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Monday, January 27, 2014

Surveying The Wondrous Cross - Emerging From the Dark Cavern

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Surveying The Wondrous Cross - Emerging From the Dark Cavern -  Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.

What an astonishing sight! But make no mistake; crucifixion was violent, ugly and brutal, reserved for the worst. So, how come such a barbaric act is at the heart of Christianity? Is it not time that Christianity became of age and left such scandalous atrocities to the history books? Many would like to do that, but then again for very many of us, it is impossible - you might as well try and pull the Sun out of the sky with your own two hands! The central, glorious wonder of Jesus' death has do with who he is and with what his death accomplished - so we have vast truths compressed into a few words, such as, 'Christ died for the ungodly' (Romans 5:6), 'Christ died for our sins' (1 Corinthians 15:3), and 'Christ died for us' (Romans 5:8). So, we never try to recriminate those directly responsible for Jesus' death, because it was his supreme purpose to give himself into death, and besides, we are all alike sinful rebels - Christ-rejecters by nature!
• A Glimpse 

Ultimately, if the gracious Spirit of God has opened our inner eyes, we have caught a glimpse of God himself - at the cross! Perhaps this is the most staggering wonder of all that the great Creator, before whom earth and sky flees away, comes into this world, incarnate as a descendant of Abraham. He endures the opposition of sinful men who press him to carry his cross until he can carry it no further, when another drags it for him outside the city gate, where Jesus gives himself up, 'to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself' (Hebrews 9:26). What a marvel! That he has actually done it, and that you and I have heard that he has done it. Our lives ought never to be the same again!

If you have never done so, now is the time to look by faith into the face of the once crucified Redeemer and see the Lord of heaven and earth giving up his life for you for his own everlasting possession. What unutterable grace and glory! Whatever else you do in life, make sure above all else, that by the grace of God, you gain a clear view of the death of Christ, which includes the response of your own repentance and faith. Many see it as so absurdly unlikely that the great Creator would ever engage in anything so outrageous, they dismiss the central wonder of the cross. Others see an act so astonishing and immense, but so wonderfully consistent with God's revealed nature and purpose, that only Christ the beloved Son - he and no one else - was able to make this 'purification for sins' (Hebrews 1:3) and open heaven's door.
• Unravel the tangle 

I hope you will make this second view your own. I also hope that you will untangle the difference between subjective, pictorial views and biblical views of Christ's death. Direct appeals to the emotions based on graphic heart-rending media presentations that bypass the mind tend to be a subtle form of manipulation. In contrast, the gospel of Christ presents clear truths grounded in real-world historical events. This is the way God has chosen to speak directly to our reasoning faculty - our minds, by his word. Christianity is grounded in secure, verifiable historic events.

In view of much emotionalism, drawn out altar calls and easy decisions, there is a great need to see the New Testament's towering conception of Christ's bodily resurrection and ascension, and how it views his finished work upon the cross. In consequence, now is the time for faith, for confident trust, in the living Son of God, who once sacrificed himself for sins, but not for letting the imagination dwell unhealthily on Christ's physical sufferings, but rather on their purpose and meaning. The precious truths revealed by God, the most final and enduring realities, are invisible, not seen by sensory perception, but grasped by faith as the Holy Spirit enlightens minds through his powerful word. Thinking of the Chilean' miners, now is the time to emerge from the dark cavern of unbelief and into the sunrise of his light and truth.
• Cost Beyond Measure 

Indeed, so central is Christ's death in the whole of Scripture that we are warranted in saying that the purpose of his death accomplishes God's eternal purpose in redemption, at the end of the ages. In this Christ gave himself as the sinner's substitute to rescue his people by a great salvation, effectively making purification for sin. What he obtained at cost beyond measure -eternal salvation, is received freely by grace, by all who look to him by faith; a salvation that is vast and overflowing, that begins in the present and shall never end! Here we begin to see the personal glory of God, and we worship 'with reverence and awe' (Hebrews 12:28).

So, if you have entered into this life in Christ, aim, by God's grace, to stretch the limits of your view of the love of God. Keep on giving all that you are in obedient consecration to him. Pray, and work to get a closer love-intimacy with Christ, and larger views of his cross-work. Strive to keep a close connection in your mind and life with the gospel truth that the Son of God loved his people with an everlasting love, to purify them, to make them holy, and to bring them to glory.
When I survey the wondrous Cross 

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss, 

And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, 

That were an offering far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine, 

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts, 1674-1748
Michael J. S. Austin's books and articles offer serious discussions and answers for life's big questions -  'How do I know which is true - Theism or Atheism?' 'Is biblical Christianity finished, or does it still speak to the 21st century?' my title, 'DAWKINS' DILEMMAS' answers, 'will Richard Dawkins' atheism grip millions, fade or stir lingering doubts?' and shows how Dawkins' atheism works hard to shut its eyes to the glory of God revealed in creation, conscience & supremely in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Find out how biblical Christianity uncovers Dawkins' dilemmas and why atheism lacks rational foundations. My second title, 'LOST RELATION - finding humanity and God' is a serious discussion on how the evolutionary beliefs of Charles Darwin undermine the validity of human reason to the point where, if Darwin was right, you would never know! He says as much himself when he admits to a loss of clear basis for his own thinking, if it's only come from monkeys - read to find out more about Darwin's greatest discovery! Check my books on Amazon and other main bookselling websites - & BUY TODAY! Personal email for book enquiries and brief discussions about published articles: mdaustin@iolfree.ie Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_J._S._Austin,_Ph.D. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5197869



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