In this world it is difficult to bring people to salvation. As in the first century, when Jesus walked the earth, not that many people today want God in their lives. And those people who do accept Jesus Christ, often only want Him in their lives on their terms.
The second half of the cross as outlined in this book is not advanced Christianity. The second half of the cross is not radical Christianity. Surrendering and yielding our self-wills to God so that He has the space to begin to work in our lives for our benefit, is basic Christianity. No lasting transformation and deliverance can take place without it.
Forgiveness and cleansing of sin, and the removal of self-reliance from the thrones of our hearts, are two sides of the same gold coin-of-the-realm in the kingdom of God. The Christian always maintains freedom of choice, but defers to the higher and better judgment of God as to how to best go about living this current life.
When the Christian elevates the participation of Jesus Christ into our lives above our own self-reliance and self-direction, we allow the supernatural part of the relationship to begin to improve how we think about our moral choices, the quality of the effort that we put into life, the standards that we expect of ourselves, and our desire to please and glorify God in all things.
This transformation also creates within us an unselfish attitude toward other people. We will not only discover the mind of Christ in us, but also the heart of Christ in us. We will discover within us a desire to share with others this same salvation that liberated us from sin, and that transformed us into new people as well.
And most importantly, because of the knowledge of the second half of the cross, and the death of self-powered and self-initiated efforts, we will discover that the words of life that we speak, and the examples of God’s love through works of kindness to others, come through the power of the Holy Spirit within us and not our own self-propelled energy.
When we ourselves are genuinely transformed into new creatures in Christ, the motivation to share the gospel will come from unselfish love from the heart, rather than through some program fueled by compulsion or a sense of duty.
The second half of the cross therefore not only includes the plan of God to get us engaged in a direction according to the will of God for our lives, but also provides the Holy Spirit power within us to transform us into the quality of people who can effectively reach out to others and share what God has and is doing in our lives.
The key is to first get self-will and self-in-charge out of the way, according to the second half of the cross, so that God can begin to interject His love, power, and grace into our lives. This process begins the moment we become new Spirit-born Christians.
But the advanced Christianity part of a journey of faith does eventually require a complete change in our thinking. A God-composed and guided journey of faith adds purpose, direction, and structure to our lives that displaces the otherwise conventionally normal mode of simply reacting to random chance events as they arise.
A God-composed journey of faith inserted into our lives displaces “living by our wits” in an improvisational, at-the-last-minute, reactive mode , with a new game-plan crafted out of the mind of God that has the proactive, preventive elements of a transformed character and elevated morality in operation.
God’s unshakable promise is that if we will seek Him with all of our heart, we will find Him. This is where picking up our cross seamlessly blends with seeking God with all of our heart, which produces a bond with Holy Spirit power that cannot be broken by any force in existence. This is the advanced part of a journey of faith involving the free-will decision-making of people to surrender our all to God, which extends all the way back to the beginning of the Bible.
The higher ways of God as portrayed in the biblical journeys of faith displaces worldly conventional normalcy, with all of its self-absorbed self-focused problems…with new life-script plots having purposeful suspense and drama that shifts our focus to following God and helping others. This ingenious paradigm shift changes people from the defensive, reactive mode to the positive, offensive mode. Part of our eternal salvation, part of our new covenant personal relationship with God, actualizes within this insertion of a God-composed life-script into the plan of our lives.
Christian today need to step into their own biblical journeys of faith like never before, in preparation for the challenges of the upcoming end-times. The depth of our personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the solid-rock foundation that will withstand the spiritual and cultural storms of deception and unbelief that will prevail on the earth in the last days.
When Abraham received his calling from God to leave Haran and to go to Canaan, Abraham left behind all of his normal Haran-based life plans and schemes. When Paul met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul left behind his old life as a Pharisee in Jerusalem. Both men stepped down off the thrones of their lives to make room for God at the top. This is the simplicity of the second half of the cross as illustrated in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Its timeless application is relevant for Christians today as much as ever.
God wants to do something radical, something extraordinary in our lives. He wants to change us, to completely transform us from the inside out into becoming the light of the world and the glory of Jesus Christ.
The first miracle in the ministry of Jesus was to change water into wine at the marriage at Cana, in Galilee (Jn. 2:1-11). Jesus has been changing people from water into wine ever since. Without stretching the analogy and typology of this miracle in Cana too far, the scripture reads that when the governor of the feast had tasted the water changed to wine, he said that the bridegroom had kept the best wine until the end (Jn. 2:10). At the end of the ages, in these last days, the true and faithful witness of Jesus Christ as seen in His followers may turn out to be the most important event in all of human redemptive history (Joel 2:28-29).
Whether it is parting the Red Sea to deliver the Israelites, or being our Savior at Calvary, or bringing back to life the dry bones of Ezekiel 37 in 1948 in the creation of the re-gathered nation of Israel, God is trying to make a point. He created us, He loves us, and He has our best interests at heart. The only way we can discover this with rock-solid assurance is to enter into a journey of faith following Jesus Christ through a God-composed life-script of events and circumstances uniquely tailored to us as individuals, with our self-in-charge natures safely buried through repentance and spiritual rebirth.
This is The Second Half of the Cross.
The hard work has already been done by Jesus on the cross.
When Jesus the Son surrendered His will to the will of God the Father, at Gethsemane and at Calvary, Jesus went through the process ahead of us.
This is why Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Our part is to be willing to take His hand and follow, and to not look back or count the cost.