(the) a theology of the cross

It is dangerous to try to write on this, since I’m not a trained theologian (in a true sense we in Jesus are all theologians, as in students of God and of the ways of God in Jesus). This does not pretend to be complete nor perfect, something even theologians and exegetes would say, the ones I would read.

A theology of the cross certainly includes within it the truth that Jesus died for our sins. We are sinners in need of forgiveness. Although in Christ, we are righteous, yet we still have sin in us, and we do sin, but we confess our sins to receive forgiveness and cleansing, and we also receive cleansing as we walk in the light of God in Jesus, although we do not have to sin, as in an act. But when we do, we have an advocate before the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, as well as for the sins of the world.

And so the cross takes care of our sin, our guilt, our condemnation, since Jesus took all of that on himself in his death for us. Jesus died for our sins one sacrifice for all time, once for all, the just one for the unjust. Jesus indeed died for our sins.

Through water baptism we are taken into Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, so that our old self is dead, with a new self risen with Christ, so we can live a new life. We’re to count on that, and live accordingly. We are no longer slaves to sin and unrighteousness, but we are slaves to God and righteousness. Sin no longer is our master, because we are not under the law (torah), but under grace. Because of that, we’re not to let sin have it’s way in our life. We’re to present ourselves to God as those who have risen from death to life, to present the members of our body to him. We’re to live out our baptism.

Jesus is the way for our salvation, and the way for our life. And that way is the way of the cross. As Jesus’ followers, we’re to deny ourselves, and take up our cross daily and follow him. This means identification with Christ in this world, a world that is against, even in irreconcilable hostility toward Christ. We have to accept this, that we will face persecution in this life in identification with Jesus. But we need to embrace this way, the way of the cross. To love and bless and pray for our enemies. To accept death, rather than resort to violence as not only part of our testimony of Jesus, but our way of life in Jesus.

We in Jesus are people of the cross, always and in a sense, forever. We live in the same humiliation in which he once lived. But we are also resurrection people. The resurrected, glorified Jesus, ascended and now seated at the right hand of the Father, has sent and continues to send the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit on us, God’s people. We look forward to the completion of our redemption, the resurrection of our bodies, but even in these mortal bodies, we experience something of that resurrection power and life, again that we might live the new life in Jesus.

When people see us, they hopefully will catch a glimpse of Jesus in us. But only so, as we become like Jesus in his death. This is not something we can imagine ourselves, or emulate. The true Jesus in all his beauty can be our life, we no longer living, but he living in us. Living as if he were us (Dallas Willard). And this beauty is especially to be seen in his body, the church, even in our relationships with each other. As we live humbly in our brokenness together in him before and for a watching world.

the gospel: God’s power for salvation–Christus Victor

3 comments on “(the) a theology of the cross

  1. kim/nannykim says:

    This always takes me back to union with Christ. What a beautiful amazing God we have and what an amazing love. It can’t be fathomed. I have been finishing up a book by Sue Monk Kidd called When the Heart Waits. One quote last night struck me. She has a partial quote from someone else too which I will include:

    “There’s a saying, ‘Religion is not to be believed, but danced.’ I like this idea, for it shifts the emphasis from our endless pursuit of religious knowledge back to the dimension of living our religion in such a way that it becomes a dance, a celebration in which we open out arms and say yes to life….The point of the spiritual life is that you dance the music God pipes in you.”

    Yes, yes, you can’t take this out of context etc, but it spoke to me –because although we need theology and our theology effects directly how we live and it is vitally important–we sometimes get so wrapped up in it that we fail to LIVE! ha! I do think all theology should translate into a vital exuberant thrilling and delight of our souls for God and it should directly translate to action in our lives.

    I know that sometimes we go through times where we hunker down as God is dealing with us through a dark time. But it leads to life–new life—a life reflecting him.

    So when you say, “..we experience something of that resurrection power and life, again that we might live the new life in Jesus.” ..—Yes–we have a new life.

    • Amen, Kim. Yes, I like the analogy of dance as well. And real faith always must be lived out. The cross I think means we will go through dark times since we live in the sphere of the world, the flesh and the devil, even though we are not of that.

  2. […] Yesterday’s post laid out a rudimentary understanding, in a pastoral sort of way I’m imagining of a theology of the cross. A striking omission which I noted later in the day, was my failure to mention how the cross of Christ defeats the satanic powers. Those spiritual powers of evil played right into the hands of their defeat, when they exposed their true colors through the human authorities, who unjustly condemned and executed the just one, Christ. Not only did they expose themselves, but they were conquered by that cross, because all their ground for the destruction of humanity was taken away. And their own doom was sealed. (See Colossians 2:13-15; Hebrews 2:14-15). […]

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