Love of the Cross

by Elder Mike Chon

It is amazing how many people in the world actually celebrate Christmas and never take time to consider the true meaning of Christmas. I remember as an unbeliever making fun of my Christian friend who used to try to tell me that Christmas was about Jesus Christ. Even explaining how the word Christ is found in Christmas. As an unbeliever I would just laugh at him and think how ridiculous it was to believe that Christmas was about Jesus. Now looking back I can’t believe how ignorant and hardened I truly was as an unbeliever. But isn’t this true of so many things in our life, that the true meaning behind the words we use get redefined by what we perceive the meaning “should” be.

For the believer, words such as truth, God, servant, hope, joy, and love are defined not by Webster’s dictionary, but by the Word of God. It is the Word of God that reveals to us the depth of the meaning of these words. Without God’s Word we would never know what truth is, we would never know the one and true God, we would have false hope, and our joy would be a fleeting sense of happiness that changes as much as the wind. We see how the world has treated the meaning of love in today’s culture and the result of that in today’s families and marriages. Even for the believer, I believe we may not fully grasp the biblical view of love until you experience the greatest expression of love that has ever been displayed in the history of this world.

Before we begin defining love with mere words, we need to start where infinite love was displayed, which was on the cross. This is where the believer must start before we begin talking about how love is patient, kind…etc. As horrific as the sight was for those viewing the crucifixion on the day of Christ’s death, it was at the same time the greatest expression of love that has ever been manifested by any individual in this world. Love that drove the creator of the universe to become a mere man and suffer in the hands of those He created, accept the torment of Satan and the demons, and ultimately experiencing the wrath and separation of God. Not what we would consider love in these days, but true love indeed. All of us have experienced a moment in our past when we knew someone loves us by their gesture or gift. Such as when our mom would painstakingly stay up through the night when we were sick, when a friend would bring by your favorite meal, or when someone wrote or spoke words of encouragement when we were going through a difficult time. All of these were expressions of love to us because they met a need we had at a specific point in our lives. It wouldn’t be love if our mom decided to make us run five miles outside in the rain while you had a fever, even if you were a little overweight. Love expressed is very specific to the person receiving the love. It wouldn’t do you any good if you needed surgery to have your friend bring books about how you need surgery. That isn’t true love expressed even though they were sincere about their gesture. It just shows that they really don’t know you well enough.

On the cross, Christ displayed his love for the world. Not just because he endured physical torture and spiritual torment, but because through the cross, Christ extended His love to us by meeting the greatest need that we all had. That was our need to be reconciled to the Holy God. If the cross only accomplished a possibility for us to be saved, it wouldn’t be the greatest love. If the cross was only a sentimental death, it wouldn’t be the greatest love. If the cross was only heroic, it wouldn’t be the greatest love. The cross actually reconciled unbelievers to God, which is the greatest expression of love because it was the greatest need that we all had. There is nothing else that can compare to the gift that Jesus gave to us through the cross. There is no greater love than what Christ accomplished on the cross. May we as followers of Christ extend love to each other so that we would be a testimony of Christ’s love to this world. Below are several passages to read and meditate on. Notice how the love of God and Christ is linked to the cross.

John 3:16 (ESV) 16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 15:12 – 13 (ESV) 12“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.

Romans 5:6 – 11 (ESV) 6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:14 – 15 (ESV) 14For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Ephesians 5:1 – 2 (ESV) 1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:25 – 27 (ESV) 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

1 John 3:16 (ESV) 16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1 John 4:7 – 12 (ESV) 7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

Let us love one another purposefully and thoughtfully to encourage our church to grow in their affection for one another and for God. Let us put aside grudges and any excuses to hold back forgives and reconciliation when Christ did not on the cross by completely reconciling us to God. May we learn together and practice together the love that was displayed to us on the cross with each other, to be able to lift up the faint hearted, to strengthen the weary, to encourage the sorrowful, all to the glory of God.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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