home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > April 28th > THE RESULTS OF CHRIST’S CROSS

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel,
and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
¶ For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
First Corinthians 1:17-18

The cross of Christ is the greatest ever public display of God’s wisdom and power. The Greco-Roman world knew that the penalty of death on a cross was the ultimate humiliation. Rome made sure that any who defied it would be made an example of through crucifixion. For example, when the Romans put down the Spartan revolt of 71BC they wanted to send a chilling warning to anyone else who thought they could defy Rome. Six-thousand conquered Spartan soldiers were crucified on Roman crosses and displayed along the Appian Way (the main road leading into Rome).

It was the practice of the Romans that those condemned to die by crucifixion were stripped naked and forced to carry their patibulum (the heavy cross beam of the cross) which was put across their shoulders and tied to their wrists as they were publicly paraded and forcibly marched to where they would be nailed to the patibulum and fixed to the vertical post of the cross. Unlike the deaths of the two criminals and Christ on that original Good Friday, the death of those being crucified would result – not from the crucifixion itself – but from their long exposure to the elements and the attacks of wild birds of prey which pecked repeatedly at their flesh. GOD indeed chose this most humiliating means of punishment and execution to bring about the greatest and most glorious triumph in the history of the universe! The humiliating death of Christ became the means by which GOD in Christ would humiliate His enemies!

He [Christ] disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame,
by triumphing over them in him [by the cross].
Colossians 2:15

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God,
which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
First Corinthians 2:7-8

No wonder the apostle Paul told the Corinthians that the cross was folly to those who were perishing, but the power of God to those who were being saved.



When the New Testament refers to “the cross of Christ” (1Cor. 1:17) it is also referring to His journey to the cross (known as His ‘passion’). This journey (Christ’s passion) began on earth with His incarnation in the womb of the virgin Mary. While the incarnation of the Word was the greatest miracle, His work on the cross was the greatest public miracle. It is also true that the death of Christ on the cross has now provided the means by which any repentant sinner can be forgiven of their sins and made right with God. But it is also true that the death of Christ on the cross means not just this, and, much more than this. This also involves understanding that not only does the New Testament use the expression the cross or the cross of Christ to include the events leading up to the cross, it also encompasses the events proceeding after the cross – including Christ’s resurrection, ascension and glorification.   

This journey to the Cross led to Jesus revealing the Father

Athanasius wrote, On The Incarnation of the Word, and asked the question about the point of Christ’s ministry and teaching at all – especially in light of God’s mission for Christ to die for the sins of the world. After all, why could Christ just be incarnated, and then die privately as the atoning sacrifice for mankind’s sins? Athanasius answers his question by discussing the need for Christ to reveal the Father publicly (Jn. 14:9), fulfil His role as Israel’s promised Messiah (Jn. 1:41), fulfil the role of being the Second/Last Adam (1Cor. 15:45) by sinlessly exhibiting the perfect image of God (2Cor. 4:4), doing battle with the forces of darkness in the midst of their territory by sinless conquest without yielding to their temptations (Matt. 4:1-11), and establishing the Church (Matt. 16:18).  

The journey to the Cross leading to Him taking the sins of all mankind into the realm of the dead where He also “preached to those who were dead.

When Christ died, His body would have gone into rigor mortis very quickly (refer to the recent expert comments about this phenomena by Dr. Joseph Bergeron, M.D.). During the 3-day period of His physical death Christ went to the place of the dead and announced the gospel to the righteous dead who were awaiting their release from this Old Covenant holding place for the dead which would take place when the Old Covenant was finally done away with when the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 (note Heb. 8:13 written about AD 63 which states that the Old Covenant “was about to be done away with“). 

For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead,
that though judged in the flesh the way people are,
they might live in the spirit the way God does.
First Peter 4:6

Thus, in the Revelation 6:9-10 we can hear the martyrs from the Neronic persecution of AD 64-68 cry out (if I might paraphrase it) When will You avenge our martyrdom and how much longer will we have to remain here? Thus, even during the three days that Christ’s body was in the tomb, Christ was still working on our behalf. When He went into the realm of eternity He carried our sin, guilt, and shame there, which ensure that even the sins of mankind not yet committed would be atoned for! We can be sure that Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross was sufficient to atone for all the sins of mankind and that there is no need for any human efforts to supplement what Christ has achieved for us! Rest now and forever in His saving grace!

The journey to the Cross resulted in His resurrection from the dead as the “firstfruits” which now enables the resurrection of all the redeemed.

When Christ had completed the atoning sacrifice of His life as the True Lamb of God, He rose from the dead by the same Power that enabled Him to originally be incarnated (Rom 1:4).

If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your
mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:11

His resurrection from the dead is referred to as “the firstfruits” which means there are more resurrections to come!

¶ But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ.
First Corinthians 15:20, 23

Thus, the grave is not the end for anyone. All people will be resurrected – some to eternal life, and (for those who reject God’s Son) some to eternal condemnation.

¶ “Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and will come out—the ones who have done what is good to the resurrection resulting in life, and the ones who have done what is evil to the resurrection resulting in condemnation.
John 5:28-29 NET

Christ’s resurrection announced that He had conquered the forces of evil (who schemed to put Him to death) and had overcome sin and death (Rom. 6:9; 1Cor. 15:26, 54-55; Heb. 6:14).

The journey to the Cross resulted in the vanquishing of certain Principalities and Powers leading them captive into permanent captivity at Christ’s ascension.

The Jews had a belief that there had been three ‘falls’: Genesis 3, the first Man and the Woman who ate of the forbidden fruit; Genesis 6, certain Watcher angels who left their stations and sired the Nephilim (Gen. 6:4);  and, Genesis 11, when certain “sons of God” (powerful Heavenly beings also referred to as “Princes”, refer to Deut. 32:8) led some of mankind into a rebellion against God (and probably included further acts of immorality resulting in siring the more Nephilim and Rephaim) at the Tower of Babel. When the Lord intervened after the third “fall“ (Gen. 11:7-9) some of these more powerful rebellious heavenly creatures, according to Jewish tradition (note particularly the Book of First Enoch referred to in Jude 9), had some of their powers curtailed and were confined to the territory of Mount Herman (which is where Christ was transfigured in Matt. 17). The prophetic psalmist foretold of the day when the Lord would one day vanquish the evil spiritual princes who still used their manipulation powers to indirectly commit their evil schemes:

¶ O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for His abode,
yes, where the LORD will dwell forever?
The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them;
Sinai is now in the sanctuary.
Psalm 68:15-17

The apostle Paul would have known about this Jewish traditional understanding of the captivity of these principalities and powers to Mount Herman, and saw that the ascension of Christ resulted in their temporary captivity at Hermon being made a permanent captivity in Tartarus (2Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Thus Paul wrote that it was Christ at His ascension who fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 68 – 

Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high He led a host of captives,
and He gave gifts to men.”
Ephesians 4:8

At Christ’s ascension Jesus returned to His Father where His “blood” was accepted by the Father as the sufficient atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind (Heb. 9:12, 14). Because of this, every believer can now enter boldly into God the Father’s presence and present our requests to Him (Heb. 10:19).

The journey to the Cross led to the Holy Spirit being sent after Christ had returned to His Father to receive His glory enabling for the regeneration of all the redeemed.

When Christ ascended He returned to His Father and re-entered into His glory (Jn. 17:5). On the Isle of Patmos John the Apostle encountered not just the risen Jesus, but the risen glorified Jesus (Rev. 1:9-18). Jesus had told His disciples that during His earthly ministry the Holy Spirit had been with them but after He had returned to His Father the Spirit would be in them (Jn. 14:17). The day that the promised Holy Spirit was poured out revealed that each of Christ’s acts of redemption actually corresponded to the Jewish feasts described in Leviticus 23. It was on the Day of Pentecost (Lev. 23:9-14) that the Holy Spirit was poured out on believers “baptising” them with power to be Christ’s witnesses (Acts 2:1-4).

The journey to the Cross established Christ as the rightful Judge of all mankind – some to life and those who reject Him to condemnation.

As a result of Christ’s triumph on the cross, His Lordship was declared in heaven affirming that He will one day judge all mankind (Jn. 8:16). Christ’s, resurrection, ascension, and re-glorification has provided for all the redeemed our eternal salvation, our  regeneration by the Holy Spirit, our adoption by God the Father, our baptism with the Holy Spirit, our future resurrection with an imperishable body, our ultimate glorification with Christ, and, our participation in the divine nature and inviting us to rule and reign with Him as joint heirs of Christ (Rom. 8:17; 2Tim. 2:12). What glories await the believer! Our eternal destiny in the New Heaven/Earth will mean that we will forever be in union with God and partners with Him in building and administrating His eternal kingdom where there will be no possibility of sin or evil!

¶ His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
Second Peter 1:3-4

These are all the result of the cross of Christ, that benefits us, the redeemed!

Your Pastor,


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For those unfamiliar with the story of the Bible who may be seeking to remedy that unfamiliarity, I would recommend that they start reading in the New Testament. It is there that they will be introduced immediately to Jesus who is the central character of the whole Bible. For many novice readers of the Bible who then attempt to read the Old Testament of the Bible (its first 39 books), it initially seems like they are reading a completely unrelated story which seems to describe a completely different God. But with a little patience and persistence the reader will begin to suspect that this is not a different story but is in fact the prequel to the New Testament. Then a strange supernatural thing happens as they continue to become acquainted with the lives of the patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets, as these characters interact with enemies, giants, angels, strange heavenly beings, and GOD Himself. The reader begins to see in a similar way to what a photographer could not previously see clearly until his camera’s focus was adjusted to make the picture clear — the GOD who created, acted, spoke and judged, frequently referred to Himself as ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, and at times seemed to have conversations with divine characters identified as ‘the LORD’ and ‘Me’ and ‘His Spirit’ (Isa. 48:16). And this all begins to sound very reminiscent of the GOD described in the New Testament as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With a growing knowledge of the Bible and hunger to understand it, the follower of Christ discovers that literally for thousands of years prior to this day there have been many many others who have also walked the journey of discovery through the mysterious pages of the Bible and have each made a startling discovery about the human Jesus’ pre-existence throughout the pages of the Old Testament.


The One who spoke the world into existence entered materially into His World and “split time in half”. He came to rescue the world because a great betrayal occurred. One of His chief agents was filled with self-deception and conceited envy and manipulated a serpent to his bidding in destroying the very last and highest of the Lord’s “very good” creation. Disappointingly she fell for it – and her husband who supposed to protect her failed in his most basic of responsibilities. Their fall from innocence and into grace plunged that was momentarily and formerly under their vice-regency. The world had now gone rogue. When the Eternal Son of God submitted to His co-LORD, the Holy Spirit placed Him into a virgin’s womb by uniting his consciousness and sinless essence with the ovum of this young virgin. In doing so, Immanuel relinquished none of His sovereign power or prerogatives but chose to lay aside His glory and become fully human. And for those who came to recognise who He actually was, it ever caused them to fall down at His feet in adoration, or shrink back from Him in terror. The side-effect of those who who adored him was a new ability to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping because of worries, you too can discover how an acquaintance with the Lordship of Jesus the Christ can also help you to sleep better. 


Today, “Jesus Christ is Lord” sounds like a bumper sticker or part of an ancient church liturgy but when Christianity was founded if someone uttered these words it could literally mean death! ’o christos ’o kurios “Christ is Lord” was a risky thing to declare when the only safe thing to declare was ’o kaiser ’o kurios “Caesar is Lord”! Yet it was upon these words that the earliest confession of the Church was founded. For the early Christians, this was not a glib, throw-away line uttered during a church service or something stuck on the backside of your donkey (or chariot if you were wealthy).  


I really dislike the expression ‘moving forward’. So many people say, ‘moving forward’ from the meeting, the experience, the…. whatever! Has anyone stopped to think that time continues. We can’t go back. Even if we are reflecting, or for that matter mulling, we are in the continuum of time, and unless we have a mythical time machine, we just can’t go backwards in time. Our only option is to ‘move forward’.


I have long said that my primary role as a shepherd-pastor is to help people to die well. To do this, as I have often said, requires that we learn how to live life well. Of all the normally uncomfortable subjects that Christians find it difficult to talk about, death should not be one of them. But it is. This is because, of all the world religions, only Christianity has a positive view of death. After all, we have a divine Saviour who confronted and conquered death. As a result the original apostles mocked death.
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
¶ The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.”
(First Corinthians 15:55-56)
These apostles refused to be intimidated by death which was ultimately evidenced by their martyrdoms. The apostle Paul could look forward to his death with the obvious lament that he would no longer be available to help those he had led to the Lord (Phil. 1:23-25). But he could face his impending death with the assurance that it would mean that he would immediately be in the presence of his Lord — and so should we! And like Paul, we too should be be able to talk about death in a very different way to those who do not know what we know.


A suburban home in Australia is shrinking in land size even though the average house size is headed in the opposite direction. What hasn’t changed is fencing around the block of land in order to separate it from a neighbour’s property. Broken fences, overgrown hedges and pets jumping fences are a known source of conflicts. We value our privacy. Those fences are boundaries. To go over them without permission will be trespassing. Renting, owning or owned outright – our home is our safe haven. When we chat with neighbours across the fence, there is a sense of security that comes with standing on our own patch of land. A little piece of Australia over which we have custody, albeit temporal.


Each of these uncomfortable topics in this brief series of articles are uncomfortable because there they carry a sense of embarrassment or even shame attached to them. But this particular topic also carries a good deal of pain associated with it – in addition to any feelings of embarrassment or shame. This pain may involve a sense of failure, betrayal, rejection, and humiliation. Divorce rarely effects just the two people involved in ending a marriage. Divorce can scar people like little else can. It can scar socially, financially, emotionally, relationally, and even a person’s physical health – and sometimes do so permanently.


All of us feel sad at some point – even people who are usually happy most of the time. Usually though for most people there will be some understandable reason for it. This might include the loss of a loved one, a certain disappointment, an accident, or sympathy for someone. This kind of sadness is temporary. But there is a kindness of sadness that lingers which leaves a person drained, teary, thinking dark thoughts, and feeling desperately lonely. This is usually when we consider someone is experiencing ‘depression’ and it is one of those things that Christians find difficult to admit to or even talk about.


There are some things that Christians can’t and don’t talk about – but probably should. So, I would like to pastorally share some thoughts about this taboo topic of doubt in what will be part 1 in this short series of pastor’s desk articles of four taboo topics that Christians can’t talk about.


Resilience was one of the predominant character traits of the early Christians. They called it being steadfast. For these early Christians being ‘resilient’ meant being able to keep going despite set backs, discouragements, betrayals, unforeseen circumstances, lack of energy, motivation, and resources. Like a weary hiker looking down a long road that leads to the mountain range they must walk over, being resilient in life means putting one foot in front of the other, and then doing it again, and again, and again, and so on. God knows that today, in what many are describing as “Post-Christendom” (and the resilient among us prefer to think of as Pre-Christendom) to be resilient is to live with a purpose, to stay focused, to live for others, and to strive toward a good, honourable, goal. With so many reasons to lose sight of the true purpose of life the tendency is to be tricked into believing that life right now is too hard. But the truth be told – people need to know how to be more resilient. Leaders especially need to be resilient right now. Churches assuredly need to be resilient at this time. With the recent interference into churches by government through the measures they said was “to keep people safe” — it has actually depleted people’s ability and willingness to be resilient! Here’s what leaders, people, and churches can do about it.