Tag Archive for 'cross'

Opposition to Opposition of the Cross

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Mark 8:21-33

When I was a kid growing up in Roman Catholic Church, I would always get so mad at those people who crucified Jesus. I used to think, “Just imagine how much more Jesus could have done if he would have been able to keep teaching and healing. How could people do that to the Savior?” It’s still hard for me to read the passion part of the Gospels.

As it turns out, this is the same attitude that Peter (and most likely the other disciples) had. Even though Peter said this out of love for his friend and ‘the Messiah’ (Mark 8:29), they were rebuked soundly for saying just what Satan would want them to think.

The MacArthur Study Bible has a note where he says, “Jesus’ sacrificial death was God’s plan (Acts 2:22,23; 4:27-28), and whoever opposed it was, wittingly or not, advocating Satan’s work.”

In Mark 8:15, Jesus warned about the “yeast of Herod and the Pharisees”, who in part were opposed to the inbreaking kingdom of God (1 Cor 5:6-8), which was merely a human concern.

So now I think, “Imagine if Jesus didn’t come to die on the cross for our sins, be raised for our justification, and ascend to heaven to that he could send the Holy Spirit”, among so many other ramifications of the cross. After reading this in Mark, though, I realize that my perspective still needs adjustment.

The cross was planned before eternity. Over time I’ve written down verse references from the NT that apply to this.

Acts 2:22-23, Acts 4:27-28, 2 Tim 1:9, Titus 1:2, 1 Pet 1:20, Rev 13:8
Predicted–Acts 3:18, Acts 7:52 (Isaiah 53 among many others)

Recommended books:
The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul
The Cross of Christ by John Stott


Christ Died Because of My Sins

“Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas, for money; not Pilate, for fear; not the Jews, for envy; — but the Father, for love!”

–Octavius Winslow

God didn’t spare his own Son but handed him over to death for all of us. So he will also give us everything along with him.
Romans 8:32 GW

“As we face the cross, we can say to ourselves both ‘I did it, my sins sent him there’ and ‘he did it, his love took him there.'”

–John Stott

I used to have a hard time with that. I didn’t send him there. I would never do that! But if I want to be saved, I have to admit I’m a sinner not worthy of being with a holy God that I’ve always wanted to be in relationship with. In order for me to have that, I need to accept and embrace the fact that Christ wouldn’t have died it if wasn’t for my/our sin(s). I need to humble myself and admit that so that I can receive God’s gift and be at peace with him.

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
Romans 5:1 NET

Books About The Cross


Westminster Books (click to see all three) has three books on the cross on sale through 3.13.14 that look really good. I would just buy them if I didn’t have so much else to read and I wanted to pay for shipping.

Jesus Keep Me near the Cross

Salvation by Crucifixion

Final Days of Jesus

I don’t usually post this type of thing, but I thought this looked especially good. These are affiliate links.

Quote of the Day: Jesus, The Cross and Love for God

There is an error to avoid, the danger of seeing the loving obedience of Christ as primarily and exclusively for the sake of man, when in fact, it was primarily out of love for God that He accepted the cross.

–Frederick S. Leahy, The Cross He Bore

Making the Gospel Seeker Sensitive

There have been volumes written against making the gospel more palatable for those who are “seekers”, whatever that means, and contextualizing the gospel, for which there are many definitions.

I think it can be narrowed down to this:

1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

I would gather that seeker-sensitive preachers and evangelists don’t want to make the the gospel sound like foolishness. But if we make it more palatable and use logic and worldly wisdom so that people will accept it on an intellectual level without truly believing, they are putting some of them on rocky soil right from the start. Is that what we want to do to people?

2 Peter 2:21 NRSV
For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was passed on to them.

Jesus and Paul didn’t make it easy enter the kingdom. (Matt 7:13-14, Matt 19:21-22)

Regarding the cross as foolishness, here are some quotes from commentators:

Longenecker, Galatians:

Today, after almost two millennia of the cross as a sacred symbol, it is difficult for Christians to appreciate the repugnance and horror with which the cross was viewed among both Jews and Gentiles in the first century. The only things comparable in our day would be venerating an electric chair or wearing a hangman’s noose around our necks as a symbol of our religious devotion. Indeed, as Paul says in 1 Cor 1:23, the proclamation of ‘Christ crucified’ was ‘a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.’

Garland, 1 Corinthians:

He [Paul] does not say that he preached the resurrected Christ, but the crucified Christ. Crucifixion and resurrection belong together as part of the gospel story (1 Cor 15:3-5), but the cross was repugnant to ancient sensibilities and assailed the world’s self-centeredness and self-destructive ways. It was not yet the ‘old rugged cross’ sentimentalized in hymns, embalmed in stained-glass windows, perched on marble altars, or fashioned into gold charms.

Christianity was cradled in what looks like disastrous defeat, and the unspeakable stigma of the cross exposed the preacher of this message to woeful contempt. Paul, however, did not refer to Jesus’ death with embarrassment or skip over the awkward facts.

…the message of the cross is an antidote to human self-glorification.

Paul left…yielding, to the persuasion of the Spirit.

The Cross

The cross has become a piece of jewelry, a beautiful decoration in a church, a symbol of faith. It is difficult for us to pass back through the centuries of tradition to see crucifixion as a form of capital punishment so horrible that polite people would not so much as mention it… If the idea of crucifixion was abhorrent to decent people in the ancient world, imagine the difficulty of trying to convince them that a god—indeed, the God—had willingly endured such a punishment.

— Thomas Schmidt (from A Scandalous Beauty)

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

What Does Propitiation Mean?

[pruh-pish-ee-ey-shuhn] or [pro-pish-ee-ey-shuhn]

Propitiation: peace with God forever at CAMPONTHIS
Be sure to listen to the excellent Podcast which lasts about 15 minutes.

Some translations use “atoning sacrifice”, “sacrifice of atonement” or “expiation” (RSV) among others. If you want to read more about why different terms are used you can find plenty on the web by using Google.

These are the four instances the term is used.

Romans 3:25
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.

Hebrews 2:17
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

1 John 2:2
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Legalism and Low Grade Guilt

Here are a couple of quotes from Living the Cross Centered Life that I think go together.

Here’s a simple definition I use: Legalism is seeking to achieve forgiveness from God and justification before God through obedience to God.

A legalist is anyone who behaves as if they can earn God’s forgiveness through personal performance.

The subtle and serious error of legalism is a sinful fruit from sinful roots.

Thomas Schreiner writes that ‘legalism has its origin in self worship. If people are justified through their obedience to the law, then they merit praise, honor and glory. Legalism, in other words, means the glory goes to people rather than God.’

That’s how serious legalism is. The implications are staggering, because legalism claims in essence that the death of Jesus on the cross was either unnecessary or insufficient. It says to God, in effect, ‘Your plan didn’t work. The cross wasn’t enough and I need to add my good works to it to be saved.’

Philippians 3:9
not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith–

Do you see any traces of condemnation in your life? Don’t be surprisee if you do. But don’t keep carrying the burden! Because of the gospel’s power you can be completely free of all condemnation.

Not mostly free; completely free.

Don’t buy the lie that cultivating condemnation and wallowing in your shame is somehow pleasing to God, or that a constant, low-grade guilt will somehow promote holiness and spiritual maturity.

It’s just the opposite! God is glorified when we believe with all our hearts that those who trust in Christ can never be condemned. It’s only when we receive His free gift of grace and live in the good of total forgiveness that we’re able to turn from old, sinful ways of living and walk in grace-motivated obedience.

Isaiah 1:18, Romans 8:1, Hebrews 11:6, 1 Peter 3:18

God’s Wisdom

1 Corinthians

The Corinthians were very much into secular wisdom, individualism, egocentricity, prestige, power, philosophy, debate, etc.

I love how God in His wisdom had Paul preach what is foolish to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 1:21-24
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

It’s interesting how Jesus and Paul made it more difficult to be saved than easy. They wanted to make sure that Christians are true believers who are drawn by God and spoken to by the Holy Spirit instead of those who just agree with the Gospel on an intellectual level and don’t truly believe or love God.

What could be more foolish to people like the Corinthians than a person dying on a cross? David Garland in his commentary on 1 Corinthians says, “To be full of oneself as a golden-tonged orator is the opposite of emptying oneself (of oneself), which is the paradigm presented by the cross.” He goes on later to say, “He does not say that he preached the resurrected Christ, but the crucified Christ. Crucifixion and resurrection belong together as part of the gospel story (1 Corinthians 15:3-5), but the cross was repugnant to ancient sensibilities and assailed the world’s self-centeredness and self-destructive ways. It was not yet the ‘old rugged cross’ sentimentalized in hymns, embalmed in stained-glass windows, perched on marble altars, or fashioned into gold charms.”

There were no altar calls or asking people to pray the sinner’s prayer. The message was simple. The persuasion was left to the Holy Spirit.

As a side note I found that 1 Corinthians 1:21 (a) and 1 Corinthians 1:29 serve as bookends to what is explained in between. Together they are, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”

It’s unlikely that the typical Corinthian (or us) is going to boast in something that seems foolish to us. Salvation through someone’s death on a cross is not something anyone would come up with in their own wisdom. And even if they did, it’s not something they would present as an orator for people to marvel at.