Theology of The Cross

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God –1 Corinthians 1:18

 

Don’t let the word theology scare you all theology is “the study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.”[i] So we will look at the question of and the significance of the cross.

At the center of the Christian faith is the cross. They are on the top of our churches and around our necks, on the ears of Christian women and the lapels of Christian men. But with this familiarity have we lost something of this meaning of the cross?

The fact that our Saviour was crucified was a necessary thing but not glorious. We understand, as much as we can with our finite minds, the cross is a terrible, painful way to die but there were other considerations:

The death on the cross was associated with the idea of all that is shameful and dishonorable; and to speak of salvation only by the sufferings and death of a crucified man was fitted to excite in their bosoms only unmingled scorn.[ii]

The Bible but it this way: Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree –Galatians 3:13He was cursed for our sakes to redeem us from the law.  The thought that someone would go through such lengths is foolish, it just does not make sense but for those of us who believe in faith what Jesus did for us that day is the power of God to save us:

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. –1 Corinthians 1:21

22For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. –1 Corinthians 1:20-25

A stumblingblock to the Jews who were seeking a Messiah to throw off the bonds of
Rome not a Saviour for their sins: “They could not get over it. They had a conceit that their expected Messiah was to be a great temporal prince, and therefore would never own one who made so mean an appearance in life, and died so accursed a death, for their deliverer and king. They despised him.”
[iii]

But it did not stop there. The Cross was the payment for our sins there was one thing left:

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. –1 Corinthians 15:13-21

Not only that, but your faith is also vain, i.e., “groundless.” Faith in a dead Saviour is both preposterous and pathetic. And not only so, but we are found false witnesses of God (lit. false witnesses against God).[iv]

Without the resurrection we would have a dead Saviour and the Bible would not be true. Jesus promised He would rise again on the third day (cf. Matthew 16:21) and because He did we can rest in His promise He will come back for us (And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. –John 14:3)

This is our promise from God. Take some time today when you are putting on your pin of the cross and think about all He did and He did it for us in love.

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. –Romans 5:5

And let God use us to shine His love abroad through us. In other words, spread it around! While this may not be a comprehensive study it is a good start and I hope it encourages you to further study.


[i] Theology. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Theology (accessed: April 10, 2007).

[ii] William MacDonald; edited with introductions by Arthur Farstad, Believer’s Bible commentary: Old and New Testaments [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (
Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by William MacDonald.

[iii] Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (
Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

[iv] Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.

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