The Cross and the Crucible

Metal is everywhere. Music, skyscrapers, you name it. I have known a few welders, and they are knee deep in the stuff. They certainly can tell you a thing or two about making things with metal.

The same thing goes for blacksmiths. They still exist these days, albeit in smaller numbers than in the not so distant past.

In modern times… two essential, yet ancient tools for them are the forge, and sometimes a container called a crucible. Very few don’t know what a forge is, but the crucible? It’s a container to hold metal in a forge, in order for it to be subjected to fire long enough to be purified of impurities.

Remove the impurities from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith.

Prov. 25:4, NLV

I like to think that God is the silversmith of the heart, and that this same God also willingly “endured the cross, having despised its shame” in order that we may not have a “high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses” but rather, to “have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV).

 Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2, AKJV

I spent long hours in the past trying to find kindness in this silversmith, and his cross, for I could not see it. I only saw his cross as a nightmare. I didn’t see it as the pinnacle of God’s supposed grace to me; rather, I saw it as my sin reflected horrifically back at me. It was the picture of my soul that I wanted to absolve myself from, yet I couldn’t — for Christ forever more was the symbol of my ugliness there.

Whenever I thought of him I imagined the Lamb of God beaten, scourged, ripped open down to the very layer that the skin ends and lower. Being jeered at with the roaring crowds giving him tinnitus, yet still facing even more echos of their collective horror resounding in the air. I could only hear the sadistic screams of the crowd that he faced. He wasn’t a picture of Grace to me; rather, he was my torment, and that torment (as I thought of it at the time) happened to be the very ambassador of the Father.

I wasn’t purified within thinking like this obviously. While I held on to the hope that it wasn’t like this, many don’t. Many pull away, and some may have even pulled a trigger on themselves. It’s a profane way to think of the Prince of Peace.

I hated God back then. I despised his heaven, and I abhorred his hell. If poor Jesus was the only person standing between me, and his cruel Father (as I understood him to be) — I would have rather not have been born.

Yet, that changed. Slowly, but surely, and little by little. I began to wonder. Maybe I was wrong.

I had to go back over EVERYTHING I thought was right for me to change. I needed to understand the Son RIGHT if I wanted to enjoy, even a fraction, of the Son Light. I needed to be corrected desperately, and no doubt God is a MASTER at correcting.

Going from that place, I read whatever I could about scripture that gave it some life. Really… anything that made it bright instead of damning. To do that though, I needed to ask “what the hell is hell?” The only way to know what hell is — is to know who Jesus really is.

People who have read things I have written probably know by now that I believe that God wins. I believe as much as I can that he eventually saves all, and that he is not limited in anyway to achieve his will to do that. People will differ here, and that’s fine. We’ll know one day who is right and who is wrong. BUT

The Lord is not jamming the brakes in keeping his promise, as some think. Instead he is patient, for he doesn’t want (boulomenos) anyone to perish, but that everyone instead comes to repentance.

1 Peter 3:9, Paraphrased

Boulomenos in Greek means to desire, and to have the means to FULFILL the desire. If Peter wanted to say that God only “wished” that all could be saved… he probably would have used the word Theléma. The difference here is akin to wanting a Reuben sandwich, and being able to get a Reuben sandwich (had to throw that in here hehe).

One verse can’t change one’s mind, and it shouldn’t. It hardly makes a case, but this was the verse that cracked open the door for me to see God in a better way; the scriptures in a better way, and it gave me the confidence to call him Savior (for He is able and at the ready).

There have been many priests, since death prevented them from continuing in their holy office. Yet… since Jesus lives eternally, He has a permanent priesthood. He is able to fully save those who draw near to God through Him (for by his cross he shall pull all men unto him), since He always lives to rescue them.

Hebrews 7:23-25, Paraphrased

If nothing unholy can stand before his eyes (Habakkuk 1:13), and if he can save all — how does he save us from our darkness, and open our hearts to him? For no doubt, some are stubborn even in death. And some sadly remain in that unholy shell of sin even while facing the electric chair.

You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and can not look on iniquity: why look you on them that deal treacherously, and hold your tongue when the wicked devours the man that is more righteous than he?

Habakkuk 1:13, AKJV

What I’m about to say I only present as my present view, in the hopes that it helps someone. It is an view, and an view alone, yet it is not unfounded.

Christ is the King over all, and if mercy and grace were a person… it’s he. The Father; the Son, and the Spirit are one in the same in substance, character, and nature with him (simplified Nicene Creed perhaps). He is the Light, and he is the Fire. On the cross he became us in our fall, as an actor and a symbol (so to speak) for a short while.

I think that he willingly let go of the protection of the Spirit in order to brutally illustrate what happens when we leave the gift of God’s Grace, provision, and mercy. In this way he “became” sin for us.

That’s missing the mark. Standing outside the bounds of God’s goodness. All sin starts that way in one form or another I feel.

On the cross Jesus said “it is finished!” There, he perfectly demonstrated the acceptance of his loving heart, and his Father’s heart, even when we willingly turn away to the shadows of our darkness and ignorance.

It’s too low to think that the Cross is just a story and a symbol of how disgusting the mud of our sins is. In my eyes, it sure as hell wasn’t for his Father satisfy his wrath.

I feel it is better to think of the Cross as our destiny acted out by God himself, for just as the Father symbolically and literally accepted the committed spirit of the Son, even when he “became” sin (disallowing the Grace of God for that short time) — in the same way that we miss the mark — so too, shall we be taken up into the warm arms of the Father. Here, the lost are then found.

He is the Author and the Finisher of the Faith. He has the power to write a story that ends happy for all of us.

Having that power in hand… I wonder sometimes. What dreams has he written? What beautiful futures has he inscribed into the paper of time for us? Only the Spirit knows (and gives sneak peeks sometimes).

Whatever dreams lay in store for us in him — it must be remembered that only God can say that he has seen; felt; heard, and experienced every nightmare of our fallen natures. He bears the weight of correcting us in our trespasses, and of higher beings as well (I would imagine). If the loving-kindness shown towards humanity on the Cross doesn’t budge some hearts in this life and the next… God is not out of options.

God could do much his rescuing with time alone, and with giving people timeout outside of heaven (I think that Parable of the wedding feast in Matthew; the Parables of the Feasts in Luke, refers to this — and the book of Revelation as well), as his presence, and gifts woo the lost’s hardened hearts to relent, and eventually come to find a feast with holy dub-step blasting.

Those who trust him will understand truth. The faithful will live with him in love, because grace and mercy are with his chosen ones.

Wisdom 3:9, WEB

I feel that he can do it for all like that (waiting upon the person patiently for they themselves to yield, by course of reason and by the realizing what they are missing out on).

God in his love must go through hell daily, so to speak. He speaks to hearts all day, and many do ignore his mercies. His is on fire for us. He is completely consumed with accomplishing his will to save.

If in this life and the next people will not at least respect his love; respect his goodness, and treat people as Christ treated others — it cannot be that he would force himself on another in a physically violent fashion, or in the fashion of eternal hell, as it is classically understood.

Since God is Spirit, and since he transcends our thoughts, and the boundaries that space and time impose on us; since he can and does cut straight into the thoughts of the heart — I feel when the scriptures speak of the Lord as a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29); as the piercing word of the Father (Hebrews 4:11-13); as one who heals by the fires of loss (1 Corinthians 3:15), that it could be that his fire is him no longer holding back any intensity at all in expressing his thoughts towards us, and towards what we have done wrong.

He doesn’t need air to transfer meaning through words, and there is nothing keeping him and his presence out of one’s heart. He is already THERE.

For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.

Romans 12:3, WEB

It could be that when someone wicked in their ways comes before him by death — or say he was to come brilliantly on a global scale — from within that man’s soul beaming out into his reality, that the Patient King who waited upon whatever willing ones would come to him in this life… holds his voice back no longer.

In the blazing brightness of his nature… there at once (as if looking into a mirror and seeing his own soul for what it is) that man stands convicted of who Jesus is, what he stands for, and how close or far he is from his heart. Never again having the mental space to make excuses against Christ’s being, and his own.

The King of Heaven with full intensity having spoken, and by his doing revealing the vibrant reality of who he is in the heart of everyone; by conviction of the TRUTH… that man shall know the day of the Lord. A day where both Heaven and “Hell” are revealed in one person. That person is Christ Jesus. Where that man’s hell is seeing the searingly reflective and soul searching eyes of the God of Truth, while he stands on high in great mercy, and on the earth as the everlasting Son of the Only Living God.

Even if this imaginary man completely slaughtered empathy in his heart, and strangled it out of existence in order to be selfish without much conviction, before He who KNOWS him, and sees what he truly could have been, and yet shall be (Ephesians 2:10), on his knees shall give reverence to the King of the realms. Yes, that humble carpenter that died on “that” cross two thousand years ago. He will no longer have a dark place to go inwardly and outwardly. That man there shall know what it means to be in Christ.

It is a overwhelming thing to fall into the hands of the ever-living Lord.

Hebrews 10:31, Paraphrased

Standing before the King who speaks in words and in spirit. In that man’s thoughts and in that man’s heart, with Christ countering any and all rejections at the moment it arrives gracefully… that man shall know a reality he perhaps never thought of before. The fiery reality of Grace, Power, and Mercy.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without EXCUSE.

Romans 1:20, ESV

To me, Christ is the Crucible. He is the “wise fire” of God, as the early church father Origen aptly said. In Christ, the cosmos are healed and re-grafted into the City of Heaven in VICTORY.

Where the Cross could be ignored (willingly by some) for a time, or be unknown, no longer shall it BE. One cannot ignore the Way; the Truth, and the Life as Christ stands brightly right before his face, innervating into his senses, thoughts, and soul; without any restraint convicting and conversing within him on every level, and in real-time faster than the speed of thought. That man in the power of God, and the power of his truth — is in the crisis of the Holy One. Where every lie that kept him in death dies forever.

When all things have been subjected to him, then the Son will also himself be subjected to him who subjected all things to him (the Father), that God may be ALL in ALL.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28, WEB (Emphasis added)

For those men; those women; those children, and maybe even those angels who fell — whenever the time shall be — shall have the very heart of God opened up fully in Glory and in Truth eternally. For all who stand in that Light, in the whispers of his heart, and in the magnificence of who he is… shall finally fall into his healing hands in tears and conviction, and in victory they shall in final everlasting gladness cry out,

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. In your house, Great King, we bless you!

Psalms 118:26, Paraphrased

Keeping his word which never returns to him void (Isaiah 55:11), at the Great Feast where the once lost children are now present… I imagine Christ saying in a grand voice, and with great cheer, while Gabriel and Michael stand in his midst,

“As I have sworn, and as my mouth has spoken in all integrity, an eternal word that shall never be revoked: before me every knee has finally bowed in gladness of heart; by me every tongue has sworn eternal faithfulness to my name. Eat! And Drink! For the days of doom and woe are passed away forever!” (Based on Isaiah 45:23).

With the Holy Three seated in the center of the great table, their Children say in one accord to them,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing!

Revelation 5:12, KJV

That’s what I think now. The Cross illustrates God’s loving heart and eternal openness to us, even towards the worse of us. His Crucible (his hell so to speak) is the passionate, piercing, powerful thought-words of his heart and nature being driven deeply like an sword into ours.

He doesn’t need our consent to speak. He is God, and He is Good.

He doesn’t need our will to win — his truth WILL gain our will, for it is good, and it is good for us.

For who knows? If angels could stand before his presence and act against it… did they stand in it fully revealed? I cannot answer that, but thinking that the power of Christ is limited in some cases — and for some beings at that — is foolish indeed.

As for me, I will hope in his mercies, and I will hope in his power. For he is not limited as I am, and yet… for a time he was in a way. He is the best we can be, and he wants the best for us. That is the Christ who died on a tree. The Lord of Love, willingly given for all. He is the Cross, and the Crucible. He is God. He is love, and He is Good. And lastly, he is the Author and the Finisher of our Faith, and of a happy ending beyond imagination. It can’t be any better than that. Oh wait… in him it already is. 😉

For all the promises of God in him are yes, and in him Amen, to the glory of God by us.

2 Corinthians 1:20, AKJV

Thank you for your time, and for reading.

Blessings.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Debbie Fusco says:

    Great read. Ty Aaron. Debbie

    Like

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