The Costless Cross

However, the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.2nd Samuel 24:24....."The Spiritual giants of old would not take their religion the easy way nor offer unto God that which cost them nothing. They sought not comfort but holiness, and the pages of history are still wet with their blood and their tears. We now live in softer times. Woe unto us, for we have become adept in the art of comforting ourselves without power." A.W. Tozer

 

The cross of Christ has not been banished from the Church. It can still be seen in most fellowships. It's just not that often seen in the lives of those who profess to have come to it. As Tozer writes, we have become adept at avoiding it. A verse of the old hymn goes, "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe." We have embraced the first part but have managed to miss or ignore that last. Thus the rise of the hyper-grace movement. Jesus has done everything for us, now our part is to lie back and enjoy the abundant life He has given us. This is nothing new. It has been more than 75 years since Dietrich Bonhoeffer coined the term "cheap grace." but in so many ways, it seems that His grace just keeps getting cheaper.

 

David was directed by God to build an altar to Him at the threshing floor of Araunah. Araunah thought to make of it a gift, for after all, David was the king. David refused. The altar was a place of offering, of sacrifice. He rightly said that he wouldn't offer up to God anything that had no cost to himself. The price he paid Araunah was symbolic of David's intent to give to the Lord his all. His sacrifice was himself. He would give all of himself to his God, and in return, would receive all of his God. For David, it was a small price to pay. Indeed he saw it as no price at all. This same attitude was found in the heroes of faith detailed in Hebrews 11. Is this attitude found in you and me?

 

Israel was split into two kingdom following the death of Solomon. God took away a large portion from Rehoboam, Solomon's son, and gave it to Jeroboam, who had become king of northern Israel. Throughout her history, Israel had been commanded by the Lord to travel to Jerusalem to worship and celebrate on specified festival and holy days. Jerusalem was part of the southern kingdom of Judah, and Jeroboam feared that if the people traveled there, they would not come back. So he appealed to their fleshly desire for ease and comfort, He made two golden calves and and set them up at the southern and northern ends of his kingdom, telling the people, "It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem...these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt." Too much trouble. Degree of difficulty. These are considerations that are more and more in the forefront of the Church in the west. How much of the spirit of Rehoboam is operating in the modern Church? How "easy" are we trying to make it to be a "believer" today? How prone are we to offer up worship, sacrifice to Him that cost us nothing? Nothing at all.

 

I'm not speaking of some kind of self-denial that only affects the outer but never touches the heart. There are many who wish to parade their (self) righteousness. The old hymn asks, "Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?" All. Love of comfort and ease. The quest for recognition, reputation, applause. All. Dreams, desires, hopes, past, present and future. All. A spirit akin to John the Baptist that says, "I must decrease that He may increase." All. Go anywhere, do anything, including being nothing, for Him. No matter the cost to ourselves. All. A heart that is not looking for a better life here, but an ever deepening experience of His life now. The cross of Christ comes with great cost. It costs us ourselves. All of ourselves. Do we bring such a heart and life to Him, or, do we continue to offer up sacrifices that are no sacrifice to us at all? Do we seek the costless cross, or a cross that takes all of ourselves upon it? The first never touches the self-life. His cross brings us into His life. The first changes nothing. His cross will change everything. Which will we go to? Which are we going to now?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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