“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt. 16:24). The call of Jesus Christ for any who would follow after him to “take up his cross” is a radical command. For Christ is not, as many who interpret the passage declare, speaking of one’s petty trifles, such as bad hair days, broken cars, etc., as one’s crosses, but that those who would follow after him must continually be killing themselves and their natural passions, by a bloody crucifixion nonetheless. It is an act of priestly service declaring to God and to the world the God whom we serve. The apostle Paul says in Romans 12:2 that this killing of ourselves, this offering up our “bodies as a living sacrifice” upon the altar of the Holy Spirit, is not merely something that is suggested of those who are radical followers of Christ and who are mentally unbalanced according to the world, but it is the “reasonable service” of those who are in him. Crucifying one’s self for the sake of following Christ is reasonable. Its reasonableness rests not in the act of crucifying one’s body, but it rests in what God through Jesus Christ has done. For, as the apostle puts it, the greatness of the “mercies of God” are such that all ambitions and pursuits in this age are brought to nothing in the light of God’s work. For if God did not spare the life of his only Son but gave him up for us all, why then would we not give up all things in this age to follow hard after him by putting to death the deeds of our bodies? (cf. Rm. 8:13). Indeed, it would be unreasonable for us to do otherwise. Therefore, if we who claim to be in Christ love and pursue the things of the world, viz. the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and pride in possessions (1Jn. 2:15, 16), we prove ourselves, in the least, to be unreasonable, and at the most, that the love of the Father is not in us in spite of our claims. Just a thought.
Categories: Just a Thought