One of the biggest theological problems in the church today is that people have adopted a man-centered view, instead of the biblical, God-centered view. It has become so ingrained in the visible church that people are completely unaware that they hold unbiblical views. Let me give you an example. I have seen this sentiment expressed in memes, quotes and conversations all over social media for the last couple of years:
This is one of the clearest and most blatant examples of having one’s theology upside down.
Statement #1: ‘The cross is not a revelation of our sin.’
It was troubling to even retype that for the purpose of our study. Not only is it a flagrant lie, it is just absurd. The entire point of the cross was our sin. I cannot be any clearer than that. I will give two scriptural evidences here, but there are many, many more: Romans 4:25 “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” And 1 Peter 2:24 “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”
The given institution of the sacrificial system in the Old Testament was a preview of the cross. I wrote about Old Testament sacrifices here, please click on the link and read for a more in-depth explanation. God has been very thorough since the instance in the garden where He slew an animal and covered Adam and Eve with its skin, to give us continual visual reminders of our sin problem and the need for a blood sacrifice to atone for those sins. The cross unequivocally revealed the consequences of our sin, the requirement for our sin, and the cost of our sin. Technically, the law shows or reveals our sin to us, and the cross is the remedy. However, I believe it is accurate to include the cross in the revelatory role in the revealing of our sin because if people did not have a sin problem, there would be no need for the cross. Certainly it is false to say that the cross does not reveal our sin.
Statement #2: ‘[the cross] is the revealing of our value’
The problem with this statement is a bit more subtle, but it is where the man-centered theology really shows through. Like everything in His creation and His program for the age of man and earth, the cross points to His glory. It is all about Him, not us. His glory, not our value. We were not worth dying for. What I mean by that is there was nothing in us that made us worthy of His sacrifice. That is what makes it amazing grace! What is a more amazing demonstration of grace: dying for someone who deserves that kind of sacrifice? Or dying for someone completely unworthy? More to the point, which scenario brings more glory to God and demonstrates His attributes of mercy and grace?
Did Jesus die on the cross because of our sin problem? Yes. But He did so for His own Glory. Everything He does is for His own purposes and for His own glory. We are the beneficiaries of this tremendous grace and mercy, but it is done so first and foremost to glorify God. God is glorified through the redemption of sinners. He is glorified through the obedience of the Son unto death. He is glorified through the fulfillment of prophecy (Old Testament prophecy foretelling of the Messiah and His death). He is glorified through the defeat of Satan and the power over death. He is glorified through the reconciliation of all things in creation through the Son. He is glorified through the demonstration of perfect love. God. Is. Glorified.
God loves us, saves us, blesses us, and yes, values us: unto His glory. It is all for His glory! The only reason He does any of these things is to demonstrate and express His attributes which………….bring Him glory. So to say that the cross reveals our value is getting it exactly wrong. That is putting man as the focus, not God. It is a narcissistic theology, not a God-glorifying one.
It is all about Him:
“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake,
And I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25
“Father, the hour has come; glorify your son that the Son may glorify you.” John 17:1
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again’ John 12:27-28
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13
“Desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, [God] has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory.” Romans 9:22-23
“From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36
Soli Deo Gloria!