Is the Cross Still Relevant?

Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
The Power of the Cross: Putting It to Work In Your Life
By Tony Evans

In The Power of the Cross: Putting the Cross to Work in Your Life, Dr. Tony Evans shows us that the reason so many believers are experiencing defeat and a lack of power in our lives today is because we have wandered away from the cross. While we have accepted Christ and the cross for the salvation of our souls and eternal life, many of us are now trying to live out our day-to-day lives as Christians, much like the believers in Galatia, apart from the cross and through our own human wisdom and efforts.

The core message of The Power of the Cross is that even though the crucifixion of Jesus Christ happened over two thousand years ago, the message of the Cross—Jesus Christ and Him crucified—is still alive, active and relevant for today. Believers need to look at the cross as both a historical and a current event. Through the historical event, the cross, has secured a place for us in heaven and eternity. In the present, the cross, when given its proper place, provides us with everything we need to live in victory.

Using a football analogy, Dr. Evans stresses the importance of the place of the cross in the life of the believer. In a football game everything that happens on the field is centered around the football. While it is important that the players, coaches and referees all show up for the game, it is the presence of the football that determines whether the game will go on. In our lives as believers, the cross is to be the centerpiece. When we look to the cross daily, identifying with Christ and the purpose for which He lived, died, was buried and resurrected; when we acknowledge total dependence on Him, surrendering our all and recognizing our sin, we are positioned to receive the blessings of the cross. However, when we leave the cross out of our lives or reduce it to a mere symbol or icon, Dr. Evans points out that we are not only cutting ourselves off from its benefits but also compromising our relationship with Christ. We replace intimacy with rules, regulations and judgments—an empty religion.

Through a brief survey of the life of Jesus Christ, Dr. Evans highlights the uniqueness and authority of Christ which distinguishes Him as the Lord over everything. Delving into the discussion of the death and resurrection of Christ he underscores why Jesus had to die on the cross and what that means for believers today. He goes on to highlight the resurrection and the ascension of Christ and how these events impact us in the present and the future. Through His death, and resurrection Christ has defeated the enemy of our souls and given us victory over our sinful natures as well as the specific sins we are tempted to commit daily. Those of us who are living in a continual state of defeat, he asserts have not truly grasped the reality of Christ's resurrection. We are living as though the resurrection never took place.

Dr. Evans also highlights Christ's ascension and its impact and relevancy for us. After He was resurrected, Christ ascended into heaven. Having finished the work God had given Him, He sat down at the right hand of the Father, in the place of honor and with all authority under His feet, according to Ephesians 1:22-23. One of the privileges of identifying with Christ and the work of the cross for believers is that spiritually, we are connected to and seated with Christ in the heavens, according to Ephesians 2:6. This means that when the temptations of sin abound and the enemy is pounding us with his weaponry, our defense and victory lies in the spiritual authority and power we have been given in Christ through the message of the cross.

So how do we put the cross to work in our lives?

Dr. Evans helps us to understand this more clearly in his succinct yet in-depth and clear examination of the purpose and power of the cross. His exploration of these topics helps us to more fully understand the implications of the cross for our lives and reminds us of the single most important reason for its existence—sin. The cross at work in our lives, at the core, is all about dealing with sin.

Dr. Evans asserts that believers have wandered away from the cross because we do not appreciate or recognize our need for it beyond salvation and because we do not really want to deal with our sin. Instead we are trying to solve our issues through human wisdom and effort which actually cancels out the power of the cross in our lives. To see the cross at work is to identify our problem, identify the sin associated with the problem (whether ours or someone else's) and then deal with the sin God's way. When we do this the cross is activated and God's power flows into our lives enabling us to deal effectively with the problem.

In these times, where God and the church are being marginalized more and more, Dr. Evans invites us to return to the cross. To daily make the message, Christ and Him crucified, the centerpiece of all we do, so that we can be victorious and live more successfully God's way.