October 5th, 2006


Sin, Persons, and the Cross

When we consciously engage in sin, we cut ourselves off from those that surround us.  Part of  this comes from shame, part from distrust, and part from an intense desire to continue in sin unhindered until we've found a full sense of satisfaction.  It is here that we become individuals, lonely and scared, who quietly ignore or muffle every cry of the Spirit within us.

We become Christian charades that produce nothing but more charades.  We continue in our activities, our relationships, but all the while we despise the interaction, secretly longing to return to the hollow, lonely place where we can indulge in isolation.  It is a damnable position, a position that tears down every good structure and erases every good word.

Here we see man as a microcosm, an icon of the world-as-rebellion, both selfish and self destructive.

When trapped in our sin, Spirit muted by desire, we know that ceasing is unpleasant, that repenting is painful.  It tastes like death because it is death- a death of the ego.  But we shy away from this - we flee from it - because our fallen man is so infatuating to us.  We know that the cross is death.  But even if it is a saving death, it is necessarily a painful and shameful death, and it is no wonder that so many reject it.

We could also say that the cross of Christ was the world's absolute confession.  The cruxifiction of God was our world's devastatingly public display of sin.  It was a humiliating confession of wrongdoing, that, once accepted intellectually, must be experienced existentially.  For we must not only "believe" the cross, but also identify with its humiliation and pain by enduring our own confession, our own cross.

This is the terror of man's freedom:  we either must choose a subtle death which is eternal or the brutal life-giving death of our God - the death that demands our own.

We Christians scarcely realize the choice we've made.  We scarcely realize the side we've sided with and all its catastrophic ramifications.  We have been offered life, yes, but a life only received by acquiescing our own.  And the devil knows that there is scarcely a person who would let the first nail be driven into the hand without abandoning the cross, neglecting that the wounds of Christ must hurt before they heal.