The perennial Christian symbol, often fashioned in gold, is a cross. This speaks of death. In two thousand years of church history no one has come up with a comparable resurrection symbol. Need we remind ourselves that to affirm the cross but deny the resurrection would empty the Christian faith of its content and make preaching, worship, and witness meaningless nonsense?

The Cross has a threefold frame of reference that spells out the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ in God’s plan for the salvation of sinful men. First, it was the final and ultimate revelation of God’s divine love. There is here no slushy sentimentalism like that which characterizes much of what is called love in our day. God’s love was characterized by sacrifice, suffering, and death, not only by ministry to the lame and the blind. He spared not his own Son, and his Son offered himself as an oblation and a substitute for sinners.

Secondly, the Cross was the measure of the divine judgment on sin. It brought death to the Son of God. Men everywhere like to pretend that death is just a normal part of the natural order; they resist the ugly fact that it is the inevitable, just, and logical consequence of sin. Calvary is no less than God’s judgment on sin.

Thirdly, the Cross is the ground of pardon and forgiveness. There and there alone the sinner finds forgiveness for guilt, release from sin’s penalty, and deliverance from its power. It is this that brings hope to the heart of man.

The Cross without the resurrection, however, would be a monstrous barbarity, a cruel hoax, a dastardly deception. Indeed, it is the resurrection that distinguishes Christianity from every other religion or pseudo-religion in the world. Buddha is dead; Mohammed is dead; ...

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