The word of the cross is the power of God

Preaching the Word

THE WORD OF THE CROSS

Death’s Tyrant Destroyed

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14, 15.     

O DEATH, where is thy sting?

O grave, where is thy victory?

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:55-57). 

For He, the Lord from heaven, died, and went through death; and by the act of passing through death, He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil, and delivered us from the bondage of the fear of death that pursued us in all our living. ….

Is there then any way out?

There is not as far as man is concerned. On this side, the situation is quite impossible.

But what is impossible with man is possible with God. His mighty arm wrought deliverance out of the fortress of death, for the children He had ordained unto glory.

And this great deliverance was accomplished through death, the death of His Son.

That is the power of the cross.

For the text tells us that He, the Son of God, deliberately entered the fortress of death, destroyed the devil in his power, and delivered them who throughout all their life were in bondage through the fear of death.

Let me, to clarify the meaning of those words, be permitted to present the whole matter in the form of a figure, an extended metaphor.

When man sinned, God shut him up in the fortress of death, of darkness and corruption, as his just punishment. The key He gave to the devil, that is, not the power to open and shut the prison-doors, but the power to rule within the sphere of death, and to lord is over all within its walls. He is the prince of darkness.

Now, into that prison Christ entered. For the text tells us that He also partook of the flesh and blood of the children. By doing so, He came under the law, and in the midst of death. But He is the Son of God. He was not born by the will of the flesh. He came from above. Voluntarily, He descended into the darkness of death’s fortress. He assumed the flesh and blood of the children by an act of His own, through the Spirit, from the virgin Mary. He was, therefore, personally, not under the sentence of death, neither unto the dominion of the devil. He was free, even in that prison, to do the will of the Father. Without sin He was, neither was ever guile found in His mouth. But He came as the captain of the salvation of the children the Father had given Him, to represent them in death, to break the power of the devil over His brethren, and to deliver them from the fear of death. For that purpose, that He might take their sins upon His mighty shoulders, remove their guilt, and thus break the power of the devil, He partook of the flesh and blood of the children. ….

And this Christ did.

He destroyed the devil, who had the power of death. The meaning is not that He annihilated him, but that He put him utterly to nought as the tyrant of death. He took the power of death, the right to lord it over the children He must lead to glory, and to hold them under his dominion, away ffrom the prince of darkness.

And this He did through death.

His death is the right to liberty for all His brethren. By His death, He obtained the authority and power to deliver them from the prison of sin, and from the fortress of the fear of death; the right, too, to bestow upon them an eternal righteousness, and to lead them into the glory of everlasting life. For He tasted death for every one of them. He tasted all the horrors there is in death. Fully He recognized, in death, the heavy hand of God’s wrath against sin. There is no agony, no horror, no pain, no sorrow and grief, no amazement and abandonment, no astonishment and desolation, in death which He did not taste. And freely, voluntarily, in the love of God, as the Servant of Jehovah, that was come to do the will of the Father in and unto death. He descended into its dark depth, bore it all, and passed through it into life. For of death He made an act of obedience. Dying, He sprinkled His lifeblood upon the alter of God’s justice in the death of hell!

O, it is true, to eye of the natural man, the cross of Jesus of Nazareth on Calvary, appears only as man’s cross. It is foolishness to him. And true it is, that man played his part to erect that cross. When the Servant of Jehovah had made it quite plain that, even in the fortress of death, He had come to do the will of the Father, that He steadfastly refused to submit Himself to him that had the power of death, that is the devil, all hell broke loose, all the forces of darkness set themselves against Him, and released against Him all their satanic fury. They took Him, bound Him, condemned Him, spit upon Him, scourged Him, made Him a spectacle to all the world, and nailed Him to the accursed tree. Yet they but opened the way for Him, that He might voluntarily descend into the gloomy depth of death and hell. Every drop of blood they pressed from His hands and feet He filled with the love of God, and willingly shed upon the altar of obedience to the Father. Thus His death was a sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice of atonement for sin. And thus the right to deliver His brethren from the fortress of death, and to lead them into the everlasting glory of God’s tabernacle with men.

Through death, He destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.

And through death, He obtained the authority and power to deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

And deliver them He does!

Our Redeemer is also Deliverer!

Through death, He passed into the glory of His resurrection, and of His exaltation at the right hand of the God, and is clothed with all power in heaven and on earth. He holds the keys of death and hell. This mighty Lord, through His Spirit, now stretches His strong arm of salvation into our prison of sin and death, to lead us out into liberty. He opens wide the door, breaks the shackles of sin that hold us in bondage to the will of the devil, gives us a new heart, a new life, new love, new light, new knowledge, and wisdom. He gives us the saving faith, the power whereby we may appropriate Him, and all His blessings of salvation. He calls us through the word of the cross, the word of reconciliation, of liberty, of deliverance from the slavery of sin. And we hear the voice of Jesus, the captain of our salvation, calling: “Come unto me, and rest.”

And we do come, and find rest; we repent and are forgiven; we believe and are delivered.

No longer do we accomplish the will of the devil, but have a new delight in the law of the God of our salvation.

And no longer does the fear of death hold us in bondage, for in His cross and resurrection we behold the way out, into the final glory of the tabernacle of God with us.

O, amazing power of the cross!   

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“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11
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