Monday, March 24, 2014

Salvation Comes Through the Cross

There is definitely no shortage of books this Easter season to help us focus on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. From Thabiti Anyabwile's; "Captivated" to the Work by Justin Taylor and Andreas Kostenberger, "The Final Days of Jesus", which focuses on Passion Week and offers a more devotional and reflective tone.
I recently received a copy of Salvation by Crucifixion by Phillip Graham Ryken. It's a very small book but it is as Mark Dever states on the back cover "loaded'. It's short length makes it an ideal book to read and re-read, not just for the Easter season but throughout the year. It is an excellent way to remind ourselves of the work and love of Christ, to remind ourselves of the glorious gospel.

There are many gems in Salvation by Crucifixion, like this one;

"Human beings do not approach God on an even footing. We come to Him having already accumulated an enormous debt, the debt we owe to God because of our sin. All the lies we have told, all the curses we have uttered, all the wounds we have inflicted, and all the worship we have withheld amount to an enormous debt of sin. How could a vast debt ever be settled?"

What a statement! The last half of that sentence is what struck me, "all the worship we have withheld." How many times do we focus on only the sins of commission that we are guilty of? We rarely if ever think about the worship that we deflect or ascribe to other gods. But whether it be our sins of commission or omission, we have a tremendous hope in the wisdom and the grace of the cross of Jesus Christ;

"This is where God's wisdom comes in. God did not set up an elaborate payment plan that would take an eternity for sinners to pay off. Rather, the entire debt was settled on the cross. God accepted the sacrificial death of His Son as the full payment for sin. Jesus paid for each and every last sin when He was crucified. He died on the cross so that God could forgive all the sins of all His people all at once."

I couldn't help but think of 2 Corinthians 5:21 when I read that. What a tremendous assurance we have as believers in Jesus! He became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God! All of our filthiness for His holiness, all of our sinfulness for all of His righteousness!
The world around us would look at this good news and say, what foolishness, there is no way that it's that easy, and then there are others who trust a god who allows them to live as they please and still lets them come into his presence, with no righteousness whatsoever to cover themselves from the true and pure holiness of the One true God. To the foolishness that the world would state concerning the cross, Ryken states it simply;

"Sadly, some people do not understand the cross, and some of them never will. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ will remain foolish to them until the day of judgement. This is because the cross only makes sense to those who are saved by it. (1 Corinthians 1:18) To put this another way, the cross only makes sense to those who trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation. For them, the cross is the proof of God's love and the miracle of God's forgiveness. It is neither weak nor foolish, but strong and wise."

Great stuff from Phillip Graham Ryken. With the plentiful selection of books on the cross this year, pick up a copy of this tiny power house of a book, you won't be disappointed.


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