We’ve talked a lot about brokenness and humility lately. Without total surrender to Jesus, we have no hope. Upon our realization that we are steeped in sin and that Satan’s claims about God are all lies, we abandon our personal pride and come to the Father for healing. As we sing, we come “broken to be mended, wounded to be healed, guilty to be pardoned.” The bad news of life is that we are sinners and we cannot save ourselves.

WE NEED A SAVIOR! And God has provided one. He sent himself. He wrapped himself in a human body and lowered himself into this chaotic, sinful, messy world. His name was Jesus. Ordained at baptism and confirmed by the Father and the Spirit, Jesus underwent the same temptations you and I encounter—the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life—and yet he stood firm against the father of lies. He lived his entire life without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Because it was the will of the Father, Jesus willingly submitted to a sacrificial death. The good shepherd laid down his life for his sheep. As our great High Priest, Jesus shed his own blood on the altar of the cross so that our sins could be forgiven.

What are you clinging to today? Your abilities? Your bank balance? Your goodness? Paul says all of that is garbage.

Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins. Although blood sacrifice brought forgiveness under the Law of Moses, the blood of goats and bulls was not able to “take away” sin. God, in his great patience and omniscience, looked forward to the time of the cross when his unique Son would offer “the more perfect sacrifice.” Jesus’ death at the cross provided everything we need for a relationship with God.

The cross is that point in time and space when humankind was truly set free. The Truth of the cross brings freedom from sin.

Pilate and Caiaphas intended for the cross to bring shame, defeat, scandal, and death to the “Jesus Movement.” By killing this man in a very public, very humiliating way, their problems would be solved and a warning would be declared: “Don’t mess with us! Here’s what happens if you do!”

The cross brought none of those things. Instead of shame, the cross became something in which to boast (Galatians 6:14)! Instead of defeat, the cross brought victory to every sinner. Instead of death, the cross brought life—the eternal kind of life that God wants for his created ones.

Paul loves to talk about the cross, because the cross has done everything! All of our deepest needs are met at the cross of Jesus.

Sunday morning, we will look at ten things the cross of Christ has brought to us—things like righteousness, forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption, and eternal life. The cross has done it all! Someone might ask, “If the cross has done it all… what do I do?”

Well, we cling to the cross! We embrace the suffering of Jesus. How do we do that? Paul has the answer for us:

“I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-10).

Paul surrenders everything to the cross—his pedigree, his education, his social standing, his religious standing—all of it is garbagerubbish… a dung heap. It’s not about Paul! It’s all about Jesus! Paul lives in submission to the One who submitted himself to the Father, the one who went to the cross in humility and was raised in victory.

Paul said ‘no’ to himself and embraced the cross of Jesus. You and I must do the same. We must humbly cling to the cross of Christ. This is the requirement for discipleship and it is not optional.

“Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24-25; Luke 14:27).

What are you clinging to today? Your abilities? Your bank balance? Your goodness? Paul says all of that is garbage.

Lose the pride. Lose the facade. Lose the self-dependence. Hang on to Jesus!

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Jim Hays

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