The Cross

The Cross

In an often underappreciated prophecy concerning the cross and crucifixion, the sons of Korah wrote in Psalm 85:10-13

Mercy and truth have met together;

Righteousness and peace have kissed.

Truth shall spring out of the earth,

And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Yes, the LORD will give what is good;

And our land will yield its increase.

Righteousness will go before Him,

And shall make His footsteps our pathway.

The truth is that we are all sinners cut off forever from our Creator, but God’s mercy desires to draw us back into fellowship with Him. His righteousness demands a satisfactory penalty for our sinfulness, but His peace longs to displace that just retribution. We are faced with the dreadful quandary, how can God be both just and a justifier of the one who has faith in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:26)? From a human standpoint, the dilemma is unsolvable, God purposes both to punish the guilt and deliver the guilty. Thankfully, there can be no contradiction in God’s purpose.

When the fullness of time came, a young Jewish virgin conceived and brought forth Truth. Thus, Truth sprang forth from the earth. While He died upon the cross, Righteousness looked down from heaven, and the Lord gave what is good. In the cross, the contradiction was resolved. His footsteps became our pathway to salvation.

The cross was a popular symbol in the mythologies of many ancient cultures long before Christianity. In ancient Hindu tradition, for example, the horizontal beam of the cross represented the earthly realm, while the vertical the higher celestial realm. In the cross, the horizontal and the vertical quite literally as well as figuratively come together. Thus, in the cross, we find the union of earthly and heavenly. In the crucifixion of Jesus, symbolism became reality. The heavenly met the earthly, mercy met with truth, righteousness met with peace. In their meeting death was overcome by dying, and power was released by weakness. He who knew no sin became sin so that sin could no longer reign in my life.

God deserves all our praise, but He does not need it. He needs us to praise our children, our spouse, church elders, and brothers and sisters in the Lord who are discouraged and in need of healing for the heart. He deserves all our love, but He does not need it. He needs us to love His children. He needs us to love the backslider. He needs us to love His enemies. On this earth and for this era, we are arms to enfold the world and we are His feet to carry reconciliation.  He needs us to make His footsteps our pathway.

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