Theme of the Week: Essential Spirituality
Bible Verse: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15
Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:1-23
Christian spirituality is the walk of faith in response to the act of Christ. The central feature of the act of Christ is his death on the cross, followed by his resurrection. The cross becomes the central point in the history of the human race. More precisely, it becomes the single most important point of reference for the person who claims to love and serve the Living God.
This walk of faith, in response to the cross, is a coming home to the Father, the Creator, made possible by the work of Christ, and effected within the believer by the Spirit. It is not instantaneous. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ does not bring automatic transformation. But it does bring a new orientation, a new perspective, a new life – a walk in a new direction. Christian spirituality is this new way, the way of faith in response to the cross.
The crucial place of the cross in history and therefore in the life of the Christian believer cannot be overstated. The Lamb who sits upon the throne of the universe is the Lamb who was slain. There is no other salvation except through the crucified one. The centrality of the cross is the most important theological principle in our understanding of the Christian life. Consequently, the cross is the central symbol of our faith.
The cross proclaims that salvation is a gift. The believer has responded to an invitation to life, which in the gospels is compared to an invitation to a banquet. We have not been chosen because of our merits, accomplishments, or even our faith. We have been chosen, invited, called because of grace. Christ loved us while we yet hated him.
Secondly, the cross affirms that salvation is based on the forgiveness of sins. The believer is a loved one and consequently a forgiven sinner. Sin is real for God. He cannot tolerate it; he cannot abide the presence of sin. There is no freedom, no salvation, unless sin is repented of, and forgiveness found and appropriated.
Thirdly, the cross declares that we are accepted unconditionally. We are loved, forgiven, and accepted – just as we are. Forgiveness is conditional – we must repent. But God’s acceptance is unconditional – we are received just as we are. We do not need to perform, achieve or impress.
Fourthly, the cross speaks of a new birth, a new order of existence. The Christian, in becoming a believer, is the same person. But on another level a dramatic and eternal change has been effected that affects the very core of a person’s existence. In becoming believers, we have become new persons.
In each case, the various truths proclaimed by the cross even are appropriated by faith. By faith, we affirm that we are loved, forgiven and accepted. It is by faith that we live as new people. Not surprisingly, then, Christian spirituality is growth in faith. This is the heart of Christian discipleship.
Gordon T. Smith in Essential Spirituality. Copyright ©1989 by Gordon T. Smith.
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