We're in the middle of our five-part series on 'Soteriology' - our doctrine/s of salvation. Having established the Power of the Cross (the Servant King enduring horror and shame, 'for us and for our salvation'), we looked last Sunday at the Work of the Cross. How exactly did Jesus' death procure our salvation? How did he win our redemption?
As we discovered last time, the Cross is at the centre of Christianity. Paul says in Gal 6:14 that he will boast in nothing else. Indeed, the history of the Church has been one long story of reckoning with it! With that in mind, we looked at how the ancient Church understood the death of Christ on the Cross, how the medieval Church understood it, and then how the Reformers reckoned with it - all in conversation with Scripture.
On the Cross, Christ is the great Victor - conquering Satan, sin, death and hell.
On the Cross, Christ is the God-Man - standing in our place, doing what we never could.
On the Cross, Christ is our True Example - showing us what love really means.
All of these are good and true answers, and consistent with scripture to a greater or lesser extent. But these are all but melodies without a harmony. There is one answer that unites them all. It's there in the early Church. It's there in the medieval Church. It's there in the modern Church. And it's there in the Scriptures. What is this answer?
On the Cross, Christ is our substitute - pierced for our transgressions.
He became sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God.
Those of us doing the Foundations course on a Sunday are in the middle of a five-part series on 'Soteriology' - the doctrine/s of salvation. Last time we looked at God's free, gracious choice to be a Saviour God. Next time we'll be looking at how exactly Christ saved us by the cross.
Last night, however, our focus was on the power of the Cross - its horror and shame. This is an aspect of Christ's sacrifice rarely described, partly because death by crucifixion was unspeakably evil. (Literally 'excruciating' - ex [from] + cruciare [to crucify].)
The Romans perfected this cruel, sadistic method of execution. In addition to the pain, there was the social and cultural dimension - the desire to shame the victim forever. For the Jews it was even a cursed way to die, given what's described in the law of Moses. (See Deut 21:22-23.)
AND YET - Paul could say, "I will not boast of anything except the Cross" [Gal 6:14].
AND YET - we're told that "the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world" [Rev 13:8].
All of this for you - so that you might be saved, and follow after Christ with your own cross.
Find notes from last night's session below, as well as the song we played by Graham Kendrick, which fits rather perfectly with the subject in hand.
Welcome to the Theology That Sings blog. Here you'll find news of upcoming events, as well as notes and notices.