Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Cross as Primary Referent (Part 3)

Other theological issues beyond revelation, God's nature, and creation are dependent on the work of Christ on the Cross. Soteriology is intricately tied to the work of Christ. It is that work and it alone that provides humanity with salvation (John 14:6). Any discussion of soteriology without the cross is neither a Biblical nor Christian understanding of salvation. Jesus Himself said that He must be lifted up to draw all men to Himself (John 12:32). It was not enough for Christ to come and live a perfect life as a revelation to illumine humanity. Humanity could not save themselves from sin even with if they understood how. Christ had to go to the cross and pay the price of sin; God’s just nature had to remain true.

The Christian life, the community of believers, eschatology and history are other areas that are affected by and are even dependent on the work of Christ on the cross. Without the cross and resurrection events, there would be no power to live the life God desires, no body to tie the believers together, no hope for life eternal, and no one to bring history to an end. First of all, the cross event had to come before the people of God could receive the Holy Spirit. God can only inhabit the lives of those who have been justified. Sin and God can not coexist. The Spirit is necessary for the body to come together. The power and spiritual gifts that make the Church possible are dependent on the cross for the Spirit to work them out in the community of faith.

God’s plan for history, the coming Kingdom of God, the eschatological rest is totally dependent on the cross. Christ had to die a perfect man in order to bring the Kingdom to pass (Revelation 5:9-12). The resurrection of Christ has brought this Kingdom to pass (I Corinthians 15), although the full expression of the Kingdom has yet to occur. When it does come it will be inhabited by those who have looked to the cross in faith. Every aspect of the Kingdom will have the mark of the cross on it. God’s plan through the cross will have made the Kingdom possible. Once again in the eschatological city, the tree of life will be found there (Revelation 22:2), but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for there the knowledge will have been brought to the inhabitants throughout the work of Christ on the cross, but good will reign and life will be eternal.

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