Tag Archives: by this we know

The Point of the Cross

A friend of mine said that when we approach to cross we see a sign saying “welcome all who enter here,“ and then after we have passed through it and look back from the other side we see another sign that says “chosen before the foundation of the world.“ Both of these statements are scripturally true, yet by any human reasoning the one appears to contradict the other. I know people whose faith has crumbled to dust because they’ve stumbled over a doctrine of predestination which has convinced them that they are excluded from God’s grace. I know of others whose faith has become meaningless because they have believed that ultimately nothing matters since everyone is accepted in the Beloved anyway. And I know somebody else who he is tying himself into tighter and tighter knots because he’s trying to square the circle by making sense of them both with his intellect. So how can we reconcile these two doctrines?

The fact is that we can’t. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We are saved “by grace through faith, and that a gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) Faith comes to us from above: we do not grasp it with our understanding. At the cross the vertical, heavenly, plane meets the horizontal, earthly, one; and Jesus hangs there with his arms stretched across one and his feet nailed to the other. Only He can bring the two together. We receive His life when we believe in His name. We enter into this life where the vertical and horizontal meet: at the meeting point of the human and the divine, at the point of the cross.

Jesus thanks the Father that the gospel was revealed to babes, not to the wise and learned. (Matt 11:25) Paul tells Timothy to avoid controversies and speculation because they only cause strife (2 Tim 2:23), which James would tell us is earthly, demonic wisdom and not “the wisdom from above.” (James 3:15 ) The first epistle of John uses the phrase “by this we know” eight times. We know that we know God, that we abide in Him and  He in us, that we are walking in the Truth and can discern the spirit of error, that He loves us and that we love one another. By what do we know these things? By the facts that He has given us His Spirit, that we love Him, and that we keep His commandments. We do not know them by the striving of the intellect.

We are called and sent to dwell in peace, love and unity, and to build a Kingdom where righteousness reigns, where God’s will is done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Sitting in a Roman dungeon and knowing that the day of his execution is probably near, Paul writes to Timothy “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all…” (2 Tim 2:24). Those who strive to assert the validity of their understanding above that of a brother or sister are excluding themselves from everything that they are trying to prove.  For the Kingdom of God to be established on Earth the world has to be overcome, and it can only be overcome by what we receive from above: “whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

If the human brain could grasp what our God-given faith tells us is true, the cross would have no point.