The other day on ESPN, Stephen A. Smith, popular broadcaster announced as he discussed the Manti Te’o issue that, “I am a Christian, but I don’t adhere to everything..” Now, my problem is not with Manti Te’o or Stephen A. Smith, but rather his and the commonly held belief that Christianity is a ‘confession’ only. This is not true. It is not a badge of honour, or a title that you can ‘wear’. It is not a toasty country club, with privileges and caddy boys waiting on you hand and foot, or attending to any other appendages that satisfy your lusts. It is a life of being affixed of gaze to Christ, in surrender. It is a free fall of NOT controlling your destiny, following Jesus, who did the same as an example, who being the full deity of God, became obedient unto death.
Jesus says, in Matthew 10:32 “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” ..and later says in verse 38 ” And he that taketh not his cross*, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (indicating that some level of sacrifice or action is part and parcel).
Mouth AND life must say, “I follow Jesus Christ”, in order that Christ will declare you his own in heaven, and that you be worthy of him.
With the focus away from your ability but rather on Christ, you come to see that he will work in you ‘both to will and to do’…
[Philippians 2:13 – For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.]
On another related note, that I believe should be included in this writing…
Let’s clear up some things about this cross…just so that you understand what the Bible is saying…The cross as we commonly see it is a symbol derived from a pagan symbol – the Tau…the cross of Christianity is translated as a ‘tree, stake or pale’…(which is concurrent with Galatians 3:13, which says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “*Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole*.”” *Deuteronomy 21:23*)
denotes, primarily, “an upright pale or stake.” On such, malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, “to fasten to a stake or pale,” are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed “cross.” The shape of the latter had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd century A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system, pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the “cross” of Christ.
As for the Chi, or X, which Constantine declared he had seen in a vision leading him to champion the Christian faith, that letter was the initial of the word “Christ” and had nothing to do with “the Cross” (for xulon, “a timber beam, a tree,” as used for the ‘stauros’).
– from ‘Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words’ (click here for complete reference)