Why My Faith Is In The Cross (Part I)
By: Loren Larson
Colossians 2:11-15 – “In Whom also you are circumcised with the Circumcision made without hands (that which is brought about by the Cross [Rom. 6:3-5]), in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the Circumcision of Christ (refers to the old carnal nature that is defeated by the Believer placing his Faith totally in the Cross, which gives the Holy Spirit latitude to work):
“Buried with Him in Baptism (does not refer to Water Baptism, but rather to the Believer baptized into the death of Christ, which refers to the Crucifixion and Christ as our substitute [Rom. 6:3-4]), wherein also you are risen with Him through the Faith of the operation of God, Who has raised Him from the dead. (This does not refer to our future physical Resurrection, but to that Spiritual Resurrection from a sinful state into Divine Life. We died with Him, we are buried with Him, and we rose with Him [Rom. 6:3-5], and herein lies the secret to all Spiritual Victory.)
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh (speaks of spiritual death [i.e., “separation from God”], which sin does!), has He quickened together with Him (refers to being made Spiritually alive, which is done through being “Born-Again”), having forgiven you all trespasses (the Cross made it possible for all manner of sins to be forgiven and taken away);
“Blotting out the handwriting of Ordinances that was against us (pertains to the Law of Moses, which was God’s Standard of Righteousness that man could not reach), which was contrary to us (Law is against us, simply because we are unable to keep its precepts, no matter how hard we try), and took it out of the way (refers to the penalty of the Law being removed), nailing it to His Cross (the Law with its decrees was abolished in Christ’s Death, as if Crucified with Him);
“And having spoiled principalities and powers (Satan and all of his henchmen were defeated at the Cross by Christ atoning for all sin; sin was the legal right Satan had to hold man in captivity; with all sin atoned, he has no more legal right to hold anyone in bondage), He (Christ) made a show of them openly (what Jesus did at the Cross was in the face of the whole universe), triumphing over them in it. (The triumph is complete and it was all done for us, meaning we can walk in power and perpetual Victory due to the Cross.)”
A Series Of Articles
In the next several Issues of The Evangelist Magazine, I will endeavor to write an extended article using the Passage in Colossians given above. The subject matter will take several months to complete and it is my hope that in some way, I can substantiate why I preach the Cross, what I mean by that, and why my Faith is in the Cross.
When we speak of the Cross, it is merely a representative synonym of the Work of Redemption carried out by Christ on Calvary. It took two main Biblical themes intersecting at one point in time to redeem man:
1. One theme or subject would be the knowledge and acceptance of Christ’s Person; Who He was and is, the Son of the Living God.
2. The second subject being the truth behind what Christ accomplished for mankind by giving His Life, and shedding His Blood, at Calvary.
Thus, we see the need to discover the truth regarding both the Person of Christ and the results of the Sacrifice of Christ. Paul refers to these two subjects in I Corinthians 2:2 when he says, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified.” The Church must return to the study of these two great subjects and the declaration of these two subjects. Again, they are: the Person of Christ and the Work of Christ. We must place our Faith and maintain our Faith in the correct Object. When we fail to preach “the Cross” (Christ and Him Crucified) we fail to properly equip the Believer as to how to live for God.
Paul said that his determination to preach this Message exclusively resulted in God’s People being able to stand in the Power of God. An improper faith (which all else is) is faith placed in something other than the Cross and causes the Believer to make a vain attempt to stand in the wisdom of man. I Corinthians 2:5 says, “That your Faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the Power of God.” I place my Faith in Who Christ is and what Christ did in order to receive the Power of God’s Grace. I preach the Cross so that the people of God may stand in the Power of God!This is why my Faith is in the Cross!
In the next few articles, I will try to detail nine major benefits granted to the Believer as a result of Christ’s Work.
Opponents Of This Message
Those who are rejecting the Message of the Cross must do so out of a lack of willing submission to God’s Word. While most would say that they are defending God’s Word by resisting the Message of the Cross, they are, in fact, in rebellion against God’s Prescribed Order. This is a moral problem just like lying, stealing, murder, drug addiction, uncleanness, or any other fleshly vice. Whatever we have been believing is always easier to hold to than that which we either did not know or understand. We are all creatures of habit. Change comes slow to all men. Pride hinders us greatly as no one likes to admit that they have been wrong or haven’t been approaching the Christian life correctly. Jesus pretty much states this very thing when he says in Luke 5:39, “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desires new: for he says, The old is better.” We have a tendency to hold to what we have known, even if something far better is being offered. But, gladly Jesus indicated here that that attitude could be changed! That belief system can be changed! A person might not want the “new wine” of the New Covenant right away, but given Scriptural evidence, having made a new choice regarding the Object of one’s Faith, and the experience of Victory, every Believer will be able to joyfully admit that, Faith in Christ and the Cross “is better.”
Some say we make too much of this Message and that the constant repetition causes a lack regarding other Biblical Principles or other needful Doctrine. While it is certainly true that a Ministry, which focuses on one aspect of God’s Word, such as financial prosperity, healing, or prophecy has been known to produce error through constant focus; this thesis breaks down with some subjects. For instance, am I assured of going into error if I focus on Jesus? Am I assured of going into error if I focus on Redemption or getting men Saved? I think not! That is because these subjects are vital Foundational Truths upon which the rest of the Gospel and its benefits are built upon. The Cross is not a “branch” of theology it is the Foundation upon which all theology, all Blessings, and all truth must be built. Therefore, the need to establish a sure Foundation regarding truth and the need to constantly inspect that Foundation is a desperate need for God’s People. Therefore, we conclude that the need for repetition and emphasis fits both the time in which we live and is the present need of the Body of Christ. It is what the Spirit is saying to the Churches!
Opposition In Colosse
Most scholars believe that Epaphrus was the young Pastor/Preacher who established the Church in Colosse. It is believed that he was trained by Paul in the school of Tyrannus during Paul’s three year tenure as the lead Pastor in Ephesus. Colosse was located about 100 miles East of Ephesus. At first, only what Paul had taught Epaphrus had been proclaimed there. Paul would have, no doubt, instilled the truth of the Cross in Epaphrus, having already concluded that this Message alone was conducive for the growth of the Christian and the Church (see I Cor. 2:2). But, as anywhere else that has received God’s Blessing, the devil goes “a-messing.” Soon other messages began to distract the Believers in that area, turning the Object of Faith from the Cross to other things. It is said that an early form of Gnosticism along with legalistic Judaism, Greek philosophy, and even forms of mysticism were worming their way into the hearts and minds of Believers. Much like today’s church world, one could have heard anything and everything with the end result being confusion and chaos for the Believer.
Epaphrus himself must have felt the strain of being under this attack and knowing that he must hear the truth one more time, so, he travels over 1,000 miles to visit Paul in Rome. How important is the truth to you? Would you have gone to this extreme to hear and be assured of the Message of Christ and Him Crucified? Epaphrus did! He bypassed the chance to go to Jerusalem and speak with the Jews about truth. He ignored the vaunted halls of learning and philosophy that came from the great Library in Alexandria. He didn’t stop in Corinth or Athens to hear the latest philosophy or to embrace the current fad. Instead, he travels at great peril, by foot, by beast, or by boat to hear a small bowed over, bowl-legged, and balding man, chained to a member of Nero’s elite Praetorian Guard. He travels to hear a man most despised by religion, a man rejected by the majority of the Church, ridiculed because of his present incarceration, ignored by many, and shunned by most. He would travel to see the Apostle Paul and to hear one more time the Foundational Truth that would set the people in Colosse free. He needed it for himself! He needed it for his people! He needed to hear the Message of Christ and Him Crucified, one more time. And He did!
(To be continued next month.)