"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1Cor. 2:12-13)
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Keeping The Cup
"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will'" (Matthew 26:39)
There is a cup of suffering appointed to everyone who will follow Jesus. Without taking up this cup, the road to growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ ends abruptly. Many have fallen prey to a new gospel. They hand their cup back to the Father and arrogantly proclaim, "I now stake my identity in Christ and because he conquered evil and death, I don't need this cup, for He paid it all, once for all." This is true of salvation alone because we didn't choose Him, He chose us. However, there are no rewards of intimacy down this road.
"If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." (1 Corinthians 3:14-15)
To deny suffering in the Christian life is to ignorantly turn from the cross and head back to our life in the 'grave'. True, the abundant life can only be wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, but knowledge alone of God's restorative plan, without bearing our own cross, will only flat-line our faith. The division of believers today is evidence enough that this "gospel" of self preservation runs rampant.
Without taking up our cross, we only know what God has done for us; and this fails to involve the vital relationship of the Bride to the Bridegroom. We become a lamp without oil. When self will has designed its own cross and thinks it can believe itself unto sanctification, then spiritual perversions of all kinds manifest themselves in the name of God's church. Self will must surrender itself unto death. We believe because He caused us to believe; but belief alone will not sanctify the soul.
When we truly follow Jesus, we must also drink from the cup of suffering. And what is the reward for 'volunteering' for this suffering? ("No one takes my life, but I lay it down of my own will." -Jesus) We won't know abundant life except that we give our own life a ransom for others. True love is sacrificial. The promise of living waters can only be known by drinking the cup of salvation allotted to us. (Psalm 116:12-14)
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (Psalm 116:15)
"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." (James 2:19)
This cup will not be taken away until we, too, shed this body of death.