Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The time is coming soon when the Good News of Christ's salvation is to be proclaimed to all ethnic branches of humanity (Matt. 24:14). The climax is Revelation 18: "another angel" is to "come down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth [will be lightened] with his glory" (vs. 1).
Jesus explained how this is to be, in John 12:32, 33: "'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.' This He said, signifying by what death He would die." That if is pivotal. The blessed work of "lightening the earth with glory" is the same as lifting Christ up as the crucified One. Proclaiming Him on His cross is the only way that the earth can be lightened!
The great Protestant Reformation of the 16th century came close to doing it, but it fell short, woefully so. By and large the Reformers embraced the pagan/papal doctrine of the natural immortality of the human soul. The truth is not a trivial theological quirk; if one embraces the idea of natural immortality his vision of the cross is clouded with confusion, no matter how many crucifixes he looks at. He cannot comprehend the kind of death the Son of God experienced; in fact, he cannot believe that Christ truly died. The cross is robbed of its genuine reality, which is that Christ "tasted death for everyone" (Heb. 2:9), that is, the second death.
And then as a natural result, the one who believes in natural immortality is prevented from "comprehending" the "width and length and depth and height … [of] the love of Christ which passes knowledge" (agape; Eph. 3:17-19). The false doctrine of the nature of man has vitiated the sacrifice of the Savior and prevents His being "lifted up" so as to "draw all people to" Himself.
The Lord in His great mercy has sent to His people a most precious truth that reveals Christ uplifted on His cross in all His glory. It's not a psychological gimmick acquired by mastering techniques of "soul-winning." We cannot "evangelize" unless self is "crucified with Christ," "buried with Him" (Rom. 6:3-6). A wise writer once said that there will be great humbling of hearts before God on the part of every one who remains faithful and true to the end.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: September 24, 2003.
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