The Purchase of the CrossBy Dan Vis
April 05, 2021
This past weekend, many heard gospel centered messages, as churches everywhere featured Easter weekend programs. Yet many times, the real meaning of the cross is misunderstood. This week's memo explores that important question more fully...
Sometimes I think we don't really understood the Gospel very well. I know it took me awhile to begin to feel like I had a handle on it. And I've certainly seen a lot of people with confused ideas over the years.
Actually, I think there's a reason for the confusion: we've somehow missed a major emphasis given to the Gospel in the New Testament.
My JourneyMy own journey started out a bit rocky: Virtually no religious background. A rather sudden conversion. And then a pretty wholehearted immersion into Christianity. It was like being dropped into a sea of opinions and perspectives before I had even been taught how to swim. No wonder I was confused!
On the one hand there was a beautiful and appealing emphasis on Christ as Savior. Full forgiveness and pardon for sin. Salvation through faith alone. Justification entirely as the gift of God. Just believe!
On the other, there was a reasonable and logical emphasis on Christ as Lord. The holiness of God's Law and it's vital importance. Character transformation as our fitness for heaven. The necessity of true sanctification. Just obey!
Both seemed important and right, but they didn't really seem to fit together all that well.
So I launched out on the only thing I knew to do. I began memorizing every verse in the Bible I could find on the Gospel. Deep down, I was hoping something would click--and I'd gain the clarity I so desperately wanted.
And that's exactly what happened.
An Obscure KeyTo be honest, memorizing didn't help much at first. By the time I was up to 50 or 60 "gospel" verses--I knew pretty much every verse you are likely to hear on the topic in a standard gospel presentation. And all it did was enable me to quote a dozen verses articulating either perspective!
I refused to simply accept the tension. I figured I was missing something. That some verse, somewhere, would pull things together. That if I just kept looking I'd find some obscure key that would unlock the mystery.
So I kept right on memorizing...
Eventually I found the verse that turned on the lights for me. And it was indeed a pretty obscure one. In 30 years of ministry, I don't think I've ever heard anyone use this verse in a gospel presentation. But it was the exact verse I needed!
Here it is:
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
What struck me is that this verse gives us the reason Jesus took our sins to the cross.
I had always been taught Jesus died so our sins could be forgiven, and that the whole battle of faith revolved around whether or not I could simply believe that basic truth.
But here I saw a deeper purpose for the cross. Jesus "was made a curse", in my place, so I could receive the "blessing of Abraham", the "promise of the Spirit" through faith.
“Jesus was made a curse for me, so I could receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
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Forgiveness was a fact. I'd already been "redeemed" from "the curse of the law". The real battle of faith, was whether or not I could believe that forgiveness made it possible for me to access and be filled with God's Spirit.
Suddenly, all the pieces I had been wrestling with started coming together. Salvation was full and free, and nothing I did could add to the purchase price. But that salvation was more than simple forgiveness--it provided radical life-changing power through the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
“The Gospel provides radical life-changing power through the infilling of the Holy Spirit.”
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The purchase of the cross, was the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. And it was this astonishing truth, this Gospel, that I needed to grasp by faith.
PentecostIt shouldn't have taken such an obscure verse for me to realize what the Bible writers were saying all along. It was right there, front and center, in Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost. After describing the death (Acts 2:23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:) and resurrection (Acts 2:32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.) of Jesus, Peter explains explicitly what the cross authorized Him to do:
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
The apostle's new ability to speak in other languages was proof the sacrifice had been accepted. Evidence the purchase had been confirmed. Pentecost was a ratification of the transaction. Jesus was now authorized to grant us the Spirit.
A few verses later, when asked what they needed to do to be saved, Peter made it clear that same promised Spirit was available to them (and us) as well:
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
Acknowledging their sin, and being baptized as a symbol of the forgiveness Christ offered was not an end in itself. Rather, it was what cleared the way for them to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus purchased the right to give us the Holy Spirit, by His death on the cross. And the reception of that Spirit is what led to such radically transformed lives. This was the message of the early church, and it spread like wildfire through the ancient world.
Perhaps it's a message we need to hear more often today...
To quote the apostle Paul's first question upon arriving in Ephesus, many years later: "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" (Acts 19:2He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.).
CommentsHow important is it to have balanced views of the Gospel? How important was the cross? How important is the Holy Spirit in the process of conversion? Did you glean any fresh insights from this brief study?
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/09/21|
|Thanks Valerie! I'm glad this spoke to you. And verses like Ephesians 3:19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. definitely fit in well with the idea that faith is more than intellectual assent to some historical fact--but literally like connecting a hose to a fire hydrant.
Another verse that comes to mind is Colossians 1:27-2927 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily., which emphasizes that the heart of our message is Christ in you, the hope of glory, that this experience is sufficient to present every perfect in Christ, and that we are to share it mightily, with all the strength God gives us. Powerful, indeed!
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 05/08/21|
I did not read this in April but upon reading it now, it’s truly fresh manna from Heaven. This memo impressed upon me what Paul meant in Ephesians 3:19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.. The Gospel is having the fullness of God- receiving by faith Christ’s righteousness that I can be filled with “all the fullness of God”. Then I am perfect as God is perfect- complete.
I intend to re-read this memo because it has so much in it. It is short but is filled to the brim with spiritual riches! I always enjoy reading about how the Holy Spirit has guided you in your spiritual journey.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 07/22/19|
|I feel the same way every time I contemplate this Lillian. It also shows me how much God LONGS to give us the Holy Spirit. The death of Jesus on the Cross shows the price He is willing to pay to do that. Romans 8:32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?. How could we doubt His willingness to fill us with the Spirit if we ask?|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/15/19|
|You're very welcome Floride! Anything to get us to think more about the cross, and its importance in our life is a good thing...|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/15/19|
|Glad this was helpful Karen! I know it was truly life-changing for me. Yes please feel free to share. You can use the social media icons, or the print button at the top of the page for those not online. If you can point them back to FAST for more information that would be great!
I agree Nelia that it really is all about personal application. We need to know personally the power of the Holy Spirit.
Great verses Makani! The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus is definitely one of the places we see how essential the Holy Spirit is. Another verse that comes to mind is Romans 8:9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.. Your other verses are also spot on. The faith that saves us is the faith that lays hold on the Spirit of God in such a way it leads to real transformation.
Such a simple truth, but so vitally important. I think the enemy has done all he can to obscure this truth, because he knows its incredible potential. Great post!
|Posted by Makani Mwinga on 05/14/19|
|Thank you Pastor Dan for an insightful lesson. What an amazing connection between the death of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. When I first consciously read John 3:5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God., It became clear to me that unless I am born of the Spirit, I would never enter the kingdom of God and experience that true conversion borne of the Spirit. But how to be born of the Spirit was another challenge, but thanks to Fastmissions for the wonderful lessons on how to be filled with the Spirit.
The part you mentioned that you needed to grasp the gift of the Spirit by "faith", reminds me of I Peter 1:5Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. and Romans 9:30-3330 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.......I Peter 1:5Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. "who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to revealed in the last time."...........Romans 9:30-3130 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. "What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.32Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. "
Indeed, we need to hear more of this beautiful message that Christ purchased the right to give us the Holy Spirit at the cross, and that only the Spirit in us will bring about radical transformation.
|Posted by Nelia on 05/14/19|
|It is so important to understand , internalize the gospel and how personal is the power of the cross for the salvation of each person.|
|Posted by Karen Steiger on 05/14/19|
|I can relate to your experience. This has made more sense than anything I have come across. I plan on sharing this with some friends who have been wondering also! Hope it is ok.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/14/19|
|So agree with you Lillian: "It's our privilege to receive the power of the Holy Ghost in our lives." And glad you grabbed some verses from this article! Awesome.
That verse in the sermon Peter gave on Pentecost is truly an amazing insight John. I suppose Peter and the other disciples were anticipating this based on Luke 24:49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high., so when the event happened, they know how to interpret it properly. We've tended to get into such a debate over the theology of the Gospel we miss the real point of the Gospel. But once we grasp that, there's power to transform everything in our life!
Also love the last two sentences in your comment. Great post!
|Posted by John Gilmore on 05/14/19|
|Thank you, Dan, for the reflections, particularly on Acts 2:33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. as, to me, it goes along with Romans 4:25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.. These verses strengthen my conviction that even justification is a multi-step process, requiring Christ's sacrifice (incarnation through crucifixion), His resurrection, the acceptance of His death by the Father as sufficient payment for our redemption, the bestowal and work of the Holy Spirit, and our reception of all these gifts. Then He as our High Priest can declare us justified. So much goes on behind the scenes. But God has all the bases covered!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/13/19|
|Amen Ann! Were it not for the leading of the Holy Spirit in our life, none of us would be able to experience that transformation God is calling us to.
You are very welcome Christine! It's a great verse to memorize. :)
|Posted by Christine Wigglesworth on 05/13/19|
|Thanks again for an inspirational message Pastor Dan! As I was reading the section on Christ taking our sins to the cross I thought of the hymn " Nailed to the Cross"
I too will be adding Acts 2:38,39Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. . . . For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. to my future list!
|Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 05/13/19|
|Without the cross I would not be a christian. There are several things I do not like in the Bible but I accept that someday I will understand and I am willing to wait until God fully explains it because He was willing to go to the cross. He risked all of heaven and suffered infinite humiliation for me so I know I can trust Him. My conversion is a bit different in that I have been a christian all of my life from the age of 8. BUT I can definitely attest to the leading of the Holy Spirit in the sanctification and education process. I can see as I look back how God has consistently led me and providentially guided my decisions, intervened to help or prevent a bad decision and he is still leading. I gave God permission long ago to do what it took to keep me on track and he has not failed.II Timothy 1:12For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day..|
|Posted by JoAnn Moon on 05/13/19|
|There really are so many verses making this connection. Thank you this affirming devotional. I really believe that being filled with the Holy Spirit is the answer to everything.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/04/19|
|What a blessing Helen! So glad this could connect with what God has already been teaching you. And I think Luke is indeed a powerful passage for understanding this. In Luke 4:1And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, we see Jesus being "led" by the Spirit. In Luke 4:14And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about., after the test in the intermediate verses, He comes back in the "power" of the Spirit.
I think that is the experience for many of us. God has been leading us, but we've not yet tapped into its power. Understanding the real riches of the Gospel is essential to being able to claim this promise by faith...
And thanks for sharing! That's always so appreciated. :)
|Posted by Helen De Coteau Grant on 02/04/19|
|Hi Dan, last night I was meditating on what was the source of Jesus power whilst he was on earth and as I focused on the first few chapters of Luke I found the answer was that he was filled with the Holy Spirit that’s how he was able to overcome the temptations in the wilderness and live the rest of his life empowered to face the cross. I was so excited to see that he actually showed that we too can overcome and live a victorious life through the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Now I saw this article about the cross was for the purchase of us to have the privilege of being filled with the Holy Spirit and I am so overjoyed to make this link . The cross has now taken on a deeper meaning and I can’t wait to share this with everyone I know. Thank you so much for this clarity of the word from Galatians .
May God continue to bless you with greater insights as you continue to meditate upon His word. Psalms 119:18Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. is my prayer as I study from day to day.🙏
|Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 01/29/19|
|Recently the Holy Spirit has been impressing me with what a wonderfully logical and organized God we have. Our legal system is a poor representation of Heaven's but it does help me to understand a little of how God operates. He has bound Himself by His rules and will not violate our freedom of choice. BUT!! if there is the minutest wish deep in our sub conscious minds to know or obey him, He is ON IT!!! He will move Heaven and earth to respond to that flicker of longing. Many mission stories support this with accounts of people who encountered angels or had dreams. GOD is good Psalms 107:8,21,31Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! . . . Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! . . . Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!. And now I am constantly praying intercessory prayers as the Spirit brings to mind names because God has LEGAL permission to work in people's lives if someone is praying for them. And I gave him legal permission to work in my life years ago-just in case I ever started to wander away. I have to confess I am very resistant to over organizing my time so I don't do Rocket but I do pray.:)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/28/19|
|Definitely appreciate everyone's kind words. Sounds like this touched a chord for many of you. It's a different way of thinking about the Gospel, or at least a different emphasis. But the reality is, this theme is all through Scripture, so lot's of things pop into our mind when we read this.
I know that was my experience. All those dozens of verses I had memorized just fell into place. Suddenly everything made sense. Particularly verses like John 3:5-65 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. and Romans 8:9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his., but so many more.
Let's keep studying and pressing forward all! On to more of the Spirit. On to REVIVE!
|Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 01/28/19|
|This is right! I have seen the Holy Spirit more and more in my life as I gave up my own way and accepted Jesus sacrifice in my life. Memorizing and prayer and study of the word have brought me the Holy Spirit's influence and I have seen myself change little by little. Hoping and searching for more. Ephesians 4:30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption..|
|Posted by Barbara Davis on 01/28/19|
|I have been trying to express this to others for many years, but am recognizing that it must be shared by being lived out, not by argument.
Peter talked about being begotten again unto a lively hope because of the resurrection, not just the cross,I Peter 1:3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,. Somehow it seems difficult to grasp the reality, and transition from us living and doing for Christ, to Christ in us living and doing His will and work in and through us by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:1-41 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:). Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.; Colossians 1:27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:; John 5:30I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.; John 15:5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing..
Two readings in the past two weeks are very helpful to me.
The first I believe from Desire of Ages maybe chapter 52.( going from memory) in speaking of Christ being in the shadow of the cross with all the weight of the sins of the world resting upon Him. I wondered if that is not where many become discouraged, (I know I have) living with a load of remorse and regret because of the past, instead of being begotten again to a lively hope by the resurrection that comes after the cross.
This second reading made it clear to me why and how to know Jesus—that “thoughtful hour each day” meditating on the life of Christ in the Gospels, taking it scene by scene. Becoming changed by beholding.
“As the disciples waited for the fulfillment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief. As they called to remembrance the words that Christ had spoken to them before His death they understood more fully their meaning. Truths which had passed from their memory were again brought to their minds, and these they repeated to one another. They reproached themselves for their misapprehension of the Saviour. Like a procession, scene after scene of His wonderful life passed before them. As they meditated upon His pure, holy life they felt that no toil would be too hard, no sacrifice too great, if only they could bear witness in their lives to the loveliness of Christ’s character.” AA chapter 4 paragraph 3.
|Posted by Jeannie Windels on 01/28/19|
|Thank you! Reminds me of this quote....“Having brought conviction of sin, and presented before the mind the standard of righteousness, the Holy Spirit withdraws the affections from the things of this earth and fills the soul with a desire for holiness. "He will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.), the Saviour declared.” AA 52.5|
|Posted by Lynn Badger on 01/28/19|
|Thank you Dan. I loved this reminder. I will be adding Galatians 3:13-14 to my list what an awesome verse.|
|Posted by Wanda Holley on 01/28/19|
|Thank you for this presentation on these texts! They helped to enlighten my personal study on the HOLY SPIRIT! You expressed in written form my thoughts that I couldn't put into words! GOD IS GOOD!!|
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