This is an earlier version (May 31, 2015) which I omitted to include near “Cross power” , so please forgive any perceived difficulties.
The cross of Christ stands like a beacon in history. It is the means of an invisible eternal and supernatural God’s way of communicating with us his creative plan for mankind.
While many find it as the answer for their life, others ignore it or ridicule it. Amongst the detractors, are those who purport to be supporters, but in their explanations of it, they either accidentally or wantonly, destroy the power of the cross by giving it some meaning that is not true, or is distorted beyond accepted values.
Paul speaks about the simplicity of the cross, and how by varying from the simple straightforward delivery of its truth, into some explanation that is trying to cater for a more intellectual audience, the power of it is destroyed, since it is meant to strike the heart with a self realisation of conviction of sin and empathy for man’s condition.
The truth is, that the traditional teaching about the cross is pretty much how it is, but certain groups change it by offering explanations of the text whereby they deny the plain literality of it in order to twist and shift its impact into something more acceptable to their doctrinal tastes.
Where it says that “he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree”, they will argue about the translation and the words and the context and the symbolism and the allegorical meaning and that a tree has no cross beam and etc. ad nauseum.
“He became sin for us”. Now, I don’t know how you are supposed to understand that from a literal point of view; it is easy to say that it was not literal, but instead was a literary device, a metaphor, and all the rest of it. The reality of these two verses is simply this. If you don’t understand what really happened on that cross, then you will have to duck and weave away from these verses as well as others. “One died for all, therefore all died”. Now we know that we didn’t actually die, because we are still here.
So there is some reason to understand some wording. But where the cross is preached, it is the impact of the words on the heart that is important. If you go messing with this then you destroy the impact, because you shift the focus from the heart to the head, and by so doing, shift the focus from an instinctive inner emotional knowledge kind of thing, into the realm of the mind and logic, and inevitably into the realm of the flesh, and consequently away from God.
It is in the heart of man that the true knowledge of our relationship or otherwise, with God, is understood. It is the emotional impact that most powerfully initiates our responses, since in the heart lie the matters of life and death, of love and fear.
There are many cross or “atonement” “theories”. Commonly is substitution, but there is also “representation” and a host of other variables. These are all just names and explanations, mostly of logic, that more appeal to the “thinking” person. But the reality lies in whatever the truth of the matter is.
So what happened on the cross? As Geoff Bingham once said, he wasn’t just hanging up there, he was actually DOING something.
So what was he doing? He was BEARING sin. He was dealing with it, he was absorbing it, he was destroying it, and he was suffering from it, and he was LOVING it away. So yes he was bearing our sin in his body, and he did become sin for us, although of course the metaphorical thing hangs heavily over this one.: Yet it is still literal, he DID in some way, or to some degree, literally become sin “for us”.
There is some thought that yes, he hung on the cross and yes, it would be painful, but no, there was nothing beyond this, because it was only a matter of God FORGIVING us that was the core issue to this. They do not recognise the anguish and suffering in the garden BEFORE the actual cross event, nor do they recognise the same suffering on the cross itself, And certainly the words”My God,my God, why have you forsaken me?” don’t seem to have a lot of impact on them.
For some reason,some do not recognise the COST of the cross, and in fact shrink from the very words of cost, or price. Yet these are legitimate words and explanations of what was involved in the “atonement”.
It is not recognised that the cross WAS his forgiveness towards us, and that it actually achieved a shift in our status and standing before God, which only requires our acceptance of it to become “actuated”. The cross was a contract, a “covenant”, an agreement, and a “will”. There have to be two parties to forgiveness, the forgiver and the forgiven. If there is no acceptance of the forgiveness, IE of the cross, then the state of the would be “forgiven” remains unchanged, accept of course to the list of his “sins” he now could add that of the refusal to accept the offering of the son of God as sacrifice for his sins. That the death of God’s son meant nothing to him. And so rather than accept forgiveness, he makes a judgement call that then BECOMES his judgement.
The “transaction” on the cross meant that our inevitable death was now no longer inevitable. Our death, which was the result of sin, was taken on our behalf by Jesus. How could this be? And what does God’s “wrath” have to do with it? Some religions object to the concept of one man paying for the sins of another. (but he was more than just a man).
There is the issue of the blood, upon which great emphasis is made, and again, this is to do with the “simple” aspects of presenting the cross; but HOW does blood itself do anything or save anybody. He took the WRATH of the Father may be a common concept, but along with “sacrifice”, especially when it is related to animal sacrifices as in the old testament, doesn’t go down too well. And yes, it is the common use of such things, even as the song says, “washed in the blood” that have a lot of emotional impact, and not only so, it conveys graphically the reality of the events of the cross.
Now let’s try and get into an overall explanation, so I hope all you readers are aware that as an explanation, it will not necessarily touch your heart, because we are running foul of the complicated explanation issue once again.
Let’s try and put forward some aspects which hopefully will draw together in some understandable fashion perhaps.
God is a supernatural being, he is love, and he is in the business of increasing love and its dominion, ie he seeks his own expansion. A God of love needs something to love, even someones to love. This God cannot be touched by humans, lest they die. He cannot be seen, or even approached, because “He dwells in unapproachable light”. This light though, is not all there is. The Holy Spirit is symbolised by fire. “Our God is a consuming fire”. The chaff is to be burnt after the wheat is gathered. Whatever or whoever God is, he is extremely powerful beyond understanding.
Now when we put these elements together, we discover that the natural world and God, are opposites, are opposed in nature and composition. We become aware that God’s love is actually his very nature and his Spirit in one. And we become aware that the two (his and ours) are mutually exclusive. Peter says that “the earth and the works thereon will be destroyed” [burnt up](by fire).
We discover that when God comes upon this creation, it will be consumed by his nature, and only that which is compatible with his nature will survive, being caught up with his nature and becoming part of it, of him. The rest will be totally consumed, burnt up. Christians are those who made the shift from the natural to the supernatural when they believed. They are those who, in the grace period of time that this age is, have subjected themselves willingly to the Spirit of God, and have had, both initially and ongoing, sin burnt out of them.
God said. “My Spirit will not always strive with man…”. Because of “the fall”, that event where Adam and Eve sinned, mankind has ever since been in hiding of God, in fear of judgement, just as Adam and Eve hid from God after they sinned.
So mankind cannot face up to God, for fear of facing his judgement, so they pretend he doesn’t exist, only subconsciously they know that he does. Man registers within himself the sense of justice and right and wrong in his conscience, to the extent that he can feel “God’s Wrath” upon him. But “God’s wrath”, is actually his love, and this is how his love is perceived by guilty man, as wrath.
Man cannot face God’s love, because of his sin, he expects retribution for his sin, punishment. So he cannot accept that God wants only what is good for man. His expectation of that punishment leaves him in fear (unless his conscience is dead).
The point of all this is that it is God’s love that will destroy that which is not of love, that is of sin. Love cannot allow anything that is less than love, to survive, else love is always compromised by that which is not love.
So the action of love on sin is seen and sensed as wrath. When Christ “became sin for us”, the bond between God and son was temporarily broken, so that the righteousness of the sinless Christ could be put to the test to prove the validity, and the justification, of love insofar as the purpose of the creation and the justice of allowing it to exist at all.
Internally, Christ confronted sin not his own, but that which emerged from the body of flesh that was like our own body “in every way”, “yet without sin”. Paul in Romans 7 declared that “it is not me, but sin that dwells in me”. And as Jesus’ body was racked in the turmoil and the darkness that sin is, as it produced within him every sin scenario, he confronted its unrighteousness and destroyed it with his own righteousness. And the stress of this confrontation was immense. So much so that he cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”. There are some that dispute these words, but there are some who would dispute anything. Hitler disputed the right of the Jews to live. Pure evil.
And so, the confrontation within him between that which was good and that which was bad, where the right of life and love to exist at all was in dispute by the same element that disputed God’s integrity in the garden, and which amounted to dispute over whether the creation was justifiable in the light of the evil it produced, amounted to “God’s Wrath”.
Sin was being confronted by, and destroyed by, love. And this act is described by man as wrath.
Christ bore within his body the effective sin of mankind, having taken responsibility for it. The judgement on sin was absorbed by him, distressing though it was. God has allowed the son of his love, to love away the sin of the world. In this the Father shared, because love suffers. That is the nature of love. This love in action destroyed the sin and declared that because he is love, he has removed it from us at great cost to himself, and to his son. [the wrath took it away] Sin was judged IN Christ.
They have done this so we will not die. So that we will live. But though our eternal parent has suffered for us in removing our “iniquity”, “As far as the East is from the West”, it remains that we should recognise this and gratefully acknowledge him as Father, and his son as Son. That we recognise the necessity for sin to be judged, and accepting that it has been judged in him so that we are free of it, that we take steps to remain free of it, by believing and coming home to him.
If we do not, then that sin effectively remains within us, we have refused the judgement of sin in Christ, we will now have to accept its judgement in us, as we have refused to let go of it. Therefore, we will receive the wrath upon ourselves when he comes in flaming fire “with the angels”.
So the sin has been dealt with by his love, and we must accept his love, or at least his action of love relative to our position, so that we are accepting of his forgiveness. The action of the cross meant that “one died for all, therefore all died”. This means the death we deserve has been “accounted” for, it is no longer on God’s “books”, or any other books or ledgers. But unless we rise to his realisation and reality of life, by our belief, faith, and trust in him, that sin can remain in us.
The thing is, that he HAS dealt with sin once for all, “The just for the unjust” to bring us to God. And if we choose again, like Adam chose, to disbelieve his word, then the removal of sin will not help us, because we will remain dead without him.
2015 Random after thoughts. It’s not our sin that kills us, it’s our death that kills us. In R7 Paul is under the wrath of God. He is under the wrath of the law, for, “law brings wrath”. The opposition between law and flesh compared with the opposition of the Spirit and the flesh? “For the Spirit and flesh are opposed, so you cannot do what you want? (Galatians).
Cross afterthoughts…What if it is ALL finished? What if sin is no more and we are left “floating” as free agents with a free will, as free entities? Then it becomes only the need to absorb his life in order to be complete. Reverse engineering – what would be the best outcome for both God and man? Bingham said “nothing will satisfy the conscience of God that does not first satisfy the conscience of man” or was it the other way around? The cross and the wrath of the law. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil becomes the tree of life? Unlike law, you cannot have “The wrath of the Spirit”. But you can grieve the Spirit. every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. saying what God says. The greatest gift of the Spirit, is the Spirit. “equality” with God (participant in the divine nature). It is finished. It is ALL finished? We are again in the garden with God. There is no sin, we are innocent, we choose again!
Catonement Csects Ccults Ccross Cwrath