The God of the Bible – the real, and only God … is orderly. Does chaos seem to reign in your life? In your mind, your relationships, your work …? The main solution to that, and most problems, is Jesus Christ. I know, you might either say “that’s too simplistic!”, or “that’s too narrow!!” or some other objection. Yep. The real God, the Creator, the one in whose hand your very breath is at any moment … is very exclusive, very “narrow” in modern, western man’s thinking. “My way, or the highway” we might attribute to His approach to dealing with people; or might we say, to His terms on which to “receive us”. What?!? You mean to say that you think the God of the Bible doesn’t just ‘receive’ all whom come to Him, on any terms, as we are, etc??!! Well. Yes, that is both my reading of what is actually in the Bible – both Old and New Testaments (or Hebrew Bible and Christian Bible, as some like to differentiate now), AND in life experience. “Straight is the way, and narrow is the gate that leads to life”, said the Lord Jesus, the Son of the Living God, and the only begotten son; “… and few there be that find it”.
Back to the notion of God’s “receiving” us. There’s lots of reference to our “receiving” Christ these days … and ok; there’s some Bible basis for that idea. First of all, let’s be sure to differentiate between “God” and “Jesus Christ”, the Son of God. (I’ll get back to that in a minute … as some will say, “they’re basically the same!”, which of course is a foolish thing to say; how then does Jesus say, “I go to my Father … my Father is greater than I”? And a hundred other similar things in the Bible provide ample evidence of the three-in-one nature of the real God; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; three person’s in one God.)
As we can see in the Bible, since the first coming of the long prophesied Messiah (foretold by Israeli, Hebrew, Jewish … prophets for hundreds of years … ) God the Father will not deal with mankind – human beings, except by way of His primary ambassador, His only begotten Son, Jesus … the Messiah, or anointed One. Christ is central to any hope of any relationship with God. Jesus Christ is everything for all mankind today.
That’s the first things to understand and accept, to get your life out of chaos, and into order. That the orderly God, the creator … will receive you, make you an adopted son or daughter, part of His family, on His terms; which start with, ‘deal with my beloved Son, Jesus the Messiah. The God of Bible will not help you … unless and until, you change your mind about that. Get rid of any pride that keeps you from a humble trust of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Back to the matter of you receiving Christ, versus Christ receiving you. As I said, there’s a lot of Christian talk along the lines of the former; very little of the latter. But a focus on the former, and in fact a total neglect of the latter, tends to two problematic tendencies: first is the one whereby people think they can “receive Christ” (usually means saying a “sinner’s prayer”) and then assume, believe, trust … that some mystical thing happened somewhere in the heavenlies, and the great change has happened; they are a Christian, they have been “born again” (or ‘from above’, in the as written book of the apostle John, that is in the original Greek); but without ever having a change of life, change of heart, change of affections … without any of the evidences of such a divine thing.
The Bible however, describes this all important transaction – the new birth, in many ways, in many places; “a new heart”, “a new creature”, “old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”, “a new nature” … and many others, that indicate evidences of the birth actually happening. If the God of the Bible has actually given one a new heart, a new nature; made one a new creature, a son or daughter of God by faith … there will be real evidences, within a reasonable amount of time (months, shall we say?) A heart that loves Jesus, a sense of the presence of the Spirit of God (after all, He is called the Comforter by Jesus), a love for other Christians (his or her new brothers and sisters), and the Christian Church (“which is His body” – Christ’s).
This is a brief, rough set of directions and comments, certainly not exhaustive; that can set you on the path to order in your life, instead of chaos. “God is not the author of confusion”; “let everything be done decently, and in order”. Determine you must know Jesus Christ, and that He must know you … and He, Jesus; will receive you. He will choose you. He will come to you. Yep. He is real. Yep, he rose physically from a real death; and lives yet today, now, in heaven – another dimension, if you will.
What does all this have to do with Hymns of the Cross? The great Christian hymns are rich with gospel – that is, the exceedingly good news that we ruined human beings can have order in our lives, have peace with God and men, have a conscience clean of all guilt; and they are rich with instruction and encouragement in all aspects of continuing the great journey of life as a Christian – that is, a ‘little Christ’.