Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Cross is for Failures

"To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect." - John Owen

It has been stated that all the major world philosophies basically teach the same thing: be nice to people, don't kill each other, do good, seek justice, the Golden Rule. This includes non-theistic philosophies such as secular humanism and atheism.

Although this moral similarity is sometimes an argument AGAINST Christianity, perhaps it's the first step in a powerful argument FOR Christianity? Let's assume this overlap of morality between all philosophies. We all agree that we should be good people! Fantastic, let us begin. But this immediately leads to one very simple question: Do we do this? 

Do we succeed at our own morality? Consider the simple Golden Rule: treat others as you would want them to treat you. Pursue the joy and success of others with the same gusto and commitment that you pursue your own joy and success. Could you accomplish this even for 1 day? This leads to a devastating question for all of us no matter our philosophy: What happens when we fail? 

This is where Christianity stands apart. Whereas other philosophies would encourage us to pick ourselves up and keep trying, Christianity inverts the whole economy. Rather then placing the burden on us to morally improve ourselves, Jesus Christ enters human history and takes the burden FOR us. Rather than us working our way towards a perfect standard, The Perfect Standard worked His way to us.

And so Christianity emphasizes not our work but Christ's work. Not our perfection but His. Not our ongoing performance but Jesus' finished work. See the difference? It is not Jesus' teaching that saves us. Far from it! No, it is Jesus' WORK that saves us. His righteous life lived in our place, and His sinners' death died in our place. Paul wrote, "And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness" (Romans 4:5 ESV). It is all about Jesus and His Cross.

And so let us boast in the cross and resurrection on this Easter Sunday! Hallelujah! We are failures, and that does not damn us, but rather causes us to become eligible for GRACE. God saw our pitiful state, and sent His Son as our atoning sacrifice in our place. The Resurrection proves the victory of the cross of Jesus; and the victory of the cross is good news for failures.

Boasting in the Cross,
The Relentless Fight