To think of the cross as strictly for those who believe the message is two-dimensional. Let’s take a 3-D look at it.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you [on Jesus]. 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet [and mind] and be steadfast in all your ways.
I love figures of speech. They can draw a mental image for people that cannot be summoned by narrative. One such figure of speech that Jesus used was the seed that was planted:
23 Jesus answered them, “The hour has now come for the Son of Man to receive great glory. 24 I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. John 12:24-25
Pictures of speech were never meant to be literal. That’s their point. They are metaphors, graphic descriptions, illustrations; it’s how they work. The idea of a seed dying in the ground is pretty specific when we think of the cross. Jesus died and was laid in a tomb. Through His death, sin was finished. Let’s look at a three pictures of speech using seeds that give us a 3-D picture:
- Jesus was the True Seed of the Gospel (the good news that He was forgiving our sin debt). He died and came to life, thus bringing life to all because of His representation (just like Adam).
- We, too, must die and be buried in order to be reborn and walk in newness of life with Christ.
- When Jesus died on the cross, we all died with Him. His soul, His Spirit, is buried in each of us. He awaits awakening when we come and say, “Jesus, reveal Yourself to me; Spirit, speak to me.” At that moment, we are reborn and we spend the rest of our lives being transformed from the image of men into the image of God (becoming just like Jesus).
There are some Scriptures that will help us grasp the meaning behind these pictures of speech:
16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish [In John the word ἀπόλλυμι (apollumi) can mean either (1) to be lost (2) to perish or be destroyed, depending on the context] but have eternal life.17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. John 3:16-17
16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die [be destroyed–sin destroys] but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior. John 3:16-17 Good News Bible
I listed these verses from two different translations so that we can get a better idea of the scope of the cross. It is through God’s love that Jesus suffered on the cross (Titus 3:4-7). There is no condemnation in the cross, only love.
14 For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Since Christ is our Representative (just like Adam), we all died with Him. He is waiting for us to “wake up!” When we do, we will be in relationship with Him, and His Spirit will lead us into the righteous way (Titus 3:4-7 again).
25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:25-27
The “seed” of Christ is in all people. The potential for its “growth” is in everyone. Sin is now dead, its power over us broken–the very reason that, had Satan and the rulers of this age known what Christ was up to, “they would never have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8). When Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), He was referring to the forgiveness of sin, the erasure of any debt owed, for all humanity. All because of God’s Great LOVE. Now, when I sing songs about the blood and being reborn, I attribute them to Christ’s finished work on the cross.
I am not taking away from the “salvation experience;” each of us must “wake up” to Christ’s presence in our lives. Refusing to do so is, in a sense, a kind of hell. He is “a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29) and to be at odds with Him would be torment–but that fire is an unquenchable love. Love is who God is. Let’s tell people about that great love so that they may awaken to Him, like we did.
Abba, Your love is so great that we can never find the end of it. “From everlasting to everlasting is Your love” (Psalm 103:17). That’s a pretty LONG time! Thank You for loving me. I want to share Your love with others. May You awaken in them Your presence; burst forth in their lives, Lord Jesus! May revival, renewal and restoration come to our souls and to our land. Amen.