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Saturday, April 11, 2009


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

". . .Christ crucified. . ." I Corinthians 1:23

Salvation comes to us by faith. There is no work possible to mankind which can forgive sins. Only the sinless sacrifice upon the cross is able to cleanse us from our wrong-doing. That is why the cross is absolutely central to the Christian life and faith.

Before the world was created, God schemed the redemption plan. It would be activated if mortal disobeyed Creator God. Our first parents unfortunately did trespass against the law of Creator God; in that instant, the cross came into play upon the planet. Prior to that moment, the cross was a divine plan housed in the eternities.

Down through Old Testament history, the shedding of blood was the means by which mortals could find forgiveness. It was the sacrifice. It was the pain. It was the reminder that first parents had attempted to play deity--foolishly so--by believing the tempter.

Then came the Calvary Cross atop Golgotha. There was stapled the perfect Lamb. There He bled, scarified His all upon the wood, suffered, cried out in anguish, writhed beneath the awful blows of a slow death. There Christ became sin for us. There the Lamb became likewise goat of humanity--the scape goat carrying into the tomb our sins upon His holy head.

From that cross point in human history, all other history looks back upon Jerusalem's tree. And from creation's start, all human history looked forward to Jerusalem's tree. The cross is the cross roads of all human history.

Therefore, it is paramount that everyone who claims the name "Christian" realizes that the Christian life is summed up in the cross. There is finally no other place to go in this life. It is the cross from alpha to omega.

One can travel all over the globe--back in history, forward in expectation--and yet find no greater height than the hill upon which Christ was nailed to a piece of timber.

Likewise, it is of utmost significance that each believer reckon with the fact that the Christian experience centers upon the cross--sacrifice, pain, relinquishment, surrender, yielding, emptying, soul nakedness, death to self-striving and acclaim.

Yet this very truth is the concept most ignored by the Christian community for at first blanch it appears to be repulsive, so absolutely impossible. How can a good God ask this of us? How can such a bloody scene be the central crux of a religion?

Yet it is. Once one then grips the fundamental fact of the faith, one can then move into the reality of the cross by his own personal obedience to emptying all into the hands of Christ. This is what Paul called for when he wrote for believers to die in Christ, to be buried in Christ, and then to know the resurrection peace.

This must become personal to you otherwise you are merely holding to a religious coin without knowing its value. You are merely toying with a religious emblem without understanding its blood stain upon your soul. You must climb up Calvary, stake out your very existence there and bed down till the last breath beneath the body of the crucified One. Anything less cannot be tolerated for it is God who demands this of His own.

It is by faith you start the journey. It is by faith you continue the journey. It is by faith you will end the journey.