THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE – (PART II) (THE CROSS OF CHRIST)

SCRIPTURE

Not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered once for all into the Holy of Holies, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12)

INTRODUCTION
In part one of our article on the above topic, “The Ultimate Sacrifice” (The Cross of Christ)
we pointed out that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross to save mankind was the most shameful death by anyone, yet it was designed that way, that the most abhorrent might bring the most glorious. We also indicated that sacrifices involve many things. But this Ultimate Sacrifice involved three things – a cross, a Saviour and a crown. The first was in the past, the second is in the present and the third will be in the future.

Enjoy the concluding part of the article and share it with others!

THE CROSS: THE EMBODIMENT OF MAN’S REDEMPTION
Man’s record of assistance spins uncontrollably between the realms of ‘unwilling when able and unable when willing’. Not so with Christ Jesus. Jesus’ mission in life was to save man. He Himself said concerning His mission: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” – Mark 10:45. (NIV)

At the core of that package was restoration of all that man lost in the Garden of Eden. He loved us too much to leave us to our own devices and sin’s dreary mire into which we had sunk. He alone also had the power to meet the demands of the law which we violate with impunity.

He chose to do that which none other was able or willing to do. Our sin was costly; we owed the debt of sin that we could not pay and Jesus paid the debt that He did not owe.
A lot of people do not realize what was lost, so they don’t feel the sense of loss. But man—that is, humanity—lost a lot. Eden was idyllic. It was peaceful, a place of beauty, where everything was declared ‘perfect.’ There was no pain, no sickness, no extreme temperature, and no drought. Man and animals lived together in harmony. The fishes in these as lived in harmony. None fed on the other. [I struck out this to avoid any confusion with New Agers and the heresy of Emergent Churches that is introducing ancient mysticisms into Christianity] There was harmony in all of God’s creation. God communed with His children, every evening He would go down to talk about the day with them. They could see, touch, laugh with and embrace God. But with sin, all was lost—but for Christ’s intervention.

THE CHANNEL TO ACCOMPLISH THAT MISSION WAS A CROSS
Barabbas Cross, My Cross: Yet the cross is not the issue, but He who hung on the cross. Jesus Christ hung on Barabbas’ cross. Afterwards, it came to symbolize life to all men until the end of time. Had it remained Barabbas’ cross, humanity would have been no better off today than in the hopeless state that plagued us after our sin in Eden.

The cross on which Jesus Christ hung has long since rotted away, but because the Sinless Lamb of God hung on it, that cross came to take on a life of its own.
No longer just the cross, but now the Cross of Jesus. Not susceptible to termite and decay, but alive and potent in the heart of every believer. Able to save to the uttermost every male, female, young, old, poor or rich person from Calvary to the end of the world, the Cross of Christ lives on today.

The Apostle Paul with his impeccable academic references, his excellent cultural and social pedigree, and his un-impeached adherence to religion-cultural norms, un-equalled and unparalleled passion for perfection of the status quo, declared fervently about his achievements: “…. I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”- Philippians 3:8 (NIV)

He chose not to glory in his accomplishments and achievements. He chose rather to boast in the cross of Christ, the most abhorring object of death at that time: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians 6:14 (NIV) “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)

On that old, rugged cross on Calvary, the Son of God died to save man from his sins. There His blood was shed so that we will not have to die for our sins. That cross stands today, no longer representing shame and death, but as the symbol of redemption from sin and restoration back to our Creator.

Tears flow from the eyes of sinful man when we contemplate the depth of agony and love that mingled on that cross to complete the Ultimate Sacrifice. It is what has transformed our lives today and given us the right to be called the children of God. George Bennard captured it well in His well-sung hymn: The Old Rugged Cross.

As you ponder on the words, remember His pain. Reflect on His sacrifice. Review your life. He was nailed to the cross once for your sins. Celebrate the release from the bondage of sin that represents for you and do not nail Him to the cross again with your decisions and actions.

THE OLD RUGGED CROSS:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame; And I love that old cross where the dearest and best;
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain: So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
‘Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.

 

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above;
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see;
For ‘twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died;
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

To Ponder: George Bennard further said that ‘the cross is the only ladder high enough to touch Heaven’s threshold.’ It is clear that there is no other hope for man. We are dead without Christ Jesus for we cannot pay the penalty of sin. He was nailed to the Cross for us that we might be saved. Why not take Him up on the offer of that salvation?
Stay Blessed!
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