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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Take Up Your Cross

As I've been reading scripture lately I've been taking a new interest in references to the work Jesus did on the cross. I used to mostly think of the cross in terms of the Penal Substitutionary Atonement theory... but I'm now recognizing there are other aspects that I've overlooked.

What did Jesus have to say about the cross?

Matt 16:24-28 (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."
Matthew records Jesus saying something similar in Matt 10:38-39, and , Mark 8:34-38, and Luke 9:23-27. There is something to this passage that the gospel writers agreed was important.

So what could Jesus be asking of us here? By taking up our cross is Jesus asking us to pay the price for our sins like he did on the cross... no, I won't go there.

I think this lines up with what Paul talks about in Romans 6.

We used to let our own selfish ways rule in our lives. Jesus took our sins to the cross. He modeled putting sin to death. Jesus is saying we need to do the same. Our sin needs to die on the cross with Him.

Now with Jesus on the throne, we are now ruled by His will, guided by the Holy Spirit. In a sense we died on the cross with Jesus... our selfish ways are dead. The life we live now is Christ's.

Don't just take my word for any of this, read how Paul describes it in Romans 6.

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1 comment:

Al said...

I've always thought that 'taking up your cross' meant more than just denying yourself a pleasure or two. For a person in Jesus' time, carrying your cross meant you were headed for an execution--yours.

Tying Jesus' death with this verse seems to say: "I'm going to be killed because the powers that be don't want me around. Be prepared for the same to happen to you. Expect that the establishment will (at least figuratively) crucify you for what you stand for."

I'm not sure if that adds anything to the conversation about penal substitution, but it certainly subtracts some of that understanding. After all, in those verses, Jesus is saying--"there is a correlation between my death and yours"--and I don't think my death would pay for any one's sins.