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Paying Taxes…Bearing the Cost pt 2

October 5, 20110 Comments

Cost #2 Bearing the offense of the Cross

 “And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.”(Gal 5:11)

The offense of the cross is threefold, it basically comes down to this, it’s what the cross means; it’s what the cross is; And it’s what the cross requires that invokes the offense.

What the Cross Means: Jesus our scapegoat

First, the cross is where Jesus became our scapegoat (Lev 16:10), God in the flesh died for you!  He died in your place, taking the punishment you deserved, so that you would not have to.  What this means for us is that Jesus worked it out for us, so that we can be justified by faith. However, most people are inwardly religious and want works justification, they want to justify themselves.

It goes like this, a young man says,”So you mean to tell me, that somebody who killed a little girl, can be forgiven?” I answer, “Yes!”  Young man says, “What does he have to do for it?” I reply, “come to God by faith, confess with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in his heart that God raised Him from the dead.” ( Romans 10) The reply back is usually one of dismay and distrust, saying it’s too easy or not enough for someone who did something “so bad“.  That’s why it’s the Good News!  The cross is not enough work for the “religious” person, there has to be some strain, some work to get forgiven; to accept Jesus’ work is offensive, even lazy to this type of person, because it gets you off the hook!

“The premise of the cross is that someone else paid for it for you, that would be a salesman’s greatest sailing point, but with God its true; You really do not have to do anything, the penalty has been paid for you!” TBS

Furthermore, sin necessitated the cross, and is nailed to it.  To talk about Jesus being crucified on the cross, immediately conjures up the need for the punishment of sin.  We are in an age where sin is downplayed, mocked or completely dismissed.  Many do not want Jesus and His cross, but they do not want to be culpable either! To push the cross out the way, and live as if “I’m good with God and He’s good with me” is what many want.  Mentioning the cross bursts their bubble, and rains on their “happy place.”

It’s what the Cross is: God punishing Jesus for the Sin of the world

The cross tells people of a God that most do not want to imagine.  The cross shows us a God that is not only just, but brutal in punishment.  Read Isaiah, chapter 53, and note in verse 10, that it says “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him…” Even in writing this, I stopped and reflected on that passage. I know what it means for me, I thank God for it.  I also know what it means for those who do not come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior…they’ll die for their sin.

Many people died on a cross in history, but only one person was punished by God for the sin of the world while on a cross.  If that aspect of the cross could be removed, the offense could possibly be lessened in our day.  Because many people want a God who does not punish, who only loves.  Maybe that’s why the word punishment has nearly been wiped out of our vocabulary, it’s hardly used!  The God whose express image is Jesus, requires death for sin, and either we take Jesus’ death for our own, or He will require death of a person personally.

It’s what the Cross requires: Your life 

Jesus knew the cup that He was sent to bear, and as He walked and got closer to the point of death, the weight of it weighed on Him heavily (Mat 26:36-46).  He prayed, but knew the cup was not to pass from Him, the cross was His next stop and He knew that He would be dying!

Jesus knows that the cross is sure death but one of the requirements of those that follow Him is to pick up their cross.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself,and take up his cross and follow Me.” ” (Mat 16:24)

The point of us picking up our cross is not one of bearing hardships, He spoke of that too, but the cross is about you losing your life. Read the following verses that show what Jesus meant.

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” ” (Mat 16:25-26 also read Gal 2:20)

No matter how you feel about it, and no matter what point your are at at surrendering this life to the Lord, the message is that He wants it all, right now.  I’m not talking about possessions, I’m talking about your life.  Herein lies the offense, Jesus says that a man is to give up his life now and take a promissory note for the one to come.  Most are too self-willed, and love themselves too much for that.  To live a life for Jesus’ sake, to die to “my” sake to live for His sake is absurd to most.  Our mindset is one of a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!

Bearing the offense of the cross is part of bearing the cost of the kingdom.  When people get the notion that your life is surrendered for Jesus’ sake, they won’t like it.  If you speak with any hint that Jesus was not smiling when He said, “he must deny himself and take up his cross”, and that’s what he expects, they’ll most likely be offended at the message and you the messenger.

This is what A.W Tozer said about the cross, ” Do not paint the cross nor deck it with flowers.  Take it for what it is, and you’ll find its the same old rugged way to death and life.  Let it slay you utterly” (A.W Tozer, The Radical Cross: Living the Passion of Christ.)  In a world where people demand the truth, with compassion just tell people like it is, the whole gospel from sin to savior to salvation! Bear the offense of the Cross.

Questions to ask yourself 

Am I bearing my Cross or am I just trying to live comfortably?

Do you want to get people saved, but do not want to mention Sin, God’s punishing of Jesus or the wrath to come?

 



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