"The Christian's Passion"
There is a powerful question that is too often avoided by preachers and church attendees alike, "Who took the rough edges off the Cross?" Modern day Christianity and the world have generally turned the cross into a nice piece of harmless jewelry, all shiny and pretty. Wearing nice jewelry shaped in the form of a cross is not necessarily sinful unless it is worn without regard to what the Cross of Christ symbolizes. Here are some ways that the Biblical symbolism of the cross is abased today: 1.) Ladies wearing low cut blouses with a cross hanging in their cleavage; 2.) Young people wearing the cross on body piercings, earrings, necklaces or on their clothing while living lives that scream of the immorality and self-possession of this world; and 3.) Making merchandise out of the cross.
Jesus' word to His cross bearers is, "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me" (Luke 9:23).
There is a symbolic meaning to taking up the cross. The cross is a symbol of death. When someone carried a cross down the road to the place of his execution, he did not return. Our sin is why Christ endured the agony and shame of the Cross. The first and utmost reason for bearing our cross is to die to sin. This involves death to ourselves, death to self-effort and death to our quest for earthly gain and recognition. These very things have destroyed even the most gifted men of God. This is why Luke included "daily"--because our sinful nature desires to dethrone God from our lives daily. Our flesh, the world and Satan are throwing something at us continually to tempt us to say yes to them and stop seeking the will and desire of God for us.
In writing about being dead to sin and alive in Christ, Paul set the matter straight in regard to what really should be the Christian's passion, "...Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:1-2)... For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin -- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin" (Romans 6:6-7).
Have you died to self, to the world and Satan's lies? Have you repented of sin and asked Jesus Christ to come into your heart and life to be both Savior and Lord? If so, Paul's instructions are, "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God... offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness..." (Romans 6:11-13).
The apostle Paul makes this heart searching statement, "And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you." (Romans 8:11)
Are you a cross bearer that reflects a life of Christ--a life that is dead to sin and alive to Christ? Do not live a life that disregards the price paid for you at Calvary.
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by David Dewitt on Dec 15, 2000
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Contributed by Royce Hendry on Mar 29, 2001
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Contributed by Sermoncentral on Apr 10, 2001
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Contributed by Sermoncentral on Jan 19, 2002
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Contributed by Roger Griffith on Oct 18, 2000
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Contributed by Melvin Newland on Jan 31, 2001
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