In these tough economic times, many now recognize the cost of freedom. Perhaps you feel trapped in debt, unemployment, or personal heartache. And even if you are currently fortunate enough to be without trial, there is a bondage we all face: sin.
Breaking free from sin’s penalty and power comes at a great price. Your symbol of true freedom—liberty from the chains of self—is a costly one. It is soaked in the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
The agony of Jesus’ crucifixion is well known, even to non-Christians and adherents of other religions. The actual event, however, was far more than mere historic melodrama. Its significance lies not in the emotional experience of the participants and onlookers, but in what God accomplished through His Son’s death.
The cross of Calvary is the extraordinary instrument of liberty where our eternal fate is secured. You see, our freedom cannot be purchased with a social revolution or a majority vote. The source of our oppression is spiritual—not political, economic, or cultural.
Yet many people today dismiss the contemporary relevance of the cross because of its apparent weakness. We are strength-conscious people. Businesspeople meet for “power” lunches. Politicians strive to gain ever-increasing legislative influence. Individuals with common causes group together to wield more clout. The military spends billions to develop and deploy Armageddon-scale weaponry. But there has never been—and never will be—anything that rivals the awesome power of the cross.
Despite the world’s skepticism and ridicule, the very core of Christianity is Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is the central truth of Christian doctrine and experience. In the words of Paul, the cross is both “the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).
You see, we are born sinners, separated from the life and liberty of our Creator. We are imprisoned by the darkness of sin, chained by its grip of selfishness and under the influence of Satan. Only Christ’s sacrifice has the power to liberate us from this bondage.
The gospel of the resurrection has the ability to deliver us—body and soul—from the grave. Because Christ paid the penalty of sin and emerged from the tomb, His sacrifice is the only power that can unshackle humanity from the chains of eternal, spiritual death. It is the only thing that can transport you from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of life and light (Colossians 1:13).
The cross is God’s wisdom because there is no other means by which sinful human beings can be reconciled to our holy and perfect Creator. Because God became flesh, He could die as our substitute, bearing the divinely decreed penalty for our rebellion against Him.
The crucifixion has the power to radically alter every aspect of your life. Jesus’ sacrifice empowers you to reorient your life toward selfless giving, loving, and serving instead of self-dominance or self-protection. Christ calls us to follow Him by dying to ourselves—to give up our lives so that we might find them in relationship with Him (John 12:25-26). Doing so transforms the heart and releases evil’s grip on our lives.
Our only hope for freedom is to be rescued by the One with the power and right to liberate us from sin’s reign. That is exactly what Christ did at Calvary. Through the cross, the wrath of God the Father was spent on His Son. Jesus paid the supreme price by laying down His life.
Since Christ tasted the bitterness of death and rose again three days later, sin no longer rules over those of us who trust in Him. He triumphed over the grave, and all who place their faith in Him share His victory. The grace of the Lord is marvelous. But it is yours only because Jesus bore the penalty of sin: death (Rom. 6:23). He made it possible for us to be reconciled to the Author of spiritual liberty— Jehovah God.
Is the cross of Christ the center of your faith? There is absolutely no way to God except through the Son (John 14:6). The gift of freedom is available to all who are willing to receive because of His crucifixion—the greatest, eternal sacrifice for the world God so dearly loves.
By Charles F. Stanley