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The Cross of Christ


cfake3.jpgJune 5, 2017 (Monday)

Yesterday's blog featured the hymn, "Near the Cross." The chorus declares, "In the Cross, In the Cross be my glory ever."

The Cross is all-important to our faith as Christians. The Apostle Paul communicated its meaning and importance through many references in his letters. One that stands out in my memory today is Galatians 2:20 (NIV):

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
This is a mystical verse. On the one hand, Paul declares, "I no longer live." On the other, he says, "I now live." The general subject under discussion by Paul is the Law. He was a prime example of a person who, before becoming a Christian, was dedicated to the Law, taught the Law, and sought salvation through obedience to the Law. That changed when he met Christ. The basic principle by which he lived was, "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). All his hopes for eternal salvation centered in Jesus Christ and his redemptive death on the Cross. As a believer, he no longer trusted in his keeping the Law as a means of salvation, but considers himself "crucified with Christ," dead to keeping the Law as a way to be saved. The person he was before he met Jesus is no longer living. In his place is a new person who lives by faith.

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When a person comes to Christ for salvation, he or she is changed. The old is gone the new takes its place. C. S. Lewis wrote, "Mere improvement is not redemption, though redemption always improves people even here and now and will, in the end, improve them to a degree we cannot yet imagine. God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man. It is not like teaching a horse to jump better and better but like turning a horse into a winged creature."

Paul considered himself "dead to sin." He asked, "How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:2). Instead, he is alive to Christ, living by faith in Him as Lord and Savior.

Paul said he died with Jesus so that he is a slave neither to the Law nor to sin. He has faith in Christ who loved him and gave Himself for him. When Paul thought about Jesus, he thought about the Cross of Redemption, and the Christian life as a spiritual resurrection. Isn't that the meaning of his declaration, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

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