April 13, 2023 — The “Just as” of the Cross

One morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfasts, Stan mentioned that a neighborhood couple had been over to their house for dinner the night before.

“Did you have a nice time?” I asked.

“We did,” Stan replied. “This couple moved into the neighborhood fairly recently and this gave us the opportunity to get to know them better. They are a nice couple. I think we’re going to be great friends!”

Continuing, he added, “We talked about all sorts of things. Like where they moved from, their family, how long they’ve been married. Things like that. But it was when they were talking about their marriage that the conversation got real interesting.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“How getting married impacted the man’s eternal destination.”

“Impacted his eternal destination?” I remarked. “What’d he say?”

“That he was not a Christian when he was dating the girl who would become his wife,” Stan replied. “When it came time to ask his future father-in-law about marrying her, he was asked a question that led him to coming to faith.”

“Wow!” I replied. “It must have been a great question. What was it?”

“He said that the father asked him something like, ‘Will you love my daughter like the apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the church in Ephesus?’”

“How did he answer that?” I asked.

“He said that he had to admit that he didn’t know how to answer the question because he didn’t know anything about Paul, the church in Ephesus, or anything about the Bible.”

“Then what?” I asked. “Did that end the conversation about marrying the man’s daughter?”

“No,” Stan replied. “And it was his future father-in-law’s response that was the key to beginning a journey of faith that continues today.” 

“How so?”

“The father said something like, ‘If you don’t know, you better find out if you want to marry my daughter!’”

“Better find out!” I said. “That was a great response! Then what?”

“My new neighbor said he went home, found a Bible, and looked to see what the father was talking about. He found it and from there he began a journey of reading and studying the Bible that eventually led him to accepting God’s provision of life eternally with Him through the cross of Christ.”

“What was his future father-in-law referring to?” I asked.

“Where the apostle Paul wrote admonishing husbands about loving their wives just as Jesus loved and gave Himself for the church.”

“Just as Jesus loved and gave Himself,” I repeated. “That’s a pretty high standard!”

“It’s a very high standard,” Stan commented, “one that is impossible to meet, or even begin to meet, if a person doesn’t know the meaning of the ‘just as’ of the cross. Knowing that is what led my neighbor to the cross, and it also brought him to love his wife in the way his father-in-law was asking about.”

“The ‘just as’ of the cross,” I repeated. “That’s probably important to know and to remember.”

“I would put it in the category of essential,” Stan replied. “Just as there’s no Christianity without the cross, I think it’s fair to say that there’s no Christian walk without manifesting the ‘just as’ of that cross.”


Bible verses to consider:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  Ephesians 5:25.

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for giving your only begotten Son so that I could believe in Him and have the assurance of life eternally with you. Thank you for those who brought me to the truth. Thank you, too, for the words of the apostle Paul about loving and living “just as” Jesus did. I confess that too often I do not love and live in that way. Please help me to understand and to live that “just as” standard in my life by continually surrendering to the leading of your Holy Spirit who lives in me for your purposes. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted what Jesus accomplished on the cross so you know you will spend eternity in God’s presence? If no, why? What is keeping you from that? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with the “just as” standard? As well as you would like? As well as God would like? If you sense the need for change to reach the “just as” standard, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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