The Scandal of the Cross
This entire week I have been contemplating on what to write. Yet each time I began to write, especially about things concerning Easter, Good Friday, and Passion Week, my mind came back to my previous post on my testimony. That is what this week is all about, is it not? It is about Christ crucified; sinners justified; death mortified; and God glorified. It all surrounds a cross, a stumbling block, a scandal, to Jews and Gentiles alike. When we look upon the cross we see death that is to be our life. We see wounds that are to heal. We see wrath laid upon Christ, yet we receive grace. I see grace greater than all our sin.
J.C. Ryle spoke about the cross saying:
Would I know the length and breadth of God the Fatherâ€™s love towards a sinful world? Where shall I see it most displayed? Shall I look at His glorious sun, shining down daily on the unthankful and evil? Shall I look at the seed time and harvest, returning in regular yearly succession? Oh, no! I can find a stronger proof of love than anything of this sort. I look at the cross of Christ: I see in it not the cause of the Fatherâ€™s love, but the effect. There I see that God so loved this wicked world, that He gave His only begotten Son,-gave Him to suffer and die-that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. I know that the Father loves us, because He did not withhold from us His Son, His only Son.
Not only does it show the great love, it shows the utter sinfulness of sin — something we daily fail to grasp. Once more, J.C. Ryle helps us understand.
Ah, if I listened to the wretched talk of proud men I might sometimes fancy sin was not so very sinful; but I cannot think little of sin when I look at Calvary. Would I know the fullness and completeness of the salvation God has provided for sinners? Where shall I see it most distinctly? Shall I go to the general declarations in the Bible about Godâ€™s mercy? Shall I rest in the general truth that God is a God of love? Oh, no! I will look at the crucifixion at Calvary. I find no evidence like that: I find no balm for a sore conscience and a troubled heart like the sight of Jesus dying for me on the accursed tree. There I see that a full payment has been made for all my enormous debts. The curse of that law which I have broken, has come down on One who there suffered in my stead; the demands of that law are all satisfied: payment has been made for me even to the uttermost farthing. It will not be required twice over. (Source)
Another great quote comes from Stephen Charnock:
When we shall see judgment in the world, what comfort can we take without a knowledge and sense of a crucified Christ? What a horror is it for a condemned man to see the preparation of the gibbets, halters and executioners? But when he shall see a propitiation made for him, the anger of the Prince atoned, the Law some other way satisfied, and his condemnation changed into remission; all his former terrors vanish, and a sweet and pleasing calm possesses himâ€¦ When we tremble under a sense of our sins, the terrors of the Judge and the curses of the Law, let us look upon a crucified Christ, the remedy to all our miseries. His Cross has procured a crown. His passion [death] has expiated our transgressions. His death has disarmed the Law. His blood has washed a believers soul. This death is the destruction of our enemies, the spring of our happiness, the eternal testimony of divine love. We have good reason, as well as the apostle Paul, to determine with ourselves to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and especially him crucified. (Source.)
May we all determine with ourselves to know nothing but Jesus Christ, and especially him crucified.