Rebuilding the Foundations: The Cross, the Resurrection, and the Foundation.

To be sure, the cross of Jesus Christ was an amazing place. I cannot do justice to its importance or to the unfathomable spiritual battle that happened there. The cross released us from all that had held us in bondage. There the fall of man was undone. Adam made us sinners at the tree of transgression; Jesus made us righteous at the tree of his obedience, the cross.

The resurrection was equally important. While he released our debts to the law with his cursed death on the cross and paid our ransom and redemption price with his blood, he made the release practical when he rose from the dead, leading captivity captive. He gave us resurrection life, a new creation, a new race as sons of God rather than sons of Adam. As we were baptized in the likeness of his death, released from our old man and our old life, so we were raised into newness of life.

We cannot compare the importance of the cross and the importance of the resurrection. Both were absolutely important, and there is no salvation without both.

That said, the following statement, which I found in the writings of a teacher I respect very much, is not true.

We are going to consider … that which is the essential foundation of the church, and that is the Cross. (T. Austin Sparks, The Lord’s Assembly: Part 2, ch. 1)

The cross is not the foundation of the Church. Jesus is the foundation of the Church (1 Cor. 3:11), and Jesus said he would build his Church on the rock of the confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matt. 16:16-18). Jesus is the foundation, Peter was the first rock put upon it because he was the first to confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. As we each are given the same revelation by hearing the  good news that he is Christ, Lord, Judge, and Son of God, then we become rocks added to the foundation as well.

The crucifixion of God’s Son was the most important event in the history of the world, but its power is not contingent upon us believing in its power. Its power is contingent on our confessing that Jesus is Lord because we believe that God raised him from the dead (Rom. 10:9-13).

It is good to teach about the cross. It is not good to teach that the cross is foundation of the Church because it is not; Jesus is.

As usual, the rest of Mr. Sparks teaching has amazing truths in it that many of us never see. Nonetheless, when you get the foundation wrong, the teachings that you build off that wrong foundation will always be skewed, maybe a little or maybe a lot.


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