The Cross of Christ

It’s been 52 years since I gave my life to Christ. That is a long time and in all those years I can honestly say that I’ve learned quite a bit about God. After all, I went to Sunday School for most of those years, I went to Bible college for 9 years (I was in the accelerated program), and I even went to seminary. Some people would say, “Wow, you must be a smart guy when it comes to understanding about God and Jesus and everything else that speaks of the Bible”. But the truth is, I feel at a loss when it comes to things that matter. For instance the Cross, why did Jesus have to die on that Cross? Why did He have to be the One who gave up His life when I am the one who committed all of those sins?  It just doesn’t make sense. The apostle Paul recognized this was going to be a problem for people, and so he had to stay focused on the cross and get distracted by peripheral matters.

There were a lot of things in the church at Corinth that could have distracted Paul from this powerful message. In I Corinthians, Paul writes about divisions in the church, people who were taking sides. There were people trying to make Paul the leader of their group (1:12), there were others who wanted to be baptized by Paul, even though Paul made it clear that he didn’t baptize any of them, except Crispus (1:14). No, Paul made it clear that he was there for one purpose and one purpose only, to preach the gospel. He said in 1:17: “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with words of human wisdom lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” And what is that power? It is the ability for Christ to do for man what man could not do for himself. Christ had the power to go to the Cross and give his life for me even though I am the guilty individual. I was the one who deserved to die. You see, that is why Easter is always a hard time of the year for me. With all my accumulated knowledge and all my training, I still struggle to answer that simple question: Why did the sinless, perfect, and all-powerful Son of God, have to die? Yes, I know He did it because He loves me and He did it because that was the plan of a sovereign and holy God, but I echo the words of Christ: “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matthew 26:39). 

I want to close with a quote from author and preacher, John Stott. I know it is long, but bear with me. “The essential background to the cross therefore is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross. If we reinterpret sin as a lapse instead of a rebellion and God as indulgent instead of indignant then naturally the cross appears superfluous, but to dethrone God and enthrone ourselves not only dispenses with the cross; it also degrades both God and man. A biblical view of God and ourselves, however, that is, of our sin and of God’s wrath honors both. It honors human beings by affirming them as responsible for their own actions, it honors God by affirming him as heavy moral character.”  (“The Cross of Christ”, p.110)
The gravity of sin and the majesty of God.  Those two concepts came into direct conflict on that fateful day. The result was that God chose to accept the sacrifice of his Son for payment of my sin and yours. Praise be to God!   One thing is for sure, I have a lot to learn about the cross. And even though I probably won’t learn all of it this side of glory, I look forward to sharing the message of the cross to all who will listen, because it is, the power of God.

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