When we look at the cross, we see several things.
First, in the cross we see the clearest evidence of the world’s guilt. At the cross of Christ, sin reached its climax. Its most terrible display took place at Calvary. It was never blacker nor more hideous. We see the human heart laid bare and its corruption fully exposed. The Scripture teaches that man’s heart is desperately wicked.
Many people have said that men and women have improved through the centuries and that if Christ came back today, He would not be crucified but would be given a grand and glorious reception.
Christ does come to us every day–in the form of Bibles that we do not read, in the form of churches that we do not attend, in the form of human need that we pass by. I am convinced that if Christ came back today, He would be crucified more quickly than He was 2,000 years ago. Sin never improves.
In the judgment hall of Pilate the cry was heard, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” The people had seen His miracles. They had heard His gracious words. They had seen how He relieved suffering humanity. Then why this rabble cry? Why this murderous spirit?
The answer is found deep in the human heart. Human nature has not changed, and as we stand and gaze at the cross, we see clear evidence that mankind is basically wrong, and we hear the thunderous verdict of God Himself when He says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
God’s Hatred of Sin
Second, in the cross we see the strongest proof of God’s hatred of sin. God has stated that the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20) and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
To gain a clear understanding of God’s attitude toward sin, we only have to consider the purpose of Christ’s death. The Scripture says, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). Here is a positive statement that there can be no forgiveness of sin unless our debt has been paid.
God will not tolerate sin. He condemns it and demands payment for it. God could not remain a righteous God and compromise with sin. His holiness and His justice demand the death penalty.
The tendency today is to feel that such a position on God’s part is too severe. So we find ourselves manufacturing another gospel. We may say that sin is not that bad–but God said it is very bad. So bad that He demands the death penalty.
When we look at the cross we see how drastically God deals with sin. The Scripture says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). If God had to send His only Son to the cross in order to pay for sin, then sin must be dark indeed in the sight of God.
Glorious Exhibition of God’s Love
Third, in the cross we see a glorious exhibition of God’s love. We look out upon the world of nature, and in the provisions and plans made for our happiness we discover a revelation of God’s love.
Yet as wonderful as these things are in revealing divine love, nothing is comparable to the sacrifice of Calvary. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Paul writes to the Roman Christians, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
The Way to Victory
Fourth, in the cross we see the way to victory. All of us have at times been defeated by Satan. We are held in bondage to sin and are controlled by the power of the devil. The cross is the instrument by which God delivers us from the penalty of our sins and from the hand of Satan.
God makes it plain that our carnal nature was dealt with at the cross, so that in our standing in Christ this nature has no more power over us. We are told that our “old man was crucified with Him” (Romans 6:6) and that we do not need to serve sin any longer. The Scripture promises that sin shall no longer have dominion over us (Romans 6:14).
Thousands of Christians wrestle with temptation and sin. Satan uses jealousy, pride, gossip, gluttony, sex and sinful appetites to control us. However, in the cross there is power to overcome these temptations and sins.
I have proved on a thousand spiritual battlegrounds in my own soul that God is more than able through the cross of His Son to give us daily victory, until we can say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).