The Sufficiency Of The Cross
Scripture: Romans 6 1-14
Sermon preached at Gospel Light Christian Church, Singapore
on 06 October 2002
Introduction: Every genuine Christian believes that Christ's death at the Cross paid the penalty of their sin. The doctrine of justification is taught in Romans Chapter 5 (Romans 5 1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"). The vast majority of Christians only associate the Cross with justification and believe that the Christian life is a great frustrating struggle that will only be relieved at death. Thankfully, most Gospeliters know that not only are they justified by Christ's substitutionary death at the Cross but they also know that they we sanctified by the Spirit of Christ who lives in them (Galatians 2:20 "Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me"). While most Gospeliters know of the fact of the indwelling Holy Spirit of Christ in them, few have experienced the power of His presence. They are discouraged that they are still unable to lead Christ-like lives in spite that of the fact that they believe that "Christ liveth" in them! Surely some sin must be clogging the "spring of everlasting life" in them (John 4:14 "...but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life;" Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God"). The obvious solution to this problem is to put away sin from their lives - and they have unsuccessfully tried, with all their strength, to do so.
Today we will learn that the Cross is sufficient for both salvation (justification) and sanctification - and that both are obtained by faith in Christ (and not by our own works). "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). The doctrine of sanctification is taught in Romans Chapter 6.
The Cross: At the Cross Christ died for our sins (I Corinthians 15:1). Only the sinless Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, could die for our sins (I Peter 2:22). This truth is vital and well-known to all Christians.
However, the fact that at the Cross, Christ also died to sin (Romans 6: 10) is not known to many. What does "Christ's dying to sin" mean? Basically, it means that when Christ had finished paying the penalty for our sins, He died (and three days later resurrected) and His struggle with sin was over. In today's scripture passage, we learn that we were united ("planted") with Christ as He died to sin (Romans 6:5 "...we have been planted together in the likeness of his death"). In other words, we too died to sin - and this is clearly stated as an event that has already taken place (Romans 6:2.6,11). Just as sin has no more power over a dead man (Romans 6:7), sin has no more "dominion over" us (Romans 6:14) and therefore we should not be a slave to sin (Romans 6:6). In simple words, the power of sin over us is conquered at the Cross. This is a fact that we must know (Romans 6:6) and "reckon," ie, count upon (Romans 6:11) continuously. No Christian should ever say: "I just don't have the desire or strength to put away my sin." Neither should any Christian struggle to overcome his sin with his own strength. Rather he should just believe that the power of sin is broken at the Cross and simply believe this - and claim it.
Remembering the Cross: There are only two ordinances in the church - baptism and the Lord's Supper. Both of them remind us of Christ's death at the Cross - that we may look back with gratitude at how Christ paid the penalty for our sins, and look forward with confidence at how He has also given us the power over our sins.
The symbolism of burying in baptism (Romans 6:4) beautifully illustrates the finality of our death to sin. This death to sin's dominion is settled once and for all at the Cross. The "broken bread" and the "cup" of the Lord's Supper are tokens of Christ's death (I Corinthians 11:2426). We partake of these elements to symbolize that we are united with Christ in His death unto sin (Romans 6:5).
Conclusion: We can only live a victorious Christian by first looking at the Cross and reckoning that we are dead unto sin's power and confidently overcoming sin as we must in this glorious truth: and then trusting the Spirit of Christ to live His life through us. In other words, we must first, by faith, look at the sufficiency of the Cross as we put away sin from our lives - and then let the life of the indwelling Spirit of Christ shine through us.
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christů.Christ liveth in me..."
2 Corinthians 4:10 "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." We must remember Christ's death on the Cross before the world can see Christ's life in us.
There is no victory until we remember Calvary!
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