The Message of the Cross
The Message of the Cross – Mans only hope of true liberty and victory over sin
The message of the cross is the greatest story ever told! Through faith in Jesus Christ crucified for us anyone can be free from anything! There is no sin, no problem, no circumstance, no addiction, no need that cannot be resolved and brought cure by the grace of God through Jesus Christ! The believer can find a new liberty in body, soul and spirit by faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us. Paul the Apostle was the one to whom the full understanding of the new covenant was revealed and Jesus crucified was his primary message. The cross is to be preached not only for salvation, but for the believer’s ongoing sanctification. It is this “Truth” that makes men free and we here at Promised Land Church have determined as Paul of old to preach Christ and the believer’s only hope of victory through the Cross! We believe the message of the cross is what the “Spirit is saying to the church” in this last hour of history.
God’s original design for man
God’s original design for man was to enjoy living his life in the love, fellowship and worship of his creator. Man was to enjoy an imputed dominion and rule under God over the Earth creation including the animal kingdom all by his simple love and obedience back to the one who gave him life and purpose. Sin and its bondage, its death and heartache were not even in the vocabulary of Adam, much less its reality. Life in paradise and Adams reign over the planet was his portion, but was short lived.
God’s love demands a choice
God’s love for man would demand that he be given opportunity to choose to remain obedient to the word and will of God or choose a willful disobedience. Man was created as was the angelic host with freewill to choose whom he would reverence, worship, love and serve. God has no slaves; the law of liberty and love gives him a choice! Adam and Eve failed the test and incurred the consequences of their willful decision. Adams disobedience opened the door to what is known as “sin” and its ugly consequences. The curse, death, sorrow, pain, heartache and moral bondage were now introduced into the human race and there was no way to reverse its devastating effects. Man was cut off from the living God and was driven out of the garden paradise he inhabited. God’s blessing was lifted from the earth and it now bore thorns, thistles and briers, the elements and the animal creation thrown out of balance and original purpose. In simplicity, nothing now works like it should! Man became a “sinner” joining the celestial rebellion against God initiated by the fallen angel Lucifer sometime ago in eternity past.
Man becomes a slave to sin
Adam and his offspring which includes the entirety of the human race have now incurred a “sin nature” which makes man “evil” in his heart and hostile to God and his will for man. It is called “original sin”. Every human being is born with it. Sin is not so much what men do, it is “what” we are within. Because of the indwelling sin nature, men have corrupted themselves in thought, word and deed which lead to addictions, misery and bondage. Men are slaves to their inward passions and have no power to free themselves from inner working of sins power and its vise like grip. Men who were intended to live forever now die as spiritual paupers being alienated from the life of God. “Self” is now mans god and the gratification of his lusts the reason for his fallen life. But God still loved man and had a plan to redeem man from the destructive power of sin, its bondage and its penalty!
Introduction of the sacrificial system
God foreknew man would fail and rebel. It was preplanned by the Godhead that man would be redeemed by the death of a substitute, the innocent for the guilty. God himself clothed Adam and his wife Eve with the skins of two slain animals thus covering their sin and nakedness foreshadowing the future death of Gods Son, Jesus Christ on the Cross. Fig leaves were mans way and effort to cover his sin and nakedness and has since attempted to free and deliver himself by his own workings, but to no avail! Religious works and manmade programs cannot break the power of the inner working of sin! So God from the beginning of the creation and fall of man would institute what is known as the sacrificial system. Innocent blood would be shed to pardon the guilty! When men obeyed and submitted to the sacrificial offering properly offered, he in turn received “pardon” from the full penalty of sin! This is known as “justification”.
Justification and imputed righteousness
When the believing sinner by faith put their trust in the shed blood offered for them personally, they received from God what is known as “Justification”. Justification means “acquittal”, being forgiven and accepted completely on the merit of the innocent blood offered on their behalf. Jesus Christ offered his precious life’s blood on the cross in order to redeem man from the power of sin and to completely defeat the one who had the power of sin and death, Satan and his kingdom of darkness. Jesus blood was the once and for all blood sacrifice that animal blood could only temporarily cover. By ones faith in Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on the cross, the believer is now made free from the bondage of the sin nature and finds inner cleansing and peace from God. By faith the believer receives a new heart and a new spirit as a result of being born again! A perfect righteousness is now given or imputed to the believer as a result of believing faith. Again, faith in Jesus Christ who is the source of life and righteousness and the cross which is the means by which that benefit is received. This peace and righteousness is freely given and freely received by faith, not by personal merit or religious works.
Sanctification and Grace
When one has turned to God by repentant faith and put their trust in Jesus Christ crucified for them, the question arises: “Once saved, how does the believer live for God in victory over sin?” This is the golden question as it seems too many Christians live defeated lives! Once justified, sanctification “begins”. Sanctification is the inner working of the Holy Spirit in one’s daily life, conforming the believer to the image, likeness and holiness of Christ. By daily faith in the provision of Christ the believer receives “Grace” which is the goodness of God extended to the believer. It is the grace of God that transforms and sets the believer apart from the old life and its sinful passions and habits! Every believer can live in victory over sin, its power and its deception! Sin no longer has to be the dominant impulse in one’s life for grace is greater than all sin!
Consecration is the believer’s part in all this. In simplicity, consecration is ones “freewill devotion” to the finished work Christ on the cross including justification and the sanctification process. This devotion is not accomplished by “doing” something, but rather by “believing” something! It is the believer’s part to daily “believe by faith” what has been provided to him through Jesus Christ and him crucified! It is the daily fight of “faith”. The believer is saved and justified by faith, is sanctified by faith and by faith consecrates himself to the sacrificial system provided to a lost, sinful world by God himself becoming man and offering himself for the sin of man once and for all! Again, Jesus Christ and him crucified is the message of the Cross and is the “story of the Bible”!
May Christ richly bless your life with his victory, peace and life!...Pastor Jeff S./PLC