On January 28th, 2014, central Alabama was taken by a surprise snow that stranded hundreds of drivers and shutdown highways. Many people were forced to abandon their cars, while others had to sleep over at their workplaces and even at their schools. The surprise of the matter is that none of the weather forecasters reported the possibility of more than a few snow flurries, or at the most, a very light dusting of snow. So business went on as usual until about 30 minutes after the snow started falling and falling and falling….
One of the most popular misunderstandings about church membership is that one “joins the church.” It is common in modern denominational churches that one responds to the invitation, and the local church votes whether or not they will accept him or her as a member of that church; then, the member is baptized. This is what man teaches and what many churches of men practice today. We do not practice this at the Gardendale church of Christ because this is not what the Bible teaches.
“Neither pray I for these [disciples] alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (Jesus, John 17:21-22)
It goes without saying that many people assume that any church that believes in Jesus must have been started by Jesus. Our society thinks that Baptist, Methodist, Mormons, etc., are all part of Christ’s Church. But there are serious questions that must be asked and answered in light of the New Testament teachings if one holds this position. Let’s look at a few necessary questions in this short article.
The title above might seem strange at first glance, but the Bible does explain that the cross has multiple meanings. God hates sin and the cross was the sacrifice the Son of God had to make to satisfy God’s hatred for sin. God loves mankind, and for this reason, He gave His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place for our offenses.
The Bible says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” or cross (Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13). God hates sin so much that he sent His Only Begotten Son to bear our sins on a rugged cross, thus becoming sin for us. “For He made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). You see, sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:21). When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, it changed their lives forever. Instead of walking and talking freely in fellowship with God, there was a barrier that now existed between them—a barrier known as sin which God hates. The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus, who lived a sinless life, had to die and become the perfect, once for all sacrifice to satisfy God’s hatred for sin. On the cross, Jesus was in so much agony that He cried out those horrifying words: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). For six, long, grueling hours of the most cruel suffering, God laid the sins of mankind on the body of Jesus Christ. “He shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many…” (Isaiah 53:11).