Essentials of Wesleyan Theology - Lesson 10

Cross of Christ (Part 1/2)

The dominant theme of the early church fathers was preaching the cross as the victory of God over the forces of evil. The Christus Victor theory emphasizes how all of creation is freed from bondage when Satan is defeated. The satisfaction theory deals with the problem of guilt. Be careful to not drive a wedge between God and Jesus. The grief of the father is as important as the death of the son. Christ’s death is a victory over the power of evil. (Ppt 5)

Steve Seamands
Essentials of Wesleyan Theology
Lesson 10
Watching Now
Cross of Christ (Part 1/2)

I. The Nature of the Atonement in Wesleyan Theology

A. The Moral Influence Theory

B. The Governmental Theory

C. The Penal Substitution Theory

II. The Scope of the Atonement in Wesleyan Theology

A. Universal Atonement

B. Conditional Atonement

III. The Application of the Atonement in Wesleyan Theology

A. Prevenient Grace

B. Justification and Regeneration

C. Sanctification

IV. The Cross of Christ in the Life of the Believer

A. Personal Experience of the Cross

B. The Role of Faith

C. Living in the Light of the Cross

  • By studying the Essentials of Wesleyan theology, you learn about its historical roots, key principles, and the importance of grace, holiness, and Christian perfection in this theological perspective.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a thorough understanding of Wesleyan theology, its tasks, key theological perspectives, and distinctives, providing you with a solid foundation for further exploration of the Wesleyan tradition.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into Wesleyan theology's goal of pursuing holiness through sanctification, understanding the three stages and the practical implications for discipleship, spiritual growth, and the church's role.
  • In this lesson, you explore the doctrine of God in Wesleyan theology, learning about His attributes, the Trinity, and His relationship with creation.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a deep understanding of the Trinity from a Wesleyan perspective, exploring its scriptural basis, historical development, and practical implications for Christian living.
  • This lesson deepens your understanding of the Trinity from a Wesleyan perspective, emphasizing its historical development, implications for Christian faith, and the significance of love and relationship within the Godhead.
  • Gain insight into Wesleyan theology's Doctrine of Creation, its biblical basis, and the practical implications it has on understanding God's sovereignty, human responsibility, and stewardship of creation.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights into Wesleyan theology's understanding of Christ's person and work, exploring key concepts like the Incarnation, Atonement, and Second Coming.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the incarnation of Jesus Christ, its dual nature, and its implications in revealing God's nature, redemption, atonement, and modeling holiness.
  • In this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the Cross of Christ in Wesleyan theology, exploring atonement theories, the scope and application of atonement, and its impact on the believer's life.
  • By studying the Cross of Christ Part 2, you gain insights into the theological concepts of the cross and the unique features of Wesleyan theology, ultimately learning how to apply these principles in your daily Christian life.
  • By examining the significance of the resurrection in Wesleyan theology, you gain insight into its foundational role in Christian faith, its connection to justification and sanctification, and its far-reaching theological implications for believers.

In this class on the Essentials of Wesleyan Theology, you explore the historical background and development of Methodism, its key doctrines, and the unique approach to Scripture that John Wesley promoted. You gain a deeper understanding of prevenient grace, justification, assurance, sanctification, and the concept of Christian perfection. Furthermore, you learn about Wesley's quadrilateral of authority, his emphasis on holiness, and the impact of Wesleyan theology on social reform, evangelism, and contemporary Christian thought and practice.

Dr. Steve Seamands
Essentials of Wesleyan Theology
Cross of Christ (Part 1/2)
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:22] Well, yesterday we talked about the death of Christ and we kind of walk through the three major ways of presenting the death of Christ, even though there's more than that in the New Testament. But the three major ways and we talked some about where we are today in our context. I want to talk with you about something that's near and dear to my own heart here. I think an emphasis in terms of preaching the cross that we need to discover, because I don't think most people in the Christian church have thought much about the cross in relationship to human suffering. I hope that the chapter in Dr. Tennant's book on shame and how he relates that to Atonement might have caused you to think even about the cross in some new ways. How the cross not only relates to the problem of guilt, which has been the major Western concern. But how it relates to the problem of shame, for example, which really probably worldwide takes in a lot more people than guilt. I want to talk with you about the cross and how it relates to the problem of human suffering, to the problem of human suffering, because most of our preaching of the Cross has focused more specifically on the problem of human sin. And that's not bad because I think that's the keynote message of the cross. First Corinthians Chapter 15. Paul says, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. And I could trot out a whole list of verses that talk about the cross. And Isaiah 53 all be like, sheep have gone astray. Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. That passage is very clear about the relationship to the problem of human sin.

[00:02:18] All human beings to me are sinners, but we're all sufferers. Actually, ultimately suffering is on account of sin, isn't it? If you trace it all the way back to the Garden of Eden. But the point is that human beings are sinners, but they're also sufferers. What I mean by that is we not only have done wrong, but we've also had wrong done to us. The cross really addresses both. But so often the message of the cross and human suffering hasn't really been explained very well or talked much about. So I want to focus with you a little bit on this. Of course, this problem's been around for a long time. The problem of suffering and the Odyssey. Just go back and read the Book of Job. Folks have wrestled with it and struggled with it and continue to struggle with the problem of evil. And I think probably. The problem of evil is for us Christians. It's the biggest. Problem that I have to try to figure out. Why God allows evil and suffering in the world. And there are you know, there's the freewill defense and there's other ways of coming at that and trying to actually, Odin has a chapter in another book where he calls them consolations. Well, this helps us a little bit to understand that. But it's a difficult problem, isn't it? And for many people, it is a philosophical and intellectual problem. And I would say the cornerstone in many people's arch of unbelief. They can't understand how a good God nowadays. Every time there's a disaster. A natural disaster somewhere, and it can be anywhere on planet Earth. And within 5 minutes it's in our face, isn't it? And people automatically are wondering how in the world could God have allowed us tsunami? To wipe out all those innocent people.

[00:04:19] So there is this philosophical and intellectual problem, and we have a course in our catalog called Suffering Tragedy in Christian Faith. Which deals with this whole issue because it's a big issue. But I find actually some folks, they're not so much thinking about the problem of suffering from an intellectual philosophical point of view, but it's it's just more personal and experiential, the stuff that's happened in their own lives. Coming to terms with that and wondering where in the world God was. You know that movie Forrest Gump and how he has that little friend Jenny that he meets when he's young because the most of the other kids don't want to have too much to do with this kid with braces on his legs. Yet they're like, I think PS and carrots right Good friends. And but there's that poignant scene early in the movie when Jenny and Forrest are running across that cornfield trying to escape from Jenny's drunken father and she prays, God make me a bird. That I could fly far, far away from here because her father had been sexually abusing her and molesting her. And even though the next day or so, the police come and they take him away and she's sent to live with her grandmother, that really isn't the end of it as far as Jenny is concerned, because really, she spends the rest of her life trying to recover from the damage. But her dad did to her. And there's that scene later on in the movie when she comes back to that little town, Green Bow, Alabama. I think it is where she grew up. And she was with Forest for a while and they're out walking one day and they come across that abandoned shack where those things had happened to her.

[00:06:08] And when she sees that shack, just all that seems like all the pain. And the anger just comes right up. And she burst into tears and she starts throwing rocks. Just wants to do something back to what was done to her. And. Trying to break out a window or just something and finally another on the rocks to be thrown. And she takes her shoes off and she throws her shoes and then she finally just falls down in a heap sobbing. And of course, Forrest, he goes over to her and gets down next to her. And as he reflects on it, he says, sometimes, I guess. There's just not enough rocks. I talked to people who feel like that. Most of the ones that I talked to are seminar students. And some of them are trying to recover. From the damage. That was done to them in all sorts of different ways. But my question is this. Does the cross have a message for Jenny? Does the cross have a message for Jenny? And I believe the cross has a profound message. For Jenny. The center's need and the sufferers need is a little different. Frank Lake, who wrote a 1300 page book called Clinical Theology. One of the most profound but also strange books I've read. You know, Scott, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and the The Agony and the ecstasy all together. Some brilliant things and then some things that seem to be pretty out there. But Frank, like says that the centers need is that God should be reconciled to him by forgiveness. The sufferer needs to be reconciled to God. By some clear evidence that God shares his suffering and understands. Buy ID. What it is like. The cross is God's supreme answer to this cry of anguish from those who suffer.

[00:08:30] The sufferer has a little different need here. Then the center and the cross, it seems to me, reveals that God in Christ is one with us in our suffering. We talked about this theme of identification. In relationship to the incarnation. God has fully experienced the human lot. And all throughout his life as a human being, Jesus suffered to be born in a stable. Is to suffer, isn't it? That's not the kind of place you would. Want your daughter to have her baby and. He has to flee from a king. He joins the ranks of the world's refugees. When he was just a few weeks old. He ends up growing up as a Galilean peasant under Roman occupation. And that was not fun. By any means. People like Herod and. Caesar and pilot and. Politics is politics, isn't it? So all his life he suffers and he says, you know, foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head. But but the suffering of Christ does come to a climax. And if you think about the last 12 hours of his life from the ceremony to Golgotha, you see how Christ suffers personally in profound ways, Brenner says. If there ever were an event in which evil, innocent, suffering, malice and human pain reaches its climax, it's in the cross of Christ. Like says that it's it's an astonishing fact that the events of the crucifixion portray every variety of human suffering and evil. If you think about the wide range of suffering, the kind of suffering that he experiences in those last 12 hours of his life, you know, he was treated unjustly, not given a fair trial, hardly given a trial at all. Trumped up charges.

[00:10:46] Even the charge of blasphemy, which was the one that seemed to be able to be able to stick on him if he was convicted for that under Jewish law, he should have died by stoning. That was the penalty, not crucifixion. Crucifixion is a much more brutal. Way to kill someone. Stunning. Pretty much over and done with pretty quickly, isn't it? Not crucifixion. Then there's a pilot. His unwillingness to stand up for this innocent man. One of the things that I learned about crucifixion when I when I wrote the book Wounds That Heal, was that in the ancient world, the thing that I dreaded the most about crucifixion was actually not the physical pain. It was a shame. Tim Tennant, I think, does a good job helping you to understand the shaming that's going on in this whole crucifixion event. And part of that was that when a person was crucified, they were crucified, stark naked. Here's an old picture portrayal that shows Jesus naked. Most of the ones we see he's got a loincloth on. But that's not the way it would have been. It would have been like this because this adds to the shame. I shared that sometimes with sexual abuse victims. Jesus had his clothes ripped off him. And he knows what that feels like. And understands that. And sometimes they found that to be. Well. Comforting. I didn't know that. He can identify. It's actually the shame of crucifixion that accounts for the offense are the scandal of the cross. Such a shameful thing to be crucified and crucifixion was such a heinous, terrible thing. It was, you know. You ever talk to people in the African community about lynching trees? And that horrendous part of their experience. Go see a movie like The Great Debaters watching a man get lynched.

[00:13:29] If you were starting a. Renewal movement in the African-American community. Would you choose a lynching tree as your logo? I don't think any advertising agency would encourage you to go down that road. That in effect, is what the early Christians did because crucifixion was so heinous that Cicero. The Roman philosopher and poet said that no Roman citizen should ever have to hear that word. Crux. It's a four letter word. All of a sudden these folks come along proclaiming that this guy that was crucified is the Messiah. And if you're a Jew, you think about the person Deuteronomy that says Curse does that anyone that's either hung on a tree. And if you're a Roman, you just think, My goodness, you're calling this man Lord. That's what we call Caesar. Right. Curious. You're using that word. And yet he was crucified. Paul was not crucified. Peter was. What was the difference? Oh, yeah. No Roman citizen would ever be crucified. If you had to execute a Roman citizen, you be beheaded them. Quick and over and done with. Who say reserve restrictions. This is for the scum of the earth. This is for slaves. This is for people that actually have no rights, no legal rights. So it was defined by class rather than by the crime? Absolutely. Absolutely. It was an instrument of the state. To quell rebellion. And, you know, they used it and it was always done publicly to make an example out of this person. And the shaming was the issue. And it's interesting, there were times when they would actually crucify someone after they're already dead. You still want to nail them up there? For all to see. Because you're shaming them, You're shaming their family. You're shaming their village. All that's coming into play here.

[00:15:58] It was called The Tree of Shame. When they went out preaching. And if you read this passage, you can see what a message that would be. Everything. But. As unsecure, sensitive as you could be. And Paul says, I've determined that I know nothing among you but Jesus Christ and him crucified, because that way, when if a person did respond, you knew it was the Holy Spirit doing it. Because it sure wouldn't have been this nice message. One of the things about crucifixion was oftentimes they left the person up there. They didn't give them a proper burial. And you were left up there and the vultures and the hyenas and the other the birds, animals of prey and birds of prey would come and, you know, take the flesh off your bones. And in the ancient world, to be denied a proper burial was just awful. You remember The Iliad? When. Achilles kills Hector. And drags his body around on the back of his chariot. Maybe you've seen the movie Troy that's just produced in the last ten years or so. His body's laying out there, and Hector's father, King Agamemnon, comes by night and begs for the body of his son. And there's a famous scene where they give Hector a proper burial. You know, because the thought of not giving someone a proper burial was just. Well, there's the whole element of mockery. Christ was mocked all the way from his first appearance in the courtroom to the moment when the darkness descended. I mean, you know, they played games with him and stuck, blindfolded him. Say, you're a prophet, huh? Okay, tell us who is hitting you. You know, and. And just. Then there's the experience of betrayal at the hands of a close friend.

[00:18:00] One of your inner circle. One of your 12. Have you ever been betrayed by someone? You know, stabbed in the back by one of your friends. It's interesting that stat that happens in the garden, doesn't it, when Joe comes out and gives and betrays him with a kiss. That same real estate right in that area was where King David had to flee when his son Absalom. Rebelled against him and a Hitler fell. One of David's trusted advisers. Betrayed him and went over to the other side. David's in the Mount of Olives area when he when he gets the word of that. And now, years later, the son of David's experiencing betrayal. Then there was the denial of Peter and just those that didn't so much. You know, when you betray someone, you treat them as an enemy. But when you deny someone, you kind of treat them as a stranger. Who are you? I don't know. You. And Jesus experiences that sometimes people are like that. They just kind of. Because of their fear and their desire for self-preservation. They just they won't get involved. They back off. And then there's the physical death of Jesus. In 1986, there was an article in the Journal of American Medicine written by two male. Clinic physicians and a methodist pastor. And actually, in eighth grade, I talked to him. He's in Minnesota. And they kind of looked at the death of Jesus from a sort of a clinical medical point of view just to see what it was that would. What killed him. You know. What would the hospital put as the cause of death? You know, they talked in that article, some about the flogging, the scourging of Jesus. And I don't know if you saw The Passion of the Christ, but I was the hardest part of the movie for me to watch that 20 minute scene or so were the Roman soldiers, of course, wanted to do everything but kill the guy here, because that meant they wouldn't have to wait out there all day and night in the hot sun.

[00:20:21] Well, this guy's hanging up there. So let's take care of him now as much as we can. That was that was the rationale. And you see the description of the iron balls in the in the whip and the sheep bones and a lot of thongs that would cut into the skin and and subcutaneous tissues. This is from that article. Then as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock. The extent of blood loss may well have determine how long the. Victim would survive on the cross. What I'm trying to say here is simply, if you think about suffering in all of its ranges here, human suffering and all of its ranges, it's all here, isn't it? It's just sort of comes together. Christ not only can identify with your suffering and my suffering because he's had a similar experience. That's what we've kind of been saying so far, in effect. But there's actually something more here that I think oftentimes we've missed, and that is that not only does he suffer personally. So he can identify with you and me because he's gone through an experience like you and I have had. You know, he knows what it feels like when a bunch of. Elementary school kids pick on a kid and play in the playground and are merciless in the things they say and the kinds of things that. There was just not too long ago, wasn't there, that teenage girl from Ireland that committed suicide because of all the. Sort of abuse that she was taking. The way our our technology gets into that. Now, we can really shame somebody, can't we? But there's more to it here that more it's more than just that.

[00:22:21] It's Christ not only suffers personally, but vicariously. What do I mean by that? I mean, not only is he a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, that's what Isaiah says. He's he experiences suffering firsthand. But notice what Isaiah says. Surely he has borne our our griefs. And carried our sorrow. So not only is their own his own grief and his own sorrow. But Isaiah saying that. My sorrow. Your sorrow. France deal, which in his commentary on this passage says the meaning is not merely that the servant of God entered into the fellowship of our sufferings. But that he took upon himself the sufferings which we had to bear. And therefore not only took them away. But both of them in his own person that he might deliver us from them. He's saying he not only can relate to you and your suffering because he's because he's gone through something similar. Like you've gone through. But he's saying that he actually has gone through that. When you went through that, he went through it with you. He's saying. The loneliness that I felt. When my mom said goodbye to me and left me at a missionary boarding school. And the deep loneliness in my soul. Over the next few years. Being separated from my parents. That Jesus not only can relate to that because he. He walked a lonesome valley. He knows what it means to be lonely. His disciples couldn't stay awake in the garden with him, you know. He was all alone. When they needed him, he needed them rather. But more than that, what Isaiah seems to be saying, according to France Daily, is that somehow he bore my loneliness. Now. I've been taught all my life and that Jesus bore my skin.

[00:24:57] In his body on the tree. But somehow my son was laid on him. But this is saying that he's carrying. My suffering to. Carl Stern, who was a Jewish psychiatrist, who watched a number of his family members taken away to. Concentration camps in World War Two came a Christian after the war. And he he writes, There's something extraordinary in the suffering of Christ. It seems to include all human suffering. So not just his suffering. So that he can identify because he's had a similar experience, but he's actually he was there any of you sing that old gospel song in your church? Churches. I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene. And wonder why he should love me. A sinner condemned, unclean, and how marvelous, how wonderful it is, you know. But there's the second verse or so that says, He not us. He took my sins. And my sorrows. He made them his very own. He bore the burden to Calvary. I like this vineyard course. I suspect you haven't been singing it in the vineyard for a long time. It's about mid-nineties. But notice. That this wonderful place is is a place where both the wrongs we have done. That's sin, isn't it? But notice that next line and the wrongs done to us. We're now there with him. They're on the cross. A number of years ago, I was a. Praying with a seminary student. She was a woman in her forties, come to seminary, second career, as we call people like that, you know. Once she got the seminary. After she'd been there about a year, she started having memory flashbacks. Through the help of a counselor because these memories were. Bizarre. At first she wondered if she was crazy.

[00:27:31] But with with the help of a good counselor, she came to the awareness that she was an incest survivor. And she had buried all that so deeply. You know that for all these years. But when she was about five years old. Her dad had molested her on several occasions. When that began to happen, she also had to see a psychiatrist because she needed some meds. When those memories began to come up. Then there was a lot of depression and. Grief and anger and a lot of. So she was seeing a doctor who could kind of level her out so she could actually walk into some of those things. Well, memories are interesting, and sometimes it's like peeling and onion, isn't it? And as she began to. Keep going with this. There came a point where another layer of memories surfaced. And this was even more horrific. Her father had taken her to a secret society meeting. She had been raped. By several of the men there. And they had engaged in some rituals where they had consecrated her and made her a bride of Satan. And I'm sitting there listening to her. And when those memories began to come out, she was just. She just she just said, I just can't understand where God was in all this. I don't know how God could stand by and watch. When that happened to a innocent five year old girl. And I didn't have a whole lot to say. I just mostly listened. But I did say to her, you know. I don't understand. Why that happened. But I do know this and I quoted Isaias 53 verse for surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. I said, I believe that he let the same thing happen to him that happened to you.

[00:29:55] He is born your graves and carried. He went through that with you. And he carried that. I got an email from her four or five days later and she said, I keep turning your thought over and over in my mind. But Jesus wasn't just there. But he experienced the same abuse and degradation I did. The idea is so enormous, so incredible. I know. I haven't begun to take it in. Yes, he died for me and that was his ultimate gift. But somehow this hits far closer to home. He didn't just watch and say they're there or even I love you. Jesus experienced it all. You took my sins and my sorrows. And he made them. His very own. Jesus doesn't just understand what you're going through. He goes through it with you. He goes through it with you. It's interesting. John Erickson, Tara. Has had an amazing ministry as a quadriplegic, the result of a diving accident when she was 17 years old. Now she's a woman in her late fifties or so. You've seen any of those amazing mouth paintings that she does. And I've seen her on Larry King Live and. Even more recently was a pastor who was interviewing her. And it's like. This woman that's that suffered so profoundly. And yet I heard her say recently as a sentence that to me was worth its weight in gold. But God is willing sometimes to allow what He hates in order to accomplish what he loves. But she wrote not too long ago the statement. When you're hurting, when your heart is wrung out like a sponge. When you have just become a quadriplegic, when your husband has left you, when your son has committed suicide. To try to come up with answers is pointless.

[00:32:38] The only answer that satisfies is to think of that greater affliction. Christ on the cross. And one day he will give us the key that will unlock sense out of it all. But until then, the man of sorrows is enough. Aren't you glad that Jesus became a man of sorrows? So the cross to me speaks this profound message to people like Jenny. But he understands not simply because he's had a similar kind of experience. So he can say, yeah, I want a. I know what it's like. But it's more than that. He understands because he's actually he's actually taken your suffering. And carried it. There's another part, though, that the thought of the message of the cross to the sufferer that's really important. And that is that the cross reveals that God can use suffering redemptive. I made the try to make the point earlier that you wouldn't choose a logo. Like this for your movement. Now, of course, the cross has become a symbol of, you know. Wonder and beauty and. And then you got one around your neck there. I see. People didn't go around, though, in the first century wearing those things. And yet it wasn't really, really very long at all before the Christians were making the sign of the cross. And doesn't that illustrate the very point that somehow this emblem of suffering and shame and humiliation and and degradation and this this worst, most awful, horrible thing you could talk about. That God takes that very thing and uses it. For the redemption of the world. So the message of the cross, the message is right there, isn't it? And that God can take that which was meant for your evil and for your destruction and work it and transform it.

[00:35:06] And it seems as if God is in this business of. Using suffering redemptive love. He seems to. Actually glory in our infirmities and our weaknesses. And this caused Simon Vale a. French Jewess back in the 1930s. Who became a convert to Christianity because she, as she looked at it the way different religions understood the problem of evil. She said. This is the best. Not no one has a solution, but this is the best understanding. And she made the statement that the extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering. But a supernatural use for it. So, you know, they said, if you're the Messiah, then just tell. God to take you off the cross, you know? You know, that's our solution to suffering. And this is especially true of us Americans. I mean, you know, we somehow think that. Suffering is not a part of our. Declaration of Independence as it. It's about the pursuit of happiness. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But suffering is something that we feel like is kind of an intrusion on life and art. The solution is to take two Tylenol and get rid of it. So if you got a problem and even this the. Don't you think into the church that if we've got a problem, we want Jesus to fix it now. But oftentimes what he wants to do with our suffering is to use that redemptive fully. And so he says to Paul, I'm not going to take away your thorn in the flesh. But my grace will be sufficient for you. And I'm going to use that. For greater good than if I had taken it away. Thank God there are times when he comes in and heals and he can do that.

[00:37:33] And we praise God for those and those manifestations of the age to come in this age, don't we? But. Oftentimes. God doesn't do it that way, but he uses it. Dustin said In my deepest wound, I saw your glory, and it has helped me. So he takes. Our suffering and he uses it and brings good out of it. Works it for his purposes. I was up in Canada a few years ago at a summer camp. Kind of. About this time of year, toward the end of July. And a woman was sharing about she said, you know, my husband and I, a few weeks ago, we, uh, we made a compost pile in our backyard. What do you put in a compost pile? Well, you know. Egg shells and banana peels and coffee grounds and, you know, rotten leaves and just, you know, garbage. Right. She said about six weeks ago, beginning of June or so, we made this compost pile. She said, Now, you know, you are in the backyard right now and let me tell you, your nose knows it's there. But you said next spring when it's time. To get out and do our gardening and when the bushes and the shrubs need fertilizer. Mulching, she said. There won't be anything. Out there on the market that you could go to a store and buy. That would be anything near as good as that compost. She said it will be. Like pure gold. She began to talk about the garbage in her life. And how God was. Taking her garbage and turning it into gold. He is a great recycler, isn't he? He likes to recycle garbage. And the things that. I would most want to be able to change about my life.

[00:40:07] The things that I don't want to have to even think about are look at artists that I despise. The suffering, the pain. The brokenness, sometimes even my own failures. He's in the process of taking that. He takes the garbage, kind of like one sack at a time. As we give it to him. And he does, he'll. But he also causes things to grow and uses the very pain in our life. I think it's real important to let people. Come to their own conclusion about this. And what I mean by this is I think way too many Christians have. Quoted verses like Romans 828 to people. When they were in the middle of a divorce or. Lost a loved one and they were in the middle of their grief. And someone comes along and says, Well, you know. God must have a purpose in all this. And sometimes you just need to sit with people and say, It really sucks, doesn't it? We're just sitting here. Just sit with them, not say anything. And and it's hard to do that. It takes a person that's secure. With that ambiguity, because oftentimes our words are an attempt to kind of get control of of of what we feel is a chaos situation here. Things are getting out of control. But. What I'm really trying to say is that this this truth here about that God can use that redemptive way. I think, you know, you like to let people come to a point where they can say. Like Joseph says to his brothers, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. And he's at a point where he can say that now. But I don't know if he, too, wanted to hear that when he was in the prison.

[00:42:13] After he was being faithful. I'm saying there's a timing issue with words and if something can be really true, but it needs to be said at the right time. Otherwise, that word of life can be a letter that kills not a lot of the spirit that gives life. But the point is that if we will bring them to him and give them to him, God can take. Are suffering. And work it. And the wonderful thing is that so often as I. See this happening time and time again. Just like, you know, his scars. He still hasn't. Jesus still has the scars, right? He has a resurrected body. But when he shows up on Easter, what does he shown first? He still has the scars. But they're radiant now. The radiant scars. Light shines through the scars. And I see that happening in the lives of. Lots of people that they come to Jesus and he takes their very place of humiliation and shame and hurt. And that becomes almost like a place of spiritual authority, out of which they oftentimes find a ministry. Just recently we had a a student. I'll call her Barbara because that's not her name. Graduated. And I mean, she just graduated a few months ago, but she while she was in seminary. She'd had five abortions. Earlier in her life. And she thought, you know, I've dealt with all that. I've asked God to forgive me. I don't know exactly when it started. It might have been when Frances and Judith McNutt were on our campus doing a healing weekend that. She began to realize, I don't know if I really have dealt with all those feelings, and I've kind of packed that all the way. And long story short, God began to really minister to her.

[00:44:22] She's having a ministry already. In that arena working with women who have had abortions, she wrote. That'll become a place of spiritual authority. Started doing that. I see that happening a lot. That's what he does, right? So Lake says the Cross of Christ enables us to take up a new and consistently maintained attitude of acceptance and acting active, burying the pain. We couldn't. We could not escape. This transforms passive passivity. Into active passivity. Meaningless suffering and a redemptive suffering. Miserable, self destroying spirit depleting, suffering into glorious self enlarging spirits strengthening suffering. Have you known people like that? Who? Have come through suffering in a glorious way, and it's actually spirit strengthening. Well, it's kind of like this. Passivity has to do with receiving and accepting something. Let me make it personal here. One of the things that was really healing for me. When I looked at the early years of my life, I suffered a lot. On account of my parents obedience to God. I told you about a brother that I lost and I was born with a clubfoot. And because we were in India out in the middle of nowhere, we weren't in a hospital situation where that could have been fixed just pretty much right there. And then, you know, they they can take care of that. As a result of that, I had to fly home with Mom when I was about a year and a half old from India, got separated from my dad for about a year. Had to have four or five surgeries. I could show you the damage on my legs, although it never kept me really from, you know, I'm pretty good athlete and all that sort of thing. But still. And then and then the separation of boarding school and then, you know, let me tell you something.

[00:46:45] The suffering of growing up in a in a land of suffering. You know, where you're just around beggars and this lack of respect for human life and dignity and all the kinds of things. There was a point in my life where I finally had to own the fact that I really was pissed about it. I was angry. And I was mad at God. Because it was like, okay, my mom and dad, they go over there because they feel called to do this and they're being obedient to your will. But who's the one that's getting crapped on because of that? So it took me a long time before I could get out of denial enough that I could actually own my anger, because, you know, that's not a very spiritual thing to say. And so I was able to own that and then say, Lord, och och, but you know what was really. So that was a real important point because finally, you know, the beginning, the Chinese proverb that says the beginning of all wisdom is to call a thing what it is. So as finally owning the fact that I'd been hurt and I was mad about it. But I'll tell you what, that's not so much active passivity that's owning it, but sort of being angry and but at least being our being saying, Lord, I'm angry and I give that to you and I want you to do something about it. But a real healing step came when I could look at that experience and say, Wait a minute. You know, when I was a child. I didn't get to choose. I was stuck with my parents and they were in India and I experienced a lot of suffering on account of that in my life.

[00:48:51] But I thought to myself. You know, you really suffered on account of the gospel. Even though you didn't. We don't usually think of someone suffering on account of the gospel without choosing to do it. I you know, I know I was just a kid, but I said, wait a minute, I'm an adult now. I can choose. And so what I chose was to say, God, I've been mad at you. About that. But now I say no. I choose to embrace that suffering. To say yes, I will choose as an adult now to suffer and to say. I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm still receiving that. But you say now I'm actively. Saying yes to it rather than resenting it and wishing it wasn't so. At least I was being honest. That was good. But actually. I found a much deeper, a profound healing when I could finally say, Wait up, I'm going to say yes to this. I don't understand. I mean, you know, it's still it's still bad stuff. You know, there's still. But when you can finally embrace it. And say, you know what, That's a part of my life story and I'm proud of it. Not in the sense that I want it to happen to anyone. You know what I'm saying? It's a strange thing, but you actually say, Yeah. But I think you have to do that with those things in your life. And I think that's what he's meaning. So this passive passivity. Oh, well, I just this happened to me and I couldn't do anything about it. And out of the pity part, you know, you know, but to say no active passivity, meaningless stuff. This is going to be redemptive. And you know what? It's that part of my life that God uses.

[00:50:53] I don't think I'd be in the healing ministry today. God uses me in that arena. And you know what Paul says? What do you say about his glory, about his thorn? God says, okay, I'm not going to take it away from you. I'm going to give you a grace and it's going to be sufficient grace. But you know what Paul says. Therefore. I glory. In my infirmity, I glory in it. That's kind of weird. That's some sort of masochistic. Imbalanced psychological soul. I know some people that glory in their infirmities, but they've got manipulative, you know, that usually gives them a way out of life. You know, I don't have to be. Responsible because I had all the suffering done to me and I'm going to glory. I'm in there holding on to it. Because they're scared, you know, that's a whole. No, but he says, I glory in my infirmities. That's a man who's actually saying, I'm embracing this now. See, this is what I love about theology. It's so practical. What I found is that. In the healing journey that we go through. In relationship to our own story and our own suffering. We've all got our story in here, don't we? In the healing journey that yeah, there comes the first step that's really important is you have to you have to see it as an enemy. You see this? You know, Paul says it was a messenger of Satan. Right. He names it. This was you know, you have to call the suffering. Okay. You see it as an enemy. You see it for me? I was for a long time just I was too spiritual to even. Oh, everything's okay. You know, my parents, they. They did this, but, you know, Isn't that wonderful? What's.

[00:53:06] You know, and I. You know, I wasn't willing to go there, but I finally was able to say. It's. It's an enemy. It sucks. I'm mad about it. It's not fair. But do you know what? There comes a point when. In the healing journey. And for goodness sakes. Don't try to take people there until they're ready. Because some of them have to and you have to help them be real enough to see things as enemies and own them and forgive and deal with things. But there comes a point, Alan, where you know what? That thing becomes a friend. You embrace it. And it's not it's not in some sick, dysfunctional way. You know, people who've been wounded and their their suffering becomes their identity and they're comfortable with it. As I said, they don't know what to do without it. And you have to help people like that. Give it up. Sometimes, and sometimes that's the reason they don't want to go there, because they're scared. They don't know what they do. That's not what I'm talking about when I say becoming a friend. But there is a kind of of embracing it and saying, like Paul says, therefore, I glory in my you know, he saw it as a messenger of Satan. He asked God to take it away. That's what we should do to we should pray, Lord, take this. Okay. It's. But then he moves. God says, it's my grace. I'll be sufficient. Therefore, Paul comes to a point where, you know, I'm saying this as a friend. So I think if you talk to Johnny Erickson. Tara. She'd probably say, well, you know, I don't I don't wish being a quadriplegic on anyone else. But I think she'd say I and it creates all kinds of issues in her life.

[00:54:59] But. I don't know if you said, well, if if God could take that away and heal you right now, I don't think that's even. She now she says, you know, one day, I know I'm going to dance. In heaven, you know all that. But you see what I'm saying? She's she's. I think she's embraced that. You know, I think that's what Lake is actually getting out there. I don't know about you, but I'm trading my sorrows for the joy of the Lord. That's a journey I've shared with you a little bit about my own here, but that trading our sorrows for the joy of the Lord. Because I think actually when you get to this point, you really find yourself experiencing the joy of the Lord in the midst of the of it. It's a strange sort of thing. It's like, gosh, I don't know why, but I'm praising God for this thing. That meaning suffering turns into redemptive suffering, miserable, self destroying spirit, depleting suffering in a glorious self enlarging spirit, strengthening suffering. It's not amazing. This is the message of the cross for the sufferer. I don't think this is going to become a theory or a major theory of the atonement. It's it's the but but I do think this is a message that we need to preach and proclaim and help people get a hold off because. You know what? Is profoundly cross-cultural. Because everywhere I go in this world, people suffer. I had a wonderful Malaysian Christian woman tell me six months ago when I was over in Kuala Lumpur. About how her father basically said to mom when she was born a girl sticker out on the back porch. And let her die. Thankfully, her mother. Wouldn't listen to her father.

[00:57:14] But that kind of. Pain and anguish. And all kinds. I mean, you know, and and the stuff that's going on all over the world, the suffering and the pain. People hurt people, don't they? This is universal. Leaves you in a kind of a paradoxical place, too, doesn't it? Believing strongly in the power of God to heal. And break in with we intrusions of the age to come, seeing people rise from the dead. If you know, you know, and praying boldly for healing. But also seeing this process work out in people's lives and helping them along this kind of journey and actually sometimes this going through this journey. The amazing thing about this is that what God does is he actually uses this process just to turn you and to make you like Jesus. You know, to conform you to the image of his son, which, by the way, is what Paul said he wanted to know, the fellowship of suffering. You know. And sometimes if God just healed you in an instant. The transformation in character wouldn't happen, would it? God knows what he's by the way. God really knows what he's doing.