From The Second Half of the Cross…Introduction
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
As Abraham traveled from Haran to Canaan, with each step forward Abraham walked away from conventional normalcy toward a higher life-script now featuring faith and trust in God, composed entirely out of the creative imagination of God. A God-crafted journey of faith as recorded in the narrative stories of the Bible completely displaces our ways with God’s higher ways (Heb. 11:8).
The calling of Abraham to become the father of faith could have involved any set of normal circumstances based in Haran, without ever going to Canaan. But traveling to Canaan, and waiting patiently in the Promised Land year after year for the birth of Isaac were both far outside of the initial contemplation of Abraham. A biblical journey of faith lies outside of our own making. It is devoid of human contrivance, self-reliance, and self-realization by purposeful design. A biblical journey of faith is radically different from other religions and philosophies, for profound reasons having eternally beneficial outcomes.
A God-composed journey of faith is a uniquely original, one-time, fiat creation that authenticates the God of the Bible as the one true living God. It stands completely outside of human literary invention, because the concept of the cross of Jesus Christ setting aside our ways to be replaced by God’s higher ways, not only runs contrary to worldly conventional thinking, but is beyond our capacity to self-orchestrate (Isa.55:8-9). The invention of a journey of faith is God’s effective antidote to the destructive nature of a life in bondage to sin, the practical extension of God’s salvation into the spiritually born-again life.
No human writer could invent the cross component of the narrative life-stories of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, Peter, or Paul. The idea of God crafting for each of us an individually purposeful life-script that we willingly follow according to God’s initiative through cooperative faith…is beyond our imagination (Jer. 31:31-34). No power on earth other than the Holy Spirit can actualize a biblical quality adventure of faith into true reality.
An adventure of faith following God to a destination we could not possibly anticipate in advance, following routes that are beyond human imagination, is a concept totally unique to the Bible in all of human history, experience, and culture. A biblical style adventure of faith, where God is the composer of the script and the leader of the expedition, will not be found anywhere in modern comparative religious studies.
The advance preparation of every positive character of faith in the Bible precisely matches their individual callings. Abraham the “father of faith” waits patiently for many years in faith for the birth of Isaac. Joseph is prepared ahead of time in Potiphar’s house and in Pharaoh’s prison to manage the nation of Egypt during a great famine.
Moses is schooled in Egypt in military science, leadership, reading and writing, and in God’s special school for prophets in the quiet of the desert, to enable him through reliance upon God to go back to Egypt to deliver the Israelites. King Saul’s relentless pursuit of David prepares David to become a godly warrior/king who courageously and ably clears the regions around Israel from the constant threat from foreign enemies, and informs the inspiration to compose his timeless and endearing psalms.
Even the radically misguided action of persecuting the early Christian church prepares the highly educated, rabbinical Pharisee Saul/Paul to be able to enter the mission field with a super-humility that removed any condescending pride toward the polytheistic, idol-worshipping Gentiles. Only the living God, outside of the limits of time, could possess the foresight to match advance preparation with the singular tasks that the people of faith are called to perform as recorded in the Bible (Tit. 2:14)).
The cross of Jesus Christ that sets us free from short-sighted and debilitating self-rule on the thrones of our lives, is a theme that runs throughout the Bible. God displacing our horizontally conventional plans with His higher ways, producing outcomes that impact the course of redemptive history beyond our individual human capacity, is found in every positive character recorded in the Bible.
A journey of faith following Jesus Christ for Christians today is as biblically orthodox as orthodoxy can get. The goal of this book is to illustrate the power of the cross within the fabric of the lives of several key biblical characters in order to better understand the relationship God wants to initiate with each of us if we will listen in the Spirit, study the Bible, and follow Him in faith.