THE CROSS OF CHRIST, PART 4

The Purpose of the Cross

[Jesus Christ]…who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father… (Galatians 1:4)

The Cross of Christ finds its foreshadow in the Old Testament thousands of years before its reality in the New Testament. During the great Day of Atonement in Israel, the high priest would sprinkle all the vessels of the Tabernacle with blood, showing that it was now possible for all the people to enjoy the blessings which they represented. This ancient foreshadow is reflected in something Paul wrote to the Romans:

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

Thanks to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, everything we need for life and godliness is now available to us. Even before His sacrifice, Jesus tried to clue His followers in, not that they grasped this great truth when they heard it:

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

All that “asking and receiving,” “seeking and finding,” and all those “open doors” are made possible to the believer because of the Cross of Christ. But beyond what Jesus said in the Gospels, there are some very special benefits, blessings, and privileges bought by the Blood of Christ, and what follows are some of them.

1. Christ bought our freedom from all wickedness, Titus 2:14

…who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

“Wickedness,” or “iniquity” in the KJV, is both passive and and active. It’s passive in that it’s a state of being every sinner lives in. It’s active in the obvious sense that a wicked person commits wicked acts. One without Christ is wicked and he can’t help but commit wicked acts. It is from that life and from those acts that Blood of Christ delivers. To be redeemed from “all wickedness” is be set free from everything that blocks the redeemed sinner from becoming like the One who died for his sins.

It’s not enough to simply have your sins forgiven, but your whole life has to change: motives and attitudes, tempers and personalities that blur God’s plan for our lives must be changed. The Blood of Christ has purchased the whole man, therefore the whole man changes.

For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. (2 Corinthians 5:16, JBP)

2. Christ died to bring us to God, 1 Peter 3:18

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit…

The purpose for what happened on the Cross of Christ was not only to deliver us from wickedness, but to bring us to God.

No, you have been allowed to approach the true Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have drawn near to the countless angelic army, the great assembly of Heaven and the Church of the first-born whose names are written above. You have drawn near to God, the judge of all, to the souls of good men made perfect, and to Jesus, mediator of a new agreement, to the cleansing of blood which tells a better story than the age-old sacrifice of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22—24)

Count the number of times “you have drawn near” is written in those verses! What a blessing it is to “brought near” to God, not as a criminal, but as Blood-bought child of God.

But how, exactly, does the Blood of Christ do this?

  • When we come to Christ, we also come to know God personally, in a way that was not possible in our old lives. The promised Holy Spirit leads us into all truth concerning our Heavenly Father. We are able to experience God’s love, mercy, and grace like never before. The death of the Son of God reveals God to those who love Him.

  • The Cross of Christ brings us into God’s favor. We have been reconciled to God through the shed blood Jesus.

  • Through His death, we are able to become like Christ; we have been made “partakers of the divine nature.”

  • Thanks to the finished work of Christ, we are able at last to enjoy full, unfettered fellowship with God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God’s abiding presence may be enjoyed all the time by believers.

3. Christ died to secure our adoption, Galatians 4:4—5

But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.

Not only does God consider us to be His children by adoption, but—and this is the exciting part—all the privileges of God’s children have been purchased for us by the work of Christ. God becomes our Father when our sins are forgiven, the guilt and stain of those sins purged from us and when we place our full faith and confidence in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. At that moment, we become part of God’s great family, joint heirs with the Son of God. Because we are children of God, we are able to call God “our Father,” and we know that He hears us as any father would hear children.

4. Christ died for us to rescue us from this present age, Galatians 1:4

who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age…

Ours is a great heritage, thanks to the work of Christ. And yet, while we are living in the flesh—living in this world with sin and wickedness all around us—we continue to be exposed to the filth and corruption that characterizes this fallen society and world. Where it not for the continuous work of the Holy Spirit in us, we would be sucked right back into our former sinful state. One of the results of Christ’s death is the wonderful blessing of being “insulated” from the wickedness that swirls all around us. We have our Lord’s promise on this:

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (John 17:15)

That’s right, we may be protected from sin’s nefarious influence when we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Remember, the three Hebrews who were tossed into the fiery furnace? God didn’t keep them out of the furnace, but He kept the fire from touching them. We will always be delivered as we look to the Cross of Christ.

5. Christ died that we might live for God, 2 Corinthians 5:15

And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Here is a benefit of the Cross of Christ a lot Christians never take the time to think about. Christ died so that might be rescued from the awful condition of being self-centered. In Christ, we’re not supposed to be living for ourselves, but for God. The state of the average Christian’s life demonstrates that they don’t know this truth. Christ suffered for us, showing us how we are to live. The fact is, there is not a single born again believer who has the right to live as he pleases.

...you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20)

Notice: God did something for us, now we are to do something in return. He won’t force us to live for Him; He wants us to come to that realization ourselves. Living for Him is something we are to consciously do, each and every day. It has been made possible by the Coiss, but our efforts make it reality.

6. Christ died so that we would receive the Holy Spirit, Galatians 3:13—14

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Jesus Christ purchased our freedom from the curse of the law so that we could receive the promised Holy Spirit. This truth has prompted some scholars to conclude that, in a way, true Pentecost happened at Calvary. The infinite power of the Holy Spirit is ours through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11 KJV)

Nobody can receive the Holy Spirit until they have been redeemed by Christ who was a curse for us. The Blood of Christ must first cleanse the heart before the Holy Spirit can take up residence there.

7. Christ died so that He might become the Lord of both the living and the dead, Romans 14:9

For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Jesus Christ humbled Himself to the very lowest so that God could exalt Him to the very highest. Jesus Christ made Himself of “no reputation” and is now crowned “Lord of all!” And He redeemed us so that He might become the Lord of our lives.

For he gave himself for us all, that he might rescue us from all our evil ways and make for himself a people of his own, clean and pure, with our hearts set upon living a life that is good. (Titus 2:14 JBP)

Being Lord of all, Jesus Christ has all power in Heaven and on Earth. He is more than able to be your Lord in every sense of the word. Do you think there is any situation in your life that He cannot straighten out? Is there any anxiety you might be experiencing that He cannot change? Is your depression so deep that Jesus Christ can’t reach down and pull you up out of it? If Jesus Christ is your redeemer, then He must also be your Lord. And as your Lord, He owns you—all of you. He has an interest in you. Let the Lord of your life take care of you. Stop trying to do it all yourself. Learn how to submit to Him. It’s time for believers to let the Lord, their redeemer, take His rightful and permanent place on the throne of their  hearts. Only when that happens, will the Kingdom become real in your life, and His will be done.

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:10)

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