We have been given many worthy reasons to live in relentless devotion to God— creation, providence, common grace and an infinite number of other kindnesses. Nevertheless, the cross of Christ stands above them all.
Charles Simeon: “There were two particular views in which Paul invariably spoke of the death of Christ; namely, as the ground of our hopes, and as the motive to our obedience… Strongly as he enforced the necessity of relying on Christ, and founding our hopes of salvation solely on His obedience unto death, he was no less earnest in promoting the interests of holiness. Whilst he represented the believers as ‘dead to the law’ and ‘without law,’ he still insisted that they were ‘under the law to Christ,’ and as much bound to obey every tittle of it as ever (I Corinthians 9:21; Galatians 2:19): and he enforced obedience to it, in all its branches, and to the utmost possible extent. Moreover, when the doctrines which he had inculcated (i.e. instilled) were in danger of being abused to licentious purposes, he expressed his utter abhorrence of such a procedure (Romans 6:1, 15); and declared, that ‘the grace of God, which brought salvation, taught them, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, they should live righteously, soberly, and godly in this present world’ (Titus 2:11-12). A life of holy obedience is represented by him as the great object which Christ aimed to produce in all His people: indeed the very name, Jesus, proclaimed, that the object of His coming was ‘to save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21). The same was the scope and end of His death, even to ‘redeem them from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works’ (Titus 2:14). His resurrection and ascension to heaven had also the same end in view; for ‘therefore he both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and living’ (Romans 14:9). Impressed with a sense of these things himself, St. Paul laboured more abundantly than any of the Apostles in his holy vocation: he proceeded with a zeal which nothing could quench, and an ardour which nothing could damp: privations, labours, imprisonments, deaths, were of no account in his eyes; ‘none of these things moved him, neither counted he his life dear unto him, so that he might but finish his course with joy, and fulfil the ministry that was committed to him’ (Acts 20:24). But what was the principle by which he was actuated? He himself tells us, that he was impelled by a sense of THE SANCTIFYING POWER OF THE GOSPEL – PART 2obligation to Christ, for all that He had done and suffered for him: ‘the love of Christ constraineth us,’ says he; ‘because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that He died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again’ (II Corinthians 5:14-15). This is that principle which he desired to be universally embraced, and endeavoured to impress on the minds of all: ‘We beseech you, brethren,’ says he, ‘by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service’ (Romans 12:1).” What mercies he refers to, we are at no loss to determine; they are the great mercies vouchsafed to us in the work of redemption: for so he says in another place; ‘Ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his’ (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Now this is the subject which the Apostle comprehends under the term ‘Christ crucified.’ It consists of two parts: First, of affiance (i.e. trust) in Christ for salvation, and, next, of obedience to the law for His sake: had either part of it been taken alone, his views had been imperfect, and his ministry without success. Had he neglected to set forth Christ as the only Saviour of the world, he would have betrayed his trust, and led his hearers to build their hopes on a foundation of sand. On the other hand, if he had neglected to inculcate (i.e. instill) holiness, and to set forth redeeming love as the great incentive to obedience, he would have been justly chargeable with that which has been often falsely imputed to him,—an antinomian spirit; and his doctrines would have merited the odium which has most unjustly been cast upon them. But on neither side did he err: he forgot neither the foundation nor the superstructure: he distinguished properly between them, and kept each in its place…” (Expository Outlines on the Whole Bible, Vol.16, p.35,37-39)
Paul is the founder of HeartCry Missionary Society and currently serves as its missions director. He also ministered as a missionary in Peru for ten years. He has preached hundreds of sermons and has authored a dozen published works. Paul lives in Radford, Virginia, with his wife Charo and their four children: Ian, Evan, Rowan, and Bronwyn.More By Paul David Washer