Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bearing our Burden


"That on the cross, My burden gladly bearing," comes from our popular "How Great Thou Art" hymn.

I'm rethinking some common language we use related to Christ's work on the cross. Is this one scriptural, and if so what it means?

I find 51 references to "burden" in the Scriptures, but none referring to Christ's work on the cross.

Psalms 68:19 (NIV)
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.
So, yes God daily bears our burdens. I guess in the sense that God has always carried our burdens this part of the hymn is true.

Also consider similar language Moses used here, talking to the Israelites:
At that time I said to you, "You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. The LORD your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as many as the stars in the sky. May the LORD, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised! But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself? Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you." (Deuteronomy 1:9-13 NIV)
We must also consider 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
So what does "bore our sins" mean? Does it mean he was punished by God instead of me because he bore our sins? I suspect our minds have been trained to fit this verse into our penal subsitution box. But it may simply mean he carried our sins to the cross so that our sins would be removed from us.

Consider the scapegoat in Leviticus 16:
"Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:6-10 NIV)
"When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert. (Leviticus 16:20-22 NIV)
So I thank God for always caring and being concerned about my life troubles and burdens. I thank God for providing a scapegoat for me. All my sins were taken by this scapegoat to the cross, and are removed from me. He took away my sins so I could die to sin and live for righteousness. Now I am to live in Christ, not in sin.

1John 3:4 -10 (NIV)

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

Yikes... this is a challenging passage. I think I understand it, but not sure if I can live it. God help me live this way daily!

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