The Principle of the Cross

The first book I ever read in Norwegian has greatly impacted my life for the past 25 years or so. It's an unassuming book with a bland cover and set in a monospaced font (which is terrible for long reads). Even though it was a struggle to consume so much of a language in which I was far from fluent, it was worth it. The book? Korsets Prinsipp (The Principle of the Cross) by Swedish pastor Pelle Karlsson.

So what is the Principle of the Cross? In a nutshell: To lose is to win.

CrossFrom a Kingdom of Heaven perspective, this world is pretty much completely backwards. So it should come as no surprise that winning is losing, and losing is winning. The greatest victory in all history came about through the foolishness of God Almighty hanging naked and battered on a cross -- and then laying down his life. The result? Death is defeated. The certificate of debt that was against us has been cancelled. All of the powers of darkness have been completely disarmed.

The Sermon on the Mount illustrates this principle with a variety of concrete examples, such as turning the other cheek and walking the extra mile. Paul describes it as the manifest behavior of a victorious follower of Jesus:

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
(1 Cor 6:7 NIV)

Give that a thought the next time you feel drawn to fight for something...

Further reading:
  • Unfortunately, Karlsson's book is out of print. And as far as I know, it was only published in Swedish and Norwegian. If you are interested in exploring the Principle of the Cross, it is the foundation of The Way of Grace section in my book, Walking His Ways.

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Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™