Monday, June 22, 2009

Living the Cross Centered Life Quotes - Day Twenty-One

From Living the Cross Centered Life, by C.J. Mahaney:

Vast numbers of non-Christians watched The Passion of the Christ and witnessed its excruciatingly violent yet realistic images, and as a result, countless evangelistic opportunities opened up for our church and for Christians worldwide. For that, I’m profoundly grateful.

Images, however, cannot adequately convey the gospel’s content. The gospel message isn’t visual; it’s truth. It is truth to be believed, not simply a collection of images to be viewed. Scripture is clear: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing though the word of Christ. (Rom 10:17)” It’s only the preaching of the gospel, not the depiction of it, that God promises to accompany with saving effect.

Paul reminded the Galatians, “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publically portrayed as crucified.(Gal 3:1)” These Galatians weren’t present, of course, for the actual crucifixion of Christ; but it had been vividly and effectively portrayed to them through Paul’s preaching of the gospel.

Although The Passion of the Christ brought millions to an unprecedented awareness of how Jesus died, it couldn’t adequately convey why He died, and so the pronounced burden I felt was this: How could we as Christians explain to these moviegoers the true reasons behind Gethsemane and Calvary, as Paul did to the Galatians? Otherwise I feared that without clarifying theological explanation, the movie’s impact for most people would be only superficial, vague, and fleeting.

But do we ourselves adequately understand the deepest reasons behind the cross? If not, how can we take hold of those reasons—not only to be more compelled in sharing the good news of God’s grace with others, but also to more fully and personally experience the gospel’s “unsearchable riches” (Eph 3:8)”

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