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Death at the Cross

By: Scott Morton

The cross can be a highly controversial topic for some individuals. This is because there seems to be a shame in what happened there. Some individuals cannot justify in their minds the victory that was truly accomplished at the cross. This is why some will teach things contrary to what the Word of God says, such as the Lord Jesus Christ had emptied Himself of all attributes of Deity during the earthly ministry and was just a man hanging on the cross, or that God switched the Lord Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot at the last second, saving the Lord Jesus Christ.

These thoughts are not Scriptural and cause problems with what was truly accomplished. If either of these things happened, would the Apostle Paul really be able to say the following:

Galatians 6:14

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Neither of these things could actually bring glory. If He was just a man, there is no way this death could have accomplished anything related to the sins of this world. If He did not die, there can be no victory, as this is what was accomplished at the cross.

There were several things that died at the cross. In this study, we are going to look at several of these things.

1. God really did die on the cross

This is something that is very difficult for people to grasp. However, there are several passages that clearly show this:

Acts 20:28

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

According to this passage in the book of Acts, whose blood is it that was shed? This shows it was the blood of God that was shed at the cross.

1 John 3:16

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

John teaches here the death of God, as it is He who laid down His life for us (in this particular passage it would be the nation of Israel).

Romans 5:6-8

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Just like John, the Apostle Paul mentions the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. This has been done in the demonstration of the love for us. He shows in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 how this affects the members of the Body of Christ. We receive His righteousness, because He took our sin upon Himself.

This event was also mentioned in the prophetic program. It was clear that something was going to happen, even though their eyes were not open to what the prophecies meant:

Zechariah 12:10

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Zechariah shows how God the Father, the pronoun I, is talking about the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The reference is they are looking upon me, speaking of God, who was pierced. This is a clear indication of the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to fulfill the prophecies being laid out here.

2. The crucifixion of the believers

The Apostle Paul states some wonderful things for those who are believers. He speaks of the reality of what happens to those who are identified with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

This is a wonderful truth he speaks of here. The Apostle Paul identifies he has been crucified with the Lord Jesus Christ. While this would appear to be something he is only saying is true of himself, it is true of all of those who are members of the Body of Christ. This is how we are viewed by God, once we have been identified with Him. The only way this identification can happen is by putting your trust in the following passage:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

This is the only gospel message saving people today. There can be nothing else a person can do for their salvation. It does not matter if these other things can be found in the Bible, as they do not apply to the current dispensation.

One of the greatest things to start realizing is that this starts to show the identification we have with what happened at the cross. The moment we put our trust in the gospel, this happens:

Romans 6:3-5

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

We become identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is very important to remember, especially as we look at some of the other things that happened at the cross. This identification impacts some of the other things going on.

3. The death of the law

The law was something that was problematic for all of mankind. It pointed out every failure of man, as sin is defined as being the transgression of the law (1 John 3:5). This is why it is important to note the passages speaking of the law being removed for us who live in this dispensation and believe the gospel:

Colossians 2:13-14

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; [14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Galatians 3:10-13

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. [11] But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. [12] And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. [13] Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

These two passages show what was going on at Calvary. The law was a curse for us, because it pointed out the failures of man. It was a covenant made with the nation of Israel, which is known as the Middle Wall of Partition (Ephesians 2:13-15). This is removed by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in order for man to be able to all have the opportunity to be saved in this dispensation, not just those who believed in Israel's program.

The law was a curse to mankind because of what came from it. The passage from 1 John mentioned above shows how sin comes from the transgression of the law. The Apostle Paul also mentions some other things about the relationship with the law and sin:

Romans 4:15

Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Romans 5:13

(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

These two passages show how we have been removed from the curse of the law. When the law was nailed to the cross with the Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:13), we have been removed from the effects of the law. This is why there can be no imputation of sin to our account, as there is no law that can ever be transgressed.

4. The death of sin

Romans 6:10

For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

This is tied together with the last point. Since the law has been taken away and the other conclusions of the Apostle Paul, we see that the issue of sin has been taken care of for the members of the Body of Christ. We cannot commit a sin that would condemn us to hell, which is the punishment for the sin.

5. The death of death

This is one of the truly remarkable things about what happened with the crucifixion. The penalty of death has been taken care of as well.

Romans 6:9

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

2 Timothy 1:10

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

The idea of death has been taken care of by one man. It seems strange to many people to think about how death could really be taken care of by death. However, this is exactly what happened at the cross. The work of the Lord Jesus Christ takes care of death and leads to the Apostle Paul making the following statement:

1 Corinthians 15:55-57

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Because of the sacrifice of the lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we have a victory over death. What was once the penalty for sin has been taken care of, as the issue of sin was dealt with.

These are just some of the things that were taken care of by the cross. Sometimes individuals tend to downplay what was accomplished, but this is something we should never do.



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