By Waylon Bailey
As we move toward Easter, I want to move us toward the cross.
The cross of Christ is the heart of the Gospel. Because of the cross we have hope for the future. The cross brings us into right relationship with God and opens the way to God.
No wonder the coming of Christ into the world divided time and changed the course of world history.
Because of the cross, all sinners are able to share in the inheritance of the saints.
Paul gave four unique contributions we receive from the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (Colossians 1:13-14).
First, the cross delivers us from the domain of darkness.
“All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). We were born into darkness and apart from the saving work of Christ on the cross we remain in darkness. But God in His mercy has rescued us from the domain of darkness and brought us into His light.
Second, by the cross we have been transferred from darkness into light, from sin into newness of life, and from slavery into freedom.
We are a part of the Kingdom of God’s Son whom He loves.
Third, the cross is the method of our redemption.
We who were slaves to this world and its sinful passions have been bought out of our slavery. To be redeemed is to be freed from those passions and lusts which enslave and entangle us with the world. What could wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Finally, the cross brings forgiveness.
All sin is against the God who is perfect moral purity. Nothing we can do can cancel out the debt we owe God. We have no right to stand before Him apart from His granting us to be in His presence. When Christ gave Himself on the cross, it canceled our debt and we are forgiven and free. We have been changed and made new by the cross of Christ. As Paul later told the Colossians, Christ took our debt and nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14).
Dear God, thank you for the cross.
Waylon Bailey is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington and a past president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. This editorial first appeared on Bailey’s daily blog.