Summary: “But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God”. (1 Cor. 1:24)
Theme: Understanding the importance of the cross
Text: Ex. 20:1-17; 1 Cor. 1:18-25; Matt. 10:37-42
The entire message of the Gospel revolves around one unique historical event: the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Writing about this, the writer of Hebrews declares in 10:14, that “By one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Perfected and forever speak of a sacrifice that comprehends every need of the entire human race, and its effects extend throughout time and into eternity. A single sovereign act of God brought together all the guilt and the suffering of humanity and offered one all sufficient solution, the cross.
The cross was God’s chosen way of salvation and restoration planned from the beginning of the world. According to the apostle Paul it was a stumbling block to the Jews who believed they could be made righteous by obeying the Law. The cross is foolishness to the Gentiles. To the Gentile a god is immortal and cannot die. According to their wisdom it is ridiculous to suppose that a god, one who is immortal, should die. The cross, however, is the power of God to believers. It is the place of redemption. At the cross Christ overcame sin, Satan and death and restored the relationship between God and man.
The cross was God’s appointed way to deal with the problem of sin. The Law was not given to make man righteous but to point man to sin and his inability to earn righteousness by the works of the Law. The Law was holy but had no power to make anyone holy. A person who sinned could only be forgiven by offering an animal sacrifice and this had to be repeated often. The sin sacrifice pointed to the perfect sacrifice of Christ. The Scriptures declare that “The Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”. (John 1:17) The Law was given through God’s servant Moses and could not make man righteous. Grace and truth was given through God’s Son Jesus Christ and the grace of God is more than sufficient to make man righteous.
The cross is a place of victory. It is the place of victory over sin. At the cross Christ was made sin with the sin of the whole world, past, present and future and judged. He endured the full judgement for sin in His body for our forgiveness. The cross is the place of victory over Satan. There Jesus Christ crushed the head of Satan and restored man’s dominion. The cross is a place of victory over death. God’s righteous judgement demanded the death penalty for sin, the shedding of blood. At the cross, the sinless Son of God died in our place that we might have eternal life.
The sacrifice of Christ gives life for “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive”. (1Co 15:22) Salvation is only a free gift because Jesus Christ paid the full price for sin. It does not cost us anything but it cost God all He had, His only Son. Jesus Christ took our place and bore the full judgement of God on sin so that we could take His place. He became our sacrifice for the sin offering. Under the Old Covenant the sacrifice for the sin offering had to be repeated over and over again because the judgement of God on sin was far greater than the sacrifice. It pointed to the need for a better sacrifice, a perfect sacrifice that would not have to be repeated. It pointed to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. There Jesus Christ after He had exhausted all the judgement of God on sin cried out “It is finished”. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was far greater than the judgement therefore there was no longer any need for a sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is more than sufficient to pay the price for our past, present and future sin. Let us value His sacrifice by doing His will in a way that pleases Him.
The cross demands a response. It demands a response to the One who died in our place to give us His life. The only response to such a sacrifice can only be that of trust and submission to His will.
The cross demands a new way of thinking. It demands that we have the mindset of Christ. His blood has sanctified our minds so that they can be renewed by aligning our thoughts with the word of God. The cross demands a new life of faith for “The just shall live by faith”. (Rom. 1:17) Faith brings us into God’s presence and gives us access to His grace and abundant provisions.
Faith gives us access to the grace of God. The Law pointed us to sin and our inability to keep it. The grace of God is not only God’s undeserved favour but also God’s empowerment to deal with and overcome sin. Whereas the Law demanded righteousness, grace offers it as a gift. The Law says give to receive: grace says give because you have received. The Law says meet the need of others and yours will be met. Grace says meet the need of others because your needs have been met. The Law is always demanding whereas grace is always giving. God’s grace has provided the solution to all the problems of mankind. The good news is all about the grace of God and it is to all people.