I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the Cross–what did it accomplish, why did it happen, was it planned, what should we think about it, etc. I don’t regret any of it. A good atonement theology is at the core of any good understanding of Jesus and the Gospel. If your understanding of the atonement is narrow and weak, so will be the salvation Jesus offers. The more efficacious, broad, bold, and beautiful you see the Cross to be is the measure of how efficacious, broad, bold, and beautiful you will find Jesus. And that, of course, will determine the character of our discipleship and our churches.
Often-times we don’t get to that second part. We stop at theory and don’t move to practice–to response. We pour over all the verses that talk about what Jesus did, and we don’t think about what the Bible says our response should be to it. So how should we react to Christ’s love-provoked, justice-satisfying, holiness-creating, devil-defeating, guilt-blotting, righteousness-fulfilling, self-giving on the Cross?
Leon Morris helpfully lays out 8 New Testament responses to the Cross:
- We have faith in the efficacy of his blood, Romans 3:25
- We are to glory alone in the Cross of Christ, Galatians 6:14
- We should determine to know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified, 1 Corinthians 2:2
- We are to look upon Christ’s offering of Himself as an example, and to follow in His steps, 1 Peter 2:21
- We are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb, Revelation 12:11
- We are to reckon ourselves crucified with Christ, and continually seek to be made conformable to His death–Romans 6:3, 4, 5, 8; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 2:12; 2 Timothy 2:11; 1 Peter 4:13
- We are to preach Christ crucified, 1 Corinthians 1:23
- We are to “proclaim the Lord’s death till He come.” in our observing the Lord’s Supper, 1 Corinthians 11:26; cf. “a communion of the blood of Christ,” 1 Corinthians 10:16
–Leon Morris, The Cross in the New Testament, pg. 426
We could easily find more, but that should be plenty to keep us, both as individuals and as churches, busy for a while.
Soli Deo Gloria