Why the Cross Is Crucial to Worship

Featuring Bob Kauflin Posted on April 23, 2010


The gospel is not merely one of many possible themes we can touch on as wecome to worship God. It is the central and foundational theme. All our worship originates and is brought into focus at the cross of Jesus Christ.

Glorying in Jesus Christ means glorying in his cross. That doesn't mean looking at some icon or two pieces of wood nailed together. Nor does it imply that every song we sing has the word cross in it. It has little to do with church gatherings that are more like a funeral than a celebration.

The cross stands for all that was accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God. It focuses on his substitutionary death at Calvary but includes everything that gave meaning to that act. His preexistent state in glory. His incarnation. His life of perfect obedience. His suffering. His resurrection. His ascension. His present intercession and reignin glory. His triumphant return.

It is Christ's atoning sacrifice for our sins that the New Testament writers continually return to as a main focus both for worship and for life. 

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2) 

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3) 

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24) In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10) 

“Christ is to us just what his cross is,” pastor and theologian P. T. Forsythaffirms. “All that Christ was in heaven or on earth was put into what he didthere. . . . You do not understand Christ till you understand his cross.” 

Nor will we understand worship until we understand his cross.


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