The Power of the Cross

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In the first century, crucifixion was a means used to execute criminals. The four gospel accounts provide record of the events that led up to and the actual occasion of the crucifixion of Christ. Treated and tried as a criminal, Jesus Christ was innocent of the earthly charges made concerning Him.  However, it was necessary that He be crucified. We are told that it was at the cross  where Jesus Christ made the atonement for sin. It is for this reason that the word of the cross for us who believe “is the power of God” (). The cross of Christ provides us with a powerful message. It is a pulpit in which the most amazing message is proclaimed. It was Augustine who said, “The cross was a pulpit in which Christ preached his love to the world”. How was this love preached? In Paul’s letter to the Romans we read concerning Christ,

“whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” ().

In these two verses the message of the cross is heard in two declarations:

The Cross Declared Divine Justice
God is righteous and just. Moses said concerning the Lord, “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (). Because this is who God is, everything He does is in accordance with what is right and just. This includes how He treats us. When we compare ourselves against God’s righteous standard it becomes crystal clear that we are sinful (cf. ). This means if God is going to be just, He must punish our sins.

How did the cross declare Divine justice? In God’s great mercy He provided a way in which His wrath would be satisfied. begins by saying what God the Father did concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood“. The word “propitiation” refers to the act of satisfying God’s wrath against sin. God’s wrath is justifiably towards all sinners and as we sin we are storing up more wrath against us (cf. ). How can this wrath ever be taken away? The solution is found in the cross. As stated earlier, in God’s great mercy He provided a way in which His wrath would be satisfied. The act of satisfying His wrath came when He “put forward” His own Son “as a propitiation”.

At the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ took our place by being “put forward” publically. This means, when He was crucified it was not done in secret, but God put His Son on public display at Calvary for all to see. According to , “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God“. At the cross Christ became sin on our behalf. We deserve to be punished; we deserved God’s fury to be unleashed on us. But those who come to God through faith in Christ Jesus had their sins imputed to Christ. He took your punishment, and God treated Him on that cross as if that was you. How amazing and humbling is that truth!

Simply put, when Jesus died on the cross He satisfied the Father’s anger and wrath towards sin. This act of sacrifice involved a cost and that was the very blood of Jesus Christ (cf. ).

The Cross Declared Divine Justification
Christ satisfied the wrath of God at the cross. However, if you are going to have a right standing before God, you must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Paul writes that this gift comes to “the one who has faith in Jesus” (). Faith is coming to God on the grounds of grace, understanding that we deserve to be punished by God for our sin. Therefore, having nothing to offer we trust and adhere to Jesus Christ as Lord, and by faith we place our full confidence and trust in Him. The words from the hymn “My hope is built on nothing less” convey the grand truth in this text,

“My hope is built on nothing less
 than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
 but wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.”

The power of the cross is seen in that God was both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Justice and love met at the cross thus forming the sound of the greatest message to ever be heard. The cross is indeed the pulpit of God’s love – this is the power of the cross.

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he.

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Romans 2:5

But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Christ our Advocate

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The people of God have much to rejoice over. The more one reads the Scriptures and studies the doctrine of salvation, they are reminded how much the Lord has done and how grateful we ought to be. One of the blessings of the gospel is that Christ is our Advocate. Continue reading Christ our Advocate

Hell: The Horror of Eternal Punishment (Part 1)

One cannot help but notice that the bulk of teaching on the doctrine of Hell comes from the very lips of the Lord Jesus Christ. In-fact, He taught on Hell more than He spoke about Heaven1. This then reveals the seriousness of this important subject. The Old Testament makes reference to the punishment of the wicked ( and ) and there are a number of references in the rest of the New Testament (; ; ; ; ; ; ; ) that do the same. Hell is a topic that ought to create a sense of sensitivity and sorrow to any listener. It is not an easy topic to talk about because of the horror related to it. Nonetheless, it is in the word of God and must be addressed.

The Reality of Hell
Hell is real. Despite the modern usage of hell as a reference to a state or condition of difficulty and discomfort – the Scriptures teach that it is a real place created by God for the purpose of punishing those outside of Christ (). Our Lord described it as follows: a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (), a fiery furnace (), outer darkness (Matt.22:13), unquenchable fire () and everlasting punishment (). Hell is certainly a horrible, terrifying and real place.

Continue reading Hell: The Horror of Eternal Punishment (Part 1)

24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”