What does the cross mean to you? Many people in the world today view it as a symbol of Christianity, but think about what it represented in Christ’s day. Nobody wore a miniature cross around the neck or displayed one in a place of worship. The cross was a tortuous means of execution, and the mere thought of it was repulsive.
Yet believers throughout the ages have chosen this as the sign of their faith. In fact, to remove the cross from our teaching and theology would leave nothing but an empty, powerless religion. How could anyone be saved if Christ had not been crucified and resurrected? According to Scripture, there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). Christ had to bear the punishment for our sin in order for God to grant us forgiveness.
Every time you see a cross, remember what it really was – an instrument of execution. Then thank Jesus that He was willing to be crucified so the Father could forgive you of sin. Though the scene of your redemption was horrendous, Christ turned the cross into a place of great triumph. For more about Jesus and His gift of salvation: https://wordpicturesbydlink.wordpress.com/jesus/
Commentary by Charles Stanley, from the In Touch devotional, April 3, 2021. https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/daily-devotions
Are you letting Christ sanctify you through your pain and trouble, or are you hanging on to disappointment, anger, and bitterness?
Afflictions and trials which are externally visible seem at odds with the good that Christ is doing within every believer. Yet we are not to lose heart, because “our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). It’s through our suffering that this transformation becomes most visible to others as they see Christ’s supernatural peace and joy displayed in us.
The key to contentment in every situation is a willingness to look below the surface of your pain and see both the good that Christ is working in you and the glory that is guaranteed to follow. The constant dying to self and even persecution were ways in which Jesus Christ‘s life was displayed in the apostles.
Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, August 17, 2019.
Nonbelievers are so bound in the sphere of sin, the world (Eph. 2:12), the flesh (Rom. 8:8), and the devil (1 John 5:19) as to be unable to respond to spiritual stimuli; totally devoid of spiritual life. The spiritually dead have no ability to make themselves alive.
Only through a union with Jesus Christ can those hopelessly dead in their sins receive eternal life. Believer’s sins are all put to Christ’s account, nailed to His cross as He paid the penalty in their place, for them, thus satisfying the just wrath of God against crimes requiring punishment in full.
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Colossians 2:13,14.
It is important for us as believers to understand what happened on the cross, and that it was of supreme significance. Jesus’ crucifixion on a tree is far more than simply the site of a Jewish man’s execution-this was the solution to mankind’s biggest problem: sin and the resulting alienation from God. The crucifixion of Jesus is the divine transaction that saves us. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin and reconcile us to the Father.
Although the Jews and the Romans viewed the crucifixion as the execution of a criminal, God saw the death of His Son as the perfect atoning sacrifice, which allowed for the justification of sinful mankind.
Commentary from the In Touch devotional by Charles Stanley, May 18, 2020.
The cross has become the symbol of Christianity, but it’s so much more than a mere piece of jewelry worn around the neck. The crucifixion of Christ is a central doctrine of our faith, and understanding it correctly is essential for eternal life. In fact, Paul was convinced the cross was the most vital subject he could address.
Commentary from the In Touch Devotional by Charles Stanley, May 18, 2020.
The kingdom of God-the sphere of salvation, the gracious domain of divine rule over believers’ hearts.
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Acts 1:3.
The term for “alienated” means “estranged,” “cut off,” or “separated.” Before they were reconciled, all people were completely estranged from God (Ephesians 2:12,13). The term for “enemies” can also be translated “hateful.” Unbelievers hate God and resent His holy standard because they love “wicked works” (John 3:19,20; 15:18,24,25). Actually there is alienation from both sides, since God “hates all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5). Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross that paid the full penalty for the sin of all who believe made reconciliation possible and actual (Romans 3:25;5:9,10;8:3).
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Colossians 1:21.