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Everyone Knows: It’s the Cross or Hell

Broken BreadThe adultery bomb goes off in a marriage. What next? It's the cross or hell. Either there is the giving up of rights - in repentance and forgiveness - or there is the standing on rights, and it's hell.

Nation wars against nation. What next? Either there's surrender / reconciliation or a never-ending cycle of violence. It's the cross or hell.

An argument starts: harsh words stir up anger. What next? Either a gentle word turns away wrath or the wrath spirals on. Proverbs 15:1.

It's the cross or hell.

This is not a feature of certain conservative theologies - it's a fact of everyday existence. In every walk of life the making of peace involves a swallowing of pride - a wrath-bearing sacrifice if you will. Without this "cross", it's "hell". If we are at all aware of a sin problem, we become aware of the desperate need for costly atonement.

Some Christians shy away from the language of hell, wrath and sacrifice. Who believes in such things these days? Well, sinners do. People who understand the world and who understand their hearts - they get the need for blood and fire. If we ditch those concepts we become less able to reach the culture, not more.

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