I Will Glory in the Cross

Bible Book: Galatians  6 : 14
Subject: Cross; Salvation; Christ, Death of; Redemption; Calvary
Introduction

All people boast about something, because it is human nature to do so, but often our boasting exaggerates the matter being discussed. We are a like the man with a toothache who went to the dentist. "I have a huge cavity!" he said. The doctor, seeing only a moderate amount of decay, assured him, "It'll be only a small filling."

"But why does it feel so large?" the patient asked.

"Just the natural tendency of the tongue to exaggerate, I guess," replied the dentist, with a twinkle in his eye.

We smile, but aren't many of us equally prone to enlarge things out of proportion? This can be especially true when it comes to our goodness as compared to others.

Paul knew that the Galatian Christians had begun to boast in regard to their obedience to the law and he warned them that this was dangerous. Paul went on to say that his own personal boasting was only in the cross of Jesus Christ.

Paul was seeking to remind the Galatians, and through them to remind us, that our victory is not in our righteous deeds but in the Redeemer's death. He wanted them to remember that salvation does not rest in the Law given at Mt. Sinai, but rather that our salvation comes from the Life of Christ given at Mount Calvary. Our eternal reservation in heaven is not the result of our duty but the result of his death!

What did Paul mean when he said that he would glory in, or boast in, the Cross? We know the cross was a device used by the Roman authorities for punishing criminals and enemies. It was a horrible way to die and was commonly used by the Romans as a way to intimidate people and keep them in their place. But Paul is certainly not implying by his statement that he was boasting in the object of the cross, nor is he saying that he is glorying in the manner in which the Romans put people to death. What was Paul saying? Paul was speaking of the atoning work Christ did on the Cross, and in that he was determined to boast! Paul gloried in and boasted about the work of Jesus completed through His sacrificial death on the cross. Paul boasted about how the work of Christ on the cross had changed his life and made him a new creature. Paul said that through the cross the world was crucified to him and he was crucified to the world.

A person placed on a cross for crucifixion was said to be accursed. When Paul stated that the he was crucified to the world and the world to him, he was stating that he was accursed from the world's point of view, and the world was accursed to him from his point of view. It was not as though Paul hated the people of the world, on the contrary, Paul loved people and sought to win them to faith in Christ at any cost. He was saying that the world's system of evil and corruption was crucified to him. He was saying that the world's prejudice, hatred, greed and system of religion through human achievement was accursed to him. The burden of the world and its system had been lifted from Paul at the cross of Christ.

In Eugene, Oregon, a sand and gravel company erected a large cross in a public park many years ago. For a long time no one said anything negative about it, but then, as the times became more anti- Christian, a group of citizens protested and tried to have the cross removed. A judge heard the case and ruled that the cross could stay. Why? The judge said that the cross was nothing more than a symbol and had no religious value.

It is sad, but true, that many people view the cross as being without significance. But to us who believe, the Cross is much more than merely a modern symbol, it is an object that points backward to a hill where our Lord poured out His life's blood for our redemption. To us who believe, the cross reminds us of the power and love of God to save and change a life. The cross reminds us that the Lord took our burdens on Him that day at Calvary, and he lifted the burdens from us.

Paul pointed out that great burdens had been lifted from him when the Lord took the weight of the cross on His own shoulders. Indeed, we sing:

"Burdens are lifted at Calvary,

Calvary, Calvary;

Burdens are lifted at Calvary,

Jesus completely saves." (John M. Moore, 1952)

Let us note today three burdens lifted at Calvary that can cause every believer to glory in and boast in the Cross of Christ.

I. The Burden of a Wicked Life was Lifted at the Cross

A. Power of Wickedness

Acts 3:25-26 states, "And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."

Isaiah 64:6, reads, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."

Let us first acknowledge that we are wicked. A woman came forward in a downtown church one Sunday to join the fellowship. The preacher asked if she had ever asked Christ into her heart. The woman answered that she had not done so. The preacher asked if she would then and there pray with him to receive Christ. She agreed to do so. So the pastor began to pray, telling her to repeat the words. He prayed like this: "Dear God, I am a wicked sinner."

The woman hesitated. The preacher asked if something was wrong. She replied, "Sir, I may have been a little naughty in my life and perhaps not perfect, but I am not a wicked sinner."

The preacher replied, "Dear lady, either you are a wicked sinner coming to Christ to be saved, or you are a wicked sinner and think too much of yourself to accept him. You will leave this altar saved, if you can acknowledge your condition and trust Him, or you will go back to your seat a wicked sinner thinking much of yourself but on your way to hell."

She stood there for a moment, then she bowed her head and with tears streaming down her face she prayed, "Dear God, I am a wicked sinner." She went on to ask Jesus into her heart and she was gloriously saved.

B. Purging of Wickedness

Romans 4:5 states, "However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness."

Titus 2:11-14 reads, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."

It is a sin to let anything entice your heart from the redeeming work of Christ. Even in the Old Testament, Job knew that he had to put the Lord first. Job 31:24-28 reads, "If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, 'You are my security,' if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained, if I have regarded the sun in its radiance or the moon moving in splendor, so that my heart was secretly enticed and my hand offered them a kiss of homage, then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high."

If we are to boast, it must be in the Lord. Jeremiah wrote, in 9:23-24, "This is what the LORD says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the LORD."

R.G. Lee, the late, great, Southern Baptist pastor, visited the Holy Land on one occasion and asked a guide to take him to the top of Gordon's Calvary, where it is believed that Jesus died for our sins. The guide said it could not be done, but Dr. Lee insisted and finally the guard agreed. Dr. Lee went up to the top of the hill. Standing there the great preacher began to weep with emotion and feeling. The guide asked, "Sir, have you been here before?" Dr. Lee answered, "Oh, yes, I have been here; I was here 2,000 years ago."

Dr. Lee was saying that his own sins had helped crucify the Lord. Lee was present at Calvary because his sins were laid on Christ long before R.G. Lee was even born into this world. How true that is. It was our wickedness that caused His death.

When you and I could to Christ in confession and faith, our sins are removed from us – we are purged of our wickedness. Jesus became sin for us at Calvary. No wonder Paul boasted in the cross and so should each of us!

II. The Burden of a Worried Life was Lifted at the Cross

Romans 8:31-39 reads, "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-- more than that, who was raised to life-- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

A. Don't Worry About your Past

Nothing in your past can condemn you once you are in Christ. The cross takes care of our past! There are those in God’s service who feel they have no right to be blessed or used in His service because of past deeds. Indeed, you do have a right to worship and serve Him, because the cross of Jesus gives you that right. John 1:12-13 states, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Your rights come from your new birth because you received Christ into your life. You are a new creature. Grace abounds to you and in your.

B. Don't Worry About your Present

There is nothing present that can hinder or rob you once you have come to the cross of Christ. Whatever you are facing, Jesus is the answer. He loved you enough to die for you, will He withhold any good thing from you? Yes, you may be called upon to bear the cross, but he bore the cross that matters most. He died for you so that you might live. Nothing can take from you what He has given you.

C. Don't Worry About your Prospects

Someone has wisely said that a fly was as safe in the Ark as an elephant. It was not the size of the elephant that made him safe, it was the security of the Ark. You and I are not safe due to the size of our works or gifts; we are safe due to the Ark of Safety which Christ has made possible at the cross.

We read in I John 4:10 states, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

2 Corinthians 4:15-18, "All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Again, in 1 John 3:1 we read, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him."

In 2 Peter 1:3 we note, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."

Psalms 34:8-10 states, "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

III. The Burden of a Wasted Life was Lifted at the Cross

I told Jayne that I saw a sermon title the other day that looked interesting. It was, "Why I know that Elvis is alive and OJ will get a fair trial." She wanted to know what kind of preacher would deliver a sermon like that. I told her the sermon title was from Adrian Rogers. She looked shocked. Then I told her what I thought the sermon was about, even though I have never heard it. Naturally this is conjecture, but it is probably right. Adrian probably preached on the fact that no one really dies. We will live forever! Elvis is not dead. He is either in heaven or hell. And O.J. will get a fair trial one day before a wiser and truer judge than any earthly judge or jury. Friend, we must all one day appear before God. Believe me when I tell you that it is a wasted life that is lived without benefit of salvation through Christ.

A. Your Work is a Waste without Christ

Ecclesiastes 2:17-18 reads, "So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me."

All human work is but a passing fancy. That does not mean we should not work. In fact, for the person who is saved, work is enjoyable. Remember that God told Adam to keep the Garden of Eden and tend it even before sin entered the world. Work was not the curse placed on Adam, but it was the meaningless of human work and the sweat and briars that got in the way that was a curse. A person who has accepted Christ has the joy of work restored. The New Testament teaches that we should do all our work as unto the Lord. We should do what our hand finds to do with all our heart. We should do our best at our work, whether we are cleaning floors or building skyscrapers. But, if we are living without Christ, all of it is in vain. If we know Christ, we know the Scripture is correct which states, "Our labor is not in vain, in the Lord." Amen!

A man builds sandcastles every summer on a busy beach just before the tide comes in. People gather and question why he would work on such elaborate pieces of art for hours, just to have them washed away by the tide. He then uses the occasion to witness to the passing nature of our world. He points out that everyone who works in this world and leaves God out, is building sandcastles that will be washed away by the tide of time and death. How right that man is and what a grand witness he gives.

B. Your Wealth is a Waste without Christ

In Psalm 39:5-7 we read, "You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. "But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you."

Paul knew that earthly possessions could not save his soul, nor give lasting meaning to life. Paul would glory in the cross not in some earthly bank account or treasure chest. Jesus said, "Lay up treasure in heaven." That is what one does when he bows at the cross and comes to know the Savior.

C. Your Worship is a Waste without Christ

Paul was pointing out to the Galatian Church that a person who comes to God in his own righteousness is doomed to defeat. All worship and service for the Lord is a waste outside the saving work of Christ on the cross.

We remember Ephesians 2:8-9 where Paul writes, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast." The word boast here is the same as that in Galatians 6:14. This the proper context for understanding what Paul meant.

Conclusion

A man heard a sermon on the subject of the cross one Sunday and that night he dreamed he was there at the cross. He saw Jesus bleeding and he watched as a Roman soldier drew back a cat-o- nine-tails and came down upon the back of the Lord. He saw Jesus quiver in pain. He saw the blood steam from the wound caused by the blow. In the dream, the man decided he had to do something. As the soldier drew back the whip to strike Jesus again, the dreamer grabbed his arm to stop him. Then, the soldier turned and looked the dreamer in the eye. The dreaming man suddenly realized, that he was looking at himself! It was he, himself, who was beating the Lord with the whip. He woke from his dream with a new appreciation of how true it is that our sins crucified the Lord of glory.

Oh, yes, I will glory in the cross. At the cross, my burdens were rolled away. How about you? Have you been to Calvary for the cleansing power, are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? You can be...come to Him now, Jesus completely saves!