Author: Ron Graham
The Priceless Cross (A)
—Jesus Sacrificed His Flesh and Blood to Reconcile Sinners
We come now to the third C in Ephesians 2, the Cross of Christ that demonstrated God’s love. We see that Christ was not conquered by the cross, rather through it he became the Conqueror.
When Paul speaks of the cross (Ephesians 2:16) he of course does not refer to the wooden cross as such, but rather to what was done on that cross, namely the killing of the flesh-and-blood body of the Son of God.
“Christ reconciled you to God through the cross” (Ephesians 2:16).
1 The Cross Demonstrated God’s Love
"God... is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us... the surpassing riches of his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4,7).
Although Jesus was "crucified by wicked hands and slain" he was "delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16).
2 The Cross Could Not Conquer Christ
"Even when we were dead in sins, he has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;) and raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:5-6).
The cross of Christ was not a defeat of God’s plan by wicked men. It was God’s plan to let those wicked men slay Jesus so that there would be a "sacrifice for sins once for all" (Hebrews 10:12).
God made a victory out of the cross. I have never been able to work out why Satan was hell bent on getting Jesus killed. I guess he must have gambled that Jesus would do something to spoil the sacrifice. If so, his gamble didn't pay off. God’s love won the day, and now we have a way back to God and out of our condemnation.
God proved that the cross of Christ was not a defeat of his plan. He raised Christ from the dead. Through the cross we too are quickened (made alive) and raised up from spiritual death.
Christ had the victory over death. Death did not have victory over him. Through him we too can have victory over death physical, spiritual, and eternal. "We are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37-39).
3 On the Cross Christ Made His Sacrifice
"...brought near by the blood of Christ... [who] abolished in his flesh the enmity... to reconcile them both in one body to God by the cross" (Ephesians 2:13-16).
I think we all understand that where we (and Paul) have spoken of "the cross" throughout this lesson, we were using a metonym. We do not literally mean the wooden cross itself, but rather the death Jesus died upon it, and the sacrifice there of his flesh and blood.
The cross was the cruel instrument of that death. The death is the significant thing.
Paul’s phrase "through the cross" is a figurative equivalent of the other two phrases he uses in the same context. These literal equivalents are: "by the blood" and "in his flesh" (Ephesians 2:13,15,16).
So when we say, "The Priceless Cross" we mean of course the priceless sacrifice of Christ's body and blood. Without that, beloved, we would indeed still be "children of wrath... without hope and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:3,12).