The Cross Interprets Man

In “The Surety’s Cross,” Scottish preacher Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) preaches that the Cross is “the divine proclamation and interpretation of the things of God.” The sermon, based on Galatians 6:14, is built on six “heads,” or major points. Each “head” is Bonar’s exposition on the Cross’ interpretation of six things of God – Man, God Himself, the Law, Sin, the Gospel, and Service.

Heading I of the sermon is: “The cross is the interpreter of MAN.” Under this “head” Bonar writes that the Cross reveals two things about man.

The first thing that it reveals is that man is a hater of God.

“In the cross man has spoken out.”

“Reckoning the death of the cross the worst of all deaths – man deems it the fittest for the Son of God. Thus, the enmity of the natural heart speaks out, and man not only confesses publicly that he is a hater of God – but he takes pains to show the intensity of his hatred.”

“It is yon cross which judges you…. Man hating God – and hating most, when God is loving most!”

“But how am I to sever myself from these crucifiers, and protest against their crime? By believing in the name of the crucified One! For all unbelief is approval of the deed and identification with the murderers. Faith is man’s protest against the deed; and identification of himself, not only with the friends and disciples of the crucified One – but with the crucified One himself.”

“The cross, then, was the public declaration of man’s hatred of God, man’s rejection of his Son, and man’s avowal of his belief that he needs no Savior. If anyone, then, denies the ungodliness of humanity, and pleads for the native goodness of the race, I ask, what means yon cross?”

The Cross not only reveals the “depravity of man,” it exhibits the foolishness of man.

“And as his erection of the cross was the revelation of his folly, so has been his subsequent estimate of it, and of the gospel which has issued from it. He sees in it no wisdom – but only foolishness; and this ascription of foolishness to the cross is but the more decided proof of his own foolishness.”

Bonar concludes the first “head” of his message with these questions:

“My friend, what is that cross to you? Is it folly or wisdom? Do you see, in the way of salvation which it reveals, the excellency of wisdom, as well as the excellency of power and love? Has the cross, interpreted to you by the Holy Spirit, revealed your own heart as a hell of darkness and evil? Have you accepted its exposition of your character, and welcomed it also as salvation for the lost – reconciliation between you and God?

What is the Cross to you?  Foolishness or the wisdom of God? Have you come to the Christ of the Cross for the forgiveness of your sin and the promise of eternal life?

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Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Reformed Theology, Scottish Preachers, Sermons, Uncategorized

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