The Glory Of The Cross
By: Danny Wallace
Lucifer hopes to recreate in us the very circumstances that transported him from standing in Heaven’s glory one moment, to hissing in a garden tree the next.
He thought himself to be greater than God and now, having us think the same, is his greatest temptation to man. That may sound ridiculous at first, but it is something we all struggle with. In doing our own thing in God’s name, we want to be associated with God by name, like most name-droppers want to mention a celebrity, or influential person they might know.
We’ve built it, but we need the “Big Guy’s” name on the building to draw our followers in. Every time we imply that our righteousness somehow completes the finished work of Christ we are doing nothing more than building our own empire (ministry) that asks without hesitation or repentance, “Lord, have you not seen my ministry?”
“Are you saying that God doesn’t need me?” Pretty much – at least not in the way we have come to believe. God loves us beyond the scope of our imagination; there is no doubt about that. Once again, Jesus taking our sins upon His sinless back on the cross should emphatically make that point, and yet, it is that very example of perfect love and completed Grace with which we most want to take credit.
We work tirelessly in ministries that seek to promote our righteousness as necessary to complete God’s Grace. We fall easy prey to Lucifer’s greatest temptation when we insert ourselves as necessary to complete the finished work of the cross. I will go a step further to state that it is our current view of the cross and its diminished importance to the truth of God’s Church that has changed The Church to “the church,” and truly relegated our version to a lower case spelling. When we take co-credit for completing God’s finished work of grace on the cross of Jesus Christ, man has transcended from a mere misunderstanding of wanting to be like God, to joining with Lucifer’s transgression of wanting to be above God. At this point, the cat is no longer waiting and grinning, he cat has swallowed the mouse.
Within the ministries we are building today the perfect work and all encompassing power of the cross has been relegated to the spiritual archives. We treat the cross as if it were nothing more than an interesting story in history upon which our faith was founded. We believe that we have moved on to more “timely” and revolutionary concepts, much the way today’s carmakers would give a nod of respect to Henry Ford and then declare, “Ole Henry would roll over in his grave at what we have accomplished today.”
Likewise, the cross is acknowledged by most Christians, but deemed obsolete by many religious authorities today. It is no longer the foundational power upon everything God has completed in us. It has become nothing more than a religious icon, or a cool piece of jewelry.
Within those churches considered to be the most progressive and at the forefront of religious innovation, “the cross,” is considered by most to be basically old-fashioned. Those who believe it holds the current place of relevance or necessity that it did when it held our Savior, bleeding and dying for our sins, are simply those who don’t understand what we are building today.
To lift ourselves high, we must first bring Jesus down. It is not enough to acknowledge the cross. The devil is willing to acknowledge the cross, as are all of these modern ministries. However, each moves quickly and strategically to give it a dusty place among other relics in the religious archives of a more primitive time.
Let me assure you that Lucifer clearly understands what we are building. It is the central part of his own master plan; a plan with which he has no problem sharing credit with us. As a matter of fact, our sharing of the credit is a key part of his plan. He is literally begging us to share it with him. It plays to the very God-like element we discussed earlier. Otherwise, the plan falls apart. Without this key element of inserting ourselves in co-credit with God we are left with something that God alone has built. When left with what God alone has built we are transported full circle back to the cross. Because everything that God has built, promised, and continues to supply to man today is built upon the completed work and absolute freedom and power that is found at the cross of Jesus Christ.
In Hebrews 10, the Word of God tells us that the Law is a shadow of the good things that are coming, not the real things themselves. It never can perfect the ones who are trying to draw near to God through the same sacrifices offered year after year. Otherwise, they would have stopped offering them, wouldn’t they? If the people carrying out their religious duties had been completely cleansed once, no one would have been aware of sin anymore. Instead, these insufficient sacrifices are only a reminder of sin, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Likewise, it is equally impossible for our goodness to do so.That which we are taking credit for today might have began at the cross; however, it has slowly, and every so surely evolved into our kingdom; our credit; our accomplishments; and, our ministry. We must remember that everything we take to the cross is on a level of equal importance with what we take away from the cross to offer the world. We take our gratefulness to the cross, and we leave the cross with the treasures of blessing, unconditional love, and forgiveness to pour out on a dying, and sinful world.