As I launch this new blog, it won’t surprise those familiar with our church name or my sons’ names, that I picked some “C” words for the title. The letters are convenient and consistent (there I go again!), but the meaning is really what I have on my heart and mind.
Cross – The Apostle Paul, in the book I am currently preaching through, declares that Christ crucified, is central to the Christian faith (1 Cor. 2:2). One of my favorite passages, 2 Corinthians 5:21, states that God made Christ, who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. The Cross is where God the Son bears the punishment we all deserve and, more than that, gives us his good record of faithfulness, that we might be seen as righteous before a holy God. So the Cross is vital to understanding what God does for us.
But the Cross also describes how we live for God. Jesus called us to, take up our cross daily, and taught that whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for God (that is, entrusts it fully to Him), will save his life. The Cross is central to how we can pursue a transformed live as Christ-followers.
Crown – Jesus not only comes as Savior through the Cross, but wears a Crown as our Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 has been dear to my heart since the King of Kings first laid ahold of my heart in salvation – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths”. When we realize our attempt to find our way in life on our own is futile, we will welcome the good commands of God, and his “easy” yoke as the best way for us, even if our soul defaults differently. So the Crown is vital to understanding what God does for us.
But the Crown also describes how we live for God. We have a new identity, we are crowned with a new status as Sons and Daughters of the King of Kings. For this reason, in his heavenly kingdom we will lay down those crowns at His feet, realizing that our high status is from Him, alone.
Creed – As we understand the Cross and the Crown, as they apply to Jesus and to us, we will grow in our belief. A creed is just an affirmation of faith. “I believe in Jesus” is a simple, but sound, creed. Some of our churches identify with certain historic statements of faith like the Apostles’ Creed or Nicene Creed. Other churches perhaps affirm Biblical truth but just never call it a creed. But God’s desire is that all of us be creedal in the way the late musician Rich Mullins expressed in one of his songs, “I believe, what I believe, is what makes me what I am. I did not make it, no it is making me.”
The truth about what Jesus has done, embraced through faith by followers of God, and lived out, is the Christian life. Cross. Crown. Creed.