The incarnation is not just a warm-up to the cross and resurrection; it’s an essential part of the drama. It’s part of God’s tattoo. God, out of His own free choice (grace), took the initiative (grace) to step down into our humanity (grace) – and not just any part of humanity, but one clothed with humility and shame (grace) – in order to bridge the gap between God and man (grace) and therefore reclaim that genuine relationship He desires with us (grace).
– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 141
The Cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him in to a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, “Come and assert yourself for Christ.” To the egotist, it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.” To the thrill-seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.” The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.
as quoted by Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 101
If there is no sacrifice involved, if you’re not at least a little uncomfortable, then there is a good chance that you aren’t carrying a cross.
– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 161
The Biblical reality is that when people say yes to following Jesus, they are agreeing to carry a cross, and that will be painful at times.
– Idleman, Kyle; Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus; Zondervan; copyright 2011; Grand Rapids, MI; Kindle Edition; page 180
You simply cannot look at the cross and see the suffering of Jesus on behalf of rebellious sinners like you and me without also accepting that God sometimes ordains pain. This is not to say that suffering is never the result of something you or I have done, that it can’t be related to some form of deserving. Rather, it just means that there is no longer a one-to-one correlation. In fact, there may not be any correlation at all!
So while the prosperity gospel pays lip service to the God of the Bible, it worships a God who waits for the suffering person to snap out of it and claim victory. In other words, it posits a God who is powerless to save sinners.
– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 89-90
O Holy Jesus, Son of the most high God, Thou that wert scourged at a pillar, stretched and nailed on a cross for the sins of the world, unite me to Thy cross, and fill my soul with Thy holy, humble and suffering spirit, O Fountain of Mercy, Thou that didst save the thief upon the cross, save me from the guilt of a sinful life; Thou that didst cast seven devils out of Mary Magdalene, cast out of my heart all evil thoughts and wicked tempers. O Giver of Life, Thou that didst raise Lazarus from the dead, raise up my soul from the death and darkness of sin. Thou that didst give Thy Apostles power over unclean spirits, give me power over my own heart. Thou that didst appear unto Thy disciples when the doors were shut, do Thou appear to me in the secret apartment of my heart. Thou that didst cleanse the lepers, heal the sick, and give sight to the blind, cleanse my heart, heal the disorders of my soul, and fill me with heavenly light.
– William Law
as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright 2004; p. 169-170
Nothing is more foundational for the joy of undeserving people than the cross of Jesus Christ. The fight for joy is a fight to grasp and marvel at what happened in the death of Christ – and what it reveals about our suffering Savior.
– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 71