The sanctifying power of the cross!
(John L. Dagg, "Manual of Theology")
"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!" Galatians 6:14
It may be profitable to yet linger a little while at the cross — that we may again survey its glory, and feel its soul-subduing power.
In the cross of Christ — all the divine perfections are gloriously and harmoniously displayed. Infinite love, inviolable truth, and inflexible justice are all seen, in their brightest and most beautifully mingled colors. The heavens declare the glory of God — but the glory of the cross outshines the wonders of the skies! God's moral perfections are here displayed, which are the highest glory of His character.
The cross of Christ is our only hope of everlasting life. On Him who hangs there, our iniquities were laid — and from His wounds, flows the blood that cleanses from all sin. Our faith views the bleeding victim, and securely relies on the great atoning sacrifice. It views mercy and grace streaming from the cross — and to the cross it comes to obtain every needed blessing.
In the cross, the believer finds the strongest motive to holiness. As we stand before it, and view the exhibition of the Savior's love — we resolve to live unto Him who died for us.
The world ceases to charm. We become crucified to the world — and the world crucified to us.
Sin appears infinitely hateful. We regard it as the accursed thing which caused the death of our beloved Lord — and we grow strong in the purpose to wage an exterminating war against it. By all the Savior's agonies, we vow to have no peace with sin for ever.
The cross is the place for penitential tears. We look on Him whom we have pierced, and mourn. Contemplating Jesus' sin-atoning sacrifice, is the highest motive to holiness. Our hearts bleed at the sight of the bleeding sufferer, murdered by our sins — and we resolve that the murderers shall die!
The cross is a holy place, where we learn . . .
to be like Christ,
to hate sin as He hated it, and
to delight in the law of God which was in His heart.
In the presence of the cross, we feel that omnipotent grace has taken hold of our heart — and we surrender to dying love.
The doctrine of the cross needs no other demonstration of its divine origin — than its power to sanctify the heart, and bring it into willing and joyful subjection to Christ.
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We have just posted John L. Dagg's "Manual of Theology", written in 1857. Virtually unknown today, it is the best devotional and experimental Systematic Theology ever written. In Dagg's own words, "This volume is designed for the use of those who have neither the time nor the opportunity to study larger works on theology. In preparing it, my aim has been to present the system of Christian doctrine with plainness and brevity — and to demonstrate at every point, its truth, and its tendency to sanctify the heart."