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.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Which Tent Post Is The Cross?

I see the cross in a different light than many Evangelicals.
But is the cross important to me? Absolutely, Yes!
I've previously posted 10 reasons why I'm not a fan of Penal Subtitutionary Attonment (actually 11 reasons). I also don't see the cross as the central part of the gospel message that Jesus or His disciples preached (see Gospel in the Gospels - Summary - 6 part series).

But picture for a moment a tent. What kind of tent would I have if I only used one pole and one peg to support it? There may be one, two or four central posts - depending on the type of tent. But most stable tents have more than one post.

For me the cross may not be the central post, but it is certainly an essential post.

I admit the cross has some mystery to me, but I find a good place to start is understanding what Jesus had to say about the cross.

Matt 16:24-26 (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?

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? In what way are we to follow Jesus' example of taking up the cross? By taking up our cross is Jesus asking us to pay the price for our sins like he did on the cross... no, I don't think so.

Christ's example for us on the cross is how he defeated sin for us. I think he is asking us to follow His example of defeating sin, putting sin to death. By rejecting the rule of selfishness, and accepting the reign of God, we can find life in Christ. We must denying our own selfish ways and allow God to rule in our hearts and lives.

This tent post gives good support to the good news of the reign of God that Jesus and His disciples preached.

Another verse that speaks to our selfish ways being put to death:

Gal 5:24 (NIV)
"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires."
Jesus took our sins to the cross, so we can also put our selfish ways to death and live for Him.

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."

All of Romans 6 has helped me understand the cross better. Here are two snippets:

Rom 6:11 (NIV)
"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."

Romans 6:9-11 (NIV)
"For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."

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Anonymous said...

I agree with what you said, but feel like it is a bit incomplete without the "sacrifice for sins" element... I can't help but see the cross as the continuing story of God's "method" for forgiveness for sins. (I am not convinced "method" is the correct choice of word, but that is the best I can think of right now) I see a thread in scripture that didn't just appear in the NT with Jesus' death on the cross, but rather from the beginning of the OT with lambs being sacrificed for sin etc. I think it is very powerful to see how this thread continues through the centuries and can impact our lives today. It gives continuity and power and purpose to Jesus death on the cross.

It is interesting and moving to see the many layers of meaning that God has imparted to us through the cross, just as your post dug into.


Jonathan said...

Yes, fair point. I may need to process that aspect of the cross further. I do believe Jesus sacrificed His life as he put sin to death. The sacrificial theme from the OT is brought to completion with this sacrifice of Jesus.

However, I think we've been wrong to conclude these sacrifices were viewed as paying for a debt, or appeasing God's wrath. I don't believe the Jews viewed it that way. More here on that:


I believe the sacrifices in the OT were seen more as gifts to God, pleasing aromas to God. In a similar way, we are called to present our lives as a sacrifice as we worship Him with our lives.

Sacrifice doesn't need to mean payment for sins, appeasing God's wrath, or evening things up with God.

covnitkepr1 said...

Love this post on the cross...love your insight about it. Very thoural.

I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation.

Jonathan said...

OK, will do. Thanks covnitkepr1.