“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV).
As we approach Good Friday and then Resurrection Sunday in a few days, I thought I would pass along to you some of the “best of the best” quotes that I have come across recently on the Cross of Christ.
As a believer in Christ, these words should fill your heart with joy, gratitude, love, hope and humility. Many of these quotes are theologically deep, not simply some light, pithy, inspirational sayings. We must have a deep theology if our faith is to remain strong during the storms, temptations and doubts that come our way.
Root your faith deep in the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement! Root your faith deep in the cross of Christ and what it means!
Pastors, I hope you can use some of these quotes in your sermons or other writings and teachings in the future.
That Is How Jesus Died (warning: very graphic)…
“Shredded flesh against unforgiving wood, iron stakes pounded through bone and wracked nerves, joints wrenched out of socket by the sheer dead weight of the body, public humiliation before the eyes of family, friends, and the world — that was death on the cross, ‘the infamous stake’ as the Romans called it, ‘the barren wood, ‘ the maxima mala crux. Or as the Greeks spat it out, the stauros [Greek word for the cross]. No wonder no one talked about it. No wonder parents hid their children’s eyes from it. The stauros was a loathsome thing, and the one who dies on it was loathsome too, a vile criminal whose only use was to hang there as a putrid decaying warning to anyone else who might follow his example. That is how Jesus died.” (Greg Gilbert, as quoted in “The Gospel: God’s Self-Substitution for Sinners” in Don’t Call It a Comeback, by Kevin DeYoung – Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2011 – Page 72)
“At the cross, the love of God and the wrath of God shake hands; the mercy of God and the justice of God embrace; and the holiness of God and the sinfulness of humanity appear in stark contrast.” (William P. Farely, from his book – Outrageous Mercy)
“How dare you approach the mercy-seat of God on the basis of what kind of day you had, as if that were the basis for our entrance into the presence of the sovereign and holy God? No wonder we cannot beat the Devil. This is works theology. It has nothing to do with grace and the exclusive sufficiency of Christ. Nothing. Do you not understand that we overcome the accuser on the ground of the blood of Christ? Nothing more, nothing less. That is how we win. It is the only way we win. This is the only ground of our acceptance before God. If you drift far from the cross, you are done. You are defeated. We overcome the accuser of our brothers and sisters, we overcome our consciences, we overcome our bad tempers, we overcome our defeats, we overcome our lusts, we overcome our fears, we overcome our pettiness on the basis of the blood of the lamb.” D.A. Carson, from his book Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 103
Please, please – let the above paragraph by D.A. Carson sink in!
“My observation of Christians is that most of us base our relationship with God on our performance instead of on His grace.” (Jerry Bridges)
“The law discovers the disease. The gospel (the cross and resurrection) gives the remedy.” (Martin Luther)
A Response to Ricky Gervais
Mike Cosper has a thoughtful response to “An (Atheist) Easter Message from Ricky Gervais.”
“Here’s the conclusion: In his abundant mercy, God looks upon the broken, the downtrodden, those crushed by the burdens of Satan, sin, and death, and provides scandalous mercy in Jesus Christ. That’s the starting place of the gospel, and the starting place of any conversation about what it means to be a Christian.
Ricky Gervais looks at the Scriptures and sees only law, not grace, and responds with appeals to legal obedience. There are millions like him, both inside and outside the church. They believe that the essential message of the Bible is, “If you behave, then you belong.” We have a better message and a much richer story, one drenched in grace and mercy. Remember, as many Christians before us have understood, the gospel tells us that we’re far worse off than we ever imagined . . . and far more loved than we ever dared to dream.”
Justin Taylor writes: I highly recommend Joe Thorn’s new book: Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself. It’s proving to be good medicine for my soul. Each “note to self” is short but full of gospel wisdom. In a recent interview he explains something that he also covers in the introduction: we must not only preach the gospel to ourselves, but we should also preach the law (rightly understood):
The law essentially does three things:
1. The law tells us what’s right. God has not left us in the dark about his will and ways. He has graciously revealed himself and his will to us that we might know what is right and good. This is actually grace.
2. The law tells us what’s wrong. Unfortunately, we do not keep God’s commands. The law is held up against our own lives, and what is reflected back is a life of law-breaking, rebellion, and selfishness. The law shows us what’s wrong—ourselves. Through the law we see our sin and guilt.
3. The law tells us what’s needed. The law then shows us that what we need before God is forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration. We need mercy if we are to find life. We need God to rescue us from our sin and his judgment. In this way the law prepares us for the gospel.
“Every time we look at the cross, Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.” (John R. W. Stott, from his commentary, The Message of Galatians (London, 1968), page 179.
And because of the cross of Christ…
“Ransomed men need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy of Holies. God wills that we should push on into His Presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience. It is more than a doctrine to be held, it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day.” (A. W. Tozer)
“Either He bore all our sins, or none; and He either saves us once for all, or not at all.” (Charles Spurgeon)
“My whole theology of gospel preaching rests on the foundation of truth that the quote below illuminates. God’s grace is a beautiful, and scandalously freeing, thing! My observation of Christendom is that most of us tend to base our relationship with God on our performance instead of on His grace. If we’ve performed well—whatever ‘well’ is in our opinion—then we expect God to bless us. If we haven’t done so well, our expectations are reduced accordingly. In this sense, we live by works, rather than by grace. We are saved by grace, but we are living by the ‘sweat’ of our own performance. Moreover, we are always challenging ourselves and one another to ‘try harder’. We seem to believe success in the Christian life is basically up to us; our commitment, our discipline, and our zeal, with some help from God along the way. The realization that my daily relationship with God is based on the infinite merit of Christ instead of on my own performance is very freeing and joyous experience. But it is not meant to be a one-time experience; the truth needs to be reaffirmed daily.” (Jerry Bridges, from his book Transforming Grace)
One of My Favorite Descriptions of the Christian Life…
“I am not what I ought to be.
Ah! how imperfect and deficient.
Not what I might be,
considering my privileges and opportunities.
Not what I wish to be.
God, who knows my heart, knows I wish to be like him.
I am not what I hope to be;
ere long to drop this clay tabernacle, to be like him and see him as He is.
Not what I once was,
a child of sin, and slave of the devil.
Though not all these,
not what I ought to be,
not what I might be,
not what I wish or hope to be, and
not what once was,
I think I can truly say with the apostle Paul, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
(Cited in Letters of John Newton, p. 400)
You will not understand, nor will you fully appreciate, the grace, mercy and love of God, until you first understand the holiness, justice and wrath of God! As a believer in Jesus Christ, don’t be afraid of learning and embracing the holiness, justice and wrath of God – let them push you deeper into a full appreciation and embrace of God’s love, grace, mercy and kindness! Listen to what D. A. Carson writes in The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism:
“The point that cannot be escaped is that God’s wrath is not some minor and easily dismissed peripheral element to the Bible’s plot-line. Theologically, God’s wrath is not inseparable from what it means to be God. Rather, his wrath is a function of his holiness as he confronts sin. But insofar as holiness is an attribute of God, and sin is the endemic condition of this world, this side of the Fall divine wrath cannot be ignored or evaded. It is not going too far to say that the Bible would not have a plot-line at all if there were no wrath.”
Knowing the truth of what Carson has just said, we must now remember that on the cross, Jesus took the full wrath of Almighty God, that was meant for you and me, so that we could be free forever from his wrath and condemnation! (Romans 5:1-11, 8:1)
“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5:9 ESV)
J. I Packer says it this way: “There is unspeakable comfort, the sort of comfort that energizes, in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion Him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me. There is, certainly, great cause for humility in the thought that He sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow men do not see, and that He sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself. There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that for some unfathomable reason He wants me as His friend and desires to be my friend and has given His Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose.”
“I’m forgiven because You were forsaken,
I’m accepted, You were condemned.
I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me,
Because You died and rose again.
Amazing love, How can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love, I know it’s true.
It’s my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.”
(From Amazing Love – by Chris Tomlin)
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV)