Friday, April 10, 2009

Cross Centered v. Gospel Centered

"Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.”
- Acts 2:29-32

‘For seeing that in the cross, death and burial of Christ, nothing but weakness appears, faith must go beyond all these…because, as he, by rising again, became victorious over death, so the victory of our faith consists only in his resurrection.’
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, II:16

‘Even today a dead Christ is easier to come to terms with than a living Lord.’
-Paul Beasley-Murray, The Message of the Resurrection, p. 26

Dear Christ Our Redeemer Family and Friends,

It may be theological shorthand but it’s a subtle and important difference. To be cross-centered alone is to miss something very important. To be gospel-centered is to be all-inclusive. When Paul talks about the gospel having ‘first importance’ in 1 Cor. 15 both the death of Christ and His resurrection are included. Understand this - a crucified Savior alone cannot save us. However, a crucified Savior raised again by God for our justification can and does save us. These are very important distinctions because the Resurrection sets the trajectory for everything that follows the Crucifixion. The second Adam has come and the new creation has begun, but only because the God-man has died in the sinner’s stead and has risen again. He has done what no ordinary man could do. His victory over sin and His future reign has begun now because He has risen. We have our sins atoned for in the Cross, but we have the completion of our salvation in justification, hope, power, and new and eternal life because of the Resurrection. Because of the Resurrection every enemy has been defeated, and not just my sin, but everything and everyone that raises opposition to God. Rejoicing in a crucified Savior is misinformed worship, but rejoicing in a crucified and risen Savior is to celebrate the superlative glory of the gospel. Rejoicing in the Resurrected Savior is to rejoice in the ascended and reigning King. Revelation 5 pictures the saints forever worshiping the Lamb who was slain, but who now lives forevermore. The Lamb was slain for us, but God raised Him up for our salvation. The risen Lamb will be the object of our worship forever. He has risen. He has risen indeed.

Thanking God for the power and glory of the resurrection.

Pastor Dan

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