“Alas! and did my Saviour bleed, and did my Sov’reign die. Would He devote that sacred head for such a one as I? At the Cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away; It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day!” (Isaac Watts, author).
These are the words to an old, old song that I have heard sung in worship all of my life. We sing about the cross and what took place there. But how many of us really realize and appreciate properly what did take place at the cross? Let’s consider some of the things that took place at the cross.
At the cross the great love of God was manifested for us. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us” (I John 3:16a). Most all students of the Bible can quote from John 3:16: “For God so love the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Let John further explain this great love of God that was fully manifested toward us at the cross. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (I John 4:7-11).
At the cross Jesus died to free us from the bondage and chains of sin. The Hebrew writer informs us of this when he says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste of death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). With that “precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Pet 1:18-19), we are redeemed, bought back and brought back from the shackles of sin. Today when one “obeys from the heart that form of doctrine delivered” he is made free from sin and washed in the blood that was shed at the cross. See Romans 6:17-18 and Acts 22:16. When we are washed in the blood of the Lamb, our sins, “though they be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). When we have been made free by the blood of the cross, we can truly say, “Thank God Almighty; I am free at last!” or as Paul put it, “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom. 5:9).
At the cross the Law of Moses was fulfilled, finished, and nailed to the cross. Jesus promised that the law would not pass out of existence until He had fulfilled all of it (Matt. 5:17-18). Paul tells us that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). In Colossians 2:14-16 and Ephesians 2:14-15, Paul explained how the law was “nailed to the cross” and with “the death of the testator” the New Testament of Jesus Christ came into effect (Heb. 9:15-17). Today, when folks go back to the Old Testament and back to the Law of Moses to try to find authorization for Sabbath Day keeping and mechanical instruments of music in worship, they show at least three things. (1) They do not understand which law governs men today (Heb. 1:1-2). (2) They indicate that they believe authority is necessary (Col. 3:17). (3) They show that such authority cannot be found in the New Testament.
Paul M. Wilmoth