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What was the purpose of the cross in Christianity.





nickfyoung
What was the purpose of the cross in Christianity. Does it make any difference to you as a Christian. Is it important or is it just part of the stuff that goes with the religion. What about those who say the cross is central to Christianity and without it Christianity would be meaningless. Could we still be Christians if there had been no cross. So may questions but what does the cross mean to you. Is it the center of your faith.
shawnlam
A really simplistic answer can sometimes be the best answer. Today, in the U.S., most of our death penalty cases are finalized with lethal injection. The so-called electric chair was once the execution of choice, while other times periods have utilized other methods; firing squad, hangings, drownings. In other countries, stonings and beheadings are not at all uncommon.

To put it simply, Jesus was hung on the cross because it was a very public and humiliating form of execution. He didn't have to be killed via that method, but because hundreds, perhaps thousands of others had been executed in the same way, and since it was known to be effective, that was the method chosen to put Jesus of Nazareth to death.

Now, if Jesus had been drowned, we would see people wearing tiny vials of water on a necklace as a symbol that they are aware of his sacrifice. If His death had been caused by intentional anaphylactic shock from the stings of thousands of aggravated honey bees, we would have metals forged into the shape of bees, dangling from necklaces, mounted onto rings, and printed on t-shirts, and would probably call them B-shirts.

To answer your question about the people saying that the cross is central to Christianity, and without it, Christianity would be meaningless, that is somewhat accurate. It is interesting to know that Jesus was nowhere near the first person ever crucified, nor was He anywhere near the last. Crucifixion was quite common at the time. If another method of death was widely available, at the time, which would have been just as humiliating and public, it would have been just as acceptable. I don't want to speculate what other cruel and torturous forms of slow death are available, but anything as intense, where people were able to watch Him die, spit on Him, curse Him, or throw things at Him, could have been utilized.

The cross is NOT the center of my faith. The cross is only the particular method of final punishment leading to death which was used to kill my Center of Faith, Jesus. Honestly, the cross could have been replaced by a slow burning at the stake, and we could still be Christians. I don't wear a cross around my neck, but I also have a great reason. When I see a foul mouthed thug waving a gun while rapping on a "music" video, I cringe at what my kids are learning from this public figure. When I see the cross that he is wearing around his neck, I feel total disgust. The same concept applies for the gigolo with his shirt unbuttoned all the way to his navel, displaying all of his gold jewelry, one or more of which happens to be a cross. Actually, I'm the reason I don't wear a cross. I used to constantly adorn myself with a crucifix, either on a necklace, or an earring, but I have since realized what kind of a nasty person I was. It didn't matter that I knew about and believed in the existence of God, I wasn't living a life that would be consistent with that of a true, Biblical Christian. If so many people like the former Shawn can wear a cross, perhaps we are looking at things incorrectly.

FYI - The center of my faith is:
1) God came to Earth to live as a man, named Jesus, in order to be able to live a life like other humans. He experienced all of Satan's attempts to cause him to sin (temptations), and He was able to overcome them all.
2) Jesus was then tried and found guilty of blasphemy (and other crimes), even though he wasn't guilty, and was then savagely tortured, hung and executed on the cross.
3) Two mornings later, because Jesus was fully God while also being fully man, He was able to put life back into His body, get up, roll the stone away, and defeat death.

This was done to atone for my sins, as well as your sins if you accept Him as your Savior. Because of my violation of God's perfect moral standard, there is absolutely nothing that I can do to be admitted into God's Kingdom. If I accept that Jesus took my punishment upon Himself in place of what I deserved, and then I put forth a tremendous effort to no longer sin (called repentance), I am saved from the wrath of God (Hell) and can go to Heaven.

If any of this seems to be rambling, I apologize. It is quite late, and I didn't anticipate my response to be quite as lengthy as it has become. I did cut out a lot of parts, so it is actually shorter than it was going to be.
nickfyoung
Shawnlamb
Quote:
If I accept that Jesus took my punishment upon Himself in place of what I deserved, and then I put forth a tremendous effort to no longer sin (called repentance), I am saved from the wrath of God (Hell) and can go to Heaven.



How much do you think, of tremendous effort is required to be saved. Is it possible for some to fall short of that tremendous effort and not make it. If we do happen to sin after we are saved does that then mean we don't make it.
shawnlam
Quote:
How much do you think, of tremendous effort is required to be saved. Is it possible for some to fall short of that tremendous effort and not make it. If we do happen to sin after we are saved does that then mean we don't make it.


Great questions!

I used tremendous effort to signify that I need to abstain from sin, even through great temptation. I know that I still sin, and while living this life, I will never stop sinning. It's just not possible. Even if I'm not murdering, robbing, or forging a golden calf for me to worship (idolatry), I still sin in many ways. If somebody asks me for money and I say I'm broke, I may have committed multiple sins. First of all, I always have money, even if it is only the loose change in my couch. That means that I just told a lie. It might simply have been that I am holding onto the last $10 I have to make sure that we can afford to buy some beans and rice, just in case we run out of food. I didn't intentionally lie to them, but the fact remains that I lied. Additionally, I might just be hanging onto the money because I don't want the other person to have it. That ends up being greed. The main point I am trying to make here is that you will continue to sin, even when you don't notice it.

When playing a sport, weight lifting, or even on the job, you might hear somebody say, "You have to give 110% effort!!!" This one drives me nuts. There is just no way for anybody to give more than 100% of what they have to give. According to the Bible, we are supposed to give our all. In fact, one of the 10 Commandments says that we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Do you know ANYBODY on the planet that loves God with absolutely everything that they have?

The reason for that we need a savior is because we just are not good enough. We can not keep the commandments. If you have truly repented of your sin, you will not be jumping into sin, but might occasionally fall into sin. The difference is that you are striving to live a holy life, but being human, you stumble. If you are in that class, you are forgiven. Salvation is perpetual, meaning that you are not only forgiven for past and present sin, but also future sin. The apostle Paul used the phrase, "I die daily," to signify that every day, he asked for forgiveness for his daily sins. The reason that he did this was because he really wanted to please his God, and loving God with that kind of love will make you want to ask God to forgive you.

After you have been saved, any time that you find yourself falling into sin, you show true discipleship by immediately putting a stop to the sin, asking God for forgiveness, and then continuing on with your life with the goal of glorifying our Heavenly Father. He is the one that created us, He knows our hearts, and if we are truly sorrowful for sin, He knows and He forgives.

One more important thing: Yes, it is possible for people to fall short. Let me explain.

Modern Christianity has some members that say, "Repent and pray this prayer and you'll go to Heaven, no matter what you do." (big sigh) Saying that you repent and praying a certain prayer is NOT the same thing as salvation. When you are truly saved, God starts working in your life in a way that makes you want to please Him. You will find yourself finding new ways that you sin, and you will actually desire to get rid of that sin. Yes, this is also perpetual, meaning that you will always be able to find new sin in your life that you need to correct. You will find yourself wanting to know more about God, reading the Bible, and asking questions in forums. =) You will also want to tell others, as scary as it may be, about how they can escape an eternity in Hell.

After birth we start as babies that need everything done for us. As we get older, we become toddlers and start to be able to feed ourselves (as long as someone else prepares the food). Later, as young children, we are able to dress ourselves, learn to get along with others, and find out what our parents allow and disallow. Pre-teen years are when we establish our first bit of maturity in making good decisions, followed by the teen years which are kind of like a test run for adulthood.

When we experience salvation, we are known as having been "born again." That means that we get to be spoon-fed at first. The smart kids learn to feed themselves (reading the Bible) early, while the hyperactive kids learn to play with others (witnessing and fellowship). As we age in our Christian lives, we learn how to dress ourselves (what others see, like stopping cussing, not driving drunk, giving the prostitutes tracts or Bibles instead of money).

God does not expect me to be perfect. That's why his Perfect Son died and was resurrected. His undeserved punishment was the only perfect alternative to my punishment, and He really is the difference. Grow and mature in your walk with Christ. Your imperfection is perfect for Him. Remember this: Jesus didn't die for the perfect people. He died for us, despite ourselves.
nickfyoung
shawnlam
Quote:
Salvation is perpetual,



If salvation is perpetual does that mean if we are saved we will always be saved no matter what. Is it possible to walk away from your salvation or does God hang on to you till the end.
shawnlam
Quote:
If salvation is perpetual does that mean if we are saved we will always be saved no matter what. Is it possible to walk away from your salvation or does God hang on to you till the end.



God wants an all or nothing commitment. You either commit yourself for the entirety of your remaining lifespan, which then includes eternity, or you might as well not commit at all. A coffee cup exists that has this text, "The only good cup of coffee is a HOT cup of coffee." In the Bible, God used a beverage idiom to express His desire for our commitment level. The idiom was something like, "I would prefer that you be either hot or cold, for if you are lukewarm, I will spew you from my mouth." God desires HOT Christians. If you are lukewarm, you might as well be a cold cup of coffee that He will not even sip. Trying to fool God by being lukewarm will get your hopes up, and then you will be cast out.

Salvation is permanent, but it never really starts until you make a permanent decision. I know people that used to consider themselves to be saved, were active members in their church, some either taught Sunday school, led a Bible study group, and a couple of others that used to be a minister for a church, and each of these people have almost entirely withdrawn themselves from church, God, and other Christians. As far as I know, all but one of them believe that they have lost their salvation, and despite their current refusal to do so, they believe that they need to recommit themselves to Christ. Recommit? How can you recommit to someone to whom you were never really committed? My wife has committed herself to me in a lifelong marriage, but if she changes her mind and decides to divorce me, her level of commitment wasn't total, which might as well be nonexistent. Perhaps she has committed herself to me until Mr. Right comes along, or perhaps it is only until she tires of me. If her commitment isn't total, our marriage is in vain. If she decides to divorce me, her commitment has limits. Remember, God wants your commitment to be total. If you give up your faith just because you aren't getting your way, you were never totally committed.

One particular person (who was briefly dating a family member), is now quite adamant in insisting he deserves his blessings now. Right now! He doesn't want to wait until he gets to Heaven (um, he's already assuming that he is guaranteed entry to God's Kingdom). In his opinion, he has worked so hard for God for so many years that he says it is time for God to pony up and start giving him his just rewards. He's decided that he's not doing another thing for God until he those rewards start rolling in. Truly, that scares me for him, because his greed has taken over, and his idolatry (making a "god" of his own by thinking that our God will serve him) and arrogance are probably the keys to the wrong kingdom. I can not judge whether or not this man is saved, but the Bible does say that you know a tree by its fruit. Good fruit comes from a good tree, bad fruit comes from a bad tree. The "just rewards" that he demands to receive RIGHT NOW could be an eternity in Hell.
nickfyoung
shawnlam
Code:
Salvation is permanent, but it never really starts until you make a permanent decision


Is this permanent decision something that you must decide to do, like you have choices and have to make a choice to make a permanent decision. Does God have any say in this process.
shawnlam
(I didn't proofread this post, so I apologize in advance, not that my proofreading is top notch)

Quote:
Is this permanent decision something that you must decide to do, like you have choices and have to make a choice to make a permanent decision. Does God have any say in this process.


Yes, the permanent decision must be made. If I say, "I'm going to give this Christianity thing a shot," I have not made a decision to serve God with everything I have, for the rest of my life. The decision made, in that case, was to "try" it out. A true, born-again Christian has made a decision that Jesus' sacrifice is the only perfect alternative for our eternal punishment, and that requires what I mentioned previously. If you switch from Judaism to Christianity to Buddhism to Agnosticism, there was a point in which you considered yourself a Christian. You weren't saved, having a relationship with our Creator, or you would never have left the faith. In fact, many people that attend church "religiously" could have their salvation called into question, as they don't seem to live according to God's Word.

Yes, God has ALL of the say in the process. Even his Word states that nobody comes to God unless God calls them. God will call people in different times of their lives, through different methods. During those times, God knows that what their decision is going to be, but He still gives them a chance. When the terrorism event that we refer to as 9/11 occurred, a tremendous number of people around the country (the world) began praying. God used this event to call upon people to repent of their sins and to accept His Son as their Lord and Savior. Some were saved, many were not. Although we don't see events of this magnitude on a frequent basis, sometimes God allows things like to to happen so that you and I might grow to know Him and do His bidding.

The apostle Paul was originally known as Saul of Tarsus. He was one of the few exceptions to the rule, because Jesus actually came to Paul, and in His extremely thorough ways, convinced Paul that He (Jesus) was real, had been resurrected, and was God. Paul still had the option to turn Jesus down, but the evidence to Paul was overwhelmingly against his previous position on who Jesus really was. Instead, Paul was saved and then spent the rest of His free life as a traveling disciple, spreading the gospel, being a true servant. The apostle Thomas, who doubted that Jesus had actually been resurrected until he was able to touch the holes in Jesus' hand, was told that he was blessed for believing, but those of us who believe without having physically seen and touched Jesus were far more blessed. I can't imagine being more blessed than to be one of the disciples that walked with Jesus and saw His miracles, but God's Word says that I am. How wonderful that will prove to be after this life is complete!
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nickfyoung
Shawnlam
Quote:
Yes, God has ALL of the say in the process. Even his Word states that nobody comes to God unless God calls them. God will call people in different times of their lives, through different methods. During those times, God knows that what their decision is going to be, but He still gives them a chance.



You say that God has all the say in the process and then you say that he knows what their decision will be but still gives them a chance.

Does that mean that some actually say no to God and refuse his salvation even if he has called them. And does God call everyone at some stage of their life.
redhakaw
nickfyoung wrote:
What was the purpose of the cross in Christianity. Does it make any difference to you as a Christian. Is it important or is it just part of the stuff that goes with the religion. What about those who say the cross is central to Christianity and without it Christianity would be meaningless. Could we still be Christians if there had been no cross. So may questions but what does the cross mean to you. Is it the center of your faith.


things to ponder:
1.) What mark do you put on an item in a list when you want to discard or remove it?
2.) Can you use your hands, or feet when they are nailed on the cross?
3.) What is the prerequisite of resurrection?
smeconsult
THe Cross is the symbol of Christs permanent Atonement for my sin. if Jesus Christ did not go through the cross, there wont be Salvation from sin just occasional cleansing. If no Cross, there wont be followers of Christ and No such thing as Christianity would have existed without the Cross
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