff neck formed by wrong conclusions and misplaced expectations. It also speaks of the isolation that comes from separation. The alcoholic father who has not seen his child in ten years and the relationship is frozen in dysfunction and concepts that won't be dismissed because of a lack of interaction. The child hates or idolizes his missing father. The father lives in guilt or represses knowledge of his child to escape. No contact equals no resolution.

    This book was written to the people living in Jerusalem. That city would soon be under siege, the people walled in and every Gospel preacher would be somewhere else when that happened. The believers who stayed behind to be unsuccessfully re-assimilated into the culture would not be renewed by grace words anymore. They would die knowing Christ warned them this would happen but go to Heaven as those saved by fire.

    Grace shows the cross to be in the past tense with lasting results and not in the present or future tense. The deceived person needs a recrucifixion that just will not ever happen. They look for a provision to come in the future when the provision has already happened and been presented but then refused.

    All the while God thinks nothing but well of the person. Thoughts of peace upon more thoughts of peace. Loving each person with this immense pure love. The isolated person can't fathom that love or experience anything but a fraction of it.