At Easter - I like to focus my reading. I have picked up this little book ever since it came out - some point during the Easter season - The Cross-Centered Life by CJ Mahaney - it came out in 2003. I have different colored highlights or pen scribblings for each time I have read it. This time the writing and underlining is in hot pink - because that is only pen I have near me. This is how God spoke to me through the reading of this book this afternoon (yes, it is an 85 page book you can read in one sitting):
DA Carson writing of the apostle Paul says this: "He cannot long talk about Christian joy, or Christian ethics, or Christian fellowship, or the Christian doctrine of God, or anything else without finally tying it to the cross. Paul is gospel-centered, he is cross centered." (p 11) So many times I love to talk about what God has done for me and ministries I am involved in and what God is doing those - how many times do I focus on the cross...
"Legalism claims that the death of Jesus on the cross was either unnecessary or insufficient." (p.25) I don't think any of us would ever say this - but how often does my life reflect it? JD usually points this out too - that we come to worship (on Sunday mornings) based on how we performed during the week - this is legalism.
I highlighted this in yellow as well a few years ago: "We may justly condemn ourselves as the greatest sinners we know because we know more of the folly of our own heart than we do of other people's." (p.44) How sad but true this is. No one, not any one in any relationship, will know you better than you know yourself. We usually try to put our best foot forward. God didn't care about our "best foot" when He sent Jesus to the Cross. He saw our ugly sin, his righteousness, and sent Jesus for us and His glory.
"Rom 3.23-26: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus...this was to show God's righteousness." (p.58) I love the simplicity. We fell short - yet we are justified by Christ as a gift to show God's righteousness.
"Regardless of your relationship to others, whether you are single or married, a husband or a wife, a father, a mother, or a grandparent, your faithfulness and effectiveness in your relationships are directly tied to your understanding of the cross. 'Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.'" (p 80) I have learned so much about forgiveness - and grace in relationships.
And the thing found in this book that has become something big...Preach the gospel to yourself every day! I am a sinner standing in need of God's grace daily - not just once on the cross - Justification and Sanctification.
Live in the grace and stand in the shadow of the glorious cross!