Monday, December 5, 2011

The Cross of Christ

The cross is central to the message of the gospel. There are some who are now teaching a "cross-less" salvation. I need to make this clear. They believe Christ’s death on the cross is essential but that one can be saved without a reference to His work on the cross. The cross is not something magical but it was the instrument used to crucify the Son of God by which He died for sinners. If the human mind can defuse the idea of the cross, it will do so. One wonders why someone would want to downgrade or make little of the idea of the cross.

One cannot speak of the death of the Lord for sin without referring to the cross. But there must be something going on in the mind of those who may make it somewhat insignificance. I sense there is an agenda that could lead to a distortion of Jesus’ sacrifice for sinners.

The empty cross became the most important logo for Christianity. This is because of the teachings of Paul about it. He writes "For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18). It was an offense that was supposed to discredit the early church (Gal. 5:11) and some tried to escape the fact that they would be persecuted for it (6:12). Paul said that he could only boast in the cross of Christ (v. 14). Christ has reconciled both Jew and Gentile together "in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity [between the two]" (Eph. 2:16). Christ did not humble Himself to just any form of death, but He became "obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:8).

In Paul’s day there were many who claimed Christ as Savior but the apostle wept at the fact "that they are enemies of the cross of Christ" (3:18). The Lord’s blood spelt down the cross and by this, Paul says, we have "peace through the blood of His cross" (Col. 1:20). The cross was used to inflict the most terrible of deaths, but the Lord "endured the cross, despising the shame" (Heb. 12:2). The cross is the central thought of the apostle when he thinks of the death of Christ. Paul wrote "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2).

The death of Christ on the cross is central to our message of salvation. It is not a rabbit’s foot or something magical or mystical. But the Lord’s death was destined to be on a cross and that cannot be left out in the message of the gospel.