- Text: Rom. 8:31,32.
- If our familiarity with the story of the cross ever made it commonplace to us, that would be unfortunate -- if the "old, old story" were to become tiresome, we would be in danger of losing our souls. Cf. Hb. 2:1.
- The cross is, quite literally, the most "moving" demonstration of love known to mankind.
- God's love for us is shown by the gift of His Son.
- We can consider the "love of the cross" in two directions.
I. The Love of God for Us Shown in the Cross
- The most obvious fact of the NT is that God gave His Son for us because He loved us - Jn. 3:14-17; Rom. 5:6-8. Cf. 1 Jn. 3:1,16; 4:7-11.
- Having gone so far as to give His Son for us, how could any injustice or suffering in the world cause us to doubt God's goodness and love?
- The cross is the answer to the "problem of suffering" -- the question of how there can be a good, all-powerful God when there is so much suffering in the world. Cf. Job 13:15; 19:25,26.
- God's love for His Son (Mt. 3:17; Jn. 3:35; 5:20) was not inconsistent with allowing Him to suffer -- a greater good was accomplished by permitting His death than by preventing it.
- Going to the cross required love on Jesus' part as well as God's - Jn. 15:13. Cf. 10:11.
- Even as He hung upon the cross, Jesus remained lovingly concerned about others - Lk. 23:34; Jn. 19:25-27.
- Jesus' act of love was voluntary - Jn. 10:17,18.
II. The Love of God Evoked in Us by the Cross
- We can't think seriously about the cross without being "constrained" to give ourselves to God in love - 2 Cor. 5:14,15. Cf. 1 Jn. 4:19.
- The cross will cause us to love both the Lord and His people - 1 Jn. 4:10,11. Cf. Jn. 13:34,35; 1 Jn. 4:20-5:1.
- The cross will cause us to be more forgiving toward our brethren - Eph. 4:31,32; Col. 3:12-15.
- The cross will cause us to be more unified as brethren - 1 Cor. 10:16,17. (It was Christ who was crucified for us. Hence, we belong to Him and only to Him - 1 Cor. 1:13).
- The cross will cause us to love all men as He did -- impartially and as a servant to even the lowly and despised. (Seeing others as Jesus sees them, we will "regard" men differently and treat them accordingly - 2 Cor. 5:16).
- The cross will cause us to be faithful in our obedience to the Lord - Jn. 14:15; 1 Jn. 5:3. Cf. Tit. 2:11-14. (Christ died for us that we might live for Him.)
- The cross will make us zealous and steadfast in the service of the Lord's work - 1 Cor. 15:57,58. Cf. Mk. 5:19.
- The cross will cause us to endure persecution if necessary. Those who would refuse to suffer for the Lord are avoiding "persecution for the cross of Christ" (Gal. 6:12).
- The cross will keep us from unfaithfulness and apostasy - Gal. 3:1; Hb. 10:26-29. Cf. 1 Cor. 11:27-29; Phil. 3:18; Hb. 6:4-6.
- The cross will make a difference in how we view ourselves. (How can we judge ourselves to be "worthless" if we understand ourselves to be the objects of the love of God shown at the cross? Cf. Psa. 8:3-5; Hb. 2:5-9,10-18).
- How could we be anything less than grateful and humble in view of the cross?
- God's love for us is a demonstrated love. But what is the evidence of our love for Him -- does our love amount to anything more than words? Cf. 1 Jn. 3:18.
- In reality, there is no adequate way for us to return the love of God. "Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my life, my soul, my all."
- But however humbled we may be by God's love and however moved to obedience and service, we need to be encouraged by the knowledge that God loved us and gave His Son for us - Rom. 8:28-39.
- The love of God -- from which we cannot be separated -- is the love of God "which is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:39), who was given for us at the cross.
- Are you "in Christ"? "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27).
Gary Henry - WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com