The Cross: God's Way of Salvation

The Cross: God's Way of Salvation


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780891073826
Publisher: Crossway
Publication date: 02/01/1986
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981), minister of Westminster Chapel in London for 30 years, was one of the foremost preachers of his day. His many books have brought profound spiritual encouragement to millions around the world.

Christopher Catherwood (PhD, University of East Anglia) is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of both Churchill and St. Edmund's Colleges at Cambridge University. He was a fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in 2010 and medalist in 2014. Christopher lives in a village near Cambridge with his wife, Paulette.

Eric J. Alexander is the retired Senior Minister at St. George's-Tron Parish Church in Glasgow, Scotland.

Christopher Catherwood (PhD, University of East Anglia) is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of both Churchill and St. Edmund's Colleges at Cambridge University. He was a fellow of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in 2010 and medalist in 2014. Christopher lives in a village near Cambridge with his wife, Paulette.

Read an Excerpt


'The Wondrous Cross'

Give me the faith which can remove
  And sink the mountain to a plain;
Give me the childlike, praying love
  Which longs to build Thy house again;
Thy love, let it my heart o'erpower,
Let it my ransomed soul devour.

I would the precious time redeem
  And longer live for this alone —
To spend and to be spent for them
  Who have not yet my Saviour known;
Fully on these my mission prove,
And only breathe, to breathe Thy love.

My talents, gifts and graces, Lord,
  Into Thy blessed hands receive;
And let me live to preach Thy word,
  And let me to Thy glory live;
My every sacred moment spend In publishing the sinners' Friend.

Enlarge, inflame and fill my heart
  With boundless charity divine;
So shall I all my strength exert,
  And love them with a zeal like Thine;
And lead them to Thine open side,
The sheep for whom their shepherd died.

C. Wesley

Could you and would you gladly spend all your days in that way? That is the question. Is it your desire to spend all your days in praising this friend, of whom all those words are true?

Well, in order to try to help you to answer that question, I would like to call your attention to the words found in Paul's epistle to the Galatians. In chapter 6 verse 14, he writes: 'But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.' Now, this verse follows on from what went before, the word 'but' suggests it. Verses 12 and 13 read like this: 'As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.'

As I have just reminded you, this statement can only be understood properly if we also take it in its own context, since this helps us to see why the Apostle speaks as he does in this way about the death of the Son of God, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, upon the cross on Calvary's hill. He is finishing his letter to the Galatians. These were people who had become Christians as the result of his own preaching and teaching. But certain other teachers had gone round, who had been upsetting them. They had taught that while it is all right to believe in the gospel, yet, if you really want to be a full blown Christian and want to be truly blessed of God, you have also got to submit to circumcision and go back under the old Jewish law. The Apostle has written this, his own epistle, in order to deal with that question. And here he is now at the very end of his letter summarizing all he has been saying. And, at the same time, he is reminding the Galatians, and all others through them, of certain fundamental truths and principles of the Christian faith.

The first thing of which he reminds them is that life in this world is a very serious and a very solemn matter. Life when truly understood is not the sort of thing that the world would teach you to think of, it is not something flippant and light, through which you waltz having a good time. Not at all. It is a tremendously serious matter. For this reason: 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting' (vv.7–8).

Life is a matter of sowing and reaping, and what a man sows that shall he also reap. There are certain moral laws in operation in this world which are absolute. All of us are responsible beings, and we shall all die and stand before God in judgement and give account of the deeds done in the body. And our eternal destiny will depend upon what we have done in this life and in this world. Life therefore is a tremendous matter. It is the most serious thing conceivable, because what we get in this life and what we will get through all eternity depends upon whether we sow to the flesh or whether we sow to the Spirit.

Very well then, the most important thing to discover in this world is — how does one sow to the Spirit? How am I so to live that I shall reap the blessing of joy and happiness and peace in this world and in the world to come for ever and for ever? That is the question, but unfortunately, as the Apostle goes on to point out, and as indeed he has been indicating in the whole of his epistle, that question, that problem, has become somewhat confused, because there are false teachers. The position had arisen in the early church, and it still remains today. There are contradictory voices going out in the name of the Christian church. They all say they are Christians, all claim to belong to the Christian church, but they are saying things that are diametrically opposed to one another. So the first thing we have to do is to discover which is the true message. How do you differentiate between the true and the false? The Apostle has answered the question in this epistle, as he has answered it in other epistles. As indeed the whole of the Bible answers it.

What then is the true message? What is the Christian gospel? What is it about? What does it proclaim? What has it got to say to us? How can a man be right with God? How can I sow to the Spirit? How can I reap life everlasting? What have I got to do in this life and in this world which will render me immune to what may happen round and about me, which would enable me to smile in the face of death, which already assures me that I have nothing to fear when I come to the judgement of God, and which guarantees me everlasting and eternal bliss in the glory indescribable? What have I got to do? How can I get to that position? Here, very fortunately for us, the great apostle answers the question. He puts it in this glorious and tremendous statement. 'God forbid that I should glory ...' the thing is unthinkable, he says, that I should glory in anything '... save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.' This is the thing in which he glories. This is the thing which he preached. And this by the grace of God is the thing that I am privileged to preach to you. It is the same answer, there is still only this one message.

What is it? Let us look at it like this. The preaching of the cross, the preaching of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on that cross is the very heart and centre of the Christian gospel and the Christian message. Now, I think you must all agree that that is an inevitable deduction, both from what the Apostle says here and from what he picks out as that in which he glories. The central thing, the thing that matters above everything else, and what he picks out is the cross, the death on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is, as I want to show you, what he always preached, and what all the other apostles always preached. If you and I want to know what the message of the Christian church is, surely the thing for us to do is to go back to the beginning. How did the Christian church begin? What was the message? Here are men called apostles. These were the men who founded the Christian church. They all said that they were not preaching their own ideas, but that they had been given the message by the Lord Jesus Christ. So, if we want to know what the Christian message is we must go back and consider the Apostle's message. And that is what we are going to do now. And I hope to show you that the message was the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, what I want to emphasize is that this is what they preached, and that they did so in spite of the fact that it was not popular. The preaching of the cross has never been popular. It is not popular today. It never has been. The preaching of the cross was a stumbling block to the Jews, it was foolishness to the Greeks. Paul says, 'As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised' (v. 12). And this is their reason, lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.' The preaching of the cross of Christ has always led to persecution. Earlier in the same epistle, the Apostle speaks about what he describes as the offence of the cross. It has always been offensive to people. They did not like it in the first century, the Jews did not, the Greeks did not, nobody liked it. Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that it was not liked and that it was thoroughly unpopular, this was the very thing that all the apostles preached. They went on preaching and eventually suffered martyrdom and death because they persisted in doing so.

This then establishes the fact that it was the very centre and heart of their message, and there is nothing that I know of that is more important than that every one of us should realize that this is still the heart and the centre of the Christian message. In order to emphasize that, let me put it negatively first. What is the message of the Christian gospel, and of the Christian church? Now at the risk of being misunderstood I will put it like this. It is not primarily the teaching of our Lord. I say that, of course, because there are so many today who think that this is Christianity. They say: 'What we need is Jesus's teaching. He is the greatest religious genius of all times. He is above all the philosophers. Let us have a look at his teaching, at the Sermon on the Mount and so on. That is what we want. What the world needs today,' they say, 'is a dose of the Sermon on the Mount. A dose of his ethical teaching. We must preach this to people and teach them how to live.' But according to the apostle Paul, that is not their first need. And I will go further. If you only preach the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, not only do you not solve the problem of mankind, in a sense you even aggravate it. You are preaching nothing but utter condemnation, because nobody can ever carry it out.

So they did not preach his teaching. Paul does not say, 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the Sermon on the Mount; God forbid that I should glory save in the ethical teaching of Jesus.' He does not say that. It was not the teaching of Christ, nor the example of Christ either. That is often preached, is it not? 'What is the message of Christianity? The imitation of Christ. Read the Gospels,' they say, 'and see how he lived. That is the way we all ought to live, so let us decide to do so. Let us decide to imitate Christ and to live as he lived.'

I say once more that that is not the centre and the heart of the Christian message. That comes into it, but not at the beginning. It is not the first thing, it is not the thing the apostles preached initially, neither was it our Lord's example. What they preached was his death upon the cross, and the meaning of that event. Now this is an assertion, and of course I must substantiate it, because people are ready to say, 'Yes, but that is only your opinion. You have attacked the other opinions, and of course like all you preachers, you say that you alone are right.' But, my dear friends, I want to show you that this is not my opinion. I am going to establish what I have said from the book called the New Testament, which is a book written by or derived from apostles and their apostolic authority.

What, then, do you find when you examine the book? You find that the cross was there at the centre of our Lord's own teaching. There is a very striking illustration of this that people do not often remember. It is the event that happened at Caesarea Philippi, and what immediately followed it. There, you remember, our Lord turned to his disciples and said, 'Whom do men say that I am?' and they gave various answers. And then he said, 'Whom say ye that I am?' and Peter stepped forward and said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And our Lord turned to him and said, 'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar- jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.' And then he went on to say, 'Thou art Peter, upon this rock I will build my church' (Mt 16:13–18).

But then read on: 'From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men' (Mt 16:21–23).

Now, you see after this great confession of Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Lord immediately introduces them to his death, and they cannot take it. Peter was not the only one who failed, they all did so. Our Lord rebukes him and tells him in effect, 'You do not understand. You think that the fact that I am the Son of God is the thing that is going to save you. It is not. It is what I am going to do.'

And then of course you have other statements. There is that great statement recorded in all the Gospels where the Lord turned to these same men and said, You have got to rethink the whole matter. I am a king. I have a kingdom, but it is not like the kingdom of men, nor is it like all the other kingdoms in this world. In this world great men are served by others. But I come amongst you as one who ministers. 'For the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many' (Mt 20:28).

And then there is the last supper. He arranged it. He told them exactly what to do. And there, as they were eating, he took the loaf and he broke it and he said, 'This is my body which is given for you' and likewise he poured out the wine from the cup and said, 'This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you' (Lk 22:19,20). This, he says, is my giving myself, my body to be broken, my blood to be shed for you. Well there it is, plainly and clearly and simply in his teaching. But then in addition we have other things which might pinpoint this. Do you remember the amazing event which took place on the Mount of Transfiguration? Our Lord went up on to a mountain taking Peter and James and John with him, and there he was transfigured before them, and two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in spirit form and they spoke to him while the three disciples looked on in amazement. But what was the conversation about? What did Moses and Elijah discuss with our Lord? We are told that they discussed with him the exit, the exodus, that he would be making outside the walls of Jerusalem. They discussed his death with him. The representatives of the law and of the Prophets discussed with him his death upon the cross. The cross is vital.

Not only that, we read of him later on that he set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem even though he knew exactly what was going to happen to him. And here is another notable fact if you are interested in statistics. Read your four Gospels and calculate, in terms of proportion, the amount of space given to our Lord's death. Though they are very brief records, look how much space is given to the account of the death. See how we are given every detail. In fact, as someone once pointed out, it is so graphic and so detailed, we could almost hear the sound of the hammer knocking the nails into his hands and into his feet.

Why this prominence? It is because it is the crucial and the central matter. There it is in the Gospels, and when you come to the book of Acts of the Apostles, what do you find? Read Acts 13:14–41 in order to make the matter absolutely clear. Paul, preaching to the people of Antioch, went over the facts with them, emphasizing especially the Lord's death and resurrection. Then he applied his message saying that through this man and through this event salvation is preached and is offered (v. 38). This is the wonderful thing. And then you go on further to chapter 17 and read about Paul visiting Thessalonica. This is what happened: 'Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ' (17:2–3). That indeed was his preaching everywhere, as it was the preaching of all the other apostles.


Excerpted from "The Cross"
by .
Copyright © 1986 Bethan Lloyd-Jones.
Excerpted by permission of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

1. 'The Wondrous Cross',
2. The Acid Test,
3. The Wisdom of God,
4. 'Love Not the World',
5. The Triumph of the Cross,
6. 'He Is Our Peace',
7. The Cross of Christ Speaks,
8. A New Nature,
9. Bought Out and Set Free,
Scripture Index,

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The Cross: God's Way of Salvation 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This most excellent book consists of a series of sermons by Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones which were preached in Westminster Chapel, London, during the Autumn of 1963. Readers of this awesome work cannot fail to be moved by the manner in which this subject is approached. The writer being recognised by many as perhaps one of the greatest preachers of the 20th Century. The basis of this book is the words written through the Apostle Paul in the New Testament book of Galatians in chapter 6;verse 14;- 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ...' The message of Salvation being expounded through the full gospel message of 'Christ crucified'. A message that will hold you throughout this book. As I read I can but count it loss that I was never able to hear the learned author preach, especially in these days where the central truth of the Gospel is so often ignored amidst the perilous times now facing the World as outlined in Scripture pertaining to the last days. One particularly moving aspect of this book is that during the course of these sermons in 1963, US President Kennedy was assassinated. Clearly shocked and saddened by the tragic death of President Kennedy, the writer mentions his death during his preaching. We are left in no doubt as to the uncertainty of this physical life, it's transiency and our inability to save ourselves. The meticulous study together with the fervent depth of the message provides a message that is extremely powerful. We are left in no doubt as to the importance of Salvation and it's absolute necessity for us all. Many references are made, not least the glaring parallel between Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and the Old Testament Passover where the Jewish people were spared whilst the first born of the Egyptians were killed. The blood of a pure, unblemished lamb having been painted on the posts and lintels of the Israelites' doors causing death to pass over them. The shedding of Jesus Christ's blood on the cross at Calvary being the New Covenant, whereby Jesus Himself is the pure, unblemished Lamb of God which now takes away the sin of the entire World, for those who believe in Him. If you read just one book apart from the Bible about Jesus and Salvation, let it be this one. Highly, highly recommended. Thanks for listening.
lougheryweb on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Awesome book. Highly convicting. "The Good Doctor" had a way with words. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago