Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eschatalogical Cross-Bearing

We all know that we cannot follow Jesus unless we follow him along the path of the cross. We have to die to ourselves, which dying includes denying ourselves those things which hinder us from joyful obedience and faith. When facing something that must be shed away from my life, it helps me to consider the fact that there is coming a day when I will be living without this thing anyway. This world, this age, is passing away. It will someday be gone. I, however, will be raised to live a new life in the world to come.

Now, faith realizes the future (Heb. 11:1). By faith I can imagine being utterly happy in another time (very weakly, of course, since, as Lewis reminds us, our desires are too weak). Why not go ahead and start celebrating? You will leave that sin behind someday anyway; go ahead and do it now. You will leave that pleasure behind someday anyway; go ahead and leave it now. You get the idea.

This is not contrary to the intent of our Creator for us to enjoy and be thankful for all the good he has given us in this world. This is not the same thing as practiced by those who want to leave off responsibility in this world and stand on a hill waiting to get "raptured." But, being sinners in this age (we will not be in the one to come), there is going to have to be a degree of self-denial. It's unavoidable. I find keeping the history of my life in the perspective of what has been revealed about my future, coupled with the eye of faith, to be a great motivation to enter now into the joy of the Lord by leaving particular things of this world behind.

What do you think?


stoneranger said...

I wholly agree. We have two natures: the higher nature connected to God, and a lower nature connected to our desires and
wants. Our lower nature must be crucified so that our higher nature (Jesus/The Holy Spirit)will become our dominant nature. Thus, 'Take up your Cross and follow me'. Many times Jesus speaks of ...'those who overcome...
and it is a hard narrow road but the results lead to our slavation.

Jeremiah said...

This reminds me of what Luther wanted people to do daily through their remembrance of Baptism. In our remembrance of baptism, done daily, we are called to crucify the old man and rise to new life in Christ because that is what the Father has given to us in baptism.

This is a reminder, I believe, that there sin is so ingrained in us that we need to realize that no part of our lives are free from it. We can lay down every outward manifestation of sin, but we still can't pat ourselves on our backs, because the sin still exists within us. But thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! He has made us a saint and given us the strength to fight and wrestle against that sin that remains within. We must look forward to what God has promised us lest we find ourselves despairing over where we currently are.

Your title is very apt for this. I never thought of taking up my cross as an eschatological action like this. Thank you for opening my eyes to it!