Monday, October 12, 2009

Spurgeon on Crosses in Worship

The following is something from Charles Spurgeon, who is not always a careful theologian, but certainly has a way with words:
I. First, let us enquire, WHAT IS THIS CROSS OF CHRIST to which some men are sadly said to be enemies?

Of course, it is not the material cross. It is not anything made in the shape of the cross. There are some who can fall down and adore a cross of wood, or stone, or gold, but I cannot conceive of a greater wounding of the heart of Christ than to pay reverence to anything in the shape of a cross, or to bow before a crucifix! I think the Savior must say, “What? What? Am I the Son of God and do they make even Me into an idol? I who have died to redeem men from their idolatries, am I, Myself, taken and carved, and chiseled, and molten, and set up as an image to be worshipped by the sons of men?” When God says, “You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them,” it is a strange fantasy of human guilt that men should say, “We will even take the image of the Son of God, or some ghastly counterfeit that purports to be His image, and will bow down and worship it, as if to make the Christ of God an accomplice in an act of rebellion against the commandment of the holy Law.” No, it is not the material cross to which Paul alludes—we have nothing to do with those outward symbols! We might have used them much more, but they have been so perverted to idolatry that some of us almost shudder at the very sight of them!
(source)(Courtesy of my friend Matthew Lankford)

There may be some rhetorical excesses in his words, but his point is quite right. The cross of Christ that we preach is a metonym for Him who died on the cross, namely Christ Jesus the crucified, buried, and risen.

-TurretinFan

2 comments:

Jason Smathers said...

Thanks for posting this. I reposted it on my blog. I have been blogging on images of Christ and this seemed relevant.

Blessings,
Jason
jsin @ #prosapologian

natamllc said...

There are many metonyms.

Here is one of those that has caught my imagination:

Heb 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,
Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Who reading these comments can say they have "ever" been washed with His blood? And being washed in that fluid becomes "white" as snow?

How do you wash a human's conscience with a Human's Blood so many years after His suffering, death, burial and resurrection?

But to Spurgeon's point pointing to the Cross, I like to expand John 3:16 alongside 1 John 3:16 and explain what is being said.

Jesus, His Spirit, is Everlasting and Eternal.

The form that was born, the forensic body that came into the world through the Virgin Mary, had come with His Spirit, as a made human soul, body and flesh.

The question is "what was put to death"? Was it His Spirit, which is eternal? This is not what John is pointing to in 1 John 3:16 that died on the Cross and laid in another man's tomb.

One only has to look at the Greek Words for "live, living and life", both at John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16 to realize what of my being is being put to death and what the intent is that God has by the Baptisms, water and Spirit.

God "so loved" the world by demonstration. Jesus Christ's way of loving is the only acceptable way God's Elect are taught to love this world. There is only One Way to love this world and love in this world and that way is 1 John 3:16. This is how you know God's Elect from the reprobates of this world system.

When it comes to the Elect, what is put to death? My mind, will and emotions, my soul, has to come to an end. This isn't something I do or I initiated. It begins by the Work of the Holy Ghost through Baptism and just as Christ was raised from the dead through the Glory of Our Father, the Blessed Holy Ghost, so we, too, now walk in new "life" by the Spirit of Christ and the same Blessed Holy Ghost as Hebrews 9:14 teaches. He offered Himself as that atoning Sacrifice through the Holy Ghost. Our sacrifice makes no atonement for any sins. See Romans 12.

The cross of my daily life/soul/psuche is dying to the lusts of my flesh, my eyes and my pride of possessions, which is idolatry. If not, I am none of His in this life or in the Life hereafter.

My earthly life is over. Now I die passively, daily. I rely 100% on His Life actively, daily, and it is through Christ's Spirit and Righteousness, by one Spirit that I now have my place before My Heavenly Father in this life and the next.

The enemies of my soul are aggressive and deadly and war against my spirit, soul and body, daily. These enemies are the world, Satan and my own flesh!

Even though I have the Mind of Christ now, it is still a daily battle bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!

Onward Christian Soldier!