The Logic of the Cross

by J. Randal Matheny
Human logic often turns reason on its head. This tendency is especially seen in politics. Last Thursday, U.S. Vice-president Joe Biden said, “[W]e have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt? The answer is yes, that’s what I’m telling you.”
Somehow, that never seems to work in my personal finances, and it doesn’t appear that it will solve the country’s problems either.
Such twisted thinking makes its way into religion as well. Perhaps Paul was defending himself against false accusations (see Romans 3:8) or anticipating libertine teaching, when he wrote:
“Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1b ESV).
“What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15).
Whatever the source of the logic, it’s a lousy idea. Sin more, so that God may make wider use of his grace. Louse things up, to watch God fix up. Since God’s forgiveness is boundless, see how far it goes.
The cross of Christ nips such notions in the bud.
The cross teaches us the utter abomination of sin, its complete abhorrence, its inability to produce anything good or of consequence.
The cross teaches us that holiness and godliness and righteousness are what God values and desires. The righteous in his hands do powerful deeds.
The cross teaches us the pain of sin, the pain that the sinner brings upon himself, the pain that his sin causes the Creator.
The cross teaches us that grace is free, but not cheap.
The cross teaches us that we die to sin, have no truck with transgression, have been given a change of loyalties.
“And, after you were set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:16 PEB).
The cross never lets Satan twist our thinking, that our sin isn’t so serious, that God will overlook our willful choices, that we can trot merrily into the enemy camp and cavort with the other side.
Because, before the cross, and at the table of the Lord, we gain sober minds and hear the divine logic of redemption.

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