The Christian life is based on certain principles that provide us success in the after life, but also here on earth. This is where we learn about the importance of the Cross of Christ.
When we refer to the “Cross”, we are talking about a foundation of Christianity which is based on every benefit delivered to us by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Of first importance was the fact that Jesus was crucified and shed His blood in order to redeem us back to God. This selfless act literally purchased us for God and paved the way for an eternal relationship.
Ephesians 1:7-8 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
But, on further inspection we find that there were other advantages that the Cross offered us.
- The Curse We were freed from the curse once imposed upon mankind for failing to live up to God’s standards.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
- The Serpent- The Serpent has had power over Adam’s race, but he has lost power over those who are now found in Christ.
Colossians 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
- The Law – The Law of Moses was moved out of the way as our chief standard of performance.
Colossians 2:14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
- The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – The Tree which is synonymous with how fallen man thinks and acts has been moved out of the way. No longer do we have to gauge the meaning of life based on our own standards of good and evil.
Colossians 2:20-21 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
- Sin nature – The fallen nature of man is always set towards rebellion, but every act of disobedience has been crucified.
Romans 6:1-3 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Romans 6:6-7 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
- Sin behavior – Behavior that is unfitting for God’s people is the result of men moving and acting upon their old nature; this is the Adamic nature. Acts that lead to sinful behavior have been removed at the Cross.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Romans 7:5-6 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
The above verses make another important point. Unbeknownst to many Christians, it wasn’t only Jesus that died on the Cross; it was also the place of our death. No, we didn’t die physically; instead Jesus supernaturally invited us into His own death so that we could come to know His life. In this way everything that once bound us to the fall or made us improperly relate to the world can get moved out of the way. Even today there is no limit as to how many ways our lives can be changed at the Cross of Christ. This process can be summed up in one simple statement:
Jesus died for your redemption; but you died with Christ to gain transformation.
Once we let the Cross separate us from our former way of life, the resurrection power of God begins to move in our hearts, minds and actions. Jesus raises us up into a new and living way which is empowered by His Spirit.
Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
What a wonderful gift! Our present and future lives can now be free of all sorts of added clutter and the things that have lied to us about life with God.
Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
The miracle of the Gospel (the good news) has offered us a way out from the trappings of our old man and entrance into abundant life with Jesus. This was all given to us right from the start and it now sits before us just waiting for a convert. So how do we believe and properly respond?
Our only true means of making the Gospel work is to agree with the One that provided it without defect.
Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes and so is justified, and with the mouth he confesses and confirms salvation.
In the Greek, the word “confess” is “homologeo” and is defined as: saying the same thing as another, i.e. agreeing with; conceding to confess, declare; professing to declare openly, speak out freely; praising and celebrating. Other scriptures that bring forth the same truth are: Matt. 10:32, 1 Tim. 6:12, Heb. 13:15, 2 Cor. 4:13. The emphasis on agreement with God is alive throughout the scriptures, and if we want, it can be alive within each one of us.
Paul the Apostle trusted in this very thing; he believed that a new life was available for him by agreeing with God’s work on the Cross. Let Paul’s confession be a precursor to our own declarations of freedom.
Application – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Simply stated, if we don’t allow Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection to resonate within our faith, then there is nothing that can properly carry us on into God’s abundant life. Paul expounds upon this very subject by saying:
Romans 8:11-14 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
Now, please consider that if we haven’t trusted the Spirit of God to properly separate us from man’s pattern of folly, then our lives have been frustrated along the way. If our natural man has been leading with his own brand of reason then he has improperly put his hands on every aspect of life, love and commitment. He not only complicates his existence, but due to his fallen attitudes he aggressively dominates the scene in physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual ways.
This is our battle in a nut shell. Will it be our fallen viewpoint that rules our hearts and minds or is it time to truly trust in the life of our Savior? Fallen activities may not disqualify us for heaven; however dabbling in the world can certainly divert our course. OK so how do we get this ball rolling?
The Purpose Driven Death
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Most believe that their life follows a timeline that can never be altered (Linear thinking). This pervading attitude suggests we are a culmination of all our previous good and bad choices. These choices represent “contracts” that we have made with the world, with others and even with a spiritual realm. Yet if we continue to live our lives while under the weight of inferior choices we allow yesterday to alter the course of our tomorrow. Our actions have actually kept us bound to our old man’s lifestyle, one which is still subject to a backlog of contractual failures, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
We often forget that salvation is about something new and we who have been brought into the Kingdom of God are invited to jump into God’s newness at any time. That means God provides us a way to set aside any inappropriate obligation we once made in the flesh. Subsequently the beauty of the New Covenant offers us redemption which purchases us for God, but it also buries all our poor choices six feet under. The Cross and the resurrected life of God’s Son can provide us a perpetual platform for change. It is here that we begin to participate in what the Word calls “sanctification” or “renewing the mind”. We set aside all the limits of mankind’s fallen ways and put on all the advantages of Christ’s very own nature. This is one reason that the Christian life can be seen as a progressive journey. It is simply that we have yet to realize all the benefits of walking in God’s strength and salvation. Yes, we’re eternally saved, but our daily choices and actions may still need a Savior.
Colossians 3:2-3 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
So, if our ancestors were unwise and we too played the fool, we can now know a better existence based on Christ’s transforming power. Jesus purchased all of humanity for God through one act of obedience and this can rid us of old patterns of performance. Which old patterns you may ask? The answer is; All of them! The bad contracts we learned when we were young, the ones accepted in our twenties, even the ones we made just yesterday.
Consider the true value of what is being said here; If you had an OFF switch how many ways would you want to use it?
What attitudes and actions would you want to escape? How many bad choices or agreements would you want to leave behind? How many ways would you want to separate from improper ownership, obligation or faulty thinking?
The Cross of Christ is a big OFF switch for wherever we remain stuck in the world.
This sounds so elementary yet it is actually the deciding factor in determining whether we are held captive to Adam’s folly or are finally at rest in God’s marvelous Kingdom. When we agree with what Jesus did for us two thousand years ago, we start to set aside our subjection to this fallen world. By sending all our dysfunction through the work of the Cross we are being made new in the attitudes of our minds and hearts. The old way of living has died and a new purpose and perspective has been established in the Resurrection life of our Savior. As we embrace this marvelous aspect of salvation we can finally understand what God meant by abundant life.
Certainly all believers experienced the fruit of supernatural transformation at the time of salvation. This was a genuine introduction to how God has made all things new. However if we were never told about the work of the Cross or the transformed life, then it is very probable that we returned to making choices that depend on our natural reason to get us through the day.
If we didn’t know we could leave our fallen ways, then we simply kept playing the world’s fallen games.
If we shun the importance of the Cross or shelve its message we are actually pushing away the very thing, (the only thing) that continues to perfect us in our walk with God. If salvation first came to us because of the work of the Cross then our Christianity should continually thrive in its presence. Certainly we should never fear being in close proximity to its transforming power, simply because it is the only vehicle for gaining a changed life in Jesus. Without this living and active means of transformation our future would remain under the weight of our past.
God has provided us a way of escape out from the limitations of the old man, the world and the Devil. If you find yourself still serving bad habits, fallen behavior, or sinful actions then take the time to ask God for relief.
Jesus is waiting for you on the other side of the Cross!
“Jesus, take me into your death concerning this matter (name one) so that I can know your life”
You’ll find that He is delighted that you asked and ready to show Himself as your Deliverer.