The Cross of Christ Renews Us

Why did Jesus voluntarily take up the Cross and die? We need to carefully examine this question. Christ who was sinless had to die to deliver us from sin and grant us salvation and glory. Why is deliverance from sin important? Because it is directly related to human life. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death” and Jesus Christ in John 8:24 says, “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” There is no hope for humanity if the problem of sin is not resolved. Eventually, unresolved sin will cause spiritual, emotional, and physical death.

The most important thing in life is not money. Life is not about living in a mansion and driving a luxury automobile. Its aim is neither prestige nor advanced education. The most important thing in life is the resolution of sin because human life is most important. Verse 26 from today’s reading says, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” We don’t even have to entertain the scenario in which we gain the whole world. What good will it be for you to save much money, yet lose your life? Steve Jobs who developed the iPhone and iPad recently died of pancreatic cancer. If he could cure his cancer for a billion dollars, he would have spent it without hesitation. More important than money is physical health; even more important than physical health is eternal life.

People in this world are death row inmates locked up in the prison of sin. Money is rather insignificant for the inmates who await their imminent deaths. What do they really need then? The pardon in which their death sentence is cancelled and freedom is granted. Outer appearance does not matter much to death row inmates. Recently, there was an internet article about a beautiful female death row inmate in China. Many people grew compassionate towards her and posted comments. She was sentenced to death for her involvement in drug selling. Physical beauty is utterly useless before one’s imminent death. Neither is prestige and power. Would the final fate of a death row inmate change if he is treated with respect inside his cell? The prison in which he is incarcerated may strive to improve food quality and inmates’ living conditions. Nonetheless, all these efforts are of no value to death row inmates so long as they remain on death row.

Then, Jesus Christ delivered us, who have been justly condemned to death, from death through His redemption on the Cross. We have been granted pardon. Preservation of soul is a great success in life. Preservation of principal is essential to merchants and business owners for it is the foundation on which profit is generated. Those who have failed to preserve their souls are accursed regardless of their financial prosperity. It is a losing game. Salvation of soul is a great success. Isaiah 53:5-6 say Jesus was afflicted to take away our transgressions and iniquities and grant us peace and healing. In other words, Jesus Christ suffered for the spiritual, emotional, and physical salvation of mankind. We must keep in mind that it was through the Cross of the Lord that our problem of sin has been resolved and we have been completely transformed and renewed. As we meditate upon the Cross of Christ, let us repent and renew our commitment to sanctification.

I once heard a personal testimony of Rev. Jisuk Chae, who led a one day revival service at our church recently. A permanent deacon he knows personally was a drunkard before converting to Christ. The deacon had two bad drinking habits. One was running around the town naked and the other was throwing a tantrum while buying on credit at local stores. It was indeed humiliating for his wife and family. Excessive consumption of alcohol eventually damaged his liver. As fluid accumulated in his abdomen and overall health deteriorated, he was just waiting to die. His wife and sister cared for him but they often spewed out insults saying, “You fool. You’re better off dead.” In spite of his physical discomfort, he was mentally alert and heard everything his wife and sister said. He began harboring vengeance against them thinking to himself, “I’ll recuperate on day and kill them.”

Then one day, one of the elderly deaconesses from Yoido Full Gospel Church, who heard about him, took him, his wife, and his sister to Osanri Prayer Mountain and prayed over them. His wife and sister initially took no interest in worship service but they noticed something quite extraordinary. The deacon later revealed that a ball of fire came down from heaven and entered his mouth. Suddenly, he remembered all his sinful deeds and began repenting in tears. Soon, he was overwhelmed with joy and assurance of healing. He continued to pray and was healed completely.

Hate and vengeance he once harbored in his heard turned into love. Overflowing joy caused him to attend church regularly and become actively involved in various ministries. Now, he is an ordained permanent deacon.

Dear brothers and sisters. You cannot be a new creature without repentance and resolution of the problem of sin. To be a new creature and have remission of sin, there is no other way than to believe in and receive Jesus Christ who shed His precious blood on the Cross. Part of the 1st verse of the hymn Nothing But the Blood of Jesus goes as follow: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Only the blood of Jesus washes away our sin. Only His blood washes away our diseases. Only His blood washes away anxiety and depression. Only His precious blood solves all our problems and grants us eternal life.
The core of Christianity is the Cross and the blood. We are not told to save ourselves. We are not told to work for our salvation. Instead, we believe and confess that salvation has been fully accomplished by Jesus’ death on the Cross. That is what the Bible teaches. Apostle Paul says in Galatians 6:14, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” As someone once said, “The Cross designed to put Jesus to death ironically became the magnet to pull everyone towards Him.” Through the power of the Cross, may all of you experience salvation and healing of the body and soul and be renewed.

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