Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Cross of Christ

I was reading Steve Camps blog. Camp on This, and he had a great article that was written by J.C. Ryle. Ryle (1816 – 1900) is one of the authors that is much easier to read than my favorite Puritans but speaks plainly and clearly on important subjects relating to the Christian life. You can read other writings of Ryle here.

In this paper, The Cross of Christ, Ryle speaks to what for many appears to be given mainly lip service. That is, what is important about the cross of Christ. There is a quote from Charnock that says much about the importance of the cross, especially in a day that seeks to see being a Christian revolving solely around attempting to live as Jesus did:

"If our faith stops in Christ's life, and does not fasten upon His blood, it will not be justifying faith. His miracles, which prepared the world for His doctrines; His holiness, which fitted Himself for His sufferings, had been insufficient for us without the addition of the cross." Charnock. 1684

It is not enough to simply say that all that matters is that I need to study more of Christ’s life and live as such. We need to base all of what we do around an understanding of the cross which allows us to even come before God. By ignoring the true meaning of the cross we ignore that the cross was not simply a second thought or plan of God but was planned and determined from all eternity (Acts 2:23) by God.

As I, and others over at my other blog, For His Glory-Books, read through Owen’s Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers Ryle helps us to realize that to see our sin as we should we must start at the cross.

I would encourage you to read this paper by Ryle and it will help you to see why if topics such as substitutionary atonement and the cross are denied, ignored or minimized then one minimizes God since it was His plan to make the cross central. The cross, as Ryle says, is not the cause of God’s love but the effect of it. All too often I think people see it the other way round.

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