Discovering The Cross Of Christ 06

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

2 Corinthians 2:11

Satan is very subtle. He knows you will not accept any lies about Jesus. Instead, he will ask you questions about Jesus’ willingness to work in your life. These will always be framed in your “worthiness” to receive from God.

“What makes you think God will bless you after your mess?”

“Didn’t you lie to your spouse and forget to read your Bible yesterday?”

You may not have thoughts precisely like these but have probably had similar types of questions float through your mind at one point or another. Most of us would never let Satan mock Jesus but would allow him to question our “worth” or “holiness.” Suppose you are like me, then you’ve probably even joined in with him to declare how unworthy you are to expect anything from God!

I was saved in a denomination church with a lot of religious tradition and ended up on the “works” treadmill for some time. They taught me that walking in the power of the Spirit required a commitment to pray for hours each day. I prayed and memorized Scriptures day after day with seemingly no result. My hunger for the things of God became so intense that I even tried bartering with God.

“I’ll commit to praying for five hours daily if you give me your power.”

Have you ever done anything like this? It was an endless journey that seemed to only push me further and further from God until I discovered the message of the cross. You cannot begin to imagine the freedom available to any who will gain a revelation of what was accomplished and now a present-tense reality for all who will receive it.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

God will never condemn us, but unfortunately, we will. Jesus obtained eternal redemption for you (Hebrews 9:12) and paid the price for every sin you will ever commit. I ministered to a man once who lived under a heavy weight of condemnation. He recited his sins and asked if I thought God could ever forgive him. My answer shocked him. I told him that God could not offer him forgiveness because God had already forgiven every sin before committing them.

You must understand that God will never move in your life according to your goodness. None of us could ever measure up to His standard, so He sent Jesus to serve as the sacrifice for our sins. The cross is so much more than a religious cliche. It was where the price was paid for every sin committed by every human from Adam forward.

My goal in this book is for you to gain a revelation of Jesus’ redemptive work, which is the central message of the cross. The Bible associates the cross with Jesus’ work completed independent of our works or self-righteousness. I will even go so far as to say that the cross and our salvation have nothing to do with us or our ability to live holy lives.

Jesus paid the total price due for our sins. We cannot add any of our “goodness” to it, and trying to do so only cheapens Jesus’ death. We cannot “earn” salvation as it has been paid for and made available to all who will receive it through God’s grace.

If you want to experience the freedom available in your salvation, you must eliminate any trace of religious thought that God requires anything from you. He desires to move in your life and will do so only based on Jesus’ completed work.

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)

What do you think Paul meant when he wrote this verse? I don’t think he was encouraging his readers to glory in the actual wooden cross. We make pendants and necklaces depicting it, but the cross is not a religious relic carrying some special anointing.

Religious traditions cause people to glorify objects and make them relics to worship. I do not believe that this was what Paul was telling his readers. Instead, his goal appears to be encouraging readers to glorify Christ’s redemptive work on the cross more than on their efforts to “earn” His grace.

Paul had first preached the Gospel to the Galatian people. He preached the cross to them and talked about Jesus’ death in such a vivid way that they could visualize His sufferings in their minds (Galatians 3:1). They had responded to Paul’s messages and received salvation.

Salvation is a gift provided by God through Christ’s redemptive work at no charge. You do not have to barter with God or go through any ritual to receive. We can find no Biblical evidence that rites such as confirmation or catechism are required to receive it. Jesus paid for it with His blood; our role is to receive by faith.

There are denominations today that tell us that water baptism is essential for God to move in our lives. Others say that the standard of holiness to which we attain determines His willingness to bless us. Neither camp can provide Biblical evidence for these teachings.

1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:1 – 3)

Paul was not hesitant to correct the church at Galatia. They were moving backward in their Christian walk and had begun to emphasize works over grace. They essentially turned their focus away from Jesus to their “goodness.”

Believers throughout Church history have followed the path of Paul’s audience. It seems that those with a revelation of Jesus’ redemptive work are in the minority. For Galatia, the big issue was circumcision; for us, it would be different. The common factor is an emphasis on our works over Jesus’ to earn God’s favor.

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