“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!”
True, but perhaps misleading; certainly missing the centerpiece of the Good News… the Cross; and certainly missing the depth of sanctifying Truth that comes in the message of the Cross. It almost reflects the actions of some (such as Joel Osteen) who have removed the cross from the church because of its ‘offensiveness’. Remove the Cross and there is no Gospel… remove the cross and there is no Grace… no Hope… no Salvation.
For Jesus Christ… it was the culminating purpose for which He came. Consider His response to Peter in Mark 8:33 when Peter rebukes Jesus for indicating that ‘the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.” When Peter would redirect Jesus Christ from the Cross, Jesus gives it to him with both barrels… “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
For the Apostle Paul… it was what he was resolved to preach, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2). “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved… For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” (1 Cor 15:1-5)
For me… I can testify that Christ alone saves, that “…there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” That it is in dying to the flesh and living according to the Spirit that I have Life beyond the grave. I can testify that if Jesus Christ had not gone to the Cross, I would be not only ‘dead in my sins’ positionally… but very likely, practically. Oh, the Wonderful Cross!
For C. H. Spurgeon… here is one way he expresses it.
Whatever we do not know, my brethren, let us know the cross; whatever subject may have a second place in our estimation, always let the ransomprice paid on Calvary be first and foremost. I would have you study much the four records of the evangelists. Dwell upon them.Christians ought to be familiar with every little incident of their Savior’s death: there is teaching in every nail; the sponge, the vinegar, and the hyssop all have a meaning in them, and the spear that pierced his side is full of instruction. We ought to study them – study them again, and again, and again. Here is the very essence of our confidence; this is the pillar upon which our souls lean. If there be any hope for sinners; if there be any consolation for sufferers; if there be any cleansing for the guilty; if there be any life for the dead, it is here…. O, dwell at the cross, then. Whatever your minds may forget to consider, let them never lose the savor of this, or leave the meditation of Christ crucified.
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled “A Holy Celebration.” Image by nosha on Flickr under Creative Commons License.
Never leave the meditation of Christ crucified… Blessings!