Carrying The Cross

Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew,Golgotha).
-John 19:17

Jesus paid the price for sin by himself.  He did it alone.  He never taught on how we can save our selves through being punished or doing good.  Jesus paid for all the sin of the world and died for it all, on the cross.  He carried the cross alone.

We who are Christ-followers or in-Christ, can not add to Jesus' work on the cross, where he paid for all sin.  If you are a Christian, if you have experienced conversion, to become a believer in Christ; you have received his forgiveness of sins, from his death.  You have also received his resurrection power, to live the Christian life.  Christians are in union with Christ, in his death and his resurrection.

You are now dead to sin and have life in God, all through Christ (Romans 6:11).  The sin has been dealt with.  We have to, or our job is to, reckon or consider ourselves dead to sin.  We need to realize and remember, or bring to mind, the fact that sin has been dealt with, already in Christ, whom we are now joined to.  We are now in Christ, who does not sin.

You are not guaranteed or promised an 'experience' of this, because we are saved by faith.  You are like Abraham (Rom. 4:3, Gal. 3:6).  God has done everything to save you, through Christ.  You just have to believe.

There are also two other experiences of death and resurrection, in the Christian life.  We also must carry our own crosses.  Jesus commands his disciples, to take up our own crosses and die to our selves, daily.  This command is not optional.  Christians that try to live the life while not taking up there crosses fail to walk in Christ.

Your sins were dealt with once and forever and we receive forgiveness for them and enter in to the Christian life.  We repented on our way in and repentance is also the way on (Isa. 30:15).  We now take up our own crosses and crucify out selves daily.  Our death to self means life in Jesus.

When we are in discipleship with Jesus, he teaches us how to live through his life, while we put our selfish life to death.  If we are not in a discipleship relationship with him, then we might keep going back to a life ruled by our selves.  Eventually, we might come under conviction and feel like we need to get saved again.  So, we repent and feel clean again.  We feel saved again.  But, if we do not take up our own cross, alone (you have to do it, volitionally); your self life starts taking over and the sick cycle continues.

We can be addicted to feeling pleasure and we want to trade the pleasure of sin for the pleasure of walking with God.  But our crosses, and being crucified, does not feel good to our flesh or to our selfish, pleasure-seeking nature.  But Jesus says to do it.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, famously wrote that, "when Christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die."

If we do not take up our own cross, which brings death to our own selfishness, then we are stuck trying to walk with God, in our own self-life that needs to die but has not.  We end up wearing diapers, crying to be fed, and needing to have our diapers changed and getting our rears cleaned very often and just wanting to sleep or be held.  That is not God's plan for the Christian's whole life, but it is perfectly normal for babes.

There is no Christianity without the cross, his cross once and for all; the work done there brought to bear today.  And Christianity does not work without us taking up our own crosses.

You believe or have faith in Jesus' finished work on his cross, but you have to 'do it', in you self, to put your self-life to death.  If you do not take up your cross, then you are living out something other than the Christian life or life in Christ.

If a group of people meet as a Church, but do not believe in Jesus work on the cross for their salvation, what do we call those people?  Are they Christian?  Also, if a person who says they are a Christian and they do believe Jesus paid the price for their salvation, on the cross; but they live a life, without taking up their own cross, what do we call them, or what are they?

For further study:  Bonheoffer: The Cost of Discipleship, Stott, The Cross of Christ

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