You can gain mind-blowing freedom by simply saying, and meaning, these two words, to your greatest struggles? But how, when it all seems so painful and difficult? It requires you focus on Jesus, like never before, to understand what He accomplished on cross (John 3:14/Rm.5:8). Nothing but the cross will save you from the deadly poison of the serpent (John 3:14/Numbers 21:9). John 3:16 is a popular verse but few ever contemplate the enormous implications of verse 14.
What is the cross?
“It is finished”, Jesus said, as the period to His sentence of the cross. It was to ALL the torment, turmoil, fear and confusion that all mankind, did experience, and would yet experience, for all ages to come (John 19:30 ). It was the end of sin. Jesus offers you His marvelous, intimate love, to rescue you, here and now, from all sin and failure.
So now, you must humble yourself to understand what this really means and how He really works to impart such finality to all your sorrow and struggle. So you can triumphantly say, from the depths of your heart, “So what?”.
Imagine being free from all the issues that keep you bound and depressed. Our mind can become so cluttered and scattered with dark thoughts, like one of those huge yards full of meaningless and endless junk. This is precisely the purpose of the cross of Jesus, to wipe it all away and give you mental clarity and bliss.
I used to always avoid the cross as a morbid symbol of self-denial. Like, “Man, it makes me feel guilty cuz it’s impossible for me to die to my selfishness”. The truth is the cross is proof that in the divine blood of Jesus He also bore all our human blood all our human “junk”. And it is the divine gift of faith that unites us to this real power.
One simple act of obedience; to surrender; instantly takes you out of being a slave, to your own cursed flesh, with all its weird moods and feelings, and empowers you to stand as a ruler; a victor, and an overcomer. a true believer.
Let’s be real. We all hurt. So it sounds terribly insensitive and inconsiderate to ask someone if they can say these two words. It first requires explanation. There is a huge context of understanding required so as to bring the light of many variables, both eternal and earthly, to give a perspective of God’s revelation of the cross. It may be a little charm worn around the neck or hanging as a symbol in your room but the cross is the biggest thing in the whole world.
It comes down to one word; repentance. It is not a ‘hell, fire and brimstone’ scare tactic. It is the merciful appeal of a loving God to come into His care and find the alternative to this wicked and heartless world, and a mind corrupted by sin. “Repent” is the first thing Jesus spoke when He began to minister and the last thing He said before returning to heaven (Mark 1:15/Lk.24:47). It’s the only way to get into heave. It’s not up for us to define. The Scriptures are very clear. The Greek word is metanoia which means change of mind (Rm.12:2). You do it every day about over many things. But this change is the deliberate resolution of will to turn from darkness to truth that sets you free from the world and sin (John 8:32).
“I DESERVE BETTTER.”
Do you understand the word entitlement? Today’s Christians have the attitude “Don’t tell me. I already know it all”. The outcome is disaster. Their lives exemplify typical natural living yet insist they know all about Christ. Pride goes before the fall. When you think you are deserving of a better situation than what you now have, every burden becomes an increased burden. Everything bad becomes super-bad. “Why me?” is the default. You deserve better. Says who? Says why? This is the attitude of all men. This attitude results in the subconscious defiance of God for your life situation. You think you deserve better.
This is why David gives the key to life when he reveals that the one and only thing God wants from us is a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17). The human race defied God in the decision of our forefather, Adam. We deserve His justice of hell fire. We don’t deserve good. We deserve bad. Yet God the Father responded to Adam’s outrageous sin with mercy in the sending of Jesus to earth to save us from sin.
So repentance must be at the heart of our lives because it is humility that positions us to receive from God’s redemptive power. Smashing any entitlement and seeing ourselves as unworthy sinners is huge. When you deserve nothing but eternal hell anything of God for eternal heaven is everything.
Repentance is not a one-time prayer or passing sentiment of remorse. It is going to the cross to get a reality check of understanding your plight and purpose in the universe of God’s revelation. The cross is the “place” to find if you truly want eternal life.
There are so many things to learn how to learn. Don’t sit idle. Where do you start reading in the Scriptures? They offer a phenomenal journey leaving the old and discovering the new you in living Jesus.
Imagine walking into a huge library and trying to choose which book to read first to help you in life.
Simple: The Crossroad by Jesus
The cross is not a mere past historical event. It’s not an old irrelevant book on the back shelf of a library. The death of Jesus is a captivating living experiential ‘novel’. As you succumb to its plot you find transformation. It is an eternal work accomplished in the heavens, for us to access today, here and now (Hebrews 7:24,9:11-24,10:19 ).
The cross was actually a tabernacle. It is the ultimate altar where the eternal Lamb was slain for the appeasement and atonement for all sin for all time. So, therefore, long after Jesus died Paul says he was crucified WITH THE LAMB and chose to crucify the world to himself (Gal.2/6).
From day one of my journey in Christ it has been exciting to find this place of the cross. His new ways are only released in, through and on the other side of the cross, out of my miserable daily mess. It is learning to establish my new being by simple faith in this divine and holy mechanism of the cross (Rm 1:17/Hebrews 11:6).
Not dependent on human strength to pretend to be better but just the opposite. It is to realize how weak and sinful we are and must surrender to Christ on the cross. We must dump our sin into the sin pool of of all men Jesus bore on the cross.
Faith is a depth of change that happens as a result of uniting our deepest sin with Jesus as He bled to death on the cross (Roman6:6).
When Jesus says “take up your cross” He means to bring His revelation of the cross into your life (Matt. 16:24/mark 8:34/LK. 9:23/Jn 12:24). Yoke your sinful self to Jesus WHEN HE WAS ON THE CROSS. To unite yourself NOW, with His work of appeasement, IN THE HEAVENS. By giving up your self/ ego/ pride you instantly admit the evil in you of sin and reckon it to the cross in the light of Christ.
Our old self does not disappear. Paul says “I die daily”. Again, this is what Jesus means to “take up your cross”. I have learned the joy in being constantly mortified by seeing the depths of my sin. Our pride refuses to let us repent. It refuses to “see” because it can’t see. It is blind. The only way we can bring ourselves to “see” is to turn from pride; to repent; to change from being proud, to humbling ourselves.
Humiliation is the only way out (Heb. 12:2). There is a big difference between humility and humiliation. Humility is like swimming just offshore. Humiliation takes us into the deep dealings of Christ. We “despise” the shame but push beyond it to find the freedom from ourselves. We learn to hate the proud image that keeps us from the new reality waiting in the living Spirit of Jesus.
Pride runs deep in our blood and is very tricky. The cross is the only hope we have to get to “the power of God” to “see” ourselves in His light and to “unite” our sin with Him (Rm. 6:6).
Those captured by the systematic thinking of Christianity do not understand the cross. They are afraid of it, like I used to be. So many misconceptions keep men away. So they remain powerless, repeating the same old same old cycles of thought and behavior. But it is the essence of salvation. It is the only way to truly become new.
One day a lightning storm struck a tree across the street from where I lived long ago. I walked out to it and had the crazy thought to make it into a six-foot cross. Then I heard there was a huge raft race at the Grand River. I chose to carry it down there to witness for Jesus. That was the first time I was arrested for Christ.
They said it was disorderly conduct to preach to people drunk out of their minds. It was outrageous and I was arrested many more times. When Paul learned about the cross he said “most gladly, therefore, I will boast of my weakness (sickness from sin) so that the power of Christ might dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9/10). He even said “I have been crucified…”(Gal.2:20,6:12-14).
Going to the cross is the only means of repentance for all men. It is the only way to find the direct release of the love of Jesus for others. Compassion is the result of all the things realized in dying to self because you learn the common thread that weaves all humanity into a hopeless state.
Divine love and Forgiveness is profound. When you surrender you truly realize you have NOTHING to give. And it is then when God’s love begins to flow. Surrender, instead of striving to think you are supposed to make yourself better. We have not within ourselves the love that only comes through the cross (Rm 3;9).
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).
It’s not up to us to figure out OUR OWN repentance. It’s like a guy who owns a property. He puts up fencing to maintain all that he owns. He thinks to himself “This is how far I can go. It’s all mine.” Well, that is exactly the opposite of total surrender. Repentance is not doing what you know, but “doing” what you don’t know. And it only comes by letting go of what you know.
The cross promises us the security of a new identity by the promise of the resurrection for adoption. We become His actual legitimate sons and daughters (2 Cor. 6: 18/Romans 8:14-15/Gal. 4:6).
We stop pretending to be something that we are not because we realize our identity is no longer in ourselves but through the living Jesus before the Father.
This produces a “nuclear” humility. We can prevent presumption and “split the Adam” to discern between our flesh and His truth (Heb 4:12).
I know this stuff can seem heavy and boring but it is worth every second to ponder and contemplate. It is the repentance that leads to life. Esau sought for it but had long ruined the God-given tools of conscience, heart, intelligence and will (Heb. 12:17). When people ‘play around’ with such solemn matters of heart and truth they destroy their soul. There is only one same repentance for all men and it is found through the cross (Rm 6:6). It will change your state of mind if you yield to the actual humility of Jesus displayed in John 13 and Philippians 2.
I have carried a cross into many places all over the world. I will do so until my body is put into a grave. Many call me a nut. Many thank me and many will thank me. But all of them know, when they see the cross, it means repentance. It’s true. I’m not of this world. So I guess I am a nut but I’m a happy one. Never die. Believe Jesus (Jn 11:25,12:25).