Daily Devotional: Galatians 6:14
"But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ...." -Galatians 6:14
Christians have traditionally called the Friday before Easter “good Friday.” On this day, we may read the accounts from the four gospels and remember the suffering, crucifixion, death, and burial of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the gospel accounts, in and of themselves, do not stir us to remember this as “good” Friday. Instead, we affix the “good” tag once we’ve understood a great bounty of spiritual benefits which flow from the death of Christ on the cross.
When Paul mentions the cross, he does not refer merely to the wooden beams the soldiers used to crucify the Lord. Instead, “the cross” had become for him a theological emblem. It stood in verbally (and later visually) for a whole host of truths about the death of Christ on our behalf. But just what truths does the cross communicate?
The cross speaks of the propitiation which Christ provided. Propitiation means that Jesus served as a sacrifice which drew unto himself the wrath and anger for sin that we deserved. He drained the cup of God’s wrath (to use the imagery of the Old Testament prophets) so that not a drop remained for His people.
The cross speaks of our justification. We have been granted a righteous status in God’s sight, even though we were never righteous. God has gifted us this righteous standing, which Christ deserved, and we received by His grace.
The cross also communicates our redemption. As slaves to sin, we stood chained by our evil appetites. But Christ came to free us. And not without a price. Paul wrote in another place that Christ paid the price of our redemption with His very own blood (Ephesians 1:7).
The cross accomplishes our cleansing and washing from sin (Titus 3:5; 1 Corinthians 6:11). By the cross, Jesus grants us sanctification. Most of you will think of sanctification as the process by which God makes us holy. But the word can also be used for the once-for-all action by which Christ makes us holy for the last day. In other words, our position before God at the moment of our conversion changes from unholy to holy. And this change does not flow from our works, but the sacrifice of Christ.
Finally (although more could be said!), the cross accomplishes our reconciliation. Whether we want to dwell on this or not, our sin makes us the enemies of God. We hold hostility toward Him in our pride, and He stands opposed to us in His holiness. And only by the cross of Christ can the two warring parties come together. Only by the cross can Christ bring guilty one back to God. Reconciliation is, perhaps, the most relational of all of these benefits. Because what we receive in reconciliation isn’t the approval of God or even the gifts of God, it’s God.
As we spend the day reading and thinking about the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, let’s not stop short at a mere reading of the account. Let’s also consider the eternal accomplishments for all who have trusted in Jesus’ cross.