Affirmations on the cross, part four

In Matthew 27:37 through 44, we have the story of various people or groups who wanted Jesus to come down from the cross. The thieves wanted him off the cross only if you took them with him. The chief priest wanted him off the cross for they realized he could be greater in his death then he was in life. The people that passed by one of him off the cross because he had preached miracles and they wanted to see another one. I wonder today what excuses religious people would have about Christ dying on the cross.

The cross and persecution, Galatians 5:11, 6:12. There are two texts that speak of Paul being persecuted for preaching the cross. The first is in Galatians 5:11 and the key to this scripture is Paul wondering "if I still preached circumcision as I did when I was a Pharisee, why am I still persecuted by the Judaizers? if I preach circumcision, I would be one Of them."

Paul could never advocate circumcision as a part of the final gospel, because to do so would be to nullify the grace of God. He knew that there could be no righteousness that could come through the law, and circumcision represented righteousness for the Judaizers. To believe in the law of circumcision would mean that Christ had died needlessly. The cross was a stumbling block to the Jews because they could not except suffering much less a crucified Messiah.

It was an even a greater offense to them because it rob them of their most distinctive outward sign of Jewish religion. If the cross obliterated even the truth Judaism of the old covenant, how much more did it obliterate the false, man-made Judaism represented by the scribes and the Pharisees. Today, religion is the same but with different stripes in colors. Religious self effort is just another form of circumcision.

The second verse in Galatians 6:12 deals with the same aspects of Judaism as the former verse. However, there is a difference in the key line in the verse, saying that Judaizers wanted to make a good show in the flesh. This is one of the main factors of religion which has not experienced the "in Christ" revelation.

If Christ in you is not your main testimony, then what you do and what you show yourself to be becomes your religion. It is a show of the flesh and a work of the flesh. Religious people, those trying to please go by their own efforts, will draw back from the in Christ truth because they do not want to suffer the persecution of the cross. To do what Paul teaches a believer to do will keep that believer constantly motivated by the cross. Paul knew no other way to live.

To ignore the cross as a foundation stone of the in Christ message is to be adrift from the final Gospel. This is where most in religion are today. The greatest need of religion is to know the Christ who lives in humans who are born again. God never plan for his offspring, his own birthed children, to live as most do today. In ignorance and rebellion, Christians go through life trying to work out all the problems they have in their life will never coming to the fact that their life is dead and they as Christians are new creations in Christ.