The Dynamics of the
Everlasting Gospel By E.H. Jack Sequeira
Chapter 8 The Principle of the Cross
According to the apostle Paul, the power of the gospel is
to be found in the cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). In Chapter
5 we made a study of the cross of Christ as a truth or an
objective fact. In this present study, we will be concerned
with the application of this truth to our lives. We will
discover that when the cross of Christ is applied to the life
of a believer, it becomes the power of God unto salvation.
However, the cross of Christ also has very important implications
for the Christian life, and we will consider this first before
we proceed to study the cross of Christ as the power of God which
is able to save us from sin.
The Believer’s Cross
It is impossible for a genuine believer to be united to
Christ without being identified with His cross. Baptism, as
we saw in our previous study, is our identification or union
with Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected (Romans 6:3-5).
By faith a believer becomes one with Christ crucified and,
consequently, in becoming a Christian, the truth of the cross
we discovered in Chapter 5 becomes of vital importance to every
Most of us are familiar with the fact that we must carry
some form of a cross in the Christian life (Matthew 10:38;
16:24; Luke 9:23; 14:27). But, unfortunately, many are
ignorant of the fact that the cross of every believer is
none other than the cross of Christ.
Many equate their cross with the hardships and trials
of this life and, therefore, have the idea that God has
given each one of us separate crosses to bear. That is to
say, some have heavy crosses to bear while others have
light crosses, or some have big crosses, while others are
fortunate enough to bear small ones, all depending on our
circumstances. This is a mistake and a deception of the
devil. It is not what Jesus had in mind when He spoke about
bearing our crosses. The hardships and trials of this life
are the curse of sin, and all men, believers and unbelievers
alike, must bear them.
The cross that Jesus spoke about and which each
believer must carry in order to follow Him, in principle
is none other than His cross. Faith identifies every
believer with the cross of Christ so it becomes the believers’
cross, and this we must never forget. No doubt the thief who
was crucified with Christ had to literally carry his own
cross, but it was the cross of Christ that that he accepted
in principle that will qualify him for heaven. The only cross
that is of any value to save us from sin is that cross; and
by faith and baptism this cross has become the cross of every
Hence with Paul we can and must declare, “God forbid that I should glory, save in
the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto
the world” (Galatians 6:14; Galatians 2:20). It is only as every believer grasps this truth
and identifies his cross with the cross of Christ that it will become meaningful to us as
the power of God unto salvation.
Consequently, let it be very clear that apart from the cross
of Christ there is no salvation from sin, and we must therefore
never separate our cross from the cross of Christ. To do this is
to introduce a subtle element of salvation by works, and as we
have already seen in a previous study, works of any form that
proceed from us have no value and no place in the gospel of Christ.
As long as we live in this world of sin, the principle of
Christ’s cross must be daily applied to the life of every
Christian. There is no choice in this matter, for Jesus made
it clear that it is a necessary and vital part of the Christian
life. “And He said to them all, if any man will come after Me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow
me” (Luke 9:23). Of course, to the carnal person whose faith
in Christ is self-centered, this is a hard thing to do, but to
the believer who is constrained by the love of Christ, the
cross is something in which to glory or rejoice, for “unto us
which are saved it [the cross of Christ] is the power of God”
(1 Corinthians 1:18).
The Offense of the Cross
You will remember when we studied the truth of the cross
that we discovered three things that took place when Christ
what Satan and the world did to Christ on the cross;
what God did to His Son on the cross; and
what God did to the human race in Christ on the cross.
Each of these three things plays a vital part in the life of
every believer and we will consider each one separately.
At the cross, Satan and his world showed their absolute
and utter hatred for Christ, and it was this that led them
to put Him to open shame (Hebrews 6:6), inflict upon Him untold
suffering, and finally hang Him on the cross to die a most
cruel death. This truth applied to the life of every believer
is referred to in the Bible as “the offense of the cross”
I trust by now that it has become clear to the reader
that Christianity is more than joining a denomination, but
involves a radical change in position as well as in status.
A person who genuinely becomes a believer and joins the
church is no longer “in Adam” but is now “in Christ,”
neither does he belong to the world but has become a
citizen of God’s kingdom.
In view of the fact that a great controversy exists
between Satan the prince of this world and Christ the
Lord of Heaven, it becomes obvious to anyone who says
good-bye to his position in this world and unites with
Christ’s kingdom on earth (which is the church) that he
is bound to come under attack from Satan and this world.
This Christ made clear to His disciples on more than
one occasion: “Behold I send you forth as sheep in the
midst of wolves . . . But beware of men [of the world,
implied]: for they will deliver you up to the councils,
and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye
shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake,
for a testimony against them and the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:16-18, 22). Again He said, “If ye were of the world,
the world would love its own: but because ye are not of
the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18, 19; 1 John
In the eyes of the world every true Christian is a
traitor and is therefore an object of hatred and persecution.
Paul writing to Timothy made it clear to this young pastor,
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). But this, you will
say, is not true today. It is not true today, not because
the world has improved or changed, or that a reconciliation
has taken place between Christ and Satan. No! The tragedy
of the matter is that the church has committed
“fornication;” an unholy wedlock has taken place between
“Jerusalem which is from above,” and “Babylon the Great,”
which symbolizes the world and its philosophy of self-love
(see Daniel 4:30).
The sad fact is that for too long we have had
partnership in one form or another with the world so that
today the church of Christ, like Israel of old, is in
Babylonian captivity. For years, ignoring the counsel of
God clearly taught in the Old Testament and fully revealed
in the gospel and the principle of the cross (see Galatians
6:14), we as God’s people have been borrowing the
philosophies of the world. We have been using and depending
on its resources, involving ourselves in its politics,
having dialogue with its various organizations, so that
today the church is in captivity to the world. This is
notably felt in many parts of the globe where the church
works and functions under the orders and directions of the
worldly governments. For this reason, God’s final message
to His people is, “Come out of her [Babylon], my people,
that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive
not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:1-4; 14:8).
The distinction between the church today and the world
can hardly be seen but this state of affairs will not
continue for long, for God has made it clear that He is
going to step in and remedy the situation. “Though the
number of children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a
remnant shall be saved: for he will finish the work, and
cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will
the Lord make upon the earth. And as Isaiah said before,
‘Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been
as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrah’” (Romans 9:27-29).
Therefore, declares the True Witness to the church of the
last days, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be
zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:19).
When Christ will have sifted and purified His church
(Amos 9:9-12) and reproduced His character in the lives of
His people, then the “offense of the cross” will become a
reality again and history will repeat itself. (Note John 7:7;
the world could not hate the Jews because it did not see
Christ in them).
Then this divided world will again reunite itself
against their common enemy, the church of Christ and God’s
people will once again be hated, put to open shame, and
suffer untold affliction and death (Matthew 24:9-10; Luke 6:22).
At that time the glory of God must shine through us as we
rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer shame for His name
(Acts 5:41), and we will have to take courage from the
words of Peter, “For even hereunto were ye called because
Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that
ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
The Blood of Christ
We have considered “the believer’s cross” and “the offence
of the cross,” both of which are the heritage of every true
Christian who is united by faith to Christ. Now we must turn
our attention to the glorious power of the cross. The cross
of Christ is the power of God unto salvation and unless we
discover how to tap this power we will never know or experience
the joys of the Christian life. For this reason it is not
sufficient to simply know the truth of the cross, but we will
also be touched by its power if the cross of Christ is to be
meaningful or of value to us.
And let there be no misgivings or doubts, for the cross
of Christ is able to save us to the uttermost from every
aspect of sin, its guilt, it punishment, and its power.
That is what God has ordained it to do (Hebrews 7:25-27).
The power of the cross is two-fold. It is able to save
us from the guilt and punishment of our many sins, as well
as being the means by which God saves us from our slavery to
sin. This dual function of the cross is the result of the
two things God did to His Son on the cross, namely: (1) He
punished all our sins in Christ; and (2) He included the
whole human race in the death of His Son. In this section
we will deal with the first aspect of the power of the cross,
which Scripture refers to as “the blood of Christ,” and then,
in the next section, we will consider the second aspect,
“the cross of Christ.”
At the cross, the sins of the whole human race were placed
upon Christ our sin-bearer. That is to say, the sin of Adam,
which brought condemnation upon all men, plus the sins of all
men born in this world, to the very last person to be born,
all were heaped upon Him our Substitute (Isa. 53:6). And as
we saw in the study of the cross of Christ (Chapter 5), God did
not spare His own Son but meted out the full wages of sin upon
Him so that “by one offering He [Christ] hath perfected forever
them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14; 9:25-28). This supreme
sacrifice in fulfillment of the many sacrifices offered in the
sanctuary service of the Old Testament is equated with “the
blood of Christ” in the New Testament.
For this reason we will discover that the New Testament
writers placed infinite value upon the blood of Christ. For
example, it is able to redeem us (1 Peter 1:18-19), justify
us (Romans 5:9), cleanse us from all sins (1 John 1:7), cancel
the guilt of our many sins (Matthew 26:27-28), and make peace
between sinful men and holy God (Colossians 1:20). This is but some
of the value of the precious blood of Christ to every believer.
However, before we can proceed to discover the power of
Christ’s blood in the life of the believer, it would be well
for us first to understand the significance of this expression
“the blood of Christ.” We will find in reading the Scriptures
that blood pays a vital role when it comes to this matter of
dealing with sin. Thus we read, “And almost all things are by
the law purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood
is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). This is because, according to
Scripture, the life of the flesh is in the blood (Gen. 9:4).
Consequently, shed blood symbolizes or indicates that life
has been laid down in death.
For this reason God declared to Israel of old, “For the
life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to
you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for
it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Lev.
17:11). For this reason too, the angel of death passed over
the children of Israel who had the blood of the sacrificial
lamb splashed on their door posts (Ex. 12:12).
All the blood shed in the various sacrificial systems of
the Old Testament was a type or a shadow pointing to the
blood of Christ, that is to say, His life which He laid down
at the cross for the sins of the world. Therefore we must
never interpret the blood of Christ to refer to the literal
human blood of Christ, which was no different from our blood
(Hebrews 2:14), and which incidentally would have no power to
save us. The blood of Christ signifies the divine life of
Christ which was original, unborrowed, underived, and which
He laid down in the second death to save us from the guilt
and punishment of sin; it is this which has the power to
save us from our sins.
Having dealt with the true significance of Christ’s blood,
we must now go on to discover its value and power. According
to Scripture, the blood of Christ is able to save us in three
ways, and it is of utmost importance that we become aware of
the threefold function and power of the blood. The three ways
mentioned may be defined as Godward, manward, and
Satanward. Let us briefly consider each of them.
Godward. The apostle John tells us that
to commit sin is of the devil as well as being the
transgression of the law (1 John 3:4, 8). Our sins, therefore,
have a decided effect upon our relationship with God Himself.
As the prophet Isaiah put it, “Your iniquities have separated
between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face
from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2).
This, of course, puts us in a hopeless situation, since
men cannot really live apart from God, as He is the source
of all life. How then can sinful man be reconciled to a
holy God? There is only one answer to this problem, the
blood of the cross. The death of Christ for our sins is the
only way we can be reconciled to God; thus, “when we were
enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death [blood vs. 9]
of His Son” (Romans 5:10). Hence, when the blood of Christ is
by faith applied to our life of sin, reconciliation takes
place between God and us and this brings peace to our hearts.
“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with
God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1; John 14:27).
But the blood of Christ is so wonderful that not only
does it reconcile us to God when we first come to Him
through Christ, but more than this, it continues to cleanse
and forgive our sins daily as we confess them daily (1 John
1:7, 9). The power of Christ’s blood never diminishes,
neither can it ever lose its efficacy or effectiveness to
save us from our sins. For this reason the believer’s
relationship with God is never broken and this means that
we can come boldly to God every time, through the blood of
Christ no matter what our experience may have been (Hebrews 10:19-22).
Every believer should know this and rejoice. But,
unfortunately, the prayer life of many is hindered because
we insist on looking at ourselves and our failure when it
comes to approaching God, instead of coming to Him in the
merits of Christ’s blood. Whatever may be our Christian
experience, never must we approach our holy God but by the
blood of Christ, and as such we can do so boldly and without
any shame or fear.
Manward. Sin not only affects our
relationship with God, but it also brings guilt and
distress to our lives (Gen. 42:21; Ps. 40:12). Every one
of us is familiar to a greater or lesser degree with the
problem of guilt. And needless to say, guilt is a very
unpleasant thing; in fact, medical science today confirms
the fact that the great majority of human sickness and
woe may be traced to the problem of guilt. The devil,
through his world, offers many remedies to overcome
this problem of guilt, such as drinking alcohol or
smoking cigarettes, or taking drugs, etc., but none of
these things can genuinely or permanently save us from
the pain of guilt. Once again, it is only the blood of
Christ that can rescue us from a guilty conscience
(Hebrews 9:14; 10:2).
Therefore, a believer who has been touched by the
power of the blood of Christ is among the happiest
persons in the world, in spite of everything else he
may have to put up with in this life. For not only has
he made peace with God through the blood of Christ, but
at the same time, he has found inner peace with himself
through this same blood. David, the king who had
committed some terrible sins, including murder, knew
something of the power of Christ’s blood and therefore
could declare, “Blessed [happy] is the man unto whom
the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit
there is no guile” (Ps. 32:1, 2; Romans 4:8). Such is
the privilege of every believer whose faith rests in
the blood of the Lamb.
Satanward. There is a third effect
that our sins produce. It gives ground to Satan, the
enemy of souls, to accuse us before God. In Revelation
12:10, we are told that Satan is the accuser of the
brethren who accuses us before God day and night. The
accusations of the devil are true, for we have many
sins of which to be accused that neither we nor God
cannot deny. How are we able to meet these accusations?
Verse 11 gives us the answer: “And they overcame him
[Satan] by the blood of the Lamb.” This is the third
function of the blood of Christ; it is able to meet
every accusation Satan makes against the saints.
The Bible records several incidents in which Satan
is hurling accusations against the saints; or he is
opposing God for favoring the saints. For example, in
Zechariah 3:1-4 we read of Joshua the High Priest who
represents the congregation standing before the angel
of the Lord, and there we find Satan ready to resist
or accuse him. Again in Jude 9, we read about the
conflict between Christ and Satan over the body of
Moses. In every such instance we will find that Satan
and his accusations are brought to naught, and the
weapon that is the cause of his defeat is the same
every time; it is the blood of Christ. On the basis
of His blood, Christ our advocate and mediator rebukes
every accusation and claim of the devil; this is the
wonderful power of His blood. As the apostle Paul put
it, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died,
yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the
right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for
us” (Romans 8:34).
In the Jewish calendar, one day stood out as being
of more importance than any other day of the year, the
Day of Atonement, for it pointed to the final day of
judgment. On this day the true people of God were
cleansed from all their sins (Lev. 16:30). How was
this realized? It was by the blood of the Lord’s goat
(Lev. 16:9, 15, 16), which symbolized the blood of
Christ (see Hebrews 9:11-12).
Thus, the hope of every believer in the day of
judgment is not our personal goodness or achievement
but the blood of Christ and His righteousness. “Herein
is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness
in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we
in this world” (1 John 1:17).
Again Satan does not only accuse us before God,
but he also enjoys pointing his finger at us, too.
Each time we fall into sin or fail to meet God’s ideal,
the devil immediately takes advantage and tries to
discourage us by accusing us through our conscience.
The question is, how do you react to such accusations?
Do you fall under them and feel defeated and give up?
Or do you stand up and respond, “Yes, I am a sinner and
I have sinned grievously, but I have found mercy.” Would
you be free from the accusations of the devil and the
burden of sins? There is power in the blood of Christ;
and all that is required of you is to avail yourself of
it by faith.
This then, is the wonderful power of Christ’s blood
made available to us through God’s “unspeakable gift.” By
it we are reconciled to God, because it is able to blot
out every sin and make us at-one-ment with Him; by it our
evil and guilty conscience is purged so that we have that
inner peace that passeth understanding (Philippians 4:7). By it
we are able to meet any and every accusation of the devil.
It is for this reason that the New Testament writers put
infinite value on the blood of Christ, and for this reason
we, too, must do the same.
The Cross of Christ
So far we have considered the subjective application of what Satan did to Christ
on the cross, and what the Bible refers to as “the offence of the cross,” and we have
considered the value of Christ’s blood, which is the subjective application of what God
did to Christ on the cross. Now we must turn our attention to the third and final
application of the truth of Christ’s cross, and that is what God did to the human race
in Christ on the cross. Our study on the cross of Christ (Chapter 5)
revealed that the whole human race died “in Christ” at the cross.
Why, you may ask, did God include the human race in the death of His Son? Was it
not enough that Christ bore the sins of the whole world?
Two main reasons are given in Scripture as to why it was
necessary for God to include all men in the death of His Son.
In the first place, it was necessary in order that we might
be delivered from our position “in Adam,” which position we
saw is under condemnation (Romans 5:12-21). In 1 Corinthians
15:22 we read, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive.” Now it is clear that we cannot
have this hope of “being made alive” in Christ if we have
not first died in Adam; and the fact is that we have already
died in Adam at the cross when we died in Christ, the second
or last Adam. Thus the hope of the resurrection unto life
can only belong to those who have by faith submitted and
surrendered to their death in Christ (read John 12:24, 25).
Secondly, it was necessary for God to include all men in
Christ’s death because it was the only way He could make us
free from the power of sin (Romans 6:7). In order to appreciate
this we must clearly understand the dual problem of sin. Sin
is not only an act (the transgression of the law), which makes
us guilty before God and brings us under the condemnation of
the law, but sin is also a power that has man in its grip.
This is clearly revealed in Romans 7:14-24 where Paul
describes the typical situation of someone who wants to do
good but finds that he is unable to do so because he is
captive to the law of sin. No matter how much one may
determine to follow after righteousness in and of ourselves,
this is impossible because of the principle of sin that
dominates our lives. Jesus made it absolutely clear to
Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh”
(John 3:6). By this He meant that the nature of the flesh
cannot be changed; and the Bible clearly declares that the
nature of the flesh, which is our natural life we inherited
from Adam, is unable to keep the law or do righteousness,
for it is enmity with God (Romans 8:7).
As Christians we appreciate the glorious fact that Christ
died for our sins on the cross (the blood of Christ), so that
we might obtain forgiveness. But you have discovered, I am
sure, that forgiveness, wonderful as it may be, is not enough.
You want deliverance from sin also; for otherwise
your life is a vicious circle of sinning and being forgiven,
and sinning again; and to say the least, this is most
frustrating. Sinful acts may be forgiven and blotted out
through the blood of Christ, but basic sinfulness cannot be
forgiven, it must come to an end. God, for example, is able
to forgive us for our selfish acts or for losing our temper;
but selfishness itself or this disposition we have of losing
our temper, He cannot forgive; it must go, or, to be more
specific, it must be crucified, and this is why God included
you and me in the cross of Christ.
The great error most make when they first come to Christ
is to think that the flesh or our natural life can be
changed and reformed so that it may be made pleasing to God.
As a result, most Christians start off their Christian life
by making promises and resolutions to God. Sooner or later,
depending on how strong a willpower one possesses, we all
discover that such promises and resolutions are like ropes
of sand. No matter how hard we try, the result is always the
What is the problem? Clearly, we have failed to see the
truth that the sinful life of the flesh is beyond repair. But
once our eyes have been opened to this truth (revealed to us
by the law of God, Romans 7:7-13) we will rejoice in the cross
of Christ and understand why God has put us into Christ
crucified, and, in exchange, given us the very life of His Son.
Unlike every other non-Christian religion, Christianity
does not offer sinful men a changed life but an ex-changed
life. Thus, the sooner we Christians realize that the
perfecting of the flesh is impossible (Galatians 3:1-3), the sooner
we will surrender to the formula of the gospel, “I am
crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but
Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).
The greatest discovery an unbeliever can make is that
Christ died for him, while the greatest discovery a Christian
can make is that, on the one hand, he has been crucified with
Christ and, on the other hand, his life is now hid in Christ
(Colossians 3:3). Such a discovery will bring to an end all
self-effort in the life of the believer, and instead he will
“live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave
himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
So, then, in summarizing this glorious truth concerning
the power of the cross, we can say that the blood of Christ
is God’s solution in dealing with all our sins while the cross
of Christ is His remedy for delivering us from the very
fountain or source of sin. The first is the means of our
justification, while the second is the means of our
sanctification. And just as we cannot obtain forgiveness
from our sins unless we see Christ bearing all our
sins on the cross, so likewise we cannot know
deliverance from sin’s power unless we see Christ bearing
us on the cross.
Sanctification, or victory over sin, involves a dual
process that takes place at the same time; on the one hand,
we, by faith, totally surrender to our death in Christ, so
that, on the other hand, the Spirit of Christ, who dwells
in us, might manifest in and through us the life of Christ.
This is how the Apostle Paul describes it: “Always bearing
about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the
life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For
we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake,
that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our
mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:10-11; Philippians 3:10).
What, then, is the conclusion of the matter? When we
combine the blood of Christ (His death for our sins) with
the cross of Christ (our death in Him) we have indeed
discovered the wonderful power of the cross, full and
complete, and we can rejoice with Paul and say, “God
forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our
Lord Jesus Christ.” Such is the blessing God has for each
one of us in the cross of Christ, for “the cross is to
them that perish foolishness, but unto us that are saved
the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).