Comparison of Hagar (representing flesh) and Sarah (representing the spirit); liberty of the Gospel; fruit of the Spirit.
The cross distinguishes Christianity from all other religions of the world. It is recognized worldwide as one of the great symbols of Christianity. However, it is not the image of the cross that sets Christianity apart. If we worship the empty cross, that in itself would be sin as it would turn the cross into a graven image. The cross represents the great message of forgiveness which is the Christian message. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
Before the crucifixion of Jesus, the cross represented punishment and death for wickedness. Jesus has forever changed this image. After the sinless Son of God was crucified for the sins of mankind, the cross became a symbol of divine life. The cross once struck fear into the hearts of mankind. However, it now brings a whole new set of emotions. Hope, forgiveness, and love are the things felt by many when they see the cross. Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2). Jesus with His great victory on the cross made a way for us to have eternal life. He made a way for us to escape the bonds of sin and its ultimate punishment. I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death (Rev. 1:18).
For the Christian, the way of the cross means daily dying to the self-life and following the Master. We are to crucify the flesh, so as to kill it little by little. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin (Rom. 6:6).
Those who avoid the cross experience miss life's greatest satisfaction. Christ has great things for the life of each and every believer. He has a specific purpose that is specially selected for each of our lives. However, we must make a decision. Do we want the best God has for us or will we settle for less? Just as Christ did, we have a cross to carry. It is not made of wood but life. Sometimes it will be hard. It will seem that we can't carry the load. Other times it will be a great blessing to be shouldering this cross. Just remember, whether it is difficult or easy, Christ is right there with us.
If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matt. 16:24).
Thought for the Day: God's grace can enable us to go through affliction in a way that will bring glory to Him.
For Gal. 4:27: See Is. 54:1. Gal. 4:30: See Gen. 21:10. Gal. 5:14: See Lev. 19:18.
4:4 made under the Law, born of a woman as a subject to the Law; 4:6 Abba, Aramaic word for Father; 4:12 injured, wronged, taken advantage of; 4:24 gendereth to, leads to; 4:25 answereth, corresponds; 5:19 uncleanness, immoral conduct; lasciviousness, immodesty, vulgarity, unrestrained lust; 5:20 variance, contentious temper, strife; emulations, jealousy, rivalry; seditions, dissensions, divisions; 6:6 communicate unto, share in the financial needs of; 6:12 constrain, compel.
Pray for Government Official: Sen. Harry Reid (NV) • Country: Haiti (7 million) in the West Indies • Major languages: French and Creole • Religious freedom • 75% Roman Catholic; 17% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and mercy (Lam. 3:22-23).
Memory Verse for the Week: Isaiah 7:14