The following is a rewritten chapter from Bittersweet Refinements. If you would like to read the entire book, from start to finish and in the proper order, please go [here].
The Complete Message of the Cross
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:6-8 NAS]
Be assured that the complete message of the cross has as much to do with our Heavenly Father proving Himself worthy of receiving all of our love and trust as it does with saving us from eternal damnation. For instead of just saying that He loves us enough to die for us, He went ahead and actually did it by sending a full and equal part of Himself to suffer and die upon a cruel, cruel Roman cross at Calvary so that all who would but believe in His only begotten Son, who truly is the Lord Jesus Christ, could spend all of eternity with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven as heirs to all that is His in glory [John 3:16-21].
No, this is not meant to encourage a departure from what has been so widely taught about the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ [Ephesians 2:8-10]. MAY IT NEVER BE!!! For we are all [Romans 3:23] in need of a Savior [Romans 6:23], and it is only through Him that we can come to our Heavenly Father [John 14:6].
In fact, the entire passage associated with Romans 5:6-8 reinforces this. For it is written: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. [Romans 5:1-11 NAS]
Nonetheless, accepting Christ Jesus as our own personal Lord and Savior is like getting married [Ephesians 5:22-32]. Then comes the marriage itself [Luke 9:23-26], and it is in this respect that what far too many have been led to believe falls woefully short of being most satisfying unto Him—to say the least. For it is written: “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.” [Jeremiah 4:22 NIV]
No, this is not about what is good enough for us. For knowing that He paid the price in full that was required to redeem us from having to pay for all of our own sins ourselves [Hebrews 10:14-18], and that we have eternal Spiritual life in Him [John 6:37-40], should be more than enough for any from among us [Psalms 103:8-18].
This is about what our Heavenly Father ultimately wants. For it is not until it can be fully accepted that He is fully responsible for ALL that happens in this world that the kind of love that we can give Him reaches the level of satisfaction that He has always desired [Isaiah 45:5-10].
No, that is not beyond our comprehension. For would it not take a very special kind of love to want to stay married to someone who just stood by and watched while you were being brutalized when they could have prevented it from happening in the first place?
What if the attack was upon one of your children, and how much more is our Heavenly Father able to keep us all free from harm [Job 12:13-25]? Yet, it is widely taught and readily accepted that He has nothing to do with the pain and sufferings of this world [2 Timothy 4:2-4].
No, it should not be thought that our Heavenly Father must be immune to suffering Himself. For He takes everything oh so very personally [John 11:1-44], and when Christ Jesus had to actually spiritually die in order to truly fulfill the requirement of His Law [Leviticus 5:17-19], thus separating Himself from His Heavenly Father and His Holy Spirit [Ezekiel 18:4], they were all in more agony than what we can even start to naturally comprehend [Matthew 27:45-50]—albeit only for the brief amount of time that it was [Luke 23:44-46].
Yes, it certainly looks like a very bitter pill to swallow at first, but it should not stay that way [1 Corinthians 2:6-16]. For it should be of great comfort to know and understand that all of the bad in this world is for our ultimate good [Romans 8:28-29], and that our Heavenly Father will spend all of eternity pouring out His gratitude upon all who were willing to give Him the full benefit of their considerable doubts [Romans 8:18-25].
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