BIBLE STUDY: How the Cross Is Your Key to Personal Transformation
How do Jesus and the message of The Cross transform our lives? To learn more about this topic and many others, please join us each week for Wednesday Night Bible Study at West Angeles’ North Campus Sanctuary. Our latest Bible Study discussion is titled “The Cross and Personal Transformation”, by Dr. Wilfred Graves; read more below.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me – Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
To be crucified literally means “to die on a cross.” Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross are the foundation of the Christian faith. The cross is an essential symbol of God’s salvation of humankind. The cross is at the very heart of the Christian message (see 1 Corinthians 2:1-2). It is a graphic reminder of the terrible price that Jesus paid for our salvation. If we are to experience salvation, wholeness, and personal transformation in our lives, then we are going to have to encounter Jesus Christ and embrace the message of the cross.
Crucifixion was barbaric and disgraceful. The Romans typically did not allow their citizens to be crucified. The Jews viewed crucifixion as a curse (see Deuteronomy 21:23 and Galatians 3:13). To the Jews, Greeks, and many others, the message of the cross was utter foolishness (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-23). However, as Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29, God chose the foolishness of the cross to bring salvation to humankind. The message of the cross is the supreme message of God’s love for sinful humanity (see John 3:16-17).
Benefits of the Cross
- The death of Jesus Christ on the cross deals with sin and its consequences (Romans 6:23; Romans 6:11; 1 Peter 2:24).
- The death of Jesus Christ on the cross delivers us from God’s wrath (see Romans 5:9).
- Through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, God redeems and forgives us (see Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 17:11).
- The death of Jesus Christ on the cross breaks Satan’s power (see Colossians 2:14-15; Hebrews 2:14-15).
- The death of Jesus Christ on the cross brings physical healing (see Isaiah 53:5).
- The death of Jesus Christ on the cross ultimately delivers us from physical death (see 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:9).
- The death of Jesus Christ on the cross reconciles us to God and to other people (see Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Ephesians 2:11-22; Colossians 1:13-20).
- The death of Jesus Christ on the cross gives us access to God (see Hebrews 10:19-20).
The Suffering of Jesus Christ is Vicarious
What makes Jesus’ suffering and death so powerful is that He did it for us. Please see Isaiah 53:4-6 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. Vicarious suffering is suffering endured by one person in the place of another. Jesus suffered and died in our place. Jesus’ vicarious suffering has ultimately led to our salvation and wholeness!
Summary of Galatians 2:20
Galatians 2:20 is an exciting verse for us because it means that we are in every way united to Jesus Christ (see also Galatians 6:14). Because we are in Christ and He is in us, every victory that He has won belongs to us. For example, when Jesus died, the power of sin over our lives died with Him. When He arose from the dead, we were raised together with Him to a new life free from the power and control of sin. We need to embrace and accept the victory that Christ has secured for us. When we embrace and accept the Lord’s victory by faith, it will manifest itself in our experience.
Dr. Wilfred Graves Jr. serves West Angeles Church as Special Assistant to the Senior Pastor and Chairman of the Board of Elders. He is the author of ‘In Pursuit of Wholeness: Experiencing God’s Salvation.’ To connect with Dr. Graves, please email him at [email protected], or visit his website at www.wilfredgraves.org. For more on physical healing, please refer to In Pursuit of Wholeness, chapters 2 and 6.
Featured image: Luana Azevedo for Unsplash.