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The Primacy of the Cross

February 27th, 2018

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. 1 Corinthians 1:18

So much of the Old Testament is prophetic of the cross. The pomp and ceremony of the Levitical sacrificial system all speaks to the cross. The Ark of the Covenant that rested in the Holy of Holies, which was visited by the high priest only one day a year – Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement – symbolized the presentation of Christ as the crucified Lamb of God for our sins before the throne of God.

Take this passage from Psalm 132:8-10:

Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your saints shout for joy.
For the sake of your servant David,
do not turn away the face of your anointed one.

It is not too difficult to see the relevancy of this passage to the Church and to our ministry of teaching and preaching – even to the devotional life of the disciple. Christ is the divinely appointed answer for our sin and when He is exalted to His proper place, and when it is preached that God is Holy and must judge sin, then it is like the Ark being respected and reverentially placed in its proper position. And the priests represent not just those who preach but every Christian – for we are all priests (Rev. 1:6) – that we would be covered by His righteousness. And “for the sake of your servant David” refers to the ministry of Christ, His ministry of intercession for us, for, as the scripture says, “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Heb. 7:25).

We must let God save us His divinely appointed way – through the cross of Christ and the Christ of the cross. Often we reason ourselves out of the cross itself, into some theory or another of the idea of intercession or the idea of suffering as being sufficient for our sins. Some will even say that we suffer for our sins here through our troubles and sicknesses, so that the payment has been made for our sins by our own lives. Others have concocted elaborate theories of pergatory where we suffer after death for our sins until we are allowed to be released and enter into heaven. But all of this is nonsense and unsubstantiated by the Bible.

It is not through some theory of intercession that we are saved – a theory that we may apply as we wish or upon our own whim. It is through the cross of Christ that we are saved, through His act of intercession and sacrifice and through that alone. When we limit that act, or try to find another way to God, we are rejecting the answer of heaven for our sins.

Have you rested in Christ and in His death for your sins? Have you trusted that in Him and in His cross you are forgiven and in His resurrection you are reconciled to God? This is the Christian profession – through Christ and through Him alone we are saved. This is the profession we must make to God personally, saying to Him: “Lord, I believe. I a sinner can find forgiveness through Christ and through Him alone. I repent and turn to Him in faith.”
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The words of Oswald Chambers today spoke to me: “The thing that taxes almightiness is the very thing which we as disciples of Jesus ought to believe He will do.” We often limit what we expect God will do because we fail to believe His promises. The one who receives the great blessings of scripture is the one who believes what the scripture says, that we are loved deeply by God. If we would live in God then we would live in the reality of His love. “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).

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