Called To The Cross

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But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal 6:14, NET)

longing for the word Psalms 46:1
longing for the word Psalms 46:1

In today’s crazy world, there is nothing to depend upon; except for Jesus. Christ, and Him crucified. Prophets of old echoed such ideas all the time:

The LORD says, “Wise people should not boast that they are wise. Powerful people should not boast that they are powerful. Rich people should not boast that they are rich. (Jer 9:23).
If people want to boast, they should boast about this: They should boast that they understand and know me. They should boast that they know and understand that I, the LORD, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things,” says the LORD. (Jer 9:24)

I read something earlier this week that seemed to have some connection to the idea that we sometimes do not recognize whats really going on in the world or in our lives. It was a story about a farmer who decided that God spoke to him about going into the ministry. He was out in one of his pastures looking up into the sky and it looked to him as though the cloud formations were forming the letters GPC in the sky. The farmer took this to be a message from God. He was thinking that it must stand for “Go Preach Christ.”

Years later, it appeared that there was just one problem after the next, and his ministry did not seem to be doing very well. And around that same time; one of his friends suggested that those letters, GPC might have meant “Go Plow Corn?”

Today, a similar thing is happening. We see what is going on in the world. Our hearts are failing us for fear. (Luke 21:26). We are not hearing the call of Christ to His cross. All we see are false flags, impossible situations, and hopeless outlooks on the future. Some of us are even saying, in unison with some of the people in the early days of history:

“Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet 3:4).

We must learn to not only hear correctly God’s call, but to also interpret what He is saying to us. Hope is wherever God’s amazing grace works on us, and while embracing the cross means that we see hope in suffering; in hopeful suffering. Jesus is very near. Is that even possible? Dare we call it “the gift of suffering?”

When we “come to the cross,” we enter the school of love. (Mat 16:24, John 15:13). This is the very heart and mission of the cross. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God which was in Christ Jesus.” That love is our hope. That love is “Christ and Him crucified.”

Consider that when Jesus was most helpless and weak; that it was right from the cross where He wrought His greatest works for us. Our salvation! The greatest grace has arisen out of the greatest trouble! (Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28). By living in hope, we are united in that “being one” (John 17:11,22) that Jesus had talked about in Scripture.

When we embrace our helplessness, accept it all as an essential part of our walking daily with our own cross, (see Luke 9:23), then our sufferings are joined with that of Christ. Christ and Him crucified. A true Christian finds meaning in suffering, for embracing the cross is never just for ourselves. “The cross” is not just for our own good. We live in hope. If we know Jesus, (John 17:3) we are living epistles of His Hope, and we join with Him in the fellowship of His sufferings. (Phil 3:10). Christians of all stripes find meaning, unity, and hope, when they embrace “Christ and Him crucified. We live in hope. The cross was/is our hope. The only solid hope. And hope is contagious. In the cross, Jesus does not abandon us. As one Christian remarked years ago:

“The cross is steady while the world is turning.”

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13).

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We are all called to the cross:

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all people unto me. (John 12:32)

Like the farmer that we looked at in the beginning of this article, we can mistaken this call to the cross, as something to avoid. Something to fix. Something to improve. Something “good” that we can do. The cross, is certainly not an option we usually want to present to others, because its “too negative.”

If we are called “in Christ,” we will know our calling is one of Hope, because the Bible also tells us that “nothing can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:38-39).

We are offered the hope of Calvary when we accept that even though we were/are far away from Jesus; we are made near, only by the blood of Christ:

But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Eph 2:13)

The cross of Calvary should appeal to the benevolence of every follower of the Saviour. The principle there illustrated is to give, give. “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” (1 John 2:6).

The work of redemption involves consequences of which it can be very difficult for us to have any conception of being called to the cross. To most of us it doesn’t seem like a great place to be. (Isa 53:1-3). “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9). As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and kneels before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given to the supplicant. They become a new creature in Christ Jesus. Holiness finds that it has nothing more to require. (Eph 2;13). God Himself is both Just, and “the Justifier of anyone which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26). And “whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Romans 8:30). Great as is the shame and degradation through sin, or on the cross, even greater will be the honour and exaltation through redeeming love. To human beings striving for conformity to the divine image there is imparted an outlay of heaven’s treasure, an excellency of power, the blood of Christ that will place them higher than even the angels who have never fallen.

The soul finds rest only in cherishing meekness and lowliness of heart. The peace of Christ is never found where selfishness reigns. The soul cannot grow in grace when it is self-centered and proud. Jesus assumed the position that we must take in order that the peace of Christ may abide in the heart. Those who have offered themselves to Christ to become His disciples must deny self daily, must lift up the cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus. They must go where His example leads the way.

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The only-begotten Son of God took upon Him the nature of human beings, and established His cross between earth and heaven. Through the cross, people are drawn to God, and God to us. Justice moved from its high and awful position, and the heavenly hosts, the armies of holiness, drew near to the cross, bowing with reverence; for at the cross justice was satisfied. Through the cross the sinner was drawn from the stronghold of sin, from the confederacy of evil, and at every approach to the cross our heart relents and in penitence we cry, “It was my sins that crucified the Son of God.” At the cross we leave our sins, and through the grace of Christ the character is transformed. The Redeemer raises the sinner from the dust, and places them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As the sinner looks upon the Redeemer, he finds hope, assurance, and joy. Faith takes hold of Christ in love. Faith works by love, and purifies the soul.

The truth always involves a cross. Those who will not believe, oppose and deride those who do believe. The fact that its presentation creates a storm of opposition, is no evidence against the truth. The prophets and apostles imperiled their lives because they would conscientiously obey God. And our Saviour declares that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” This is one of the Christian’s legacies.

A large number of people who make a profession of religion are a class that are easily convinced; but they have only a superficial religion. As far as outward appearances are concerned, they are bright converts; but they are like the man who started to build without counting the cost of his enterprise, and they are not able to finish. They are like that farmer who incorrectly hear God’s call. There are those who receive the precious truth with joy; they are exceedingly zealous, and express amazement that all cannot see the things that are so plain to them. They urge others to embrace the doctrine that they find so satisfying. They hastily condemn the hesitating, and those who carefully weigh the evidences of the truth, and consider it in all its bearings. They call such ones cold and unbelieving. But in the time of trial, these enthusiastic persons too often falter and fail. They did not accept the cross as a part of their religious life, and they turn from it with dampened ardor, and refuse to take it up. They do not make the Lord Jesus their strength from the beginning to the end, and do not know what it means to fall upon the Rock and be broken. (Dan 2:34, Luke 8:13,
1 Peter 2:6-8).

If they realized their great need, the Lord could be their strength, and would put his seal upon them. But they did not “die to self” that they might be born again, and their life was not hid with Christ in God. They did not become laborers together with God, bearing the cross, lifting the burden, that they might understand how great were the blessings of the service of Christ, in contrast to the poor pleasures of the world. If they had done this, like Paul, they would have been a partaker with Christ in his sufferings, and would have been able to exclaim, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

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The cross of Calvary challenges, and will finally vanquish every earthly and hellish power. In the cross all influence centers, and from it all influence goes forth. It is the great center of attraction; for on it Christ gave up His life for the human race. This sacrifice was offered for the purpose of restoring people to our original perfection. It was offered to give us an entire transformation of character, making us more than a conqueror. Those who in the strength of Christ overcome the great enemy of God and man will occupy a position in the heavenly courts above angels who have never fallen.

Christ declares, “I, if I be lifted up . . . , will draw all men unto me.” If the cross does not find an influence in its favor, it creates an influence. Through generation succeeding generation, the truth for this time is revealed as present truth. Christ on the cross was the medium whereby mercy and truth met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other. This is the means that is to move the world. {LHU 230.3}

Just as we are thinking to ourselves that Jesus does not notice or care about our plight, our suffering; His Word shines forth with just the assurance we need:

“I have carried you close to My Heart…” (Isa 40:11)

The Cross a Center in the World.–The cross stands alone, a great center in the world. It does not find friends, but it makes them. It creates its own agencies. Christ proposes that men shall become laborers together with God. He makes human beings His instrumentalities for drawing all men unto Himself. A divine agency is sufficient only through its operation on human hearts with its transforming power, making men colaborers with God {5BC 1138.1}.

“The cross speaks life and not death to the soul that believes in Jesus. Welcome the precious, life-giving rays that shine from the cross of Calvary. God would not deprive his people of blessings. It is Satan that interposes his shadow of darkness and creates misgiving and doubts, in order that we may not discern the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining from the cross of Calvary. Reach up for the blessing, believe for the blessing. Your Saviour who died upon the cross is God’s gift to a fallen world, and that gift embraces all heaven. Walk not in the shadow of the cross. Do not give expression to weeping, lamentation, and woe; but encourage your soul to hope and joy. The cross points you upward to a living Saviour, who, as your advocate, is pleading in your behalf.”

So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Heb 7:25)

No matter what kind of dark cloud we are under, the promise is sure:

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. (Isa 45:3).

Truly, there is Light in every cloud. There is always a little light.

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