…God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization. The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.
The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience. The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God. When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.
The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened – but the crash is on the heart of God. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest)
This morning I needed these pictures of the unselfishness of God (God came “for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization”), the cost of redemption (it is easy for us to obtain because it cost God so much), and the life in — not on the other side of — the cross. It’s fruitful to think about what that may mean in the day ahead.
I’m in my 40’s now, and lately it’s occurred to me that my soul is aging. When I was in my 20’s, my spiritual life felt much more vibrant and adventurous than it has felt of late. I was living on a Teaching Assistant’s income of $700-$800 a month, yet I was almost never conscious of want. I didn’t think about the future much, but lived in the moment — as Jesus advises us to do in Matthew 6.
These days, my prayers have had a monotonous pull toward material matters. I am getting older, and I think with much more anxiety about the future, and about our material provision. I have children, and they represent a great stake in this world. They will remain after I’m gone. My focus has been drawn more and more toward earthly things.
Reset. God has already supplied all, and paid for all. He “first loved us,” he anticipated my need for redemption before I was even born, and there is nothing I can ever need that He doesn’t already know about. Let the spring of living water Jesus talks about in John 4 be also a fountain of youth to my fading, anxious, earthbound soul.
Yet I know that good is coming to me — that good is always coming; though few have at all times the simplicity and courage to believe it. What we call evil, is the only and best shape, which, for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good. (George MacDonald, Phantastes)