The Rewards of the Cross-
I have been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ that dwells in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal.2: 20.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb. 12:2
The understanding of the crucified life is critical to a successful Christian life. Jesus encouraged us to understand the procedure and pattern of being a true follower. Indeed the need to ascertain that we are truly compliant as disciples of Jesus.
In Mark 8:34; 10: 21 and Matt. 16:24 and Luke 14:27. We see how Jesus reiterated the importance of a potential disciple denying himself, bearing a cross and coming after him as conditions precedent to being validated as a true disciple. Inherent in that statement is the thought that it may be possible to follow Him without a cross.
Early in my days of being born again, the opening scripture Gal. 2:20 was a scripture I was made to understand. We understood that to be converted means to give your life to Christ Jesus; that the life we now live is no longer ours but His.
This understanding and mindset purchases in us as carriers of the life of God that ‘our lives’ are not for us. We need to understand the power of the crucified life. The crucified life is the power to take up a resurrected life.
The life that he (the believer) now lives is by and because of His Lord and Savior. So when the life the Christian lives is centered about himself it goes to show something is fundamentally not right with the arrangement. The believer is ordained to live a life of self-denial, a live of selflessness, a life of responsibility and a life of discipline. Better still a life of crucifixion. That’s what it means to take up a cross to follow. Without the cross or crucifixion the believer is not ready for the glorification. No cross, No crown.
When we say cross or crucifixion, we do not refer to the rosary, we do not refer to suffering just because, we refer to discipline and if need be suffering for Christ Jesus’ sake and for the gospel’s sake. Personally, I do not believe this understanding should erode our consciousness, as it is our entry into grace. The cross of Jesus, Jesus crucified brought our redemption. On this does our whole faith message stand. Christ who was crucified, yeah that was resurrected. Hallelujah!
So briefly let us remind ourselves of the significance of the cross.
- The Cross of Jesus and the message of the cross is the Power of God to Salvation, particularly to the gentiles. 1Cor. 1:17-18,23, 2:1-2.
- The Cross introduced peace and reconciliation as Christ mediated God and man upon the cross. Col.1:2
- The cross is the point at which principalities and powers and every ordinance that was written against us and contrary to us was nailed and dealt with. Col.2:9-15
- The cross separates us from the world and the world from us. Gal.6:14; Rom.6:6
- The cross destroyed the curse as it is written cursed be any man that hangs upon a tree…Gal.3:14
- The cross and particularly the death of the cross was a demonstration of the heights of humility of Jesus Christ. Phil. 2:8. Heb. 12:2
The subject of the cross should never ever loose its significance. Not because we should begin to worship a cross, but the implication of the thought that was implied in the words of Jesus and the epistles reveal there is a potency in the cross of Christ Jesus.
For starters, if it was all about Jesus dying, my thinking is that the cross is a slower to die. They could have stoned him, hung him, or push him down a cliff, cut off his head, get an archer to shoot him from his spine and all and several other Spartan and roman methods of killings. But the death on the cross is for a certain specific reason. Which speaks of responsibility, selflessness, discipline, choice and humility among other potent implications.
For example the bible speaks about the princes of the powers of this world, had they known would not have crucified the lord of glory…the issue is not that they would not have killed him, it is that they would not have crucified him. Because crucifixion that is the death on the cross had and still has spiritual connotations that impart on redemption.
Then we see another idea in Philippians 3:18-19, where apostle Paul in his epistle identified some people as the enemies of the cross of Christ. Describing them as people who though followed and walked in Christ have positioned themselves as enemies of the cross. In other words, Christians who will bear no cross. Saying ‘their end is destruction, whose God is their belly and whose glory is in their shame and who mind earthly things.’
Here’s the message translation of the same scripture:
17-19 Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.
20-21But there’s far more to life for us. We’re citizens of high heaven! We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.
I am thrilled by the way many follow Christ without a cross. No exact consciousness that they live to their master. That they are not for themselves. That in falling and in rising they are to live to and for Him; for whom we all have to do – Jesus our Lord.
When a Christian accepts the thrust of the cross of Christ he looses the tendency to be selfish he begins to seek to live to please his master and to affect humanity.
However, this choice of life and path of living (which is not only unpopular but could also be steep. A life not only ‘boring’ but also sacrificial) certainly does not go unrewarded. There is a promise from the Word of God to gain Eternal life and a hundred-fold reward of everything ever lost for the purpose of the cross of Christ and the gospel’s sake.
It’s pacifying to know that there is a promise of honor for a life of sacrifice. When I say sacrifice, I do not refer to a life of works in the flesh to gain God’s approval. I speak of acts of righteousness, selflessness while living out the supernatural life. Grace does not call for being loose. Rather it calls for responsibility to live out to the full the power of the life of godliness. Halleluyah!
Welcome to a life of productivity through sacrifice. Welcome to a life of perpetual victory, as the fullness of the life of God will become manifest in you. I commend you therefore to God and to the word of His Grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among those of us sanctified. Please remain God’s pride! Amen!
Till we read again. Please remain God’s Pride! Amen!