A term critical to the Bible story of redemption and the Cross of Christ is “cruciform.” It is an adjective meaning “cross-shaped.” This is not a term found in the Bible. But, it is nonetheless critically applicable when it comes to the overall commitment of people associated with the church.
The Lord be thanked for those of you who remain steadfastly loyal and committed to Jesus Christ. The heart-rending reality, however, is that so many associated with the church are not shaped by the spiritual virtues inherent with it.
While the Bible contains many references to the Lord’s crucifixion, it more importantly contains constant confrontations that we be ever committed to the principles and expectations of the Lord. If we are to ever magnify in our lives the effect of the Lord’s sacrifice, we must allow our lives to be shaped by the meaning of His Cross.
To adequately understand the ramifications what cruciform implies, we have to begin with a consideration why it was that Jesus Christ allowed Him self to be physically conformed to the shape of the Cross.
The crucifixion of Christ was divinely reasoned because of the unfortunate reality of sin. While it is true that the devil initiated sin, it is equally true that man has embraced sin by choice, and has been consequently ingrained with sin by nature. God, because of His love, mercy, and grace directed toward man, willed that Christ be sacrificed to death to countermand the eternal consequence.
Death is a very enigmatic consideration at this point. While death is horrifying to the minds of most, Christ nevertheless used His own death for our sakes for a profoundly unique reason—-death is the only way of escape from the consequence of sin and continual participation with sin.
Why is this true? It is true because, in its essential effect, death forever severs former ties, connections, and obligations. A person who has died is cut off from everything to which they were formerly associated. There is no relationship that can be sustained by a person who has died. There is no debt that can be personally collected from a person who has died. There is no relationship that can continue with a person who has died. Death is a severe point of departure for a person. Death changes things.
Though this may sound harsh, it is this drastic, exact extent to which God knew He must go to provide for us an escape from the consequence of sin and participation with sin. Christ went through the severe experience of death for our sakes to break us loose from the grip of the devil. He went through the severe experience of death to shatter our former association with sin. The redemptive effects of the death of Christ applied to our lives forces the devil to let loose of us whereby he formerly had a hold of us. Death changes things.
Thus, when Apostle Paul declared, “I am crucified with Christ,” he was not only expressing an understanding what Christ’s death on the cross did for him, but he was also expressing understanding what Christ’s death on the cross expects of him. The notion of cruciform was not lost on Paul. Neither should it be lost on us. Our lives must yield to being shaped by the cross of Christ.
There has to be such distinction when it comes to cruciform commitment to Christ. The cruciform ideal exacts of us a type of death that portrays Christ-like clarity of Biblical Christianity in which God is honored and glorified. The cruciform ideal exacts of a type of death disassociated with evil. The cruciform ideal exacts of us a type of death in which we understand that there is more that concerns life than just what we see with the eye or experience in the body.
A certain preacher once wrote, “When I think about just giving up and living my life in selfish ways, there is something about remembering how that Man died on the Cross for me that pulls me back where I need to be with God.”
If you consider yourself to be a Christian, live your life shaped by the cross of Christ.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and ministers in the local area.
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