Back to the Cross

The sunshine penetrate clouds.
The sunshine penetrate clouds. (photo: CCD file photo )
By Gui Qi July 18th, 2020

If it comes to "how to regain our strength", you must ask yourself why you lost your strength. Is it because of a lack of strength or a decline in strength? Is it because the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak? Or because of a loss of motivation and hope? If so, why is this happening?

A second thought produces profound fear. Is it because our hearts have been weakened by the ravage of disease? Does the sudden disaster that has killed so many innocent people make us lose faith in the goodness of God, or even lose faith in God? Was it because during the epidemic, there was no urging from the church ministry, no "supervision" from brothers and sisters, no systematic listening to the words of God, reading the Bible and the inherent spiritual life, no long conversation with God, no group life, which led to spiritual decline? Or is it because, in the age of the Internet information explosion, we are misled by various Gospel-related public accounts or heresy links under the banner of the Gospel that has lead us astray, further and further from the truth, and we become spiritually weak? If so, how can we regain our strength?

First, go back to the embrace of the Father. Why shall we go back to the embrace of Father? For the Lord God is the source of our strength. The poet said, "I will love thee, O LORD, my strength."(Psalm 18:1). "The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed." The prophet Isaiah said: "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."(Isaiah 40:29) “Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.”(Isaiah 49:5) The prophet Jeremiah also said that LORD is his strength, and his fortress, and his refuge in the day of affliction. (Jeremiah 16:19) The prophet Habakkuk said: "The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” God is willing to carry us on his back, like an eagle carrying his babies, spreading his wings and soaring in the sky with us.

Next, we need to turn back to the cross. We shall get to know the truth, and the truth will give us strength. Turn back to the cross -- or rather, turn back to the crucified Christ. As a sign, the cross becomes the physical object for Christians to think about God. The cross is not only the basis of human salvation, but also the basis of self-revelation inspired by God. It is the starting point of Christian theology and the center of Christian thought. The core of the Christian Gospel is the crucified Christ.

The cross shapes the Christian's life, and being a Christian means bearing the signs of suffering, conflict, rejection in oneself. “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.”(Corinthians 4:10). For Paul, Christ and his cross were the cause and the model of the believer's suffering. The believer has a share in Christ's life and therefore in his suffering. Romans 8:17 expresses this concept most clearly: ”And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Philippians 3:8-12 is based on the notion of suffering and resurrection with Christ. Believers have a part in Christ's suffering and resurrection due to their connection with him.

The Christian life is a process, so to speak, of being shaped and sculpted again and again like the suffering Christ. One of the effects of the cross is to restore the future of humanity, to make it possible for everyone to be reconciled with God, with nature and creation. The cross breaks down boundaries, regardless of race, gender or society. "All are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus." Not only does the cross help the believer to begin a new life, but it also points out what the new life should look like. The cross is the unshakable foundation of faith, from which faith begins, and to which it will return, with its power nourished due to Christ crucified.

In the end, back to the beginning of faith. All that we see, and all that we think, is the grace of God. As the saying goes, "Don't forget the well-diggers when you drink from this well." Then the blessed shall never forget who blessed you. Which of the followers of Christ has not received the great mercy of Christ? With our perverse character, will we be willing to say that Jesus Christ is Lord, unless we benefit from Christ?

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Titus 3:3-5)

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;(1 Corinthians 15:10) We should go back to the beginning of faith, remain true to the original aspiration, and be clearly aware of the grace of God.

How to regain our strength? In short: return to the embrace of the Father, return to the cross, and return to the beginning of our faith. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.(1 Peter 5:10)

- Translated by Nicolas Cao

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