SIGNIFICANCE AND PURPOSE OF THE CROSS
P. Samuel Manoharam
The death of Christ on the Cross is the most important event in history, as it is the only saving way for forgiveness of sins of the entire mankind, to go to God, after separation from Him. It provides salvation to sinners, by His great divine act.
Whenever I spiritually gaze at the Cross of Christ, I am inspired to wonder at the amazing way God has shown His matchless and marvellous love towards the entire humanity. Is it not the wonder of wonders to know that God loves sinners, so greatly and so unfathomably that He even planned to die for them, through the amazing sacrificial death of His dear Son, Jesus, for reconciling all sinners to Himself? God loves sinners, but hates our sinning.
Many thoughts flash through my mind, while meditating on the cross. I present briefly some of them, which may be of help to others in their meditation.
The cross is the supreme expression and demonstration of Godís sacrificial love for the entire mankind:
- It is a symbol of Christian faith.
- It is an emblem of suffering.
- It reveals Godís love at its best and manís sin at its worst.
- It is our hope and the only hope for our Eternal Life.
- It brings us freedom from sin and guilt.
- It is the price God had to pay, for the forgiveness of sins of the entire mankind.
- It is the pathway to heaven.
- It has achieved justification for us. (This means God pardons our sins and accepts us as righteous).
- It is the meeting place of the love of God and the wrath of God.
- It is the Throne of grace, because it saves us, changes our life, our values.
- It is an assurance of deliverance from the devil and his power.
- It has broken the kingdom of the devil.
- It has inaugurated Godís kingdom on earth.
- It offers us Christ-centred nature, which is self-surrender and self-sacrifice.
- It is the source of all the glory, because it removed the veil between God and man, for us to enter into the Glory of Godís presence.
- It is the key that unlocks Godís mystery, for providing salvation to manís sins.
- It is the place where God ultimately identified Himself with man.
- It is the Judgement seat of the world. It is, at this seat, men are really judged.
- It reveals Godís heart for those, who even disobeyed and separated from Him.
- It is a measure of our worth to God. This means how much God values our lives.
- At the cross two things happened. One is reconciliation: Christ taking the penalty of our sins in His own body. The other is revelation of His own loving heart towards us.
- The cross is Godís love and Godís grace in action.
- It bears the punishment of all the sinners in the world.
- It is inseparably connected with the redemption of the sinful mankind. This means: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming a curse for us. God provided a substitute, Jesus, to absorb His wrath on us, for our sins, by diverting it from us to Himself.
To Live Is Christ
The way of the cross is the way of sacrificial suffering and death. The Bible says : "To live is Christ and to die is gain." To live is Christ means, we should avail every opportunity to live for Christ and to serve Him during our life on earth. To die is gain means, we should have no fear of death at all, because for a Christian, death is nothing but entering into the very fullness of life in the amazing heavenly Presence of Jesus. This is something waiting for us, beyond our present life. So, death is just a sleep only. It is something like an ugly caterpillar (insect larva), which thinks that its death is the end of life, but the beautiful butterfly, on transformation, thinks it is just the beginning of a wonderful new life. In our case, after physical death, there is going to be a glorious eternal life for us with Jesus in heaven. We should therefore welcome death as a friend. So, to die is gain, as Apostle Paul said. This is the splendid work of the Cross of Christ !
The above reveals a great wonder and mystery that God Himself came into this world, in the flesh, to give Himself as an offering for every manís sin, in order to provide salvation of our souls.
May this message provide answers to some of the questions anyone can ask about the cross: Why did Christ suffer and die such a brutal death on the cross? What is the purpose of Christís death? What did Christ achieve by His death?
The depth and scope of the message of the cross is really mysterious and unfathomable. May this message serve to deepen our spiritual life.