The Cross For Vision Correction
Many of us are visually impaired. While we are not precisely blind, we do not see things as they are. Instead, we see objects in a blurry haze. Some of us, being nearsighted, have astigmatism, while others are farsighted. Whatever the case, to compensate for our lack of visual acuity, we squint, move closer or farther to the object or the light. How frustrating it is not to see clearly. To alleviate our misery, many of us go to professionals who will diagnose our impairment, and either prescribe corrective lenses or surgery. Even though we may not always see things as we want to see them, it is still great to see--clearly.
Spiritually, we are all visually impaired. The principle and power of Sin have marred the way we see things. According to the apostle Paul, even at our very best, we "see through a glass, darkly" (1 Corinthians 13:12). What are the shadows and mists
of Sin which prevent us from seeing clearly? Well, what veils our eyes is a preoccupation with self. We see ourselves, others and the world, by nature, through our interests, pleasures, desires, and pains (selfishness) and are self-centered. So, we need corrective work to help us see things as they
indeed are. The prescription is the eye-salve of the cross.
The Cross helps us see God as He truly is. John 3:16, and 17 says,
"For God so unconditionally loved the human race - whoever lived or would ever live - that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever lived, if he or she believed in Him, would not die the second death, but have life everlasting. For God sent His Son into the midst of the human race, not to condemn its inhabitants, but that everyone through Him, might be saved."
The scripture says that "God is Love" (1 John 4:8,16). And in 1 John 4:10 it says, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." In other words, whatever thoughts we have of God - being unfair, of judging everything we do, and waiting for us to fail -- all fade away when we see Him through the eye-salve of the cross. For through the cross of Christ, the Godhead displayed their unconditional, self-denying love that would rather die the horrors of the second death than let us go.
The cross demonstrates to us and the universe the nature of sinful human beings, and just of what we are capable. When we look at ourselves through the Cross, we see ourselves clearly. According to 2 Timothy--
2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2 Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:
The previous text describes the lifestyle that human beings lead who have not chosen Christ. However, Paul wrote the letter to Galatians to "Carnal Christians" who had forgotten that the Law of the Spirit of Christ had set them free from the Law of Sin and Death (Romans 3:2), and they were trying in the flesh to keep the law of God. They were ignorant of the fact that the Law of the Flesh lusted against the Law of The Spirit. Christ has said, he who keeps or cherishes hatred in his heart is a murderer. So, Paul in the Galatian letter appeals to the Galatian followers of Christ, telling them that in those who profess Christ certain things should not be found. In Galatians 5: 19 - 21 Paul gives us the list of those things. Let us read,
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication,uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Galatians 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
What did Paul say was the solution? For himself, he said that "I determined not to know anything ... save Jesus Christ, and Him CRUCIFIED" (1 Cor. 2:2). To the Galatian Christians he said, we "that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts..." (Galatians 5:24). By being crucified with Christ, Paul says, we live in Him and walk in His spirit. Therefore we demonstrate the power of theHoly Spirit in us and thus bear His fruit (see Galatians 5:22, 23).
You see, the Cross demonstrated to the watching universe and us more than one thing. First, it exposed the ultimate goal of Sin -- to live eternally for self. Secondly, it demonstrated the unconditional, self-denying love of Christ for mankind. The only way for Satan-- the father of sin--to accomplish his goal, was to murder God; this Satan attempted to do to Christ by seducing the Jews and the Romans to condemn Him to death on the Cross. Furthermore, He incited the mob to chant "crucify Him, crucify Him." And since Satan has more than one plan and method, he actively encouraged Christ to come down off the cross and save Himself. By doing this, Christ would have forfeited the plan of salvation, the human race would have turned upon itself, and Satan would be the victor. The Cross of Christ illuminated Satan's character as the hideous vector of evil that it was. It simultaneously demonstrated his venomous hatred and anger toward God. Of this Sister White says,
Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the
sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted. Whatever attitude he might assume, he could no longer await the angels as they came from the heavenly courts, and before them accuse Christ's brethren of being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin. The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken (E. G. White Notes p. 160).
As human beings, we don't see clearly, because the haze of sin clouds our vision. To see as He sees, we need the eye-salve which He has so willingly prescribed for us. Just as Moses, urged the people to look to the cross and live, so today Christ, the great ophthalmologist is urging us to do the same. According to the corrective measures He's prescribed, looking - a response to listening, believing and hearkening to God - is the cure.