This issue of Current is about Calvary. Its very name calls us to remember the place where the plague of sin’s curse was met by the power of God’s cross. On that lonely hill, known in New Testament times as Golgotha, for it bore the shape of a skull, our Lord Jesus purposely offered up His life for His church. With a holy zeal for His own glory and for the salvation of souls God “spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). God the Father “made him [his Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). On that cross that day at Calvary a transaction took place between God the Father and God the Son that changed the eternal destiny of billions of souls. The death of our Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, therefore, was the greatest event in the history of the world.
We know that from eternity past God had mount Calvary in mind as the place where the Lord would suffer and die, because fifteen hundred years before Christ, God called on Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on that same mount when it was known as Mount Moriah. And one thousand years before Christ, King David conquered that mount in order that Jerusalem might be the center of worship for God’s Old Testament people. The ark of the covenant was brought to rest there. Solomon built and dedicated the temple there. Through successive ages countless animal sacrifices were offered up to God there. Each blood-stained offering pointed believing Israelites to the perfect sacrifice, the Lord Jesus Christ, who became a sin offering there at Calvary.
On the day when Jesus died on the cross Old Testament prophecies, types, and shadows of the Messiah’s death were fulfilled as was the Lord’s own testimony that “the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed” (Mark 8:31). On that day God plunged the world into darkness declaring the eternal significance of the death of His Son, for darkness not only shrouded the scene of the cross it also reached to the extremities of the earth.
I trust you will take to heart the doctrine of substitution—Jesus dying as God’s provided Lamb in the place of perishing sinners. This is at the core of the Christian gospel and it is the essential confession of a true believer in Christ. Miss the meaning of substitution in Christ’s death and you miss all of Calvary’s message. Get that message into your heart and you get all that Christ came to accomplish by offering up Himself as a sacrifice for sin.
The death of Christ is at the center of the faith of Bible-believing Christians; we live and die by faith in the One who offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin. Many ask why Christ went to the cross, and multitudes grapple to find the answer. For this reason every gospel preacher is commissioned to preach the cross to an unbelieving world. It is the only message by which sinful men can be reconciled to God. We are to preach it until our dying day for we know that this is the means by which the Spirit of God convicts men of sin and by which He converts sinners to become new creatures in Christ. The seeming anomaly of the message from the cross is that by the death of one life comes to many. It is through hearing of Jesus’ sufferings as a blood-atonement to satisfy the wrath of God that believers in Christ come to know the eternal joys of salvation. We must persist in preaching this truth from our pulpits with the same holy zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of precious souls that moved our Lord to go to the cross.
Yet we should not be surprised if we are despised and rejected of men for preaching the message of a crucified Saviour. The carnal man can see no beauty in a Saviour who humbled Himself to die on a Roman gibbet. But this is our message: “Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23). The apostle Paul warned that this will be a despised message about a despised Saviour delivered by despised messengers. After outlining the power of the cross and its foolishness to proud men, the apostle expounded why God planned the cross as the way of life for sinners: “That no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Corinthians 1:29). So let us glorify God by proclaiming the good news of salvation by the cross of Christ. We must sing about it, preach about it, and pray about it. With its emphasis on Calvary we send forth this issue of Current with the prayer that it will lead each reader to faith in the Christ of Calvary!