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THE POWER OF THE CROSS
by ISAAC LIKUJI
9/24/2009 / Devotionals
THE POWER OF THE CROSS
I remember once sharing with some Brethren on the fundamentals of faith. I said: if faith is the ticket to heaven, and that there is no favoritism from our perspective, that both the rich and poor, young and old can have faith, then faith is the cheapest thing or item on the market; so cheap that even the poorest would afford it. It is also the simplest task in life, so simple that even the youngest reasoning humans would understand it. It is so light that the weakest can hold on to it; so visible that even the blind would see it; and yet it is so foolish that not even every fool would wish to identify himself with it. If the wisdom of GOD was to be really complex, we would put together all human brains, the dull and sharp together from the time of Adam till now, and we would still not figure out a bit of its depth and height. And so is the wonder of the power of the Cross of JESUS!
Now, the message of faith is so real that it really takes a blinded mind not to see its direction. The working of GOD, all that man could possibly know about his Maker, is carefully wrought in what GOD has done. This is not just the Genesis episode, but HIS creation from the First Day of it to the Last Day. Like a rolling sheet, it unfolds from the storehouse of GOD's wisdom one second at a time. As the sheet of creation keeps on unrolling, many do not see the reality of it being the doing of GOD, partly because they do not believe GOD has anything to do with the world after the first seventh day. They still imagine GOD too bored down with us, now interrupting our pace with some disaster then with some calamity, just to give us some bit of awakening. And so when the idea of the Cross comes in, we think it too inanimate to be given attention. We hear the good old story and, not realizing it prints its power in every second of life, we throw it behind us, too far behind to be remembered.
To begin with, if really GOD was to present HIMself in form of a BABY, with all the glory and power of HIS majesty, I do not see a city on earth, or a building that will really qualify to host the SON of GOD. The splendor of GOD is so splendid, if my language can hold any drop, that the most spacious land on earth is not fit for a backyard to a place that would have the BABY GOD in it. I cannot imagine the kind of security or the kind of hospitality that GOD would have demanded of all humans in order to really have a feel of HIS power and authority. No! It was going to be impossible just like it was. It is really impossible and unimaginable. All human effort, desire, treasure and commitment put together would never have been enough. All living humans can be numbered, angels cannot. They, even they, attend HIM yet they cannot measure HIS surpassing glory. No! GOD did not have to come with flames and thundering on JESUS' birthday, for what use? HE was born in a little despised city, a little despised farm, and of all things, if not the most to a human and even more to GOD, a little despised place, a kraal. There in the animal house, not even man, but GOD was born. There on a bed of hay, not even man, but the Creator of all things seen and unseen, lay as a Baby. There, in a manger, the mysterious finger of GOD was inscribed in human form. And when the setting comes out so fitting, it becomes tremendously easy to scoff at it than to regard it otherwise.
And here the journey to the Cross made its first step on earth. Here, in a manger, the plan of Eternal Salvation was published on earth. Without really revealing the Cross ahead, here in a donkey apartment, GOD demonstrated HIS power and authority over animal and man alike. He dictated it to all creation that HE can work among humans, as much as among animals. HE can reveal HIS mysteries among animals and man alike. Yes, HE is GOD over all that is known, and even of what is yet to be known and what is never to be conceived through all creation. So, Herod in a palace and JESUS in a kraal, who would you salute? One is born to a Director General, the other to a Carpenter, who would you befriend? And failure to see the power of GOD demonstrated in the manger is failure to acknowledge HIS power demonstrated on the Cross.
And how was the birth of GOD announced? This was what the Angel told Mary: You will be with Child and give birth to a Son, and you are to give him the name JESUS. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The HOLY SPIRIT will come upon you, and the power of the Most HIGH will overshadow you. So, the holy one to be born will be called the SON of GOD. So this birth failed human reasoning. Human wisdom was thrown aside for a moment. It is unthinkable for a virgin to have child. It is unheard of in all creation till then, that the husband's will is not all that it takes to bring forth a child. The known principles of nature in childbearing are not an unbreakable law. They are to a human, but not be to GOD, the Creator of nature itself. And at the end of his conversation with Mary, the Angel declared: For nothing is impossible with GOD.
Perhaps, we do not understand what scripture alludes to in saying nothing is impossible with the LORD. GOD is not just so good at working through challenges that HE would never fail. And even if it were so, only one attribute would make that possible in a phrase: knowledge and ability. One may have the know-how, but when they lack the finishing edge, some tasks would be impossibility. So also, is one who has all the ability but lacks the insight to troubleshoot into a setback. GOD knows all things and is eternally well able! But that is not what makes 'nothing' impossible with GOD. Beyond the words knowledge and ability lie sovereignty. This is the word that I find so fitting that it encloaks GOD's power and personality forever. His sovereignty I consider at three levels of divinity. The first is the unrevealed intents of GOD's purpose. And this is not just about things that are too divinely sophisticated for the human head to conceive. It includes the total stretch of GOD's insight, HIS knowledge of all creation from beginning to end, which man, who only lives a cup of years of the whole can never have such depth of understanding, let alone the cluster of information capturing an inch of the past and a hint into the future. GOD's power and ability goes beyond this. The second is the confessed reality of HIS WILL. This is the permanent course on which GOD has committed HIS creation. GOD does not sleep or slumber. HE has no day or night, no year or season. HIS realm of reality is Eternity. The only example I can use to define eternity is the verse: With the LORD a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. This is to say, confirming with other verses that GOD is the Beginning and the End. In HIM, both the Beginning of time and its End exist. This sovereignty stretches beyond the turnings and twistings of reality as it manifest to us. It includes the WORD, which is forever settled in heaven. And by this I mean the stern fact of GOD's TRUTH, the revealed WORD which confesses the reality of all creation as the WORKING of GOD. HE sustains all things by the power invested in JESUS. And so the third aspect of GOD's sovereignty is the measure of all this wisdom, knowledge and understanding. By it HE intended to create a universe so astounding. This intention stretching at once from the beginning of it all to the way to the end, HIS sovereignty still extending infinitely before the beginning and stretching well beyond the end. Then comes HIS eternal ability to work it out according to that divine intention. My purpose will stand, HE declares, and I will do all that I please. This may come in the form of the words: For by HIM all things were made: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by HIM and for HIM. And we look at the verse in block context such that we do not consider the reality at stake. HIS WORKING prints through the micro scientific reality of all creation, physical or spiritual. That is the only way HIS plan stands firm forever. And this is what scripture means by: HE is before all things, and in HIM all things hold together. HE does not wake up some day and commands out something to happen. HE does not move along with the rolling time of creation. This is a grave misconception stuck in our minds. AT times when some tragedy happens, we ask ourselves; why has GOD done this? In our minds we think the moment something unveils is the moment GOD has thought of it or taken notice. That shows our ignorance of the concept of Eternity. So after three years of World shaking demonstrations of GOD's surpassing sovereignty over all creation, the Pharisees thought: Lets do away with this, bring a cross! Now, GOD's intentions are so closely attached to HIS WORD, just as much as the WORD is also as attached to the power HE demonstrates. So while doing everything in the under hide of reality, the Pharisees could not read it that all was happening as planned long before the worlds took form. When they escorted JESUS with whips, insults and nails, at such pick of natural reality, they could not imagine themselves committing an eternal transgression, what their minds were incapacitated to conceive. And it takes a mind's fall from such a height in order to plunge into realization of the power GOD had invested in the CROSS. The ministry of the BLOOD that was shed, the bruises, wounds and cuts; the agony and disgrace and finally the death that resulted from it all! Imagine a child beating the father to death! Imagine the work of your hands dragging you in the mud! There was JESUS, GOD, being hung on a CROSS by what HIS hands had made!
I remember Moses once said: The secret things belong to the LORD our GOD, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever. It is the glory of GOD to conceal a matter, it is said; to search out the mysteries of life is the glory of kings. So we see that the dealings of GOD are not what the mind of man can naturally be willing to accept. He can only contain what he has been permitted to contain. Man cannot resist GOD's WILL. This fact has been demonstrated all through the history of man but we could not grasp it. Up to this day, we still insist man has a free-will - to hell with man's free-will! GOD spoke through Isaiah: Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass. Then HE spoke through the believers of the Early Church: They did what your power and WILL had decided before hand should happen. Whether GOD reveals HIS intentions about the future or not, no creature can do or be what GOD has not declared. The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of HIS heart through all generations.
The whole idea that man has a free will is meant to exhaust the devil. It pictures man caught up in the middle: GOD on one hand and satan on the other. And this is the belittlement of the Sovereignty of GOD as though satan exists at a tagging end with GOD. As though satan has death in his realm and GOD has life in HIS. By HIS power and ability, however, GOD can wade off the contentious plans of the enemy. Oh, well! On the CROSS GOD demonstrated something deeper than this. HE revealed to all creation that hell itself is in the cloaks of GOD's sovereign operation. Death itself abides by GOD's eternal intentions. In the old system of things, it appeared as though GOD had power to resurrect. This was just enough to surprise satan's supposed power to kill. But on the CROSS, GOD demonstrated HE is actually the resurrection, to the shock of hell itself! satan thought he had power to contend with his GOD. A little while beyond the BLOOD at Calvary, he realized he had been in eternal error. GOD was the power above every power; the knowledge and ability beyond comprehension. After JESUS died, before HE could rise; had satan been the king we worship today, he would have done everything to make CHRIST rot behind the stone. NO! It was beyond his level of operation. In a little more than a couple of hours, there it was! The power of the CROSS! JESUS rose again from the dead! HE bypassed satan's intentions, which was the evidence that was required to prove that the LORD brings life and death. For had satan had authority, absolute supremacy over one or the other, life or death, no one would break his neck over it. But GOD, the Eternal Sovereign, made it plain to all visibles and invisibles alike, that no student is greater than his teacher, no slave is greater than his master no creature greater than his CREATOR, for ever!
This is the WILL of GOD.
The children of the CROSS are, therefore, people of Eternal victory. This fact made Paul brag: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of GOD for the salvation of everyone who believes. He knew fully well that the message of the CROSS is foolishness only to those who are perishing but to all those who are being saved it is the power of GOD at work. No one who was born by the power of the CROSS will ever be defeated by a power that could not defeat GOD's intentions on the CROSS. Earlier I talked about Eternal Salvation. This is the assurance forever. The plan of GOD to convict a sinner, transform his mind and conform it to the likeness of JESUS, who is GOD Himself This is what no creature, not even hell itself can alter. The reason? Hell does not operate in absolute isolation. It is all part of the lofty Sovereignty of GOD. And when GOD thus washes one's sins in JESUS' BLOOD, HE does so with the eternal assurance that HIS WILL will stand firm forever. The power thus manifested on the CROSS is GOD's demonstration of HIS total authority over HIS Creation. JESUS' birth, HIS life and ministry, HIS death and resurrection, were all a dare in the face of nature for which satan would have made a name if it were really possible for him to operate beyond what GOD has determined. But no. He tried all he could, but all came out to be GOD's own micro-operation in one way or the other. And when your mind is really locked up there where what GOD did on the CROSS appears foolishness, it is cancerous to the soul. If by grace your eyes have been opened to see reality from GOD's perspective, rejoice and be glad, for there is no victory greater than the Power of the CROSS of JESUS.
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