Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Crucified Man

Today I finally concluded my reading of John Stott's book The Cross of Christ. My intention is not to necessarily only post quotes from books, but I felt excerpts of the conclusion of this particular book was worthwhile to post as an encouragement.

"First, the cross is the ground of our justification. Christ has rescued us from the present evil age (Gal 1:4) and redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13)...

Second, the cross is the means of our sanctification. This is where the three other crucifixions come in. We have been crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20). We have crucified our fallen nature (Gal 5:24). And the world has been crucified to us, as we have been to the world (Gal 6:14)...

Third, the cross is the subject of our witness. We are to placard Christ crucified publicly before people's eyes, so that they may see and believe (Gal 3:1)...

Fourth, the cross is the object of our boasting. God forbid that we should boast in anything else (Gal 6:14). Paul's whole world was in orbit around the cross. It filled his vision, illumined his life, warmed his spirit. He "gloried" in it. It meant more to him than anything else. Our perspective should be the same.

To be an enemy of the cross is to set ourselves against its purposes. Self-righteousness (instead of looking to the cross for justification), self-indulgence (instead of taking up the cross to follow Christ), self-advertisement (instead of preaching Christ crucified) and self-glorification (instead of glorying in the cross) - these are the distortions which make us "enemies" of Christ's cross.

Campbell Morgan expressed it well:

It is the crucified man that can preach the cross. Said Thomas "except I see in his hands the print of the nails. . .I will not believe." Dr. Parker of London said that what Thomas said of Christ, the world is saying about the church. And the world is also saying to every preacher: Unless I see in your hands the print of the nails, I will not believe. It is true. It is the man. . .who has died with Christ, . . .that can preach the cross of Christ."