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The Cross Changes Everything

Rage is the currency of the day. In some sense it doesn’t even matter what you are upset about. As long as you are angry, can’t believe “those people” would do “that,” and let your disgust be know to anyone who will listen.

It doesn’t take much to get upset at the injustice that is happening in the world. You don’t have to look far to find racism, coercion, abuse, or any other form of oppression. It can be found in our cities, our towns, our neighborhoods, even within our own families.

There is brokenness in this world that leaves devastation in its wake. Nowhere has been untouched by this pain and sorrow. And while it is easy to look around and call this brokenness out, if I am honest with myself, I realize this brokenness is within me.

It is everywhere I go. I can try and change my circumstances by moving, starting a new relationship, getting a new job, whatever, it is still there. I can try and hide it with religion by saying the right things, wearing the right clothes, and abstaining from unapproved activities. It doesn’t do any good. I can try to ignore it, pretend it isn’t there, and live as though I don’t care. The longer I try to ignore this brokenness, it looms larger within my heart, its fury is relentless.

As I point to the brokenness of this world, I must recognize that I contribute to the brokenness that provokes my rage. There are things I should not do and do them anyway. There are things I should do and do not do them. I have found that I am the common denominator of all my problems.

The Bible calls this brokenness sin. Sin has taken it’s hold on everyone and everything. Its bondage is unescapable, and it breaks our relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2), with others (Genesis 3:12), and ravages our own bodies (Romans 7:24).

How do we get out of this wreckage? There is hope and his name is Jesus.

There are two qualities of God that are deeply connected. God is justice (Psalm 7:11) and God is love (1 John 4:8). You can’t have one without the other. If you have justice without love it is reckless tyranny. If you love without justice, it is sentimental and powerless.

“Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Because God is a God of justice and love he must act. He is required to do something about the sin in this world. And he did. He moved to bring restoration to this broken world. He became human (John1:14), lived the perfect life without sin (Hebrews 4:15), and died for the sins of the world (1 Corinthians 15:3).

Jesus Becomes Our Sin

Jesus doesn’t just sweep away our sin as if he were hiding it under a rug. He doesn’t overlook it and urge us to try harder next time. No, he confronts it, deals with it, and takes it on. He did this by becoming sin himself. Jesus took on sin and became the brokenness that hounds us. He became every impurity, evil desire, every self-righteous ambition, every unkind act. He became the liar, the rapist, adulterer tyrant. Jesus literally became sin.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)

God dealt with sin when Jesus was crucified. It was on the cross that God poured out his judgment for sin and provided a way for you and I to escape the eternal consequences of sin. When we look at the cross, we see the darkness of sin and God’s wrath being poured out on Jesus.

 “And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” (Mark 15:33–34, ESV)

The cross is how God exercises his judgment on sin and demonstrates his love for sinners.

 “To say that Jesus is a propitiation means that he offered himself as a sacrifice that turns God’s wrath away from deserving sinners by accepting that wrath upon himself in our place… Any interpretation of this concept that excludes the removal of the divine wrath from the purpose of the cross has missed its point and must be rejected.” Jack Cottrell

The Cross Changes Everything 

At the cross Jesus died for my sin.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)

If that is true, then when you look at yourself in the mirror, you need to see what Jesus sees! You are chosen, accepted, forgiven, adopted, made clean, purified, sealed with the spirit, heir of the Kingdom!

At the cross Jesus defeated the devil.

If you are a child of God, Satan no longer has any authority over you! He cannot lie to you, he cannot accuse you, and he certainly cannot intimidate you!

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrews 2:14–15, ESV)

At the cross Jesus promises to transform your body.

Immediately, when we surrender our life to Jesus we are saved, we are justified and forgiven. However, we are still waiting for the redemption of our flesh.

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” (Philippians 3:20–21, ESV)

At the cross Jesus promises to make all things new.

Even the earth itself is broken by sin. We long for a time where it will be released from the bondage that sin has on it.

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:11–13, ESV)

The cross begins to restore all things. Starting with those who trust Jesus as their Savior, its power gives life to our dead hearts and begins to make all things new. It makes its way through every area our lives and ripples out to every place that has been devastated by sin. The brokenness of this world is being reversed. The devastation that sin has caused is being redeemed.

“The cross of Christ is like this vortex in time that sucks everything into it. All human history leads up to it, all human eternity leads out of it, the cross of Christ is the apex of our existence.” Mark Moore

The cross changes everything.

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14, ESV)

2 Comments

  1. Pam Ostmark

    Love this Mike! I’m going to save it, print it and send it to someone who is struggling with this right now. Thanks!

    • Mike Packer

      Pam, you are so kind! Thank you for the encouragement. You may have noticed, I am trying to write more.

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