The Old Cross

I did a Bible study last week about how Paul talks about the cross and the crucifixion. In each context* Paul explains that the cross is an active force in our life, ridding ourselves of what we were and becoming what Christ is.

Many view the cross as back there, already done, I did all that when I got saved. But the cross isn’t just an entrance into salvation; it’s the life of faith. Paul always explains the cross as having an impact on what you are doing right now.

In the midst of the Bible study someone brought up an essay by A. W. Tozer on The Old Cross and the New Cross. It’s a brilliantly written essay and explains many of my frustrations with modern day “Christianity.”

The interesting thing is that this essay was probably written in the 40’s or 50’s. The trends he is pointing out then are even more ridiculous now. The church, ever since it’s beginning, has been trying to water down the offense of the cross.

I’ll let Tozer say a few words,

The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. . . . The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.

The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God’s just sentence against him.

We need more Tozers in the world.

* Romans 6:6-13; 1 Corinthians 1:17-23; 2 Corinthians 13:3-6; Galatians 2:19-21; 5:24-26; 6:12-14; Ephesians 2:14-17; Philippians 2:4-8; Colossians 1:19-23; 2:14-22; 3:17-20;

2 thoughts on “The Old Cross”

  1. I need to read his work more! Fear is not a part of our faith anymore – and maybe it ought to be, in the C S Lewis sense that God is not safe.

  2. There is plenty of Tozer stuff available on the internet. Oneplace.com even has audio from some of his sermons. He’s a phenomenal Christian thinker.

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