The Cross of Christ and Boasting
As we mark the crucifixion of our Savior Jesus Christ this Friday (Good Friday), we approach the day with deep humility as well as with deep joy.
Deep humility because the obedient death of the Son of God in our flesh was necessary to satisfy the justice of God for our sins. Only Jesus could endure God's wrath in our place and earn for us righteousness and life. The thought of that lays us to the dust in godly sorrow!
And deep joy because God did not spare His own Son for us sinners, but in amazing love and grace gave Him up for us, that we might not only be forgiven but also rescued from sin's power and restored to life with the Father - now and forever! The thought of that gives us overflowing joy!
One of our early seminary professors, Homer C. Hoeksema, penned a meditation in the Standard Bearer years ago (1954) that still speaks to the glory and power of Christ's cross - and calls us to glory (boast) in it alone. In this post we quote part of that reflection on our Savior's death. May it strengthen you in your faith in Christ crucified and raised, and lead you to glorying in that one blessed cross.
Glorying of that wonderful fact of salvation, of deliverance from the dominion of sin and death, I glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in naught else!
God forbid that I should glory in ought else! For it is by, or through, that cross that this mutual fellowship between me and the world is killed.
Very little difference does it make whether you read the text "by which", referring to the cross, or "by whom," referring to the Crucified One. The meaning remains the same. The death by crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ has the power, is the efficient cause of the cessation of the fellowship of life between me, and the world.
Mark you well, the crucified Lord Jesus Christ has that power. Not His teaching is that power, so that the breach between me and the world is a matter of moral persuasion. Not His example brings about the break, so that it is a matter of habit and attraction. Not His reformatory work, so that this change is a matter of changed environment. But as always, the cross of Christ stands at the center of it all. It is His crucifixion. And that cross, the cross of Calvary, means that there is a victorious power, a power that is able to cut the tie between the world and me. In the cross of Christ I glory!
In it I glory to the exclusion of all else! God forbid that I should glory save in it!
According to the flesh, indeed, I may put my confidence in many other things,—countless things. But in my deepest heart I hate that very inclination, and I say, "Far be it from me." Also that proceeds from the fact that I am crucified to the world, and the world to me. And I attribute all to the cross of Jesus. In it only I trust. On it I rely in life and death, with body and soul, for time and eternity. It is the death of my death, the power of my power, the life of my life! Only in it do I boast!
You ask why? The reason is simple, but wonderful. For the death of Jesus is the killing of the power of sin.
The power of sin, that which binds me to the power and dominion of sin and death, is guilt, a mountain of it. Guilt is liability to the punishment of death. And the death of Jesus Christ is the satisfaction for, the removal and blotting out of guilt, the restoration of that state of righteousness in which I have a right to life. Still more: His death on the cross was vicarious. It is the death of Jesus Christ, our Lord. It is for that reason the removal of our guilt, the death of ourdeath. In His cross is the righteousness and life of all that are His. They were all crucified to the world of sin and death when He was crucified. The power of sin and death were forever put to naught by His cross for all the elect. For at Golgotha all the guilt of all His own, past, present, and future, was completely blotted out.
Would you boast? Boast, then, not in your own work, not in your own righteousness. But, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord!