The Cross is about life!
Because the cross is central to our faith and because the cross (as the expression of God's holy generosity) deals with our sins since we can't deal with them ourselves, evangelicals have pretty well drawn the conclusion that the forgiveness of sins and human helplessness is the overriding message of the NT.
I don't think we need to take issue with what Paul teaches us in Romans 1:18—3:20 about human sinfulness nor do we need to argue with him about the centrality of the cross in relation to God's faithful pursuit of us to win us from sin and reconcile us to himself. All that, I judge, is beyond debate.
But the cross is about more than forgiveness of sins—it's about fullness of life. The cross is not an end in itself—it is a means to an end and that end is fullness of life with God. The cross is not about death—it is about life! The cross is not the last thing we hear about Christ. In and through the cross but following it, is the glorious, death-destroying, sin-obliterating living Jesus. In and through the cross is the exaltation of Jesus to universal dominion and a name above every name.
The cross is the reaffirmation of the eternal creation purposes of the eternal God who purposed us for holy, joy-filled, righteous companionship with himself in his creation. The glorified and immortal Jesus who is the firstborn from the dead and is the first-fruits of all who sleep is who God had in mind in the creation—it was made for him and all who are embraced in his redeeming work (Colossians 1:16).
The cross is about God making us alive! It is about forgiveness of sins but it is about the reconciliation of all things in heaven and earth to God. It is about the defeat of wayward principalities and powers that we might be free to live. To live here and now and not some time in the future; to live within the creation and not in some merely "spiritual" realm. "I came that you might have life to the full," he said.
Simply by default, the constant stress on forgiveness of sins and man's awful depravity suggests that God is obsessed with sin and that humanity is nothing but a trudging, helpless and not to be trusted band of miscreants. I'm not interested in undermining God's holiness or minimising our sinfulness but I'm weary of this ceaseless harping on sin and the cross as the way to get forgiven. I'm weary of these evangelical extremes with the vile "health and wealth gospel" on the one end and the grim plod while we wait to get free of earth and then to heaven on the other end.
The cross is about life!
©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.