The Cross of Christ By Richard Veach
The cross of Christ is, in my estimation, the most important event in the history of the world. The cross of Christ is an intersection in time. It divides obedience to the law for justification and salvation by grace. The way in which God deals with sin changed at the cross. Prior to the cross there was judgment for sin, i.e. Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the reason that God gave the Israelites for driving out the nations that occupied the Promised Land was not because of their righteousness, but because of the wickedness of those nations. At the cross Jesus took the judgment for sin upon Himself and became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. I am not suggesting that we should not obey the laws of God in order to lead a holy life; just that obedience to the law is not required for justification. Pr. 29:18 says, “without a vision the people perish, but happy is he that keeps the law.” The vision that God gives is for keeping the law. The law is not to be a burden nor is it for earning salvation. It is God’s pattern for leading a holy life and living a holy life will bring peace, joy, and happiness. Gal 3:12 says, “No man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith,” Gal 3:11. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him,” Hebrews 11:6. “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin,” Rom.14:23. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation,” 2Cor.5:19. Impute, logizomai, 1) to reckon, count, compute, calculate, count over 1
a) to take into account, to make an account of 1) metaph. to pass to one's account, to impute Not imputing our trespasses to us means that any past sins, present sins, and/or future sins are not being charged to our account. Our account balance for past, present, and future sin is zero. The sin issue was settled at the cross. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Jesus offered His blood once for the sins of many. No longer is there judgment for sin. Heb 9:22-28 says, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore [it was] necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, [which are] copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” Since Jesus took judgment upon Himself there is no judgment for sin; the price for sin was paid in full. Neither does there remain any other sacrifice for sin. Heb 10:26 says, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”
Does this mean that we cannot be forgiven for future sins? No, it means that the sacrifice of Jesus is all that is ever needed for the forgiveness of sin; His sacrifice is perfect there is no other sacrifice required, nor could there ever be another perfect (human without sin) sacrifice. 1John 1:9 makes provision for forgiveness if we do sin, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There are, however, consequences to sin as we can plainly see referencing, Gal. 6:7-8, “…whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” There is only one sin that the world will be judged for and that is that they do not believe in Jesus. Jesus said, “And when He (Holy Spirit) has come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they do not believe in me,” John 16:8-9. What does it mean to be “saved”, to be “born again”? Does it mean that we go to heaven? Is there more to it than that? (Actually earth is man’s dwelling place and we will spend eternity on the earth with the Lord during the Millennial reign and on the New Earth at the end of the age). The Greek word for salvation is sōtēria (sō-tā-rē'-ä), salvation, the (one) be saved, deliver, health, saving. We are saved from the burden of sin and condemnation.
1Cor. 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God [is] faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear [it].” Rom. 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” The Hebrew word for salvation is yĕshuw`ah, salvation, help, deliverance, health, save, saving, welfare. Both the Greek and the Hebrew have the same meaning. Not only are we free from the burden of sin and condemnation, but we are promised health and healing as part of the atonement. “By His stripes we were healed,” Isa. 53:5, 1Pet. 2:24. 3John 1:2 says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” “Jesus came to give life and life more abundantly, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy”, John 10:10 This scripture is a very good test to know if the things coming into your life are from God or the enemy. God’s will is that we are prosperous and healthy. And that we are above and not beneath, the head and not the tail, blessed going out and coming in. God loves you more than you can comprehend and wants the best for you. What does it mean to have “eternal life”? 4
John 17:3 says, “and this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” From the beginning of creation it has always been God’s desire to walk with man and to have an intimate relation with him. God wants us to know Him and to walk with Him. He desires to dwell among His people and to have an ongoing relationship them. The purpose of the Tabernacle was to provide a way for Israelites to communicate with God and God with them through the sacrificial system and priesthood. God’s presence was in the Tabernacle and in the first Temple and God was able to dwell among His people. God was in Christ and God dwelled (tabernacled) among His people once again. “The word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us,” John 1:14. The Greek word translated dwelt is σκηνόω skēnoō, it means to fix one's tabernacle, have one's tabernacle, abide (or live) in a tabernacle (or tent), tabernacle. We could say, Jesus was God’s tabernacle of presence while He was on this earth. Jesus said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say”, John 14:9. Jesus referred to His body as the Temple. “Jesus answered and said to them, destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.", John 2:19. ”The word became flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us,” John 1:14. The phrase “finished the work” is mentioned three times and only three times in the entire Bible. The significance is not so much the number of times the phrase is 5
found, but that each time it is mentioned it is in reference to the Tabernacle, the Temple, and Jesus who tabernacled among us. “And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work”, Exodus 40:33. “And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basons. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God,” 2 Chr 4:11. “I have glorified You on the earth: I have finished the work which You gave me to do,” John 17:4. Jesus’ work on this earth is finished. We are His body, the tabernacle of His presence, on this earth and we are to carry on the work; our work is not finished. What is the work that we are to do? John 6:28, “Then they said to Him, "What we shall do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent," John 6:28-29. The work of God from the beginning of creation is for us to know Him and to believe in Him whom He sent. We are ambassadors for Christ, His representatives on earth. When people see us they should see Jesus. 1Cor. 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” 2Cor. 6:16, “For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:"I will dwell in them and walk among [them]. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." Jesus said we are to do the works that He did and greater and greater works than these shall we do. 6
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father,” John 14:12 How can God expect us to do the works that Jesus did and even greater works if he has not equipped us to do them? Jesus said He only did what He saw the Father doing. “Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner,” John 5:19. He also said we could nothing without Him. “I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing,” John 15:5. If we are to do His work we must stay connected to Him through the study of His word, prayer, and walking with Him daily in fellowship. John 14:13-15 says, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do [it]. If you love Me, keep My commandments.” We pray in the name of Jesus all the time. What does it mean to ask in “Jesus name”? We are ambassadors for Christ and represent Him; we work for Him. We could think of it as being similar to power of attorney. My boss could issue a power of attorney giving me authority to sign company checks, and negotiate contacts, etc. However, I would only be able to do that according to his directive and I would have no authority outside of that. That is how we are to use Jesus’ name to accomplish the works that He did and greater works, only as He directs. 7
John 14 also said, “if you love Me keep my commandments.” If I asked, you where to find the commandments of Jesus I suppose many would answer, in the gospels and that would be right the words of Jesus are found in the gospels. Is Jesus the word of God made flesh? Are the words of Jesus different than those of the Father? “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,” John 1:1. Did Jesus say if you have seen me you have seen the Father? Jesus is the Word and I think it is safe to say that every word of God spoken from Genesis to Revelation are the words that Jesus spoke. Jesus and the Father are two separate persons, but they have complete unity and are one in purpose and there is no difference in their character. He is the Word and He and the Father are one. I do not believe that we can separate the Father’s words from those of Jesus. In John 17;20-23 Jesus prayed to the Father that we would be one. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, [are] in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (this is the work of God). And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” There is not a different God of the Old Testament. We are to obey all of God’s word, not to earn salvation, but in order to live a holy life before God. How then are we going to do the works that Jesus did and greater works? Perhaps a better question is why haven’t we been doing the works of Jesus the way He 8
intended for us to do them? What did He mean by greater works? Perhaps you think you are not qualified or spiritually mature enough. Or perhaps the Lord has someone else in mind. The truth is God does not have anyone but human beings from which to choose and everyone who has been “born again” has received all that is necessary to do all that Jesus did and all that He asks of us. While Jesus was in the flesh He was fully man and had all the limitations of the flesh that we have. Would it be fair of Jesus to ask us to do the same works as He did if He had been given an advantage that we do not have access to? We are the spirits of just men made perfect. We have been granted every spiritual blessing and are seated in heavenly places with Him. Heb. 12:22-23 says, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn [who are] registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.” Jesus finished His work and now the ball is in our court; we are to carry on the work. We are as spiritually equipped as we will ever be; there is no more, the atonement of Jesus was complete! We need only believe. Eph. 3:20-21, “Now to Him who (He) is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” The “power that works in us,” that is what Jesus has to work with. We need to learn to tap into that power so that we may accomplish the work He has given us to do. It is absolutely essential that we learn who we are in Christ and what the atonement did for us. We must learn to live a life of faith believing! 9
Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. “For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness," Rom.4:3. Why is it so difficult for us to believe? What does it mean to believe? The Greek word for faith is πίστις pistis, Strong’s definition, 1) conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith. a) belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same 2) fidelity, faithfulness a) the character of one who can be relied on The Hebrew word for faith is אמן, aman, to believe, trust, faith, faithfulness, steadfast, trustworthy. It is, however, more than just giving mental assent or acknowledgement to the word. Rom. 10:17 says, “So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The phrase, “word of God”, is not the logos of God, which is the written word; it is the Rhema of God. The Greek word rhema according to Thayer’s Lexicon is “that which is or has been uttered by a living voice.” So then faith comes by hearing God speak the word into our spirit or by illuminating the word through revelation so that you know that you know and nothing or no one can cause you to doubt. When one has this kind of assurance he can operate in faith and accomplish the work that God has given him to do. That is how Jesus did the 10
works that He did on the earth. He spent time in prayer to the Father and only did what He saw the Father doing. After Israel was delivered from bondage in Egypt and poised to enter the Promised Land only Joshua and Caleb, out of approximately three million people, believed the covenant that God had made with Israel on Mt. Sinai. When the armies of Saul met the Philistines in the valley of Elah only David, a shepherd boy, believed the covenants that God had made with Israel and had no fear of Philistines or Goliath. God has always kept a remnant and searches the earth for those who will believe His word. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world,” Matt. 5:14. Will we be the generation that takes up the torch to be the light of the world and to carry on the work? We can be; you can be. Jesus said that if we had faith nothing would be impossible to us. Matt. 17:20b, “I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Did Jesus really mean that nothing would be impossible to us? Do we believe that statement? Can we believe it? Do we want to believe it? Does it mean that we should start speaking to mountains to move them from where they are to some other place? What did Jesus mean? Those in history who God was able to use mightily were no different than you and me. Moses was a murderer and yet Moses was used by the Lord to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. David was a shepherd boy and slew Goliath. David became the King of Israel, he wrote most of psalms and God
said of him that he was a man after God’s own heart. David was an adulterer and murderer. We could go on recalling the men and women throughout the Bible that were used by God to accomplish great things; they were people like you and me. There is one important difference though, we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and they did not. We are the spirits of just men made perfect because of Jesus’ atonement; they did not have the perfect atonement that has been provided for us. Only the High Priest could go into God’s presence within the Holy of Holies and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement. Because of the cross of Christ we may enter the throne of His grace anytime we desire. The creator of the universe lives in you and me and in Him we live and move and have our being. What does hinder us? The scripture says the just shall live by faith. Faith is believing God’s word to the end that it leads to obedience and trust and to living a life of faithfulness; growing in faith is a lifelong journey, a spiritual walk with the living God. The Hebrew for walk is הלך, Halak it means to walk. But there is a deeper meaning when used in the sense of walking with another; it means to walk in ones footsteps, to follow his manner of life, to learn of him, to be a disciple. God desires each of us to walk with Him and learn of Him every moment of every day. He is not a God that is far off, but a God that is close at hand. We have all been given a measure of faith. “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith”, Romans 12:3. 12
Faith works by love. According to 1Cor. 13 love (agape) never has any thought for one’s self. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love,” Gal. 5:6. Having right motives that are not self promoting and concerned only for others is an important key to operating in faith. John 5:44 says, “How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that [comes] from the only God?” //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// What are some hindrances to operating in faith? Certainly unbelief would hinder faith wouldn’t it? Jesus could not do many mighty works in His home town because of their unbelief. “Now He did not do many mighty works their because of their unbelief,”Mat.13:58. Is it possible to have some unbelief mixed with our believing? “Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things [are] possible to him who believes. Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help my unbelief,” Mark 9:23-24. It is possible to have faith and unbelief at the same time. Unbelief will hinder the faith that you have. What can we do to resist unbelief? Be careful what we see and hear. Limit our involvement with the things of the world. Meditate on the scripture and the things of God. Remember and reflect on those special times when you have known the Lord’s presence in a real and special way.
We can easily forget what God has done in our life; answered prayer, healing we have received, knowing the peace that passes all understanding when we are in a difficult situation, times when we know we have experienced the presence of God in a very real way, receiving a revelation while reading the scripture, so many more special times of experiencing the supernatural intervention of God. Remembering these special times and meditating on them helps us from getting a hardened heart. Mark 6:49-52 says, “And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not considered the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” Not considering the things of God can cause our heart to become hardened.
Wrong motives that are self promoting. John 5:44,“How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that [comes] from the only God?” An attachment to the things of this world can be a definite hindrance . We can easily become too attached to the things of this world. 1John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that [is] in the world--the 14
lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.” James 4:4, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” What does it mean to be a friend of the world? We are in the world, but not of the world. How can we maintain the proper balance between our walk with God and the world in which we live? We have control over our thoughts; we don’t have to dwell on every thought that comes into our mind. When we know the scripture and we know God we will immediately recognize a wrong thought and we have the ability to reject it and begin to think on something else. Phil.4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things [are] noble, whatever things [are] just, whatever things [are] pure, whatever things [are] lovely, whatever things [are] of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if [there is] anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.” “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth,” Col. 3:1-2.
The key to being in the world, but not of the world is to separate ourselves unto to God and to walk in the light of His countenance. We have been given the gift of freedom of choice; therefore, we are able to choose whom we will serve. “For with You [is] the fountain of life; In Your light we see light,” Ps.36:9. “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh,” Gal.5:16. We have been freed from the burden of sin, we are the righteousness of God and the tabernacle of His presence on the earth. We have victory over the enemy, we were healed by His stripes, we have been seated in heavenly places with Him, we have been granted every spiritual blessing, we are the righteousness of God in Christ, and we are the spirits of just men made perfect. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think according to the power that works in us. If God is for us who can be against us? He always leads us triumphantly in Christ. “Now thanks [be] to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place,” 2Cor. 2:14. What must we do to receive salvation? This question is addressed in Acts 16:30-31. “And he brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Romans 10:9-10 indicates that we must allow Jesus to become Lord of our lives. 16
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Revelation 3:20 states that if we ask Jesus to come into our life and to be Lord of our life He will. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” "The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace", Numbers 6:24-26.
Scripture references are quoted from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee. Word definitions are quoted from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee.
Copyright © 2009 Richard P. Veach
What the life, death, and resurrection of Christ acccomplished in the life a every believer.