Pastor Chris White
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. –Ephesians 5:1-2
The Cross of Jesus has multiple implications for everyone, but in this series I have been focusing on ways the cross speaks to our mind and heart. I call this “the Four Peaces of the cross,” because ultimately each of these, when embraced, bring us to a resting place of peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding.
The first peace we considered was Shalom. In the Bible, the Shalom of God speaks of well-being, wholeness, soundness, completeness, harmony, and tranquility. The Lord said peace I give to you. It is not the peace of favorable circumstances, but a peace from a new heart. The second peace of the cross brings is relief from guilt. When you are forgiven by God there is no more guilt or condemnation.
The third “Peace of the Cross” is validation. Validation is the idea that you are important. You count for something in this world. To have this missing in your life is to have a hole in your heart. Many of us were fortunate to have this in our family of origin where we were given confidence because our achievements and aspirations were celebrated and championed. It sent a message: you do count for something.
The converse is also true. Some of us were given the message, either directly or in ways unspoken, that we somehow don’t measure up. And what do you do with that? You either wear yourself out in a lifelong attempt at proving this wrong or you build an identity around being a failure; both of which entail a lot of stress even if in different forms.
The peace the cross brings to us is that we do count for something in this world and that we are important to our very Creator.
The very basis of the command for us to love and seek the best for each other (see Eph. 5:1-2 above), is because we ourselves were important enough and loved so much that Christ sacrificed himself to save us. If someone is of concern to God, as a Christian, they should be of concern to me and you as well.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you (Jn. 15:13-15).” In the cross you are validated as a person because you really are important to God. Important enough that he would consider a friend of his son to be one of his friends.
That is some amazing news.
You are good enough because He is in you!
Pastor Chris White
“ A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” –John 19:29-30
The Cross of Jesus has multiple implications for everyone but in this series I will be focusing on ways the cross speaks to our mind and heart. I call this “the Four Peaces of the Cross” because ultimately, each of these, when embraced, bring us to a resting place of peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding.
The first peace is Shalom. In the Bible, the Shalom of God speaks of well-being, wholeness, soundness, completeness, harmony, and tranquility. The cross of Jesus brings us shalom because we are healed of our sins and given a new heart through the Holy Spirit sent to us by Christ at his ascension.
Another form of peace the cross brings to us is relief. Relief from what? Relief from the guilt we feel from the weight of our sin. Some people do a lot of mental gymnastics to get some relief from their guilt. They can deny the very premise of guilt and call it a socially-constructed falsehood or, as many do, assign it to an antecedent cause. I was born this way or I did those things because I had bad parents or I grew up in a bad neighborhood. Remember Adam in Genesis? Lord, I ate the forbidden fruit because of the wife YOU gave me. I’m sure the Lord felt guilty after hearing that line don’t you think?
But in our heart of hearts we know the truth. We are sinners and we need someone greater than ourselves, someone greater than our excuses to actually forgive us. And when we are completely forgiven, without reserve, we do find relief.
The very last word Jesus spoke, which translates as “it is finished” in English, is “completed”. On the cross, as Jesus suffered the last measure of our punishment, God’s full plan to redeem a fallen and lost humanity was brought to completion. Nothing more needed to be said. Nothing more needs to be done. It is fully completed and the debt of our sins before a holy God is paid in full.
The full weight of your sin was laid upon his shoulders that you might not carry that weight. That is a relief that came at a great price but gladly given. For God so loved you, that he gave his only-begotten son, that if you believe on him you will not perish but have everlasting life. What a hope. What a relief.
Hope your heart is lighter because Christ alone has taken your sin and given you His righteousness,
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.