Summary: The Cross of Christ teaches us about Christ, ourselves, and sin; and forces us to decision.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
I. THE CROSS OF CHRIST CONFRONTS US WITH THE TRUTH
A. The Truth about Sin
1. Sin’s Reality
The Roman cross itself was instrument devised by the Persians and later adopted by the Romans to punish wrongdoing against the government of the day. As a matter of fact, those condemned to the cross had to wear a placard defining their crime around their neck and then the placard was nailed to the cross upon crucifixion. The Roman government wanted all to be aware of the guilty party, the crime he committed and the consequences for such wrongdoing.
The cross of Christ also reveals wrongdoing; not crimes against a human government but crimes against the Sovereign God of the Universe Himself and these crimes are called sin. From the Garden of Eden mankind has been in rebellion against God seeking to satisfy his own desires rather than the will of God. Sin is real and sin is rampant. Paul teaches us in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" and in Romans 3:10 "There is none righteous, no not one." This simply teaches us that we all have sinned against a holy God.
Today, as well as in the days of Christ men have tried to explain away their sin or try to redefine their to ease their guilty or harned consciousnesses. But however men may try to deny the reality of sin they cannot change the truth.
***Just this week I was reading in our papers an editorial concerning the lies concerning partitial birth abortion. The new debate was spurned when Ron Fitzsimmons, the executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers and who was the main witness last year claiming that only a few partial birth abortions are performed each year and only for the protection of the mother, admitted he had lied through his teeth. Fitzsimmons admitted, “It’s a form of killing. You are ending a life.” He said maintaining the lie was making him physically ill.
Yet, pro-abortionists try to cover up the truth by denying the facts and dressing up the procedure with fancy names such as “Reproductive Health Clinics” instead of abortion clinics and “intact dialation and evacuation” instead of the hideous partial-birth abortion.
2. Sin’s Ugliness
Not only is sin real, but it is also ugly. Nowhere is the ugliness of sin more evident that at the foot of the Cross of Christ. There we see the ugliness of Jealousy, Self-righteousness, and Hypocracy by the by the Jewish leaders of the day. And there we see the ugliness of the mockery and ridicule by those who had just called Him blessed a week before.
3. Sin’s Consequences
The cross of Christ also reveals to us that sin has it’s consequences. As the Roman cross was a vivid message to all that if you commit a crime against Rome then there will be a heavy price to pay, so the cross of Christ should send to all the eternal truth, "The wages of sin is death."
B. The Truth about Salvation
The cross of Christ also confronts us with the truth about salvation. When Nicodemus, a religious and righteous man came to Jesus, Jesus confronted him with his need to be born again. Jesus made it clear that his salvation did not come through a religion or through personal righteousness, but through the person and work of the Son of God. He reminded Nicodemus of an event that occured when the children of Israel sinned against God when they wandered in the desert. God sent poisonous snakes in their midst to punish them. The only way the people could be healed by the deadly bite wounds was to look unto a brazen serpent lifted up on a pole which represented their sin. (Numbers 21:9) Jesus explained this was simply a picture of the cross as told Nicodemus in John 3:14-15, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."
Dear friends, we have all been condemned through the deadly bite of sin in our lives and the only way to be delivered from the penalty of death is looking unto the cross of Jesus Christ. There simply is no other way of salvation as Peter preached in Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." This why Paul so adamantly explained, "For we preach Christ crucified." Without the cross there is no salvation
Oswald Chambers explains, "The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus,and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened--but the crash is on the heart of God (Utmost, p97)