The Death of the Cross
When the apostle Paul speaks of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ in Philippians 2:8, he distinguishes that death from all others by referring to it as “the death of the cross.”
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
How is Christ’s dying the “death of the cross” different from any other death?
Many things make the death of Jesus Christ unique.
1. It was the death of the man Christ Jesus who was none other than God manifest in the flesh. He Himself is that unique Person being at the same time in one person God and Man. The dying man Emmanuel which is “God with us.”
2. It was the death of a sinless man, the only sinless Man. He who knew no sin and was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. The spotless Lamb of God.
3. It was a substitutionary death. He is dying for someone else as a representative Man, so that all those He represented died with Him and in Him. In this last Adam, they died to sin, to the law, and to every connection and association with the first Adam.
4. It was a definite death, God telling us who it was that He died for. Yes, they were all sinners but it was not for all sinners. Christ distinguishes them as “the sheep” and “my sheep” (John 10). It was a death He died giving Himself for and in order to purchase the Church with His own blood. It is a death for His friends, for the children the Father gave Him, His elect people.
5. It was a successful death. In His death, Christ actually accomplished the eternal purpose of God and redemption of His people, putting away their sins, made manifesting the justifying work upon which all their salvation depended.
6. It is a death from which He was raised, beheld as risen by many witnesses. He was received up into glory because He satisfied God in every way and honored Him in all His attributes.
7. It is a death for which He was rewarded. Having purged our sins, He was seated at the right hand of the majesty on high where He now sits, the Intercessor of His people in His redemptive glory.
The preaching of Christ crucified is the preaching of the “death of the cross.”
This is the gospel His people believe.
He humbled Himself that He might as a man render this particular obedience to God: “the death of the cross.”
By Gary Shepard