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Sermon #2240[i] — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Glorying in the Cross
Text: Galatians 6:14
Subject: The Glory of the Cross
Open your Bibles with me to the 6th chapter of Galatians. I want talk to you about “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The title of my message is — Glorying in the Cross. Our text will be Galatians 6:14.
“In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
‘Til a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.
I saw One hanging on a tree
In agonies and blood
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath
Can I forget that look.
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.
My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there!
Alas! I knew not what I did;
But now my tears are vain!
Where shall my trembling soul be hid? —
For I the Lord have slain!
A second look He gave, which said,
‘I freely all forgive.
This blood is for thy ransom paid.
I die that thou mayest live.’
Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
(Such is the mystery of His grace),
It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief and mournful joy
My spirit now is filled,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I killed.”
— John Newton
(Galatians 6:14) “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
If God the Holy Ghost will enable me, I want to try to tell you something about what Paul meant when he said. — “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What does Paul mean by the cross? He is not talking about the historic fact that Christ died upon the cross. The knowledge of that fact, though it is necessary to salvation, is not salvation. Neither is Paul referring to the literal, wooden cross upon which Christ died. He was not an idolater, a worshipper of religious relics. He knew that there was no superstitious, spiritual value in that piece of wood. And he certainly is not suggesting that we glory in some sign, symbol, representation, or form of the cross.
When Paul speaks of the cross, he is talking about the glorious, soul saving doctrine of the cross, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is talking about…
(Romans 5:6-11) “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (10) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (11) And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
(Romans 3:24-26) “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (25) Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (26) To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
(Romans 5:19) “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
As it is used here, in Galatians 6:14, and as it is commonly used in the Epistles of the New Testament, the word “cross” refers to the Gospel of Christ.
Proposition: The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is the revelation of the very glory of God in the accomplishment of redemption by his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. — That is the message of the Gospel.
Pagans glory in religious relics. Idolaters glory in religious images, signs, and symbols. Ignorant people glory in religious feelings, emotions, and experiences. — God’s people glory in the Gospel of Christ, not in the “old rugged cross” the sentimentalists sing about, but the old, old story of redeeming blood. We glory in that which is the revelation of the glory of God.
How did Paul glory in the cross? The word “glory” means to exalt, to boast of, and to rejoice in. Paul exalted, boasted of, and rejoiced in the sin-atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cursed tree. He exalted the doctrine of the cross as the only theme of Holy Scripture and the singular subject of his preaching (1 Corinthians 2:2; 9:16). He understood that “Christ crucified” is the whole counsel of God, the message of all the types, promises, and prophecies of the Old Testament, the basis of hope for sinners, the motive of all godliness, and the message he was sent to proclaim.
(1 Corinthians 2:2) “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
(1 Corinthians 9:16) “For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel!”
This man rejoiced in the cross, the Gospel of Christ, as the only ground of his confident hope before God. He trusted Christ alone as his Savior (Philippians 3:3; 1 Corinthians 1:30). He counted all his religious works, knowledge, and experiences to be nothing but dung that he might be found in Christ, robed in his righteousness and washed in his blood.
And he preached the cross, boasting of Christ’s death as the only means of reconciliation to and acceptance with God, the only means of salvation for guilty sinners (Galatians 2:21). If righteousness cannot be gained by man’s obedience to the law of God (And it cannot!), then no man can be saved by anything else he might do. Nothing can save a man’s soul, nothing can bring a sinner to God, nothing can make a sinner acceptable in the sight of God but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” that makes it possible for the holy Lord God to be both “a just God and a Savior.” It is the cross of Christ that makes it possible for God to be both “just and Justifier.” Sinners have hope before God only because of “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Therefore saved sinners rejoice to say with the Apostle, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
The Glory of the Cross
Everything about the doctrine of the cross is glorious.
No wonder Paul exclaimed, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Why did Paul glory in the cross? What is the glory of the cross? Let me give you five answers to that question.
1. Here is the glory of the cross. — It is a compassion revealed.
Would you know the love of God? Then look into the death of Christ upon the cursed tree. Only there can it be truly realized that “God is love” (Romans 5:8; John 3:16; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-10).
(John 3:16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
(Romans 5:8) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
(1 John 3:16) “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
(1 John 4:9-10) “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
The enormous load of all my guilt
Was on my Savior laid;
The sinless One, God’s spotless Lamb,
For sinners sin was made!
And in the darkest pangs of death
He wept and prayed for me: —
Loved and embraced my wretched soul,
When nailed to the tree.
O love! Amazing love! — Beyond
The reach of mortal tongue
Savior, Your love shall be the theme
Of everlasting song!
2. Here is the glory of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. — It is a covenant respected.
Long before the world began God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, entered into a covenant of grace by which the salvation of God’s elect was infallibly secured (2 Samuel 23:5; Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:37-40).
(2 Samuel 23:5) “Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.”
(Jeremiah 31:31-34) “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: (33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
(Jeremiah 32:37-40) “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: (38) And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (39) And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (40) And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”
Our Lord Jesus, by his obedience unto death, even the death of the cross, as our Substitute, fulfilled and ratified that everlasting covenant (John 10:16-18; Hebrews 9:16-22; 13:20).
(John 10:15-18) “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
(Hebrews 9:16-22) “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. (17) For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (18) Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. (19) For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, (20) Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. (21) Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. (22) And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
(Hebrews 13:20) “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.”
3. Here is the glory of the cross. — It is a conquest realized (John 12:31-33).
(John 12:31-33) “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (33) This he said, signifying what death he should die.”
Upon the cross Christ justified his elect, conquered Satan, and procured the Spirit’s effectual call of his elect, guaranteeing the salvation of every sinner for whom he died upon the cursed tree.
(Revelation 20:1-6) “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (4) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (5) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
4. Here is the glory of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. — It is a curse removed.
The blood of Christ cannot fail to save every soul for whom that blood was shed, because the blood of Christ poured out unto death upon the cross has fully removed the curse of the law from God’s elect (Romans 8:1; Galatians 3:13). The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ shall never be discovered a miscarriage! — “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”
(Galatians 3:13-14) “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
(Romans 8:1-4) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
(Romans 8:32-39) “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hast Thou, O Father, put to grief
Thy spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was charged on Thee?
Complete atonement Thou hast made
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er Thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood?
If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine,
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.
Turn, then, my soul, unto thy rest;
The merits of thy great High Priest
Speak peace and liberty;
Trust in His efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee!”
5. Here is the glory of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. — It is a comfortable rule.
In Galatians 6:16 Paul is still talking about the glory of the cross. He says, “As many as walk according to this rule.” What rule? The rule of the cross. “Peace (shall) be on them!” All who live under the rule and dominion of the cross find peace (Matthew 11: 28-30).
(Matthew 11:25-30) “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (26) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (27) All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (28) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Believers are not under the rule of the Mosaic law (Romans 6:14; 7:4; 10:4). And we are not under the rule of religious traditions (Colossians 2:16-22). But we do gladly live under the blessed, comfortable rule of the cross.
(Philippians 3:3-10) “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: (5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” — Paul speaks here of three crucifixions in our text.
1. The Crucifixion of Christ for His People
Paul’s constant theme in preaching was the doctrine of the cross, effectual, blood atonement by Jesus Christ, the God-man Mediator. He never tired of hearing it, meditating upon it, or preaching it. He saw and interpreted everything in the light of substitutionary redemption.
But he saw more in the Gospel than the death of Christ for him. He also saw…
2. The Crucifixion of the World to the Believer
What does Paul mean when he says, by Christ “the world is crucified unto me”?
Š “As the result of seeing all things in the light of the cross, he saw the world to be like a felon executed upon a cross” (C. H. Spurgeon).
Š He had no more fear of the world than he would of a dead corpse. Paul’s “faith in a crucified Christ overcame the world, so that he looked upon it as the Israelites saw the Egyptians, dead on the sea shore” (John Gill).
Š He had no more regard for the judgment of the world than he would for the opinions of an executed murderer (1 Corinthians 4:3).
Š Certainly, the context suggests that Paul looked upon the religion of this world with utter contempt (Galatians 6:15; 5:12; 1:6-9).
Š The ceremonial law he called the “elements of the world and of bondage” (Galatians 4:3, 9).
Š The ordinances of legal worship he called, “the rudiments of the world” (Colossians 2:20).
Š All legal, free-will, works religion he called, “the satisfying of the flesh” (Colossians 2:16-23).
Š And Paul looked upon all that is in the world, which is pleasing and alluring to the flesh, as no more pleasing or alluring to him than a dead corpse (1 Timothy 6:5-11).
To faith the world is crucified! And our text also speaks of…
3. The Crucifixion of the Believer to the World
“The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” — Two things are intended here…
Š By faith in Christ crucified we are as dead to the law as the law is to us (Galatians 2:19; Romans 7:4).
Š Faith in Christ makes God’s people the objects of the world’s wrath, contempt, and ridicule (Galatians 5:11; 2 Timothy 3:12).
(Galatians 6:14) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
“Yonder — Amazing sight! — I see
The incarnate Son of God,
Expiring on the accursed tree,
And weltering in His blood.
Behold a purple torrent run
Down from His hands and head:
The crimson tide puts out the sun;
His groans awake the dead!
The trembling earth, the darkened sky,
Proclaim the truth aloud!
And with the amazed Centurion cry,
‘This is the Son of God!’
So great, so vast a sacrifice,
May well my hope revive:
If God’s own Son thus bleeds and dies,
The sinner sure may live.
O that these cords of love divine,
Might draw me, Lord, to Thee!
Thou hast my heart, it shall be Thine —
Thine it shall ever be!”
(Galatians 6:14) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
[i] Danville, Sunday Evening — November 4, 2007
Danville — Sunday Evening — August 30, 2015
Wasilla, Alaska — (TUE 10/30/07)
Kingsport Sovereign Grace Ministry, Kingsport, TN — (SAT–09/20/08)
Knebworth Grace Church — Knebworth, ENG — (SUN 04/22/12)
New Focus Conference
Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Princeton, NJ — (SAT – 07/21/12)
Ballymony, N Ireland — (MON – 04/23/12)
Covenant of Grace Baptist Church, North Wilkesboro, NC — (08/12/15)
Readings: Bobbie Estes and David Burge