The Power of the Cross

“Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. (John 12:31-33)

“The devil kept possession of mankind, holding men as criminals bound over to punishment by the handwriting of their sins, having dominion in the hearts of the unbelieving, dragging them, deceived and captive, to the worship of the creature, for which they had deserted the Creator. But by the faith of Christ, confirmed by His death and resurrection, through His blood shed for the remission of sins, thousands of believing persons obtain deliverance from the dominion of the devil, are joined to the body of Christ, and quickened by His Spirit, as faithful members under so great a Head. This is was that He called judgment.” -Augustine

Evil atoned for, Satan a defeated foe, salvation offered–this is the message of the cross! Jesus speaks here with a divine exultation and triumph. The dark order of things which had prevailed in the world since the fall of man would now be spoiled. The world would no longer be subjected to Satan and the powers of darkness. More than likely we have an inadequate perspective of the perverseness which prevailed at the time of Jesus’ advent–the extreme extent to which Satan was wreaking havoc on the world. Demonic possession, idolatry, child sacrifice, and a myriad of other perversions dominated the landscape. The godless order of things would be tolerated no longer. Christ died for a world that was without God and without hope–a world that had chosen open rebellion. Christ ended Satan’s dominion by His death on the cross. The head of the serpent was now bruised. Jesus came to set the captives free. Therefore, we must not choose to remain in slavery! Rather, through His power, we are to break free from the chains which blind and bind us–yoking ourselves to Christ:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

I am reminded of Paul’s words in his letter to the Colossians:

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation–if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(Colossians 1:21-23)

Paul writes in the next chapter:

When you were dead in your sins … God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)

The death of Christ on the cross had and continues to have a drawing effect on all mankind. His death as our substitute and His sacrifice for our sins draws people from every tribe and nation to believe on Him and receive Him as Savior. Whenever the powerful story of the cross is told, souls are converted and drawn to Jesus in all parts of the world. Jesus’ atoning work on the cross perfectly fills the need of all peoples.

“Brilliantly persuasive eloquence may win a person’s mind but not his heart, whereas the unadorned words of the gospel, though seemingly foolish by human standards, are made effective by the Spirit of God.”
-Bible Knowledge Commentary

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel–not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (1 Corinthians 1:17)

I am reminded of the words found in Joel which are repeated by Paul in Romans:

And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.
(Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13)

Take It to Heart

“My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered; but this is no business of mine. He who makes the promise will find ways and means of keeping it. It is mine to obey His commands; it is not mine to direct His counsels. I am His servant, not His solicitor. I call upon Him, and He will deliver.” (C. H. Spurgeon)

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