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13th April 2014
The cross is a familiar sight. People wear crosses as jewellery, some – footballers, rappers, all kinds of people – have crosses tattooed on their bodies.
We would probably be shocked if we saw someone wearing gallows or an electric chair, yet none of us is shocked when we see someone wearing a cross, which was one of the most gruesome and sadistic types of execution.
It’s also interesting that the accounts of Jesus’ life – the Gospels – spend about a third of their pages focusing on the week leading up to and including Jesus’ death. The apostle Paul says it’s of “first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The cross of Christ is at the absolute core of the Christian faith – nothing is more central to Christianity and, in fact, to history, than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
At its root, the cross is about atonement, which means ‘making at one’, reconciling or bringing together those who have been separated. The cross is about bringing sinful, broken men and women to a place of being ‘at one’ with their Creator.
We are not what we should be. Most of us acknowledge we don’t live up even to our own standards. Most of us do things we know we shouldn’t have done or don’t do things we know we should do. The Bible shows us that our own dissatisfaction with ourselves isn’t actually the deepest problem we have. The fundamental issue is that sin has impacted our relationship with God, who created us. We are cut off from Him, with a huge gap between Him and us.
This problem is so deep that we can’t put it right, no matter how many good deeds we do. It’s like trying to make a bed with nice clean linen while our hands are covered in sticky jam: no matter how careful we are, we will make a mess. Everything we do is polluted and damaged by sin.
God is intrinsically holy. He is holy, righteous and just in His very nature. He is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. God’s wrath against sin is a factor of His holiness – He isn’t intrinsically wrathful or angry; God doesn’t delight to punish sin, but He is intrinsically holy and sin cannot co-exist with His holiness.
God is also intrinsically love. It is part of His very character. God IS love (1 John 4:16). Love comes from God. God hasn’t started to learn how to love since He created us – He is love and the Father, Son and Spirit have loved each other for all eternity. God isn’t learning about love; love is bound up in the very nature of God.
God wants to satisfy both His holiness and His love. How is that going to happen? It’s what the cross is all about! The way that God resolved this was at the cross. God providing a way for us to be saved was not inevitable – it was the action of a God who loves us and was moved by His grace and mercy to provide a way of salvation!
That Christ died as our substitute is loud and clear (see 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 Peter 3:18, Isaiah 53:4-6). Jesus died in our place so that we could come to God! Our salvation is the work of One triune God. The three persons of the trinity work indivisibly – they were united in this plan of salvation, as they always are. Jesus made a willing decision to become a man and to be the sin-bearer. He chose the cross!
The three persons of the trinity are distinguishable and their actions can be distinguished too, but they are in complete unity and harmony. When we put faith in Jesus, we become united with Christ. At the cross, holiness and love met, and we are now one with Christ, which means He pays our debts and we have His righteousness and much more! We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ!
Download the audio and the life application questions related to this blog here.
Posted by John Groves