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What is “The cross?”

Scripture actually speaks about three crosses.

Jesus’ death on the wooden cross of Calvary allowed all people to receive forgiveness for their sins. This death, however, was really the culmination of Jesus having taken up His cross daily – an inner, metaphorical cross on which all self-will was sacrificed and thus all sin in the fleshSin is anything that goes against God’s will and His laws. To commit sin is to transgress or disobey these laws. The lust to sin dwells in human nature. In other words, it is contaminated and motivated by the sinful tendencies that dwell in all people as a result of the fall into sin and disobedience in the garden of Eden. This... More was put to deathIs to overcome the temptations to sin that arise when our lusts and desires draw us to react in ways we know to be evil (i.e. pride, hatred, evil-speaking, envy etc.) It is the act of denying those thoughts and refusing to agree with them. The lust to sin is not only suppressed, but it actually dies. (Romans 8:13; Colossians... More.

While the cross of Calvary was the end of Jesus’ physical life here on earth, this cross (the forgiveness of sins) is just the beginning for a discipleA disciple is another word for a follower of Christ, one who is learning to be like his Master. As a disciple you follow Jesus Christ, who is the Master and by living like Him you become more like Him. (Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 2:21-22)... More who has a genuine goal of coming to a life of complete victory over all sinSin is anything that goes against God’s will and His laws. To commit sin is to transgress or disobey these laws. The lust to sin dwells in human nature. In other words, it is contaminated and motivated by the sinful tendencies that dwell in all people as a result of the fall into sin and disobedience in the garden of Eden. This... More in the fleshSin is anything that goes against God’s will and His laws. To commit sin is to transgress or disobey these laws. The lust to sin dwells in human nature. In other words, it is contaminated and motivated by the sinful tendencies that dwell in all people as a result of the fall into sin and disobedience in the garden of Eden. This... More – all the sin that we had inherited from the Fall – just as Jesus did.

Scripture actually speaks about three crosses, which are explained here briefly:

  • The first cross: The cross of Calvary. (Luke 23:33-43) This is the physical cross on which Jesus suffered and died. By faith in what Jesus did on this cross, we have peace with God. Christ has now become our atoning sacrifice, and we can receive forgiveness for our sins when we pray for it and repentRepentance is the act of regretting sincerely the sin in your past with the goal to never do it again. It is making a decision to turn away from evil and to serve God. Repentance is one of the requirements for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 2:17; Luke 15:10; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 3:19; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter... More. Through forgiveness we are saved, not based on our works or achievements, but by grace alone.
  • The second cross: Crucifying the old manYour “old man” is your mindset before conversion. It is a state of allowing your lusts and desires to rule in your life; you have not made a conscious decision to resist committing sin. The new man is your mindset after conversion. It is a decision to overcome sin and live in righteousness and holiness. It is the mind to... More and the flesh with its passions and desiresThe desires that we experience that go against God’s will. In other words, a desire for anything sinful. See James 1:14. Also called “sin in the flesh.” Although the expression “youthful lusts” is  often thought of in connection with sinful sexual desires, lusts include anything that go against what is good and right in God’s eyes. (2 Timothy 2:22.; Galatians... More. This is the metaphorical cross which Paul writes about in Romans 6:6 and Galatians 5:24. This is the cross on which our “old man” – our state of mind which agreed to do what we knew to be sin – is put out of action, and the flesh with its passionsThe desires that we experience that go against God’s will. In other words, a desire for anything sinful. See James 1:14. Also called “sin in the flesh.” Although the expression “youthful lusts” is  often thought of in connection with sinful sexual desires, lusts include anything that go against what is good and right in God’s eyes. (2 Timothy 2:22.; Galatians... More and desires loses its power over us. By this cross we are born againBeing born again is an event that takes place in every true Christian’s life at some point. You “put off” your previous way of living and thinking, living according to the lust to sin in your flesh. You are born anew into a life with Christ; you become a new creation that is Spiritual and eternal. “Therefore, if anyone is... More and become disciples. We have a change of heart and mind, and no longer commit the manifest works of the fleshConscious sin; things we know to be sin before we do them. These are not “accidents” but deliberate sins, and they are to be repented from and “put off” at conversion: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness,... More. (Galatians 5:19-21) We are no longer slaves of sin, to live according to the flesh. (Romans 6:15-23; Romans 8:12) We are made alive with Christ, having received Jesus as Lord in our lives.
  • The third cross: Taking up our cross daily and denying ourselves as disciples. (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23) This is also a metaphorical cross, which Jesus took up every day of His entire life by denying Himself – choosing to do God’s will instead of His own will. Jesus says that no one can be His disciple without taking up this cross daily as He Himself did. When we do this, we destroy the root of sin, becoming finished with it as we continue to put to death the areas of sin in our lives that the Holy Spirit reveals to us, and which we were not previously aware of. This is the hidden life with ChristA disciple is another word for a follower of Christ, one who is learning to be like his Master. As a disciple you follow Jesus Christ, who is the Master and by living like Him you become more like Him. (Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 2:21-22)... More in God. This is sanctificationSanctification is the process by which you are transformed to have divine nature by the act of consistently putting sin to death by resisting temptation. This is what it means to cleanse the inside of the cup. (Matthew 23:26) Your sinful nature is gradually replaced by virtues – the divine nature. Romans 12:2, 2 Peter 1:4.... More – a deep salvation and transformationThis is the process of sanctification, in which we our sinful human nature is gradually exchanged for divine nature when we in obedience to God’s will deny and put to death the sinful lusts in our flesh. (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:3-4)... More of our entire inner manThe outer man is our physical body while we are here on the earth. Our inner man is our everlasting spirit and soul. (Romans 7:22; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 3:16; Matthew 10:28)... More, and we become partakers of the divine natureGod’s nature, or divine nature, is perfectly pure and it cannot be tempted by evil. We are promised that we can be partakers of the divine nature by fleeing the corruption in the world that comes through our lusts. As we gradually overcome our sinful human nature it is replaced by divine nature – God shares His own nature with... More. (2 Peter 1:4) This is the calling of the bride.

Read more about the three crosses in the other articles in this section.

1

The message of the cross – Introduction

The cross is one of the most well-known symbols of Christianity, but its significance lies far deeper than the cross of Calvary.

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2

What is “The cross?”

Scripture actually speaks about three crosses.

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3

The first cross: The cross of Calvary

This is the cross that leads to the forgiveness of sins.

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4

The second cross: Crucifying the old man and the flesh with its passions and desires

This “crucifixion” is necessary if we want to become disciples.

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5

The third cross: Taking up our cross daily as disciples

With the third cross our entire inner being can be transformed into the image of Christ.

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6

What is the result of taking up our cross?

A glorious future in the knowledge of Christ.

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