The Purpose of The Cross

By David J. Stewart | September 2018

Galatians 6:14, “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.”

       The cross is a symbol of tremendous suffering. Historically, particularly during the brutal Roman Empire, the worst criminals were crucified on a cross, as a horrific method of execution. Of all the possible ways to be executed, God the Father chose crucifixion for His only begotten Son.

Jesus had prior knowledge that He was going to die by the method of crucifixion. Matthew 20:18-19, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.”

The Lord often relates the believer's discipleship with the cross upon which He was going to die. Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

The purpose of the cross was two-fold, as evidenced in the following Scripture passage...

 1st Peter 2:21-24, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

Again, the purpose of the cross was two-fold:

First, it became the symbol and method of Christ's suffering FOR US, to pay for our sins.

Second, it became the symbol of the believer's denial of self, sin and worldliness and our suffering FOR HIM.

Matthew 10:38, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”

In the beautiful symbol of the cross of Calvary, we see both SALVATION and DISCIPLESHIP!

Granted, God does not require that we bare our cross in order to be saved; but rather, it is our “REASONABLE SERVICE.” Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Someone has pointed out that it is impossible to crucify one's self. You can only nail one hand down, but then someone else has to nail the other hand down. The Holy Bible doesn't tells us to crucify our self. The inspired Word of God teaches that if we live godly in Christ Jesus, the world will crucify us!!! 2nd Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” If you carry a Holy Bible, the world will give you up!!!

The most vile of repentant sinners are brought nigh to God through the blood of the cross...

Ephesians 2:13-16, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”

Any admitted sinner who repents (i.e., changes their mind) from a heart of unbelief, to believing the Good News (i.e., Gospel) of jesus Christ crucified on the cross, buried and bodily resurrected the third day is saved. God promises to save anybody who places their trust in the Gospel of grace. Anyone who receives Christ as the sacrifice for their sins on the cross is saved immediately, permanently, irrevocably, safely and forever! Salvation is received, not achieved. Eternal life is a free gift. Getting saved is a take proposition, not a give proposition. We simply take the gift that God offers to us, resting completely in the finished redemptive work of the dear Savior!!!

Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

The purpose of the cross was to become the vehicle by which Christ suffered, bled and died for our sins. And He died for the Sins “OF THE WHOLE WORLD.” 1st John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” This strongly reproves the Calvinist heresy of “Limited Atonement,” which says that Christ only died for the elect (i.e., the saints). Clearly, as you just read, the Lord became the propitiation (to appease God's wrath) for the SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD! Colossians 1:20, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” The precious blood which the resurrected Lamb of God sprinkled upon the heavenly Mercy Seat (Hebrews 9:12; 12:24), appeased the wrath of a holy God against mankind (Hebrews 9:24; Romans 5:9; John 3:36), making redemption possible to whosoever wants it through faith in the Son of God (Philippians 3:9; Galatians 3:26).

The blessed cross symbolizes Christ's suffering FOR US, as our dear Savior, who paid our sin debt in full! And likewise, the cross is a symbol of the believer's reasonable call to discipleship, to pick up our cross and follow the Lord, that we may suffer FOR HIM, because the world will crucify us too!

John 15:17-21, “These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.”

Thank God for the cross of Calvary, upon which our blessed Savior died for our sins! 1st Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” What a precious Savior!!!!!!!


Souls Are Dying!

How Permanent Is Your Salvation?
(an excellent MP3 sermon by Pastor Hank Lindstrom, 1940-2008)

Mark 1:15: “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

“The mark of the child of God is that he loves everybody!”
(a quote from Pastor Jack Hyles' classic MP3 sermon, “FORGIVENESS”)

Mark 11:22, And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness!