4.9.13

Experimenting with analogies (How to explain the cross)

I have always been interested in our models of the cross and what we say happened there because it's so crucial (pardon the pun).

The bible itself speaks of how it seems 'foolish' and is a 'stumbling block.' There have to be ways of explaining what happened that help people who are at the beginning of their journey with God. I wonder though how helpful analogies are. The bible itself explains the cross, of course, and its efficacy in a myriad of ways. What can we do to help.

Does this work?


The gospel is about everything coming into right relationship with God through Christ's work. This includes you. The Bible story explains that we have homes in two places, much as it has become fashionable today to have a second home for holidaying in. We have one home which is where we are family with God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and all other created things and people and there is a shalom or peace to be experienced in all those relationships. We have another home, a second home, with relatives all the way back to Adam and Eve where we live life in our own strength rather inadequately, not often in right communion with God and doing instead what is right in our own eyes. As Fiddes describes, this place is given to ‘distortion in all directions, towards God, self, others, and the world.’ God is the owner of both homes. You can probably think of times in your life where you seem to have been more in the one place than the other. Our lives feel like a mixture of the two. God's purpose is for us to live in the first home for free and the cross is his way of securing it. In the second home we accrue debt as we try to maintain everything in our own strength. We owe God not only the mortgage but the extra fines accrued for the life-style we have led there.

Let's continue the analogy. In God's work for us, Christ joins us in his incarnation in that second home marked by the disorder and wrong-doing and debt, bringing the shalom with him. On the cross God, in the form of his Son, pays off the mortgage and all the debts and transfers full ownership of the property back to God.

We hadn't recognised the true owner and had had him evicted but God speaks words of forgiveness over us at the cross for our misunderstandings. He has bought and redeemed the house at huge cost to himself with his life on the cross. Even though we didn't understand this and continue not to, the transaction has happened: God moved in and took ownership but he shares ownership of the second home with us because he wants to be in relationship with us. Unfortunately though, people in the household do not often want to make God the head of the household but continue in their own ways. God wanted his Son home. Jesus wanted to go home but loves us so much that with God the Father they gifted us the Holy Spirit to reveal just how much they want us to come home and in the meantime make the second home as right and holy as the first. The Holy Spirit helps us with that process. We are to create God's home here so that eventually two homes: heaven and earth can fuze and become one huge home for God's people.

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