In way too many circles of Christianity is a concerted effort to either hide the cross of Jesus or to change its purpose. In the more liberal side which includes the so called emergent church we have it as an example of how we are to sacrifice for others. In the so called conservative side we are presented with ever increasing how to be holy advice which is made possible by the death of the Christ. While it is true we are to serve our neighbour in various ways. And as God’s children we do resist sin both these viewpoints miss entirely what our Lord was doing nailed to the cross.
I fear it is more intentional than by accident. The radical nature of the Gospel if preached to its full sweetness will get one labeled as anti law. On the contrary we , because of the Holy Spirit, love God’s law. However, due to the sin nature, we want also to take some credit or comfort from those acts of service and resisting of sin. This in itself keeps us from being able to love the Lord our God completely and our neighbour as ourselves is equally impossible.
Exodus 6:6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. ESV
As in the Exodus when God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt he is releasing those who trust in him from the burden of the law. “In the day you sin you die.” This dying is separation from our creator. It is the loss of communion and sweet relationship with Our Father in heaven. With his arms outstretched on the cross Jesus endured separation from God for us. This is something that had never happened before and we cannot fathom what that separation was like.
Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ESV
Jesus suffered great acts of judgment by taking the sin of the world upon himself to the cross and by this has delivered us from slavery to sin and the burden of the law. These gifts of deliverance are delivered to us through preaching of the Gospel after execution of the law upon us. In addition this is delivered to us in a tangible way through the waters of baptism and the bread and wine of the Holy Supper of our Lord. However, like Israel of old we still tend to look for ways back into some type of slavery. Let us die evermore to this desire to credit ourselves with any part of our great communion with our Creator and let what Jesus finished be enough for you and me.
In the Name of Jesus. Amen †