The Atonement – Does the Cross of Jesus Matter?

Yesterday I began a series inspired by Article 6 of the Together for the Gospel Statement. The atonement is not a new subject for my blog.

This series is based on teaching I first gave at Jubilee Church. If you want a sneak preview of what is coming you can download the audio (you may need to right click and save to your PC) or listen online here:

What better time to begin to get into the heart of this series than on Good Friday? This weekend is rightly the most important in the Christian calendar. I thought I would begin with a quote from Mark Driscoll, which reminds us of the literally crucial place of Jesus and His death in our history. This quote is also a summary of what I believe is a biblical position on the cross. We will spend some time together examining this, but I really do not believe we will improve on this pithy quote:

“Nearly 2,000 years ago a poor, homeless, single man in his early thirties was executed by crucifixion like many other common criminals. He never wrote a book, never traveled more than 200 miles from his home, never held a political office, never married or had children, and never ran a company. His name is Jesus Christ and history is divided into the periods before and after his life. Time magazine named him “Man of the Millennium,” and more songs have been sung to, books written about, and artwork painted of Him than anyone who has ever lived. Moreover, a few billion people alive today worship Him as their only God and deeply love Him unlike anyone who has ever lived.Why? Because Jesus has done what no one else could do: take away their sin by dying on a cross as a substitute in their place. It is the cross of Jesus that is the symbol of the Christian faith and the crux of human history . . . Simply, like I tell my little kids, ‘Jesus died on the cross in your place for your sins to save you from sin, Satan, death, and hell.’”

— Mark Driscoll

I remain convinced that what happens at the cross lies at the very heart of the Gospel — that without the death of Jesus we cannot be saved! It is a subject that is vital to the New Testament. According to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the cross is mentioned 175 times in the New Testament, and indirectly many more times, and about one-third of each Gospel is about Jesus’ death. The Doctor was not under any illusions about the intellectual and spiritual challenge of considering the cross. He rightly said the following:

“. . . there is no place where we should be more careful to go with our minds fully operating as to the cross on Calvary’s hill. And I will tell you why: it is because this is the central thing; there is no truth concerning which the adversary and the enemy of our souls is so anxious to muddle and confuse us as this particular truth.”

— David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The cross is central to the entire New Testament — but especially in Acts, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and Revelation. It is no surprise then that Paul expressed his commitment to the centrality of the cross to the Corinthians as follows:

“I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”(1 Corinthians 2:2)

Continues with quotes on the atonement from Leon Morris . . .

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