10 Important Truths About the Cross

It's vitally important that we understand the purpose of God in the Cross of Christ, especially when so many false teachings abound.

Have you ever really thought about the Cross of Christ? 

Let’s take a look at some of the marvelous details of this important aspect of our faith. Scriptures are below the devotion.

1. It wasn’t an accident. It was part of God’s plan. See Nothing Could be More Central.

2. It was foreshadowed in the Old Testament blood sacrifices and predicted throughout the Old Testament. See An Incredible Prophecy of Christ's Death.

3. Christ went to the cross voluntarily. 

4. Christ’s death was a purposeful demonstration of God’s love for us. See God's Love is Like a Colorado 14er.

5. Christ’s death on the cross accomplished something that could not be accomplished any other way. Without Christ’s death, we would hopelessly die in our sins.  

6. Christ’s death and resurrection symbolizes our death and resurrection. See Dead People Expect Persecution.

7. Carrying our cross is an act of obedience, a reminder of our death to selfish desires. See The Crux of Sin: Self.

8. Christ’s death on the cross should motivate us to persevere in hard times. See Hang in There!.

9. The cross of Christ is something we cherish and boast about as a symbol of our salvation. See The Old Rugged Cross.

10. False teachings often deny or redefine the cross. See Is God a Cosmic Abuser? 

I encourage you to read all of the Scriptures below when you have time. It’s a critical time in church history to understand the concept of the cross of Christ because false teachers are claiming that the cross was merely a human act of violence, not an act of our redemption. 

Why not go through the following passages with your small group or Bible study?

The Cross:

It's vitally important that we understand the purpose of God in the Cross of Christ, especially when so many false teachings abound.
1. It was not an accident. It was part of God’s plan

God never causes anyone to sin, so He didn't tempt the Jews to send Christ to the Cross, nor did He cause the Romans to crucify Christ. But He knows what is going to happen before it happens and He uses sinful acts for His good purposes. We see that throughout Scripture (e.g. Joseph, Daniel, Paul, etc.).

Colossians 1:20: For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Ephesians 2:13-16: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 

2. We know it was part of God's plan because it was foreshadowed in the Old Testament blood sacrifices and predicted throughout the Old Testament

Hebrews 10:11-14: Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Isaiah 53:5: he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 

For the entire context, see Isaiah 53:1-12.

3. Christ went to the cross voluntarily

John 17-18: “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” 

Philippians 2:8: being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-- even death on a cross! 

4. Christ’s death was a purposeful demonstration of God’s love for us

Romans 5:8: God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

5. Christ’s death on the cross accomplished something that could not be accomplished any other way. Without Christ’s death, we would hopelessly die in our sins, something we deserve. But in God’s mercy we escape our spiritual death:

Colossians 2:14: having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross

2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.  

Galatians 3:13: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole." 

1 Peter 2:24-25: “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

6. Christ’s death and resurrection symbolizes our death and resurrection

Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 

Romans 6:6: For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—  

7. Carrying our cross is an act of obedience, a reminder of our death to selfish desires

Matthew 10:38: Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  

Mathew 16:24: Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

It's vitally important that we understand the purpose of God in the Cross of Christ, especially when so many false teachings abound.
8. Christ’s death on the cross should motivate us to persevere in hard times

Hebrews 12:2: fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Philippians 3:10-11: I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

9. The cross of Christ is something we cherish and boast about as a symbol of our salvation

Galatians 6:14: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

10. False teachings often deny or redefine the cross

Galatians 6:12: Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:18: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 

To read about those who are denying and redefining the cross, see Is God a Cosmic Abuser? in which the author of The Shack denies the cross, and Wilderness Wanderers which explains how some in the ex-vangelical movement deny the cross.


Testing is Not Temptation

This 1-minute devotion clears up confusion between temptation and testing.

I regularly hear people claim that God never uses bad circumstances to test us because James 1:13 says, “When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.”

They are confusing temptation with testing. 

God never tempts anyone to sin, but He uses bad people and bad circumstances to test and refine our faith. For example, God could have saved His people from famine without allowing Joseph to be mistreated, enslaved, and imprisoned. 

God didn't tempt Joseph's brothers or Potiphar's wife to sin, but He used their sins to refine Joseph's faith (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28).(1)  

Difficulties refine our faith in a way that nothing else can. And Joseph's story shows us how to persevere when we face bad people and bad circumstances.

Are you going through hard times? Be encouraged by the passages below:

1 Peter 1:6-7: "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." 

Job 23:10: "When he [God] has tested me, I will come forth as gold."  

Psalm 66:10: "For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver." 

James 1:3: "The testing of your faith produces perseverance."  

1 Peter 4:12-13: "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But Rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 

(1) See Psalm 105 for a "narration" of how God both prevents harm and allows it to refine His children. Verses 16-22 specifically speak of Joseph. Joseph explained it this way to His brothers: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:20).   


This 1-minute devotion clears up confusion between temptation and testing.

Bible Love Notes

Paul's Letters Are Scripture

Even though they are often discredited, Paul's letters are clearly Scripture. This 1-minute devotion explains why.

I was a new believer the first time I heard someone say that Paul’s letters were not actually Scripture. It shocked me then, but I soon realized that discrediting Paul's Epistles is a key element for most false teachings.

Did you know that Peter warns us this will happen in 2 Peter 3:14-18

He explains

1. Paul’s letters are written “with the wisdom that God gave him” (verse 15). See also 2 Peter 1:21

2. Ignorant, unstable, lawless people twist the meaning of Paul’s letters (verses 16-17). 

3. These people also do this with “other Scriptures.” Peter identifies Paul’s letters as Scripture (verse 16). 

Peter warns us not to get caught up in this error. Instead, he wants us to grow in the “grace and knowledge” of our Lord. 

It should be no surprise to us that most of the false teachings circulating in the Church reject or redefine Paul’s letters, especially regarding sex and gender behavior. 

If we ignore Paul's letters, we're ignoring God.

Note: If a person discredits Paul's letters as merely human opinions, they are discrediting the entire Bible because God used men to write every verse of Scripture. In fact, To Trust Christ's Words You Must Trust the Whole Bible.

Scriptures which confirm these truths:

2 Peter 3:14-18: "So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 

2 Peter 1:21: "For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Ephesians 3:3-5: "that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,  which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets."  

1 Thessalonians 2:13: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe."   


Even though they are often discredited, Paul's letters are clearly Scripture. This 1-minute devotion explains why.

 
Bible Love Notes

Don't Wander in the Wilderness

Beware of new teachings in the church that will lead you back into a spiritual wilderness! This 1-minute devotion explains.

The Old Testament paints a vivid picture of those who remained in the wilderness when they could have entered the Promised Land.

We have modern "wilderness wanderers" too: people who reject unpopular parts of Scripture so they can explore the wilderness of human understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).  

I want to urge you not to join them. Please stay on the path of Scripture, dear Christians. We will only find safety by dwelling in God's Word (Psalm 37:3).

Wilderness wandering begins with the "judge not" lie, two words taken out of context to rebuke Christians who are appropriately judging things according to scriptural commands.

The longer people remain in this wilderness, the more they redefine Scripture until they create a Jesus who is everybody's fan and nobody's Lord.

Hebrews 3:7-19 warns us about these wilderness wanderings:

“See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end…” 

The voices of the wilderness wanderers are growing louder, but God's Word will prevail (1 Corinthians 3:18-20). 

"Ex-vangelical" authors, speakers, and teachers are wilderness wanderers with enormous followings. If you would like to understand 7 major issues that separate "ex-vangelicals" and Bible-believing Christians, I encourage you to read my article Wilderness Wanderers. It addresses beliefs of Jen Hatmaker, Sarah Bessey, the late Rachel Held Evans, Brian Zahnd, Rob Bell, Paul Young (author of The Shack), Pete Enns, and Brian McLaren.

Other helpful resources to understand and respond to wilderness wanderers:

When People Reject Inerrancy of Scripture 

A Serious "Christian Feminist" Error (Sarah Bessey)

Muddled Views of God, Scripture, and Women (Rachel Held Evans)

Brian Zahnd: Denying the Inerrancy of Scripture

Is God a "Cosmic Abuser"? (Paul Young, author of The Shack)

5 Lies About God's Character Promoted in The Shack

When People Abandon Faith (Josh Harris)

Trendy Apostasy: Marty Sampson

Why People "Fall Away"

Beware of new teachings in the church that will lead you back into a spiritual wilderness! This 1-minute devotion explains.

Bible Love Notes

The Comfort of Being Still and Knowing He is God

Psalm 46 offers some wonderful insights. This 1-minute devotion will bless you.

Psalm 46 proclaims that God is “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” We need not fear if the whole world falls apart around us (verses 1-3). 

Verse 10 is especially comforting whether we're dealing with problems in our world, our family, or our own hearts and minds:

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  

I think of a small child who wanders into a crowd. She panics, thinking she's lost. Tears stream down her face and fear fills her heart. But she looks up and sees her father and realizes he has never left her side.

As he lifts her into his arms, he says, “Be still. I'm here. I've had my eye on you the whole time. Nothing is going to separate us. I'm in charge.” 

In the same way, we can "look up" and climb into our Father's arms, relieved of our fears, remembering that He hasn't forgotten us and He's in charge. 

Are you troubled, worried, grieving, confused, or lonely? 

Be still and know that He is God! 

Psalm 46 offers some wonderful insights. This 1-minute devotion will bless you.

 
Psalm 46 offers some wonderful insights. This 1-minute devotion will bless you.

Bible Love Notes