It is obvious that we live in a day of imbalance. We are told that the old ideals are not fashionable, that they belong to the old days. Modernism has taken the throne. Truth is trampled and then hung on the gallows. Secularism, liberalism, humanism, atheism, paganism, and legalism cover most of the world’s philosophies, some more popular than others. Change has overrun society and has infiltrated Christianity. True, change can be advantageous, but it can also be destructive. “We must be tolerant” is the pet phrase of today, yet to speak “the truth” is intolerant! Millions are rocked to sleep by the subtle hand of the Evil One with so-called harmless mirth, the big screen, the Internet, the sports arena, and every other conceivable attraction that caters to the fallen nature, the flesh. Copying the world, its fashions, its speech, and its ways feels so good. Then there is the legalist, harping on the one string, a broken string. They get stuck on one issue and make it the whole issue. They are commanding. They are cold! They are critical. Most of their ideas are their own ideas, void of Biblical principles. Their quip is, “We always did it this way.” Surely imbalance sums it up. Is not this an echo from the garden? The sinister hand of Satan relentlessly seeks to cause confusion, a return of Babel conditions. Selah. The finished product is what counts. Evaluate on bended knees with Bible in hand. The end is better than the beginning.
What is the answer for a balanced Christian life? Is there one? Without digging into the philosophical worldview or using our own measuring tape, let us lend and bend our ear to the Scripture of Truth. He that hath ears to hear let him/her hear. The Word of God must have the answer for every age and for every age group for all time. The Word is the final court of appeal. The following may not be explosive in language or expositional in layout, but it is a defense of Biblical Christianity. The basic answer for every believer is the cross and its teaching. Let us consider:
The Meaning of the Cross
Think of the cross of Christ with its stigma, suffering, sacrifice, and separation. Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, the cross, has laid an everlasting foundation for the great eternity. The foundation of the cross of Christ is etched deep in the heart of the redeemed. It purifies the mind, controls the walk, is God-glorifying, and Christ-exalting. The glorious resurrection of the Christ of the cross is the pinnacle of everlasting glory and gives grandeur to the greatest work in the universe, the cross-work. The cross proves that Christianity is so powerful, personal, and passionate throughout history. In our modern society with all its advanced technology and access to endless teaching from so-called Biblical books, some sound, some subtle, are we today more spiritual than previous generations? We humbly acknowledge that we have less power, less prayer, and less praise! The cross is the great and final revelation of God’s heart of love to fallen humankind (John 3:16). The cross eliminates every man-made way. Jesus said; “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). The unique meaning of the cross has won the hearts of repentant sinners to the Christ forever. Once dead, dark, distant, deluded, and deceived with no hope, surely, the wonder and wisdom of the cross will cause endless worship! It was at the cross by faith we were convicted, converted, and changed. The cross now stands between us and the world, politically, socially, and religiously. Its meaning causes us to sing, “Take the world but give me Jesus, all its joys are but a name.” We learned the meaning. A new life began.
The Magnetism of the Cross
Paul reveals this magnetism so powerfully by the words, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom (which) the world is crucified into me and I unto the world” (Gal 6:14). Again Paul, linked to the risen Christ, expressed the inner desire of his soul: “being made conformable unto His death” (Phil 3:10). The cross brings victory and vibrancy to the believer. Battles are won at the cross. When we are at a crossroads in life, the answer is found in the cross. We look to Christ, “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. Consider Him! (Heb 12:3). The martyrs, in their whole-hearted devotion to Christ, embraced the cross in their ignominious death, they triumphed in the cross. To them the cross was magnetic in its power. Beloved, when we lose sight of the cross we lose sight of the crown. The cross silences all human reasoning and questions. Our humble prayer should be in the lines of Isaac Watts’ amazing hymn, “When I survey the wondrous Cross.” It concludes with this challenge:
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my heart, my life, my all.
We also should be reminded of the words of this hymn.
Outside Jerusalem’s walls there stood three crosses.
It was the center one that took my gaze
For there the Man, Christ Jesus died for sinners.
He died alone, my guilty soul to save.
I often turn in spirit to behold Him,
The Christ Who won my stubborn heart from me,
And as I gaze I learn that I died with Him,
Identified with Him upon that tree.
The Message of the Cross
It is an unchanging message, relevant in our sophisticated, intellectual, secular, and godless society. The cross should be central in our preaching and teaching. As the Scripture plainly declares, “but we preach Christ crucified” (1Cor 1:23). The Scripture also says, “the preaching of the cross … but unto us which are (present continuous) saved, it is the power of God” (1Cor 1:18). It is the message for the backslider, the message for the neighbor, the message for the Sunday school class, and the message for a condemned world. The cross gives courage, conviction, and confidence to face a hostile world. To the lonely, the burdened, the suffering, and the discouraged, the cross gives comfort, restoration, and strength. The cross of Christ with all its unfathomable depths answers to every circumstance. Let us return with a devoted heart to the doctrine of the cross. It will revive the happy spirit of obedience to Lordship, headship, and fellowship. It cancels fear; it speaks in tender yet plain tones. Let us therefore bring the cross into all we say and all we do. The Christ of the cross is the center of our gatherings, the theme of redemption, and the foundation of all revivals. While the cross is a historical truth, yet, the power of the cross remains unchanged eternally. The Christ has risen but He will eternally bear the marks of the cross in His hands, feet, and side! This is one of the everlasting wonders of heaven! May we learn, live, and love the doctrine of the cross, and echo again and again those words: “How that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose the third day according to the Scriptures” (1Cor 15:3).
It has been remarked that eternity past looked forward to the greatest event in human history, “the cross,” and eternity future will look back to the greatest event in human history, “the cross.” This is the pivotal point, the central focus in God’s grand design. Surely this doctrine will produce a Scriptural balance.
Tis’ in Thy cross Lord that we learn
What Thou in all Thy fullness art,
There, through the darkening cloud, discern
The love of Thy devoted heart.
In the Cross of Christ I glory,
Gazing o’er the wrecks of time,
Here we read the wondrous story,
Gathered round His head sublime.