Ever since the Enlightenment (1600-1800+), modern man does not like the bloody elements of Christianity, the blood that was shed on the cross. This man knows best, right?
However, it is arrogant and condescending to leave him on the cross and just show sympathy for him, a sympathy he never asked for.
Instead, he asks for our lives and our kneeling before his cross.
The cross and its theological significance is essential and indispensable for our salvation and relationship with God.
Let’s explore the key components and benefits of the cross of Christ, point by point.
1.. How did the death on the cross happen?
First, the death of Christ on the cross was planned by God. On the road to Emmaus, a town near Jerusalem, Jesus appeared to two men and rebuked them for not know that hi suffering and crucifixion was predicted in the law and prophets (Luke 24:26). Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost that God in his foreknowledge and deliberate plan, but through the hands of wicked men, Christ was supposed to be put to death on the cross (Acts 2:23). None of this caught God by surprise.
Second, the cross showed Jesus’s obedience. When he came to earth and humbled himself in the form of a servant, he became full man, but without sin (Heb. 4:15), thanks to his virgin birth (Luke 1:35). His humiliation was so vast and expansive that he hung between the earth and the high reaches of the sky, by dying on the cross (Phil. 2:8).
Third, the death of Christ on the cross was carried out by humans. As we just saw in Acts 2:23, the cross was planned, but unjust humans had to commit the injustice. Peter proclaimed before the Sanhedrin (Jewish high court) that Christ was put on the cross by their hands—by their decision. God will accomplish his purposes even through the hands of sinful humanity, but he will not let their wrongdoing go free, either. Justice demanded that they paid a price (Luke 21:6).
2.. What did the cross accomplish?
First, the cross put to death the curse of the old law. Paul wrote to the Galatians that according to the old law, everyone who hanged on a pole was cursed (Deut. 21:23), so Christ became that curse in our place (Gal. 3:13). Now the curse of the law is broken over us, so God does not judge us in his justice-wrath-judgment. We are in Christ and are spared his wrath.
Second, the cross took away our sins. The power that the law and regulations was broken and canceled over our lives, by the cross. Those things used to condemn us but now through the cross we have forgiveness of sins (Col. 2:13-14). 1 Peter 2:24 says that Christ himself bore our sins in his body, which happened at the cross (Is. 53:5).
Third, the cross reconciled us to God. Paul writes that humanity used to be divided by ethnic and cultural differences, but through the cross, all humans are made into one new human, united in Christ (Eph. 2:16). The fullness of deity lived in bodily form in Christ, and now God reconciled all things to himself by his cross and the blood that was shed there.
Fourth, the cross brought us eternal life. Jesus taught that when he was lifted up on the cross, so that everyone who sees him and believes can have eternal life.
Fifth, the cross triumphed over our enemies. As noted, Col. 2:15 says all the decrees issued against us were canceled, and Christ dragged behind him all of his enemies like a roman emperor led captive people in his victory parade.
3.. How should we respond to the cross?
First, we are crucified with Christ. Paul wrote to the Galatians that he had been crucified with Christ, so now the life he lives in his body is in Christ and faith in him. The goal of our crucifixion is to diminish the power of our sinful nature and impulses.
Second, cueing off the last point, our sinful nature must die with Christ on the cross. Our old self before Christ must die, so our body would not be ruled by sin (Rom. 6:6). When we belong to Christ, we crucify our passions and desires. This means our mammal impulses and instincts (Gal. 5:24). He bore our sins on the cross, so that we would die to sins and live for righteousness. By his wounds we were healed, from our life of sin.
Third, we are crucified to the world. Paul prayed or thought that he would not boast except in the cross of Christ, by which he died to the world, and the world to him. So all the rewards the world has to offer are temporary and empty—over the long haul.
Fourth, we pick up our cross daily. This does not speak of sickness, but our own will must be surrendered to God. We pray, “Lord, not my will, but your will be done” (Matt. 26:39). When your will is surrendered to him, he will give you the desire of your heart. But he must come first—daily.
How does this post help me know God more intimately?
The apostles preached the cross (Acts 2:23; 8:32-35; 13:28-29; 1 Cor. 1:23; 2:1-2). Paul said that he determined not to know anything among the Corinthians except the cross (1 Cor. 2:1-2), not wisdom and eloquence, but Christ crucified (1 Cor. 1:17-18).
Postmodern man does not like the cross. Too bloody and humiliating. God’s child abuse.
However, the cross was necessary because the sacrifices of the offerings in the Old Testament. The cross does not come out of nowhere without precedence. God’s justice and human’s sinfulness and wrongdoing clashed, and humanity had to pay for its sins, just like a criminal has to pay for his crime. But what if someone stepped in and paid the penalty? And what if the penalty was so high that it was death? Christ paid the ultimate price for mankind’s ultimate separation from God and to reconcile the two—man was reconciled to God.
All this happened on the cross, the method of execution in Christ’s world.
Now all we do is accept the purposes and benefits of the cross by faith.
Written by James Malcolm