The Victory of the Cross Over Death
Guest editorial by Kelvin Banda OP – The Cross, which we behold in a special way on Good Friday, was used as a method of capital punishment by many societies, including the Romans, from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD. Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, abolished it in his empire in AD 337, out of veneration for Jesus Christ, the most famous victim of crucifixion.
Every blessing in life is designed to magnify the cross of Christ — every good thing in life is meant to magnify Christ and Christ crucified.
Christ died for our sins on the cross, and took away the wrath of God from us, and secured for us — even though we do not deserve it — the omnipotent grace of God that brings everything together for the good of humanity.
The cross is the central theme and foundation image of Christian faith. The cross is the salvation event of Christ to humanity through which all have been saved and restored to life in Christ. Christ died for our sins on the cross, and took away the wrath of God from us, and secured for us — even though we do not deserve it — the omnipotent grace of God that brings everything together for the good of humanity.
St Paul’s letters carry the constant theme of the crucifixion’s essential role in our redemption: “During my stay with you, the only knowledge I claimed to have was about Jesus, and only about him as the crucified Christ” (I Corinthians 2:2); “As for me, the only thing I can boast about is the cross of our Lord Jesus, through whom the world is crucified through me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
Through the cross, Christ denied himself (his Godhead), and became a slave for our sake so that we may have life in abundance.
This has a consequence for us: through the cross and on a daily basis we need to deny ourselves (our wants and desires), and in so doing take up our own cross by virtue of our willingness to live out and preach the cross of Christ: the Gospel.
This daily experience of living and preaching the cross may cause us to suffer rejection, deprivation, and division with friends or family members or colleagues. In extreme circumstance, we must be prepared to die for Christ — the Gospel — as many of our fellow Christians do, even today.
The message of the cross of Jesus Christ is that only God can bring perfect justice to the world that God created, and that God has done so in the body of Jesus Christ our Saviour, and that God will do so in the future Day of the Lord.
In this way we follow Christ to Golgotha where the cross brought salvation.
The cross on which Christ died shines like the “bright morning star” after his birth (Matthew 2:2).
The cross of Christ must be revered as the tree of life: the event of salvation. The message of the cross of Jesus Christ is that only God can bring perfect justice to the world that God created, and that God has done so in the body of Jesus Christ our Saviour, and that God will do so in the future Day of the Lord.
The cross therefore demonstrates the victory of God — redeeming love over the destructive power of sin (John 12:30-33; Colossians 2:15). In the death of Christ, God delivered the final blow to human sin and rebellion and brought salvation to the world. The cross therefore demonstrates the victory of God — redeeming love over the destructive power of sin. In the death of Christ, God delivered the final blow to human sin and rebellion and brought salvation to the world.
The Church, as a people of God, is called to witness to the victory of the cross through preaching its true significance and joyfully submitting to the rule of Christ only as the Spirit works in prayer to awaken faith in human hearts (Luke 11:1-13; Colossians 4:2-6).
It is for this reason that prayer is essential to all the tasks of the Christian community. We are called to witness to the victory of Jesus Christ in our whole lives through the cross: to make known the Good News of God — as St Paul reminded us, the renewed reign over creation (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17).
Thus, the work of the Church must be understood as part of the call of God to proclaim the Good News of his kingdom — a kingdom which is in our own day both present and yet-to-come only in the power of the cross of Christ.
The cross of Christ refers to the suffering that comes because of proclaiming and living the Gospel. The cross of Christ has won the victory.
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