Does Jesus think we all have a spark of good within us, which needs only be nurtured and fed and cherished?
Jesus gives two extreme prescriptions, for what we need in face of His teaching.
First extreme prescription: cross. Jesus tells His followers they must pick up their cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). A cross is not a symbol of trying harder, of promising to do better, of really knuckling down, getting serious and having “the eye of the tiger.”
A cross is not where you go to work out, as if to build up what is already there.
A cross is where you go to die, which is the final negation of the sin riddled nature inherited from Adam.
That command alone tells us everything we need to know about ourselves, as God the Son sees us. We do not need to try; we need to die.
– Dan Phillips, The World Tilting Gospel pg 62