Monday, May 27, 2013

The cross and the crown

There is a declaration that Jesus made about our lives which we are hesitant to claim. Jesus, speaking to his disciples said, "In the world you will have tribulation." Trials, difficulties, and tribulations are part and parcel of the Christian life. Despite what the prosperity gospel promises and the word of faith movement wishes for, we should expect that our journey of faith will have rough patches.

Jonathan Edwards was no stranger to suffering, and in his book Charity and Its Fruit he writes candidly about the difficulties in Christianity:
The sufferings that are in the way of our duty, are among the difficulties that attend religion. They are part of the cost of being religious. He, therefore, that is not willing to meet this cost, never complies with the terms of religion. He is like the man that wishes his house was built, but is not willing to meet the cost of building it; and so, in effect, refuses to build it. He that does not receive the gospel with all its difficulties, does not receive it as it is proposed to him. He that does not receive Christ with his cross as well as his crown, does not truly receive him at all. It is true that Christ invites us to come to him to find rest, and to buy wine and milk: but then he also invites us to come and take up the cross, and that daily, that we may follow him; and if we come only to accept the former, we do not in truth accept the offer of the gospel, for both go together, the rest and the yoke, the cross and the crown: and it will signify nothing, that, in accepting only the one, we accept what God never offered. to us. They that receive only the easy part of Christianity, and not the difficult, at best are but almost Christians; while they that are wholly Christians receive the whole of Christianity, and thus shall be accepted and honored, and not cast out with shame, at the last day.
From where I stand, as I survey the landscape around me, I see many Christians going through hard places and tough times. I am encouraged by their resolve to serve their God through thick and thin. My prayer is that, when I have finished my time here on earth, it will not be said of me that refused to carry my cross.

No comments:

Post a Comment