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My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Death produces life! p.12
If I were a rich man p.14
PP 12578/03/2013 (032108)
A Magazine Of Christian Understanding Apr-Jun 2015MCI (P) 132/05/2013
2 The Plain Truth
1 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22–24
2 2 Corinthians 5:17
The cross Editorial
by Dr. P. SellappanThe cross is a familiar symbol (object). You can see it on church buildings and in Christian homes and bibles. Many wear it around their neck and some
even tattoo it on their bodies. For many, the cross is an enigma, a contradiction.
It appeals to some and offends others.1 Some love it, some hate it.
What message does the cross communicate to us?
Instrument of torture Two thousand years ago, the Romans used the cross as an instrument of torture, judgement, condemnation. It was reserved for those who commit serious crimes like stirring up violence and rebelling against the establishment. The criminals were paraded, beaten, shamed, ridiculed, stripped naked and hung on a rough wooden cross to die a slow and painful death. It was meant to put fear into people so that they dared not challenge their rule.
Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, died such a horrible death. He died as a criminal even though he was not. The religious authorities brought numerous charges against him including the following:
He blasphemes God, calls God his Father, and claims to be Messiah. He leads people astray, tells them not to follow Moses’ law. He forgives sinners indiscriminately. He tells people not to pay tax, and is plotting to overthrow the government. He threatens to destroy God’s temple. He is demon-possessed, casts out other demons by his demonic power. He instigates people and causes public disorder. He is a very dangerous man, he must die.
They brought these charges to Pontius Pilate and demanded Jesus’ execution. Pilate knew these charges were fabricated, so he wanted to release him. But the mob shouted and demanded his execution. In order to please the mob and maintain public order, Pilate consented to their demand. He sentenced Jesus to death.
Jesus, the son of God, the Saviour of mankind, died an agonizing death at the hands of the Jews and Gentiles. These two groups represented the entire human race. Thus, like a Frankenstein monster, we killed our Maker.
Why did we kill him? We killed him because we believed in a lie about him. Jesus came to expose our lies and subvert our beliefs, and we were enraged. In our darkness, confusion and alienation, we unleashed our wrath on him and killed him.
Instrument of grace Jesus died, but he rose from the grave. He now has a glorified and immortal body, not subject to the physical limitations of time and space (the very type of body we will inherit at our resurrection). He reigns in power and glory and all things are subject to him.
God created us in his image and likeness so he could dwell in us uniquely as us. He created us so we could participate in his abundant life—in the life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He created us for joy, peace, freedom, adventure, creativity, passion and friendship. This has been his plan all along and nothing would distract him from achieving it.
Sin entered the world and hijacked God’s plan, albeit temporarily. Sin reduced humanity to a low
quality life—to a life of shame, guilt, fear, condemnation, anxiety and sadness. That’s what sin does, and that’s why Jesus came and destroyed it.
God sent Jesus to redeem the life of our original design which was compromised because of sin. Through his life, death and resurrection he fully restored us to our original state of blameless innocence. In his death, he destroyed our sinful self, and in his resurrection, he recreated and gave us a new life. In Christ, we are a new creation.2 He has made us holy and blameless, whether we know it or not, believe it or not. That is how God sees us, what he believes about us. Our unbelief doesn’t change what he believes about us. We may as well agree with him!
Jesus assumed our humanity and entered our hell—our world of darkness, confusion and alienation—and from there he redeemed his image and likeness in us which was lost because of sin.
God took our instrument of torture and transformed it to his instrument of grace. He turned our wrath to forgiveness, our beating to healing and our accusation to
blameless innocence. In short, he transformed our low life to glory life, our slavery to freedom, our darkness to light. Thus the cross has become a symbol of grace, mercy, healing and restoration. That’s why millions embrace it.
That’s what Christ has accomplished for us on the cross. It’s a done deal. That’s why the cross is a resounding success. It represents victory over sin and death. It represents eternal and immortal life. All we need to do is wake up to this reality and embrace his gift of eternal life. Why wait? ❏
April–June 2015 3
A Magazine Of Christian Understanding
cover story 5 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? The Father never forsook Jesus (or humanity).
articles 7 From grave to glory, my confrontation with
the empty tomb Jesus rose from his grave and appeared to many.
8 Love your enemies That is God’s way; he loved us when we were his
9 Our true elder brother Jesus sees us as his brethren
10 ‘Otherness’ and ‘likeness’ God is like us, but he is also more than us.
12 Death produces life! We must die to live.
14 If I were a rich man Focus on relationships, not material riches.
16 Greed Greed kills.
17 Free to live Christ has freed us to be truly ourselves.
18 What is reality Object truth as God sees is true whether we believe/
feel or not.
22 1,900 years of revelation God’s revelation is progressive.
regular features 2 Editorial
4 What our readers say
19 Another angle
20 Speaking of life...
21 Tammy’s turn
23 Hmm… Something to think about.
Issue No. 1 Volume No. 14
April–June 2015 PP 12578/03/2013 (032108)
Editor Dr. P. Sellappan
Managing Editor Low Mong Chai
Co-ordinator Susan Low
Editorial & Advisory Committee Audrey Geraldine Boudville
Tan Ten Lee
Teo Kah Ping
Wong Mein Kong
Wong Teck Kong
Design Richard Low
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4 The Plain Truth
What our readers say:
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We welcome your comments. Letters for this section should be addressed to: “Letters to the Editor”, The Plain Truth, P.O. Box 2043, Pusat Bisnes Bukit Raja, Pos Malaysia Bhd., 40800 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. or sent via electronic mail to: email@example.com The editor reserves the right to use letters so addressed in whole or in part, and to include your name and edit the letter for clarity and space.
Dear editor, can you please explain what you mean by “Jesus came as our representative, not as our substitute?” It’s a little confusing! Thank you. Jay Ed: Sorry for the confusion and error. It should be rendered, “Jesus came as our representative, not just as our substitute” or “Jesu