For in him [Jesus Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in
heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:19 & 20
But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus
Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
The Cross of Jesus
Christ is the door, the divine entranceway, into the eternal Kingdom of
God. It is the portal into the realm of Glory. No human being
has access to this greater dimension, this greater reality, except through
Jesus Christ; except through the provision God has made for fallen
mankind, the sacrifice of His beloved Son upon the Cross.
The Cross of Jesus Christ is the olive branch in the hand of God extended to
mankind whereby they can experience peace with their Maker. Every
human being begins their self-aware, conscious existence estranged from God. Every human being is guilty
before Him. Every human being suffers incongruence, a struggle
within their own heart. Every human being knows, if they are truly
honest with themselves, if they are in touch with the divine element
inside of them, the holy and pure law of God reflected in their
conscience; every human being knows that they have violated this law and
justly deserve to be banished forever from the eternal Kingdom, from
the presence of God. Every human being also has eternity within their
hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We all have this longing inside of us,
this unspoken, unarticulated subconscious knowledge of our proposed
destiny. And those who are lost, those who have not made their peace
with God by the means He has provided, suffer this deep seeded
incongruence between their known inner destiny with the truth in which
they now stand, that they do not qualify to have this inner ache met; that
because they remain guilty before God the longing within their hearts,
that eternal throb, will not be satisfied and they will perish.
This is the truth for every human at one time or another. This is an
attempt to put into words those unspoken experiences, those sublime, inner
reflections of the heart. We stand inside the core, the life-giving
muscle of the human
race. We are students of cardiology. We carefully watch the palpitations. And we discover the
reason for all the gyrations of human existence - all the manifold
undertakings to do great and wonderful things and all the horror and
perversion that can be imagined. We see the futile attempts of lost
mankind to satisfy this eternal longing while ignoring the truth of their
condition before God. We see them either justifying themselves
before God with their own efforts of righteousness apart from Jesus
Christ, producing quite a substantial array of good things, which in their
minds procures their right to heaven, answering the eternal longing; or we
see them abandoning the true path altogether by responding in varying
degrees to the deception that they themselves are god, that there is no
other, and consequently setting a new course in building a temporal,
earthly kingdom of their own. Both cases represent a pendulum, the
beating of the heart of the race of humanity, specifically those who
ignore their inner incongruence, who refuse an honest evaluation of their
hearts before a Holy God, being false to their conscience.
conscience of mankind is a divine compass implanted within the human
heart by which each individual can fulfill this eternal longing that is
also there. So in essence we are each born with a map and a magnetic
device which, when properly deciphered, always points to true north.
And that eternal longing (the map) has been clearly explained. The
great quest of the human race, found within the human heart, is the quest
for the eternal kingdom, and our conscience (the compass) is meant to direct us onto
the path ("the path of the righteousness") and is to set the parameters of the
quest, the boundaries also found within our hearts, the righteousness of
God. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness."
This pronouncement by Jesus Christ is a divine sword thrust, pointed
directly at the motivation within the heart of humanity, answering
our deepest longings. And it really, in essence, is what each heart
is after. The label that mankind has put upon it is the "utopian
society," and "world peace." Jesus confronts and answers to these
directly, revealing their true nature, exposing their originating source.
Mankind's quest for the "utopian society" is the quest in their hands
for the Kingdom of God. Mankind's desire for "world peace" is their
attempt at the righteousness of God. And both can only be
realized, both can only come to fruition through Christ Jesus, through the
divine entranceway, the cross.
[See End Note Commentary]
For a lost person, one who remains estranged from God, who has not
accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, who has not experienced
the internal cleansing of the conscience by the blood of the cross
achieved by the Holy Spirit coming to dwell within them; for a lost person
to speak of a clear conscience is an oxymoron. It is literally
impossible. They are more than likely deceived in some form or
fashion, lying to themselves, not being honest or true to their heart,
having some criterion other than God's as their standard for everlasting
life. They are afraid of self-examination; they are afraid of the
exposure of their heart before the Holy criterion, and subsequently go
into hiding behind some facade of self-justification. They know that
God is Holy, His law within them bearing witness. What they are
afraid to admit is the degree to which they have violated that law and the
consequences of that violation. And what they have failed to see,
and what we the Church have been commissioned to make plain to them, is
the Gospel, the "Good News" that their violation of the Holy Law of God
has been atoned for, that they can have peace with God through the blood
of the cross, and their eternal hope can be satisfied.
Mankind stands condemned before God, to be forever ostracized from their
desired eternal home. Their own hearts bear witness to this.
We, the Church of Jesus Christ, are to proclaim to them their pardon.
We have been anointed, commissioned by the Spirit of the Lord to bring
good tidings to these who are afflicted beneath this sentence of death.
We have been given the high privilege to bind up the broken hearted, those
whose consciences are defiled, who are suffering this incongruence within
their hearts. The high calling of the Church overall is to proclaim
liberty to these captives, the opening of the prison to these who are
bound, restrained and kept from eternal life by deceptions and
self-justifications, making clear to them the freedom that awaits by
submission to the Holy judgment of God, bowing the knee before Jesus
Christ and accepting the ruling of the High Court, that they can be
forever absolved of their crimes and qualify for eternity by the blood of
the cross. Jesus has paid for their violations of the Holy law.
They have only to accept this by faith, with a solemn vow proclaiming
allegiance to Him, yielding to Him as their sovereign ruler, making Him
the Lord of their life, and believing in their heart that their quest for
everlasting life can only be realized by His resurrection from the dead.
God is after something. God is looking for something very specific.
The prerequisite to Christianity is a particular quality of heart. The
entrance to the Kingdom is offered to those who are willing to bow the
knee before Christ Jesus the King in submission to His sovereignty. It is
to those who are willing to confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord of their
life and thus yielding their heart to Him that He offers eternal life
which is eternal union with Him. None can get in nor have a share in the
eternal future without it.
However, this quality of submission is much more than merely one,
historical choice; it is more than just the requirement for entrance. It
is an attitude of heart and a way of life. It is the very quality by which
we are to live and move and have our being. It is the essence, not just of
entrance, but of all that we do in God. This quality of submission is
humbleness of heart, humbling ourselves before God, the almighty One.
So the cross of
Jesus Christ, for those of us who are saved, has much more meaning and
effectiveness than just our initiation into this blessed, holy life.
We find that we cannot proceed without it. We discover with every
step down the corridor of faith, as we draw near to our eternal
destination, that the cross is required for our many missteps.
Acknowledging heartfelt thanksgiving to God that the cross has allowed
entrance into this holy realm of blissful union with Him, as maturity
increases we esteem the cross more and more. We recognize our
ongoing need for His mercy as His glory continually reveals our failings,
and we receive forgiveness on the very same basis whereby we were
permitted entrance. We are in constant need of the purifying effects
of the blood, the only cleansing agent for the soul. And we finally
arrive at the point where we understand that apart from the grace, mercy
and steadfast love of God as demonstrated by the sacrifice of His Son,
that we have no foundation or basis upon which to stand. There is
nothing that we can do in our own strength and by our own hand that can
procure acceptance before the throne of God. It is by faith alone
that we can stand before a Holy God; faith in that supreme sacrifice,
confident that the cross of Jesus Christ and His shed blood is the sole
satisfaction for our unworthy-ness, and indeed that it has so thoroughly
cleansed us that we now are worthy. For every evil word that we
speak, for the curses that come pouring from our mouths at those who cut
us off in traffic; for all of our misconduct; for our disobedience to God,
parents and bosses; for our hurting of one another with vindictive words;
for those times when we are overcome by evil and old strongholds get the
better of us; for those times when we lapse into depression and despair
yet knowing the better, more prudent way; for every evil under the sun
with which we may still be struggling, the cross of Jesus Christ, and the
forgiveness that God continually offered to us through it, becomes an
immeasurable gift. When we take that submissive quality of heart,
bow before the throne of God and confess our sin that His conviction by
His Spirit has made us aware of, He is ever faithful and judicially just
to grant us forgiveness of our crime, and even to cleanse our conscience
once again of guilt and condemnation, because the sacrifice for that sin
has already been made. (Read 1 John 1:9) The blood of Jesus Christ and the cross of
Jesus Christ will, for the course of our journey, be one of the greatest
and most esteemed realities of our life.
The lost person stands outside the entrance to the Kingdom, barred from
the realization of their deepest desire for eternal life. Their only
hope is for mercy. And that mercy has been granted. Jesus
Christ, through His death on the cross, has paid for their admission.
The Christian stands within the entrance of the Kingdom, sprinkled clean
by the blood. They have passed through the cleansing agent. They are
now new creations in Christ Jesus. They have been washed, they have
been sanctified, they have been justified not by any effort of their own
but "in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."
(1 Corinthians 6:11) They have already crossed the threshold of
eternity. And that threshold is faith in the Son of God, who loved
them and sacrificed His life for them.
The Christian moves from the entrance, progressing from Christian infancy
into greater maturity. And they come across a natural stumbling
block, one which has been common from the Church's origin. They,
having begun in the Spirit, having truly accepted by faith the Gospel of
Jesus Christ procuring them entrance; they discover how reliant they are
upon the flesh to live their Christian life. They reach a turning
point, a crisis point of their life in God. They are attempting to
live a spiritual life by natural means. God exposes a deeply
embedded carnal root that somewhat tarnishes His Holy reflection, making
the Christian look a lot like a lost person, and which must be eradicated
for them to proceed to full stature, full maturity as sons and daughters
of the Kingdom. And they also discover, like their entrance and like
the progress that they have made thus far, that they are hopeless in ever
reaching their full potential in God and in having this carnal root
removed apart from the cross of Jesus Christ. They come to learn
that the cross is more than merely the entrance. The cross is more
than merely the continuing forgiveness for their sins and failings.
There is another dimension of the Cross of Jesus Christ that they have yet
to learn. There is a great hope, a great glory just ahead for them
when they are awakened to the stark reality that they have remained thus
far in a natural shell, confined by natural limitations dictated by the
carnal root. There remains a dynamo, an untapped source of power
that frees them from natural restrictions. And that power too is
found in the cross. There is a dynamic of the Christian lifestyle yet to be fully
experienced. And that lifestyle is resurrection life, which is
solely lived in the power of God, within the resurrection life of Jesus
Christ. And as He attained resurrection life, so it is attained by
those who follow Him. The secret to the resurrection of Christ was
His death. The secret likewise for those who go on to full stature
in Him is death: the death to self.
And he (Jesus) said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him
deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever
would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake,
he will save it." Luke 9:23 & 24
There remains an
untapped dimension of the cross of Jesus Christ that Christianity, as a
whole, is yet to discover. There have certainly been saints in every
generation (and in some generations quite a number of them) who have
faithfully served the Lord with their whole heart and who have matured to
full stature. Yet for the masses spiritual maturity seems to have
advanced rather slowly. However, prophetically speaking, since the
Church stands on the brink of the great transition into the millennial
reign, and historically She can be seen as one Being, having been birthed
two-thousand years ago and fast approaching Her wedding day, that Her maturity is coming to the full.
She will soon discover this
dimension. She will soon learn by revelation the source of dynamic,
resurrection life. She will soon learn what it means in practice
what She heretofore knew only in theory how to "take up her cross daily
and follow him." A new message will be formed on Her lips; a
two-edge sword will be in Her hand. That message and that sword will
be the illumination within Her heart of this untapped dimension of the
For the word of the cross is ... the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18
The dynamic power that is to be found within the Christian life and
Christian lifestyle will emerge in these last days from a new revelation
of the cross of Jesus Christ. The four gospels will have new
relevancy for the miracles they contain. They are the documentation
of the life of Jesus, who Himself matured to full spiritual stature and
for the last three and a half years of His life demonstrated supernatural
acts of power. The Church too, when She reaches Her full stature,
will walk in a similar fashion, doing, as Jesus said She would, "greater
works" than He had done because He had gone to His Father, or because of
His resurrection life. (John 14:12).
These Chronicles will always have the cross of Jesus Christ as the center
of them, symbolized by the image of the cross within the center of the
banner. It unites lost mankind to their Creator. It provides a
safe haven for the maturing of the saints. And ultimately it will
lead us to full stature and the consummation of the age.