The Cost of the Cross
When it comes to the divine essence of the cross, it is clear that without hesitation Jesus holistically paid the cost. In Romans 3:25 the Apostle Paul said about Christ, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” From a Greek perspective the term propitiation illustrates the fact that Christ became and is our appeasement or expiation from the force of God’s wrath. Jesus Christ paid the price and became the ransom for us. All that we do should be motivated by the efforts Christ engendered at Calvary. This includes our Christian living motif of love, forgiveness, forbearance, repentance, prayer, financial giving, and more.
In response and reflection of the cross through giving, my friend, Minister Antwan D. Brown (Barton Ave. church of Christ, Louisiana) said “In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul writes concerning the collection, the Logia. The word Logia is from the root word Logos and is closely related to Eulogia (from which we get the word eulogy). In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul brings to the reader’s memory the death and resurrection of Christ and then in 1 Corinthians 16, he says ‘now concerning the Logia.’ In our service we take the Lord’s Supper to remember his sacrifice.” Minister Brown then poses this question: “Is our collection (or giving) speaking to how we think about his sacrifice?”
All I can say is what a profound question! In intentional praxis, how often do we connect the explicit nature and work of the cross to our financial giving and what we think and feel about Christ? When it comes to financial giving, some fall into a state of scriptural perusal, seeking to find the borders and boundaries of how much one should give. Sometimes the search is to justify a minimal offering so more can be consumed by the flesh. Some focus on a tenth, some more than a tenth, and others on the simplicity of it being of free-will, with no formula attached. The question is often posed, “How much am I supposed to give?” While one is seeking the rubric for how much to give, the picture and focus of the life and cross of Christ can become blurred, distorted, and even lost. The cross is the epic blueprint, backdrop, and foreground that must drive what we give financially and through a heart of liberality. I do believe that what and how we give reflects our love and appreciation for Christ. Our giving preaches a message before the minister utters a word.
Through the work and cost of Christ on the cross He gave it all. As the Good Shepherd in John 10:17 Jesus said, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” All that Christ did, He did completely. He never left conditions wanting or incomplete. Is your giving back to God complete? When God healed a man, woman, or child it was complete. When a man was blind Christ did not heal just one eye, He restored complete vision. If it was sight, hearing, disease, paralyses, demonic possession, or even hunger, Christ healed completely, paying the full cost. As collective saints of the cross, is our giving complete and in respect and reverence of the salvific work of the cross? What does your giving say about the cross?
The Greek term logia is only mentioned twice in the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 16:1 and 16:2. Its emphasis is on the collection of/for the poor, but based upon the premise advanced by Minister Brown and the eulogia (eulogy/speak well of) connection, what message does your financial giving speak? Does it speak well of and respect the bloody sacrifice of the cross, or does it depict a cheapened look and depreciation of the work of Christ. In the example and life of Christ, He gave all — so what is your response through your financial giving? Remember the recorded words of Mark “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much” (Mark 12:41). The fact that Christ can see us should not be the motivating factor for what we give, it must be based upon what He has done for us. He gave all! What will you do? Remember Christ died and rose again for you. You are the clay In The Potter’s Hands and God has paved a way to save you today!
Ammar Saheli, Ministering Evangelist