“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom. 1:16
From The Christian Church in the Last Days
In Isaiah 14:13-14, it is the “I will” portions of Lucifer’s statements “I will ascend into heaven” and “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God,” that is the official start of sin in the universe. Lucifer, like many of us today, thought he knew better than God. This is where the “I will do this and I will do that,” self-serving, God-less attitude comes from. By contrast, the example that Jesus sets for us with enormous personal difficulty in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the way that He opened up for us in life through His own painful death on the cross, is based upon the words: “nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.”
Lucifer and unregenerate mankind, by contrast, hate the idea of submitting themselves to the loving and unselfish rulership of God in their lives to such an extent that they will actually go to the extreme measure of attempting to kill God Himself to get rid of this idea. When God willingly allowed Himself to be crucified through the Second Person of the Trinity, through Jesus the Son of God, He unmasked the truly evil character of the go-it-on-our-own-without-God approach to life. Stubborn pride is that strong within self-autonomy. It will refuse God any participation in our lives if this participation infringes even a little upon our own will and way. That is why the world pushes Jesus Christ away. That is why the gospel message of love and forgiveness is so inexplicably offensive to the world.
This is the central issue at the core of our existence. When we are operating as our own god, atop the throne of our lives, we are lost. This is the root cause behind humanity’s problems. This issue cost Jesus Christ His life, on our behalf, through the cross. It will cost us death to our self-in-charge natures when we choose to follow Christ. An essential part of becoming born-again in the Spirit is not only acknowledging Jesus Christ as Savior, but also restoring Him to His rightful position as Lord in our lives.
In the motion picture Ben Hur, staring Charlton Heston, toward the end of the movie Judah Ben Hur, his future wife Esther, and his mother and sister are sitting on the side of a long stairway as the condemned prisoner Jesus is ascending the steps carrying his cross. Judah Ben Hur’s mother Miriam, and his sister, Tersa, both have contracted leprosy. Esther had thought to bring the two women to hear Jesus preach, and thus give them the hope that there was a life after death, free of leprosy. But instead of being able to listen to the teaching of Jesus as they had hoped, all four were surprised to find that Jesus had been tried, condemned, and sentenced to death by crucifixion. As Jesus approached them carrying his cross, Esther asked in amazed astonishment “how can this be?’ How could the religious rulers in Jerusalem and the Roman authorities have condemned Jesus, a teacher of righteousness and the healer of so many people, to something as unthinkable as execution by Roman crucifixion?
At the cross is where the contrast between the reality of human sin crashes up against the divine love of God. Mankind at that moment was unwittingly displaying its own worst condition. In open view, for all to see, was the futility of man’s wisdom and works when they exist apart from God, as mankind was performing the most embarrassing indignity possible in putting to death its own Creator. Nothing remotely imaginable could be more wrong than this. To God’s everlasting credit, this very same misguided and inexcusable action by the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, and Roman rulers, was providing the means for salvation and eternal life to mankind through a divine atonement for man’s sins. At that moment in history, the two opposing viewpoints and lifestyles available to all human beings through the freedom of choice…self-autonomy apart from God leading to sin, and fellowship with God leading to holiness…violently collide with deadly impact at the cross of Christ.