Embrace the Cross
The Bride’s dwelling is in the Most Holy Place. This is the place of habitation and abiding. This is the place where the veil of the flesh is torn apart and communion with God is the order of the day. Even as the literal veil in the temple was torn asunder when our Lord was crucified, our flesh must be crucified to open up the way for communion with the Father and the Son.
Some may ask at this point, “Why must we embrace the cross? Wasn’t Yahshua’s sacrifice sufficient?” It is certainly true that Yahshua has restored our access to the presence of the Father. The torn veil is proof of this. The veil was torn from the top to the bottom indicating that from God’s end of the relationship between God and man all impediments to access into His presence have been removed. The way has been made open to us.
This is tremendously significant. However, Christ’s sacrifice in no way symbolizes that God has made peace with sin, nor that sin has now become acceptable unto Him. Christ’s sacrifice was not intended to make a way for man to remain sinful and yet have full and complete access to the presence of a holy God. No, Christ’s sacrifice was made so that we also could have the veil of our flesh torn asunder. Whereas we had been slaves to sin, a way was made for us to now become slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:19). Yahshua’s death was not for the sake of making sin acceptable to God, it was for the purpose of making mankind holy.
Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Yahshua, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Yahshua’s death was for the purpose of purifying us, to wash us, to make us clean. Before His death we were sold as slaves to sin. We could do nothing but sin. Our most righteous acts were counted as filthiness before God. Through His death, a new and living way has been opened up before us. We can now walk in holiness before God and even have our consciences cleansed from evil, but we must choose to appropriate what God has done for us. This calls for action and response on our part as is shown in the following scriptures.
Then Yahshua said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds.”
As was mentioned in the last chapter, all those who are saved are offered an invitation to advance further into the temple or tabernacle, towards the presence of God. In verse 24 of the preceding scripture, we are told that those who would come after Christ must deny themselves and take up the cross. Further entrance into the tabernacle requires embracing the cross. Since the Bride’s residence is in the Most Holy Place, the Bride consists of those who have embraced the cross.
Again, in verse 27 we are told that reward will be meted out to every man “according to his deeds.” This passage links together the three elements of; pursuing Christ, taking up the cross, and reward. These three are inextricably bound up with one another.
What does it mean to take up the cross? Much understanding can be gained from the above passage. Taking up the cross involves denying oneself. It requires refusing to save one’s life. The literal meaning of life in this passage is soul life, which includes self-will, personal desires, and ambitions. We can also ascertain from the passage that taking up the cross is the antithesis of trying to gain what the world has to offer.
Going back to the image that we have already used, the new believer in Christ stands at the Outer Court of the tabernacle. At his back is the world with all its allure and its idols. At his front is the tabernacle wherein is the presence of God. These two stand in opposition to one another. They are both beckoning to him. He must choose which way he will go. Reward or loss hangs on his decision.
Satan would like the believer to think that having arrived at the Outer Court, having received the forgiveness of sins, that there is nothing else to be concerned about. The truth, however, is that there is much more. Intimate communion and daily fellowship with the Creator of the Universe is awaiting those who would traverse farther in. Access to all of the most holy things of God and access to God’s very presence are being offered to the saint.
It would seem that the world wouldn’t stand a chance in gaining the heart of the believer. What God offers makes the world appear pale in comparison. Paul described the things of the world as mere rubbish.
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Yahshua my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.
The world, however, seems to shout at us while God speaks with a still, small voice. It would appear that among much of the church that the voice of the world is so loud that the voice of God is hardly heard at all. Few seem to understand that they are being beckoned to proceed further into the presence of God.
Those who would proceed into the temple must turn their back on the clamor of the world with its neon glare and seductive attractiveness. An alternate set of senses must be employed, senses that can see beyond the temporal into eternal things. Discipline, rigor, and patience must replace a desire for instant gratification, ease, and comfort. Above all, one must have seen a glimpse of what awaits him. It was said even of Yahshua, that He endured the cross for the joy which was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). We too, must see the joy which is set before us in order that we may embrace the cross and proceed toward the Most Holy Place.