Uplook Fridays:The Placarding of Christ

Bishop Lightfoot has a good word in place of the phrase "evidently set
forth."({{Gal 3:1}}) It is the word placarded. The Lord and His atoning work on the
cross had been placarded before these Galatians. The message of His
Person and work had been clearly demonstrated before them. But now they
were falling back to the legalism of the Old Covenant. “O foolish
Galatians!” What folly is this to leave Christ for Moses—the gospel for
the law—justification by the righteousness of Christ which brings such
solid comfort, for justification by the works of the law which could
only bring their souls into bondage. The apostle was so astonished as
to call them foolish or senseless.

The Emphasis on the Cross
Paul had placarded the cross before their eyes. We have often seen men
carrying a large placard over their shoulders, hanging down front and
back as a means of advertising. Paul had made “Christ crucified” as
vivid and arresting as that to them.

The Old Covenant could never convey souls to heaven. It was too weak
to open those bright gates. It was too feeble to ascend the hill of the
Lord. If we seek acceptance of God by Sinai’s code, we must surely
fail; it is folly to try it.

It is only the Lord Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross
which can make a way for us to heaven. On that cross He met every need.
His finished work alone satisfies divine justice. He has given His life
for mine. In Him—by Him—we clear the law’s uttermost demand. Such is
the value of the Savior’s cross, and its value was made clear by the
apostle to these Galatians.

The Scope of the Cross
The cross of our Lord Jesus embraces and affects the whole universe of God:

  1. The cross is the center of a believer’s life. Believers
    stand fearless on the rock of a completed sacrifice: “It is finished!”
    Human redemption is secured, an accomplished fact. Every payment has
    been made in full. Every penalty has been endured. The cursed cup has
    been drained. Satan has been vanquished. Believers are free. So to the
    Galatians the apostle could write, “God forbid that I should glory,
    save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and, “I am crucified with
    Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” ({{Gal.
    6:14}}; {{Gal 2:20}}).
  2. The cross is the center of the corporate
    assembly.
    The Lord has formed His Church by sovereign grace. He has
    planted it with His virtues, gifts, and graces. He waters it every
    moment. He has fenced it round with His almighty power. It is nourished
    with the refreshing doctrines of the gospel which are seasonably
    applied. It is impregnable against the forces of evil. Its faith,
    piety, and courage have spread to the ends of the earth. Because the
    cross is the center of the Church, “the gates of hell shall not prevail
    against it” ({{Mt. 16:18}}).
  3. The cross is the center of world
    history.
    Everything beforehand moved toward the cross; everything since
    flows from that cross. The whole world was sunk in ruin and misery,
    given over to idolatry and superstition. No distinction is made for any
    person of any race: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of
    God” ({{Rom. 3:23}}). “They are all gone out of the way…there is none that
    doeth good, no, not one” ({{Rom. 3:12}}). But at the center of this ruined
    race, God has set forth a means whereby sin can be forgiven and guilt
    removed. That means is the cross of Christ which God has made a
    Mercy-seat.
  4. The cross is the center of the universe. There
    is a state of disorder in the whole cosmos. But the regeneration of the
    whole is promised so that there is to be a new heaven and earth.
    Through the blood of the cross, God will “reconcile all things unto
    Himself… whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” ({{Col.
    1:20}}).

The Reach of the Cross
It gives assent to His holiness. The one grand purpose of the scheme of
grace is to guard and secure God’s holiness which is the very ground of
His nature. Holiness was therefore manifest in our Lord’s life on
earth. His walk in our soiled path was as clean as when He moved on
celestial pavement. His every act—every word—have but one feature, and
that is one of absolute holiness. The cross reaches up to heaven and
secures that holiness. It thus gives God righteous ground on which to
forgive sinful men.

It also reaches down to the bottom of human degeneracy. Some may
ask, “Can holiness revive the wasteland of nature upon which the blight
and curse of God rests?” Only by means of the cross! The Lord Jesus
alone can make a wretched sinner holy and fit for the presence of the
holy God. The Saviour welcomed is holiness begun. The Saviour cherished
is holiness advancing. The Saviour never absent is holiness complete.
Holiness complete is fitness for heaven. Only through the cross can man
rise to that heaven of heavens where God is, and live in God’s holy
presence without fear forever. O wondrous cross that can do that for
us, and do it forever!

O perfect life of love!
All, all is finished now;
All that He left His throne above
To do—for us below.

And in His thorn-crowned head,
And in His sinless soul,
Our sins in all their guilt were laid,
That He might make us whole.

In perfect love He dies—
For me, He dies for me;
O all-atoning Sacrifice,
I cling by faith to Thee.

Yet work, O Lord, in me,
As Thou for me hast wrought;
And let my love the answer be
To grace Thy love has brought.
—Henry Williams Baker

From "Worship & Remembrance" by Daniel Smith. Published by Gospel Folio Press


Used by Permission. This material is protected by copyright. © 2005 Uplook Ministries.

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