|The Centrality of the Cross|
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"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
All too often the Cross is seen as the "national flag" of the church. The Cross was never meant to be the mere nostalgic symbol of a religious system. Neither is the Cross a signpost. The Cross was not meant to re-direct our lives, but to end them. The Cross is not an ornament, but an instrument of death!
The cross was used by the Romans in the same way as we use the gallows, a gas chamber, an electric chair, or a firing squad. The Cross in the Bible is an instrument of death, yet out of it has come life. It was meant to be the sign of a curse, but it has become a symbol of God's blessing. It should have signified defeat, yet through it Christ achieved a triumphant victory. Christ has turned that instrument of destruction into the means of salvation.
The Centrality of the Cross
"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:3
The centre of the Christian Gospel is the Cross, and the salvation that God wrought on the Cross is the greatest act in all the history of mankind. It is no wonder that Paul could say:
"When I came to you, my brothers… I made up my mind to forget everything except Jesus Christ and especially His death on the Cross." 1 Corinthians 2:1, 2
The Necessity of the Cross
1. God is Holy and He cannot overlook sin. His justice must be maintained.
"God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be the One who justifies the man who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:25, 26
2. God's Law is immutable and His Holy Nature demands punishment of sin.
"God's curse on anyone who does not obey all of God's Laws and teachings." Deuteronomy 27:26
3. God had declared that the penalty for sin would be death.
"The soul who sins is the one who will die." Ezekiel 18:4
"For the wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23
4. Christ taught His disciples that the Atonement was necessary.
"These are the very things I told you about while I was still with you: everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the writings of the Prophets, and the Psalms had to come true… this is what is written: the Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later." Luke 24:44-46
The Major Theories of the Cross