264898981_0514e29018I heard a song the other day that has me wondering. It is a very moving song, with powerful and encouraging lyrics. The title of the song is At the Cross. I am sure you have heard it; even sung along with it. It has been performed by a number of recognized Christian artists – most recently by Chris Tomlin. One Hillsong version has over 28 million views on YouTube.

At the Cross is filled with truth about the love and work of God in the death of His Son. I would venture to say it speaks deeply to a lot of people; saved and not. Furthermore, the lyrics speak out of a theology (intended or not). They are more than just words. And so, I wonder.

The chorus of At the Cross includes a repeated line, “At the cross I bow my knee, where Your blood was shed for me.” Those are the lyrics – and the theology – that have me wondering:

  1. Why would we bow at the cross when Jesus is no longer there?
  2. Is the Jesus that hung on the cross the Jesus I should be bowing to?
  3. How many are worshipping a dead Christ; trying to be saved by His death, rather than by His life?

I recognize that some may genuinely feel that I am making too much of this; or, I am missing something. For either case, please help me understand; for I have a hard time worshipping when the lyrics are wrong to me.

Respectfully, I think these questions expose a number of important challenges in the church today. Here is the one that weighs most heavily on my mind (I will cover the second later this week).

Many are trying to live for a dead Christ (though they don’t consciously intend to). The angels at the empty tomb asked the women that had come to treat Jesus’ body, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” The implications of this are more profound that we might think.

For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:10

As important as His death is (and ours with Him), that only bought our reconciliation. Our salvation comes “by His life”. It could not be clearer: We are not saved by His death. We must move on to His resurrection and ascension.

…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11

… and [God] raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6-7

Please note the verb tense in these passages. These are not sweet-by-and-by promises, but right now and active demonstrations of our life in Christ Jesus. If we have not moved on from the cross, we are not living in the fullness of the normal Christian life. Could it be that we are not living in the Life at all?

Humbly yours and forever His,