Every Christian is to glory in the cross as the Apostle Paul said, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 6:14) The cross spoken of in Holy Scripture is not physical, but spiritual. Paul was not referring so much to the physical instrument that put Christ to death; rather, he was referring to the work that Christ accomplished in bearing God’s wrath on that wooden instrument.
The real meaning of the cross is that salvation from eternal punishment comes by Christ’s substitutionary death. God’s justice demands satisfaction for sin. The only acceptable satisfaction for sin is death by crucifixion. So then, it is by Christ’s shed blood alone on Calvary’s cross which makes satisfaction to divine justice. In speaking of Christ’s sufferings on the cross to satisfy divine justice for the sinner, Isaiah 53:11 states the Father, “…shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
In satisfying Divine justice by His shed blood, our Lord Jesus Christ purchased peace and pardon for all who believe. Paul speaks of the believer’s pardon in Christ when, in Colossians 1:19-20, he says, “…it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.” So then, the real meaning of Christ’s death on the cross is that it is the only way our sins can be pardoned, and we may be truly righteous before God.
~ Pastor Jonathan Merica