Beware Of The Modern Smooth Cross
All unannounced and mostly undetected there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different; the likenesses are superficial, the differences fundamental.
From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life; and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique, a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.
FRIENDS WITH THE WORLD
The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam's proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal, and if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally, if not intellectually.
The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self- assertive it says, "Come and assert yourself for Christ". To the egotist it says, "Come and do your boasting in the Lord", To the thrill seeker it says, "Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship". The Modern message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue, thereby catering to human taste and reasoning.
The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere, but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely all the meaning of the cross.
SYMBOL OF DEATH
The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said goodbye to his friends. He was not coming back. He was not going to have his life redirected; he was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing, it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck swift and hard, and when it had finished its work the man was no more.
The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation, and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him, and then raising him again to newness of life.
PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENTS?
That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of the hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world; it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.
We who preach the Gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to Big Businessmen, or the Press, or the World of Sports, or Modern Education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.
FORSAKE AND TRUST
What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God's stern displeasure.
Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and re-birth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner, and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.
“What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” (Mt. 27:22)
That was the question asked by Pilate during the Trial of the sinless Christ. Today this is the the eternal question now asked of YOU. The demonic crowd at that time cried, “Let Him be crucified.” By your choice today you are either choosing to be partners in damnation with those that reject Him, or in salvation with those who truly confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord” and receive Him! “Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve.” (Josh 24:15).
We pray that you, dear soul, will not be a fool and sin away your day of grace but that instead you will “forsake the foolish and live” by choosing Christ and His Life today! (Prv. 9:6). Humble yourself as a guilty and helpless sinner and pray to the Lord Jesus to save you, giving your sins and life to Him. You cannot serve two masters (Mt. 6:24): you must wholeheartedly want the Lord Jesus more than sin. .. the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner” (Lk. 18:13). God “giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6).
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19).
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rm. 10:9).
This decision is shown by being baptized under water in identification with your Lord and following Him with a Bible-believing and preaching church,.. rejoicing in Christ - despite persecutions!
“... what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:36, 37)."Then they that gladly received His Word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere, preaching the Word” (Acts 2:41, 42; 8:4 ).
Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless HIS holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all HIS benefits (Ps. 103:1, 2). -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------