FOUNDATION OF THE CHRISTIAN ETHIC

LightFromCrossThe cross stands at the center of all spiritual and moral reality. The longer I live the more the cross becomes burned in my soul. While I will never be able to fully plumb the depths of its divine mystery, I am fully persuaded that the answer to the woes of humanity is found in the Christ of the cross. Our God has acted in the affairs of humanity, providing through His Son on the cross all that man needs for redemption from his sins and the reconciling of man unto his Creator. Nature reveals that there is a Supreme Being; the cross reveals the character of the Being of which nature is a witness. God’s first creation creates in us awe. His second creation of a New Humanity bought in the cross creates in our souls worship. The Light that shines on the Babe of Bethlehem, finds its Source in the cross that awaited Him. When I speak of the event of the cross, I refer to all that surrounds it – the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

We live in a world that is a philosophical maze where people seem to have difficulty choosing a proper ethic that determines what is right and wrong. As Christians we must realize spiritual and ethical truth is anchored in the Cross of Christ and the inspired Word that tells us of our eternal God’s visitation to earth. The guiding ethic of the Christian faith is found in the loving righteousness of the One who hung upon the atoning cross. The ethic of fallen man is anchored in his own selfish whims apart from Christ. For the Christian the atoning cross is our true magnetic North and we must ever keep our eyes upon it and seek to understand the marvel of its mystery, its practicality for daily living, and the grace found in the holy-love of the Father that ever flows freely from Christ and His redemptive work on our behalf.

The cross must never be stripped from its relation to the holy-love of God and His judgment upon our sin and its atoning power that can deliver us in the midst of our sin. We are not saved and kept by the sentimentality of some mystic ideal, but by the historical Act of God in the Christ of the cross which is the ground of our salvation. Salvation never means escape from the world, but it means God’s coming to earth in Christ to deal with our sins that we might experience fellowship with Him so we can walk uprightly while in this world. When the cross becomes devoid of God’s holy judgment upon our sin and His atoning work in the midst of our sin, then the cross has lost its power in our daily lives. The Christian has but one ethic, and its source flows from the Christ of the cross. The cross is more than a humanistic relic of religion, but it’s the eternal instrument that reconciles sinful man with a Holy God. It was at the cross judgment upon sin and grace met. It was on Calvary’s Hill that Christ in grace offered His perfect life for us, which life we could not live; and it was there, as our Substitute, He took upon Himself the judgment we deserved.

The cross has invaded the historic affairs of humanity with an act of both mercy and judgment. By faith we are connected to this historical Act, an Act which declares us to be righteous as well as empowers us to live in a relationship with the Righteous One. By faith we are placed into a New Humanity anchored in the holy-love of the Father who calls us to walk in newness of life. When one is guided by the Light of the cross there burns within their soul a passion that longs for all humanity to find connection in the universal finished work of Christ to the glory of the Holy Father.

All of creation groans for the manifestation of the crucified Son of God, and the bringing forth of His loving judgment upon our sin wherein lies our victory. The cross is not an instrument just to bless us but to redeem us. True spiritual and moral truth flows from the cross whose goal is to make men holy. When the cross is our compass we strive to live in obedience to the One who was obedient even unto death on that wooden tree. The cross teaches us that love must not be based upon mere human sentimentality, but be based upon biblical righteousness (ethic) working within the sphere of our daily world– first with God and then to our fellowman.

Christ’s work on the cross was for the purpose of God’s holy-love dealing with our sin, and is so doing, by faith, it affects our character and conduct. As the Christ of the cross becomes the object of our focus we find our daily ethic becoming more in-tune with the One who acted in history. As P.T. Forsyth has stated, “We are only really, finally, morally right only as God’s grace has its way with us, as the immoral thing, sin, is judged, doomed, and replaced by that which is moral, – faith in the Christ of the cross, faith moralized by its holy object [the cross].”

In a day when the humanistic winds of what is deemed right and wrong is ever changing, let us uncompromisingly keep our eyes on the Christ of the cross. It is in the crucified Savior where we find an unchanging ethic that amidst the sinking sands of this world will keep our feet on solid ground.

Blessings,

Dr. Dan

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