Like a Cross Worn Around the Neck, Christ has Become an Accessory

Like a cross that is worn around one’s neck, Christ has become an accessory.  Rather than being commanded at gunpoint to deny Christ, we are led by the devil into the wilderness of consumerism, shopping for identities.  Far from being harried and harassed, we are shown the kingdoms of this world that can be ours if we will only turn away from Golgotha.  We don’t have to become atheists.  We do not even have to renounce Jesus Christ.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 115

It Was Not Glory First, But Suffering then Glory

It was not glory first, but suffering and then glory, that the prophets foretold.  Jesus is the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, who bears the sins of many and justifies the wicked.  First the cross, then the resurrection; first suffering in this age and then sharing in Christ’s victory as we enter the Sabbath rest in his train.

Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 88

They Were All Ears

Whenever Jesus tells them [the disciples] about the cross that they will bear, they are all ears; not really knowing what he is talking about, they nevertheless responded affirmatively.  They thought they could handle their own burdens.  “What Would Jesus Do?” is something that they thought they were ready to answer if anyone asked.  It is the work that Jesus alone could do for them – his death and resurrection – that they found beside the point.

– Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 86

Protestant Liberalism’s Gospel

In the 1950’s, Yale’s H. Richard Niebuhr described the so-called “gospel” of Protestant liberalism poignantly  “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

– Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page

God With Us

One of the names given to Christ Jesus was Emmanuel, or “God with us.”  Christ lived into his name.  He was “with us” in that he took on human flesh and walked among us.  He was “with us” in carrying both our sins and our sorrows to the cross.  When God raised this man, Jesus Christ, from the dead, he didn’t take away his scars.  These scars testify to his pain, to his love, and to the extent to which God will go to conquer the evil of the world through the active suffering of forgiveness.  Only through such active love can such scars of horror be transfigured into emblems of triumph…Pain does not have to have the last word.  Forgiveness can push out the borders of what we believe is possible.  Reconciliation can offer us a glimpse of the transfigured world to come.

-Catherine Claire Larson

as quoted by Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books;  New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 843

If the Heart be Filled with the Cross of Christ

The cross of Christ be glorified and rejoiced in; this his heart was set upon; and these were the effects of it – it crucified the word unto him, made it a dead and undesireable thing.  The baits and pleasures of sin are taken all of them out of the world…If the heart be filled with the cross of Christ, it casts death and undesireableness upon them all; it leafves no seeming beauty, no appearing pleasure of comeliness, in them.

– John Owen, On Indwelling Sin in Believers

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 94

We Never Outgrow the Gospel

Hearing the word of the cross, and preaching it to ourselves, is the central strategy for sinners in the fight for joy.  Nothing works without this.  Here is where we start.  And here is where we stay.  We never outgrow the gospel.  Here we see the glory of Christ more clearly than anywhere else.  Indeed the gospel is “the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (II Corinthians 4:4).  If seeing Christ is the key to savoring Christ – and it is! – then here is where we must linger.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 91

We Have Gathered Like Eagles ‘Round the Carcass

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.  Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate…The onlyman who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ…We…have gathered like eagles round the carcass of cheap grace, and there we have drunk the poison which has killed the life of following Christ

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; Crossway; Wheaton, Ill.; copyright  2004; p. 90

The Great Ground of Joy

This is the great ground of joy in the word of the cross:  Justification is by grace alone (not mixed with our merit), through faith alone (not mixed with our works), on the basis of Christ alone (not mingling his righteousness with ours), to the glory of God alone (not ours.)

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 83

The Ubiquity of Christ Crucified in Everything We Are and Do

Every boast we make in any good thing must include the boast that, without the cross, we would have hell and not this good thing.  Everything we know must include the knowledge that we do not know it rightly except in relation to Christ crucified.

– Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 76