2018-03-24 / Religion

Part of the meaning of the cross

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV)

Recently, I took part in training to prepare groups of people to deal with an actively violent person who is seeking to attack people in a building.

During our training modules, we were given all sorts of conditions and scenarios.

We could counter the invader, deter the invader through enhanced lockdown, attempt to evacuate the building, and various other methods.

In one such module, the only sensible option in the room we were in was to get out of the one door in the room.

That one door was my only chance. Do you think I studied that door? You know I did.

The shed blood of Jesus is the only escape from eternal separation from God. Do you think we should look upon him who is the door to God?

A believer needs to contemplate the cross. We need to consider it. We need to plunge the depths of God’s heart for us in Christ Jesus.

For example, consider this one passage: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6-11 ESV)

A gospel preacher could easily spend a dozen sermons in this paragraph. I won’t even begin to unfold it. You contemplate it. You take it clause by clause and sit with it. Let it come to you and over you.

Let me share four quick things that are part of the meaning of the cross.

First, the cross shows us that God takes sin seriously. Forgiveness isn’t cheap. The terrible nature of the crucifixion juxtaposed against the beautiful nature of the Christ who died on it should make us see how serious God takes sin.

Secondly, the cross is the power of God to shake us to the core and lead us into repentance. We see in the cross the wrath of a just God and the tender mercy of a good Father. We see God taking the penalty of sin on that tree – the penalty we deserve – and we see him providing a means for forgiveness and acceptance for any who would come. The beauty and power of this gracious act ought to make us turn from our sin and turn to his loving care.

Third, in the cross, we can see that true good can come out of terrible evil. At the cross, we see man doing his worst and we also see God being his kindest. We see the evil actions of broken men and the loving action of benevolent God. We see unjust governments, institutions and religions all working evil and we see God doing good. We see men murdering and God atoning.

Lastly, for now, the cross tells us a story of perfect obedience. We know Jesus prayed, “Not my will but thine be done.” We know he prayed it, and we see the cross is how the Christ lived to it and died through it. We often speak of Jesus as a “rebel,” but He was truly an obedient servant.

Trust me, there’s plenty more, but my heart is leaning toward Passover, recognition of the crucifixion, and the grand joy of celebrating the resurrection.

I am thinking about the cross. How about you?

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