Bible Lesson 222

THE WRONG SIDE OF THE CROSS

“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.”

“If I see aright, the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is rather, a bright ornament upon the bosom of self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men, the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. A.W. Tozer.

“THE CROSS HAS BEEN PRESENTED, OR SO IT SEEMS, FROM THE BACKSIDE AND FROM A DISTANCE. IT DOES NOT SHOW THE ABSOLUTE SHAME AND HORROR OF THE SIN, THAT IT FORGAVE. IT SHIELDS THE EYES OF SINNERS TO THE FACTS OF THE PAIN AND ABUSE THAT GOD IN THE FLESH SUFFERED, AS HE HUNG WHERE EVERY SINNER (INCLUDING YOU AND I) DESERVED TO BE NAILED. JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, GOD IN THE FLESH, WAS NOT NAILED THERE FOR HIS SIN; BECAUSE HE HAD NONE. HE WENT THERE AND DIED, SO THAT WE COULD LIVE FOR ETERNITY IN HEAVEN.” Brobob

This month we want to look at the Cross of Christ and the Christ of the Cross, and it should never be forgotten that it was not the cross that had any saving grace attached to it.

The Saving Grace is all from God through the suffering and death of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the God-man, as He was substituted and nailed to the cross; so that those who will be saved by God, would not be nailed to it. We deserved to be nailed where He was substituted and nailed to redeem those who would obey Him.

God makes no bones about it, instead He speaks to us through the Apostle John, there in John chapter 3 and verse 16, and says “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

Now there are people who have claimed that verse of scripture over the ages, that know no other verse of scripture. It seems to say to those who stop reading at that verse, which is not in context, that they are saved.

Chapter three of John is where the Pharisee, named Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and had that critical conversation with Jesus Christ. Nicodemus would qualify as a Bishop or Cardinal in some churches today, and yet He did not know the truth. Jesus cut the conversation off with a statement to Nicodemus that applies to you and I, and everyone who deals with Jesus Christ today. Jesus tells Nicodemus, in verse 3 of John chapter 3, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus could not understand what Jesus had stated as a condition of Salvation, and He was unable to understand earthly things that Jesus told Him, and naturally he would not understand when Christ spoke to him of heavenly things. Nicodemus was on the wrong side of the cross because He wanted to teach Christ what it was all about. Unfortunately, many today attempt to do that same thing.

What we must learn from the Bible is that the cross is all about God. Man, can do nothing except approach that cross and the Christ of that cross head on. We cannot elect another way because there is no other way. Jesus Christ, who was God in the flesh, says to us that “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” That means that there is only one way for any of us to be saved, and that is through Christ (Acts 4:12). That means that we must believe and submit to the Jesus Christ that is presented in the Bible. We cannot make an idol that fits what we like and want to believe about Christ, we must come having counted the cost of being His disciple, and loving Him more than we love spouses, children, mothers and dads and even our own lives.

It certainly does not mean that anything we are willing to bring to Christ will be accepted. We must come to Christ and His Cross with “nothing in my hand I bring, only to Thy Cross I cling.” Sinners have nothing to offer to Christ except repentance and obedience. We must come ready to take Christs yoke upon us and to wear that yoke as long as we walk here on this earth. Where do we find that path that leads to the right side of the Cross’ We find it in the Inspired and Inerrant Word of God, the Bible. Those who find the right view of the Cross and the Christ of the Cross, will learn that path when they read the Bible as the Word of God to man, regardless of whether it appeals to their nature or not.

Much of the time when we first begin to read the Bible, it will not appeal to our sinful hearts, and that is where a proper view of the Cross begins its work, in the heart of sinful men. Whenever a man, or woman sees the Cross, and the Christ of that cross, he/she will come to the knowledge that they are the ones who deserved to be nailed there. If God had not been Gracious and Merciful, in sending His Only Begotten Son to substitute Himself in their place, and die to redeem them from eternity in hell, they would have no hope. In true salvation, the person saved by Grace through Faith is called to Christ by the Father, put to death (crucified) spiritually, in Christ, nailed to His cross, they die there and are buried in Christ and with Christ, and then resurrected in Christ, to newness of life (Romans 6:1-14; Galatians 2:20). God regenerates those who He calls, and justifies them; because they have been made new creatures with Christ in them and them in Christ. That is a mighty work of God that transforms a sinner who was under Gods wrath, to a Saint, and one of God’s adopted children (Ephesians 2:10; 2nd Corinthians 5:17).

We must understand that God is the One who spoke all things that we know into existence. We find in the first verse of God’s Word the Bible, where we read, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. We cannot seek God and find ourselves on the right side of the Cross, if we believe that evolution is the way our world come into being. A God that could not simply speak and what He wanted happened, as a consequence of His desire, would be a god too small.

We have been taught and trained by our situation to just jump into something with little or no, understanding or knowledge and make something happen. Salvation belongs to God and only God can save. Our God is Sovereign over every atom that exists in the universes, and He is Sovereign over Salvation. You exist as a result of His Sovereign power that allowed you to be formed in your mother’s womb. You breathe and your heart beats this moment, because God allows it. You will never be saved unless you bow to that sovereignty and its God Jehovah. You will never find that right side of the cross, unless God leads you; and you follow because you are tired of your sinful self, and ready to give it up in favor of serving Him. That is the way that you will know when you are on the right side of the cross, when you see yourself by Gods light (John 1:1-5; John 3:16-21).

It is not uncommon in our time to find people who have thought that they had outgrown God. That we somehow have become so intelligent that we are too smart to believe in God; however, that puts us in Psalms 14:1 that speaks to that kind of foolishness and says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” There are many in our day that have summarily dismissed the idea of God, and normally that is because they think that they do not need God. They feel that as long as the wolf is not at their door, everything runs fairly smoothly, life is at least acceptable, so, they will be satisfied with the status quo.

Well, let me update you on the status quo! The status quo for our civilization is such that we have many things that are useful, but are not necessarily needful, things that lighten the load of work required but they make us weaker since we do not have to use our muscles to get the work done. We can argue as to whether that is good or bad, but the point that I want to make here is that the status quo is not necessarily our friend. What we must look to, is how is it affecting our Christianity. Have we allowed ‘things’ to replace what is important.

Has science and progress teamed up together to push us away from the God of the Bible. As we have grown accustomed to new and novel things, have we lost the connection between us and our God. Most of us today would be considered millionaires in many other countries. And We know that God has warned us that money is the root of all evil. We know that God did not want us to be in poverty, nor even in need; but he did intend that we recognize and aid those who really need help. That does not mean that we should feed those who are able to work and refuse to work as they depend upon others for their food (2nd Thessalonians 3:10).

I have said all of that to point out that we have become a soft people, a people who have adopted our government in many cases to be our fathers and mothers. We depend upon the Government at times of need instead of God. We do not respect the government, we simply use it to meet our needs. That sort of dependence has led us away from our Creator, and toward making the government an idol. That will cause us to miss the path to the right side of the cross. Do not be misled, God is still on His Throne, and time is passing everyday as we hurl toward our destiny, which will be for some, eternal life, but for others eternal death in the torments of hell fire.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob