The Cross works like this
Peter Abelard (1079-1142) was a tremendous debater and a charismatic professor of rhetoric who had an affair and a child with a teenage girl. When she went to a nunnery so that her lover's career wouldn't be ruined her father sent a gang and castrated him. He's remembered for that. He's also remembered for his view on the atoning work of Christ. Roughly but fairly stated he believed that Christ's way of atoning for (dealing with) sin is that he wooed us away from it and transformed us so: he dealt with sin by his moral influence over us. Abelard didn't say enough; but what he did say is an important part of the truth that people who worry ceaselessly about "legalism" and "self-salvation" are almost afraid to acknowledge. But we should acknowledge it because the NT is filled with that truth; a truth that's movingly brought out in Arthur Gossip's Experience Worketh Hope. A Scotsman, Arthur Gossip, was a chaplain in first World War, spoke of the cross and its power to grip a man.
"If you ask, how? Well, once, far up the duckboard track towardsPachendaele—which those of you who were out yonder will agreewas, by far, the most eerie and awesome part of the whole front inthe last war—I came upon a laddie lying all alone and—dead. I don'tknow why, out of the multitude that one saw killed, he so impressedme. But he had given his life for us, given it in the spring and its firstfreshness. And I remember how-all alone in that grim lonesomewilderness of endless shell holes, mile upon mile of them, like agrey tumbling sea-I pulled off my bonnet, and looking down into hisdead eyes, promised him that, because he had done this for us, Iwould see to it that his sacrifice was not in vain. 'I promise you,'said I, 'that I will be a better man, because you have done this. Ipromise it.' " And he goes on to say, "All which was twenty fiveyears ago. And, in the main, I have largely forgotten. Yet, even now,at times, it rises up with the old vividness, and stings and shamesme toward worthier things. This is how the cross of Christ works."
Paul felt that power as we can see from 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 which the NEB renders as, "The love of Christ leaves me no choice." I wonder how many of us are privileged to live long enough to experience that? I'd truly like to know that feeling but I often wonder to myself if I'm really willing to pay the price.
Maybe God will bless me even more richly than he has already by working in me that willingness. In the meantime, I will gladly do what he has so far enabled me to do
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.