How to Glory in the Cross of Christ

Featuring Bob Kauflin Posted on May 11, 2010


Worshiping God in spirit and truth involves magnifying the way God has shown his greatness in Jesus Christ and his glorious work of redemption. This doesn't happen automatically for us or for those we lead. I've learned I need to present these truths in consistent, clear, and compelling ways.

“To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle,” George Orwell wrote. Unless we consistently keep the cross within our view, we'll surely forget it.

Over the years I've tried to develop a “gospel radar” that's sensitive to any mention of the Savior's work in verses, songs, messages, and meetings. Otherwise I might leave it out. For instance, I'm aware that the third verse of the hymn “It Is Well” addresses my sin being nailed to the cross and my bearing it no more. On the other hand, “Amazing Grace” describes how I've been saved, found, and given sight, but it never actually articulates how that was accomplished through Christ's atoning death. That doesn't make it any less of a great hymn. But it does mean I'll want to do another song that's more specific about the cross. I think it also explains why “Amazing Grace” is so popular, even among non-Christians.

We must also be clear about what the cross actually means. Some worship songs leave the impression that the cross is about how important weare to God. One song claimed Jesus “would rather die than live without me.”While it's true that God's love motivated him to send his Son to die in myplace, the cross ultimately points not to the greatness of our worth but to the greatness of our sin. Yes, if I were the only person in the world, Jesus would still have come to die for me. But that's because my sins would require the shedding of his blood unto death.

Frederick Leahy cautions us: 

There is an error to avoid, the danger of seeing the loving obedience of Christ 

as primarily and exclusively for the sake of man, when, in fact, it was primarily

out of love for God that he accepted the cross (Hebrews 10:7). . . . This is a

truth too often overlooked, and it in no way detracts from the wonder that 

Christ loves each one of his people with all of his love. 

The cross sets us free from misguided self-love to passionately love theOne who redeemed us. 

Besides being consistent and clear, we also need to be compelling. Therole of the cross in worship isn't merely a matter of singing the right lyrics. No facet of God's truth should move our affections more than the gospel. How could the death and resurrection of the Son of God ever seem irrelevant or be sung about in a dull, uninterested way? But it happens every Sunday. Because of our sin and negligence, we lose sight of the glories of Calvary.That's why pastors and worship leaders must make sure Calvary is always in our view. One of the most important aspects of biblical worship we desperately need to recover today is a passionate, scripturally informed exaltation of Jesus Christ and his redemptive work. 

Every time we step up to lead our congregation, we should present a clear picture of “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Wecome together to retell, remember, and respond to the gospel and all it has accomplished. We have been saved to trust in, love, desire, and obey the matchless One who is the only Savior of the world and the radiance of theFather's glory.

Therefore, one of our primary thoughts as we plan a Sunday meeting should be: Will our time together cause people's view of, trust in, and desire for God's glory in Christ and him crucified to increase? 

For a worship leader's preparation, focus, and evaluation, no question is more important. 


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