Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

March 07, 2005

Knowing It, Walking It

Under the influence, I suppose, of John Stott’s The Cross of Christ, I’ve been blogging an awful lot about the cross lately. Kind of a broken record, eh? What has always concerned me, really ever since I first heard about the cross of Christ, was essentially the question C. S. Lewis once asked of Tolkein: "What does all this have to do with me?"

I too asked that question back in the days of my unbelief. But in truth I continue to ask it now; the difference is that now, rather than asking in skepticism, I ask in prayerful faith. My experience of salvation has simply caused me to rephrase the question a bit. Now what I ask goes something like this: "Father, now that I believe, what does it mean to live a cross-centered life?"

The answer, for me, must begin with the understanding, and then move to the enacting of that understanding. In other words, know it, then walk it out. I am not suggesting that this sequence is always the way of things for everyone, but with regard to this matter of the cross, it is the sequence for me. Knowing it, then walking it out. Knowing is the necessary precedent for doing. That is the sequence in many of Paul’s letters, in which the first half is an explanation of certain spiritual truths or doctrines, and the second part is advice or instruction for walking out that truth. Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians all divide quite nicely down the middle into these halves.

Reading Stott’s book has helped me much in the "knowing" part of that formula. But not only that. In the latter part of the book he begins to flesh out the connections between the cross and a new way of living. Stott says that "the community of Christ is the community of the cross." But what does this mean?

Having been brought into being by the cross, it [the community of Christ] continues to live by and under the cross. Our perspective and our behavior are now governed by the cross. All our relationships have been radically transformed by it. The cross is not just a badge to identify us, and the banner under which we march; it is also the compass which gives us our bearings in a disorientated world. In particular, the cross revolutionizes our attitudes to God, to ourselves, to other people both inside and outside the Christian fellowship, and to the grave problems of violence and suffering.
I hope to continue with more on these matters in upcoming posts. As I have often said, it is as much for myself as for others that I compose these thoughts, because in writing them out I seem to be able to assimilate them best. Still, my prayer is that they will bless others also. Back soon!


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