The Crux of the Matter
“You might need sleep, you might need a job, you might need a friend, you might need a prescription, you might need all that, but what you need most is Jesus.”
by Stephen Yuille on January 01, 2021
It’s the start of a new year. For many of us, this means it’s time to make our annual resolutions. Usually, these are related to things like eating less and exercising more, or watching less television and reading more books. Personally, I have no problem with any of this. It’s always a good idea to take some time to reflect, evaluate, and resolve. In keeping with the tradition, I’d like to suggest a great New Year’s resolution. Here it is:
“I decided [resolved, determined] to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
This is what we’re called to believe
Are you familiar with the phrase the crux of the matter? We use it to refer to the most important point. Crux is actually a Latin term. It’s the origin of our English words crucial and cross. The cross is crucial. In other words, it’s the most important point. The central message of the Bible is the inauguration and consummation of God’s kingdom in Christ. This means the central message of the Bible is the cross.
There’s something intrinsic to the character of God that requires death as a payment for sin. An atonement is required for us to be reconciled to Him (Rom. 3:21–26). The gods of other religions, such as Islam and Judaism, don’t require a payment for sin in order to forgive. This is far removed from the true and living God. He’s holy. His holiness requires atonement. Therefore, there’s no hope of salvation apart from Christ crucified. He alone has made peace through the blood of His cross.
This means that what we need most is Jesus Christ. Kevin DeYoung counsels, “You might need sleep, you might need a job, you might need a friend, you might need a prescription, you might need all that, but what you need most is Jesus.”
This is how we’re called to live
The cross is how we’re saved, but it’s also the way we live. Christ saves us from hell, but He doesn’t save us from the cross. Paul makes it clear: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). In other words, the key to the Christian life is (1) believing Christ was crucified for me, (2) believing I’ve been crucified with Christ, (3) seeing myself hanging on the cross, and (4) living accordingly.
Do we know Christ and Him crucified? “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him … that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Phil. 3:8–11). As Thomas Manton explains, “We know Christ when we have tasted the sweetness of the promise: the pardon of sin and the hope of glory.” What kind of knowledge is this? It’s affective, not speculative – that is to say, it’s a knowledge that grips us.
May we be resolved to know Christ and Him crucified in 2021!