On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain.
Refrain: So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left his glory above to bear it to dark Calvary. [Refrain]
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, a wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me. [Refrain]
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true, its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then he’ll call me some day to my home far away, where his glory forever I’ll share. [Refrain]
Today, where is your hope? Where is you focus? Does your faith exceed your fears? Is your certainty in Christ greater than your circumstances?
Our Christian faith is not found in a crown (liberation, power, success). It is found in a cross. A simple, rugged tree on a hill 2,000 year ago. Yet, we do not worship the cross, but the Christ (and His blood) of the cross. His name is Jesus, the only Son of God!
My wife just tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. I have a choice to make…as do you. I can be consumed by my circumstances or I can have certain faith in the cross…and, more specifically, in the Christ of the cross – Jesus! Take a moment to read the four verses of the hymn lyric. Now read slowly the refrain. Let’s make it our anthem of the day!
He Himself [Jesus] bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds. (1 Peter 2:24)
Jesus died a vicarious (substitutionary) death (24a). “He Himself” is emphatic. It was Jesus alone. “Bore” gives us the picture of bringing sacrifices to an altar. Read Romans 5:6-8: Christ died for us. I am helpless and hopeless, yet Jesus died for my sin. Ponder verse three of the hymn for a moment.
Jesus died a vicious death (24b). Sin requires payment. The payment was very severe. It was the tortuous death of Jesus Christ on a rugged cross. It was a death full of the weight and wrath of the entire, sinful human race. Jesus was mocked, beaten, and executed. We are receive mercy, blessings and eternal life!
Jesus died a victorious death (24c). The victory comes in our release from the penalty and power of sin. This is the purpose of the old rugged cross. When we repent of our sin and turn in faith to Jesus as Savior and Lord, we have new life in Christ! When we trust Him, we receive His righteousness. In other words, we are spiritually healed by His “wounds” (stripes). Meditate on the refrain one more time. You’ll be glad you did!
As I deal with my current circumstances, I choose to have certain faith in Jesus rather than fear in my circumstances. What about you? What will be your choice? Have you received God’s gift of eternal life? Are you surrendering your all to Him?
Lamar Morin serves as the team leader of the Leadership Development Team of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico. Special thanks goes to pastor Jack Andrews for the outline.