By Dr. George R. Beninate
The account of the cross, is the greatest love story ever told. In today's feature article, Dr. George R. Beninate paints for us an extraordinary picture of the heart of our Creator. As we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let us reflect on his deep and all consuming love for us. A love that led him, without reservation and for the joy that was set before Him, to the Cross! Let us praise Him for a power so great that death was swallowed up in victory for you and me!
While most Christians generally see the cross as the lowest point of Christ's humiliation, Jesus refers to it as His crowning achievement, the most glorious event of His incarnation. Doesn't it seem strange that Jesus' soul should be filled with triumph? After all, Jesus knew that in a matter of a few hours that shame and suffering, pain and death, betrayal and abandonment were waiting for Him. So why would He say, "Now is the Son of Man glorified and is God glorified in Him?" John 13:31. To understand what Jesus anticipated, one must first understand the nature and purpose of the glory of which He spoke.
Before we do, we must remind ourselves that defining God's glory is ultimately beyond man's finite comprehension. Even though the massive Theological Dictionary of the New Testament's definition of glory encompasses eighty pages and thousands of books and article have been written attempting to define God's glory, the Glory of God is still unfathomable. God's glory is exceedingly more than exceptional, it's spectacularly more than splendid, it’s incredibly more than marvelous.
In a sentence, God's glory may be described as: the manifestation of God's infinite worth and essential nature; the radiance of His intrinsic beauty, greatness and holiness; the description of God's Glory is: the manifestation of His magnificent Magnificence. Because God's glory is beyond the scope of human rationalization the only way for man to know about God's glory is by Self- revelation; He must put Himself on display. Because God is invisible, no one can see His intrinsic glory unless He chooses to reveal Himself by displaying His glory through manifestations that men can discern. The reason why God created the heavens and the earth and all things on the earth and all things on the earth, above the earth, below the earth was so that His invisible qualities- His eternal power and divine nature-are clearly seen.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, "Why did God choose to reveal His Glory?" There's only one reason: God desired to have a personal and intimate relationship with other beings who bore His image and likeness. That's why God created man as He did and gave him the opportunity to choose to join with Him, God placed in man's sub-consciousness a propensity, which draws him towards greatness. Since God is the greatest of all greatness, the manifestation of His glory intuitively causes men to seek Him. Thus, the Psalmist wrote, "One generation will commend your work to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and.... will meditate on your wonderful works." Psalm 145:4,5. Therefore, all things God does, He does for one grand purpose: to reveal the infinite greatness of His manifold perfections so that men would come to Him and receive that which He desires to give.
However, not only are God's activities revelations of His glory, so is history. History is the knowledge of events that happened in time past. Since God doesn't exist in time, but rather time exists in Him, God uses history as an instrument to facilitate His purposes. Whatever happens, past, present or future, is not coincidental, circumstantial or serendipitous; everything that ever happened, everything that happens now, everything that will ever happen happens because it's what God wanted to happen. That's why Paul wrote, "And we know that in all things (Whatever happens) God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28.) Everything that happens is because of who His is; YAHWEH- I AM THAT I AM; the eternal IS! All the events of time past, time present and time to come, are an out-streaming of His IS-ness; it's all about His-story. God maneuvers history to fulfill His will. Every event, every incident, regardless of its perception at the time, is purposed to inevitably be a revelation go His glory. However, no event in the existence of man, past, present or future, compares to the quintessential revelation of God's indescribable glory as does the Cross of Christ.
The Cross of Christ is the crux of history, the pivotal center of mankind's existence, the most important and decisive moment in human history and the place where one's eternity is determined. The Cross of Christ is the event for which God choreographed the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms. He ordered the steps of history to follow the path of the fullness of time, which led directly to Golgotha's brow.
Just as the master craftsman arranged each tile to conform exactly to the pattern of the mosaic He envisioned, so God arranged every day, every hour, every moment until the form and substance of history became His masterpiece- an old rugged cross. Flawlessly, God conducted the symphony of history to a crescendo moment in human existence-the Cross of Christ.
When history arrived at the Cross of Christ it saw the certainty of God's justice and the uncompromising righteousness of His holiness. There, history beheld the absolute unwillingness of God to set aside any stipulation of His hallowed law, even though it meant the sacrifice of His Son. But that's what history saw, not the revelation of glory that God wants men to see. But the god of this age...has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of His glory. But all those who believe and put their hope in the living God see the radiance of God's glory emanating from the Cross of Christ. But those who understand that it was for their sinfulness that Christ suffered the righteous judgment of a holy God so that they may be declared justified, sanctified and righteous would see the glory of God at the Cross of Christ.
Those who fathom the fact that God's holiness is satisfied, their judgment indemnified, their sins atoned and the righteousness of the sinless One imputed to their account, stare in wonderment at the amazing awesomeness of the glory of God as seen in the Cross of Christ. It was at the cross, at the Cross of Christ where I first saw the light and the burden of my sins rolled away. It was there by faith I received by sight, and now I see the infinite worthiness and invaluable perfections of the Lord God, my Savior.
As we reflect on the Passion of the Christ, let us reach out and fully embrace His cross. But let's not think of the Cross of Christ merely as a symbol of a sordid death, or a tribute to the martyrdom of a Galilean carpenter. The Cross of Christ is so much more than a memorial reminding us of the agony of the Christ, the wrath of God or the sin-guilt of man. It's more than just a place where the battle between God's holiness and man's sinfulness came face to face. While these considerations are true, the Cross of Christ stands far above all of them. The Cross of Christ was not Caesar's implement of condemnation; it was Christ's throne of salvation.
The battle to the death was not fought on the Cross of Christ; it was THE battle to the LIFE! It was there, the Cross of Christ, that the power of sin was annihilated, Adam's curse canceled, the head of
Satan crushed, and the damnation of death eradicated. At the Cross of Christ sin's penalty was paid and man's righteous standing before God restored. At the Cross of Christ is where the in searchable riches of God are made available to all who acknowledge its glory. At the Cross of Christ is where the peace that passes all understanding is imparted to those who call on the name of the Lord. At the Cross of Christ is where the righteousness of the Son of God is imputed to all who confess with their mouths and believe in their hearts that Jesus is Lord. At the Cross of Christ is where the sinful nature with its passions and desires are transformed into the sinless nature of a perfect Christ. At the Cross of Christ is where eternal life and intimate relationship is secured for those who repent and believe! At The Cross of Christ is where God gives us His divine power so that we might have everything we need for life and Godliness. At the Cross of Christ is where I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The Life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. All of history's events combined are but a modest reflection of God's glory when compared to the glory of the Cross of Christ. Yet, as glorious as the revelation of man's salvation may be, there's more! For it's at the Cross of Christ where we see the glory of God robed in grace and crowned in love. Here is the revelation of the Glorious love by which He loves us; a love, which did not shrink from sacrifice, a love, which stretches over our entire being, now and forevermore.
You see my friend, sin did not lead Jesus to Calvary; LOVE did!
The Cross of Christ isn't merely the emblem of Christ's atoning death; it's the exclamation point of God's abiding love. God so loved the world, that in order to propitiate the sins of all men, He didn't even spare His own Son!
Here at the place of the Skull, as the Christ hung on the cross, the try nature, the very meaning of love was a painstakingly defined: a love that is free, undeserved, sovereign in its origin and application, boundless and unfathomable! Here God's grace, unmerited, unearned, undeserved, springs forth from the infinite depths of His love! Here, at the Cross of Christ, we witness history's darkest hour morphing into the Light of the World!
When Jesus cried out, "It is finished!" the Temple veil was rent from top to bottom revealing God's glory as never seen before.
Now the Cross of Christ forever cries out, "There is no glory like God's glory. There is no grace like God's grace. There is no love like the love of God." The Cross of Christ: the synthesis of God's will, the culmination of His purposes, the greatest revelation of glory: the glory of God's Glories! " But God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ....