The Cross of Christ by John R.W. Stott Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

The Cross of Christ

The work of a lifetime, from one of the world’s most influential thinkers, about the heart of the Christian faith. “I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. . . . In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?” With compelling honesty John Stott confronts this generation with the centrality of the cross in God’s redem

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    Keren Threlfall

    Dec 30, 2011

    rated it
    it was amazing

    Since John R. W. Stott’s death in July 2011, interest in The Cross of Christ has been revived, particularly through the 20th anniversary edition (2006). Although it’s only been around 25 years since first published, The Cross of Christ has already been recognized as a Christian classic. It was on my list of Christian classic to-reads, along with older authors as Athanasius, Augustine, and Luther.

    Like a skilled jeweler carefully examining and detailing the many facets of a gem, John Stott goes th

    Like a skilled jeweler carefully examining and detailing the many facets of a gem, John Stott goes the cross and carefully inspects, details, and elaborates the many facets of the cross of Christ. Only in this case, he is not merely examining some diamond in the rough, but the crown jewel of Christianity.

    While books with titles of “Cross-Centered-____” or “Christ-centered-____” practically compete for space on the new-release theology shelves of Christian bookstores these days, The Cross of Christ is undoubtedly the most comprehensive book on the centrality of the cross. Academic and practical in it’s coverage, this work is both scholarly and heavily devotional. Stott interacts with and draws from a wealth of philosophers and theologians past and present, and also delicately draws from Scriptural texts with his skills as a practiced exegete.

    The book is divided into four sections, comprising thirteen main chapters:

    I. Approaching the Cross

    1. The Centrality of the Cross
    2. Why Did Christ Die?
    3. Looking below the Surface

    II. The Heart of the Cross

    4. The Problem of Forgiveness
    5. Satisfaction for Sin
    6. Self-Substitution of God

    III. The Achievement of the Cross

    7. The Salvation of Sinners
    8. The Revelation of God
    9. The Conquest of Evil

    IV. Living Under the Cross

    10. The Community of Celebration
    11. Self-Understanding and Self-Giving
    12. Loving Our Enemies
    13. Suffering and Glory

    Conclusion: The Pervasive Influence of the Cross

    There were some statements and conclusions on which I found myself conflicted or coming to an alternate conclusion, but even given the length of the book, such occasions were very few and did not detract from the overall theme and importance of the book.

    The book is somewhat lengthy and not necessarily light reading, but it is one that I would recommend, and perhaps consider as a must-read for Christians.

    Here are some quotes from the book (random: there are countless that are worthy of being framed and wall-mounted):

    “Life in a Christian home, which should in any case be characterized by natural human love, should be further enriched by supernatural human love, that is, the love of the cross. It should mark all Christian family relationships, between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters. For we are to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph. 5:21), the Christ whose humble and submissive love led him even to the cross. Yet it is especially husbands who are singled out” (281).

    (Reading the above section, I was greatly reminded how grateful I am for a husband, in particular, who has loved me in this way.)

    “The spirit of James and John lingers on, especially in us who have been cushioned by affluence. It is true that inflation and unemployment have brought to many a new experience of insecurity. Yet we still regard security as our birthright and ‘safety first’ as a prudent motto. Where is the spirit of adventure, the sense of uncalculating solidarity with the underprivileged? Where are the Christians who are prepared to put service before security, compassion before comfort, hardship before ease? Thousands of pioneer Christian tasks are waiting to be done, which challenge our complacency and call for risk. Insistence on security is incompatible with the way of the cross. What daring adventures the incarnation and the atonement were! What a breach of convention and decorum that Almighty God should renounce his privileges in order to take human flesh and bear human sin! Jesus had no security except in his Father. So to follow Jesus is always to accept at least a measure of uncertainty, danger and rejection for his sake. . . ” (288)

    “The cross lies at the very heart of mission. For the cross-cultural missionary it may mean costly individual and family sacrifices, the renunciation of economic security and professional promotion, solidarity with the poor and needy, repenting of the pride and prejudice of supposed cultural superiority, and the modesty (and sometimes frustration) of serving under national leadership. Each of these can be a kind of death, but it is a death which brings life to others.” (283)
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    Jeremy

    Feb 07, 2012

    rated it
    it was amazing

    It is hard to overstate how much I enjoyed this book. It was hard work, shouldering through the dense material (which I started on August 18). It’s not impossible reading, but it does requires careful thought. Stott shows the significance of the cross and why certain doctrines are important, and he outlines many implications stemming from those doctrines. Lots of brilliant insights.

    See more comments here.

    John

    Jun 05, 2012

    is currently reading it

    Quotes that stood out to me as I read:
    Ch. 2 WHY DID CHRIST DIE?
    “Nobody is ever envious of others who is not first proud of himself.” (pg. 57)

    “So [the Jewish leaders] felt threatened by Jesus. He undermined their prestige, their hold over the people, their own self-confidence and self-respect, while leaving his intact.” (pg. 58)

    “We resent [Jesus’] intrustion into our privacy, his demand for our homage, his expectation of our obedience. Why can’t he mind his own business. we ask petulantly, and le

    “So [the Jewish leaders] felt threatened by Jesus. He undermined their prestige, their hold over the people, their own self-confidence and self-respect, while leaving his intact.” (pg. 58)

    “We resent [Jesus’] intrustion into our privacy, his demand for our homage, his expectation of our obedience. Why can’t he mind his own business. we ask petulantly, and leave us alone? To which he instantly replies that we are his business ant he will never leave us alone. So we perceive him as a threatening rival who disturbs our peace, upsets our status quo, undermines our authority and diminshes our self-respect. We too want to get rid of him.” (pg. 58)

    “The fact that [Judas’] betrayel was foretold in the Scriptures does not mean that he was not a free agent, any more than the Old Testament predictions of the death of Jesus mean that he did not die voluntarily.” (pg. 59)

    “Thirty coins, the ransom price of a common slave.” (pg. 60)

    “‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ the old negro spiritual asks. And we must answer, ‘Yes, we were there.’ Not as spectators only, but as participants, guilty participants, plotting, scheming, betraying, bargaining and handing him over to be crucified. We may try to wash our hands of responsibility like Pilate. But our attempt will be as futile as his. For there is blood on our hands. Before we can see the the cross as something done for us (leading us to faith and worship), we have to see it as something done by us (leading us to repentance).” (pg. 63)

    “Octavius Winslow summed it up in a neat statement: ‘Who delivered up Jesus to die? Not Judas, for money; not Pilate, for fear; not the Jews, for envy; – but the Father, for love!” (pg. 64)

    Ch. 3: LOOKING BELOW THE SURFACE
    “Christ died for us, for our good; that the ‘good’ he died to procure for us was our salvation; that in order to procure it he has to deal with our sins; and that in dying for them it was our death that he died.” (pg. 68)

    “Authentic love always expresses itself in humble service and…the world would identify them as his disciples only if they loved one another.” (pg. 70)

    The New Covenant (Exodus 24:8, Isaiah 42:6, Zechariah 9:11, Hebrews 9:18-20, Jeremiah 31:31-34) (pgs. 71-72)

    “I used to imagine that because Christ died, the whole world had been autmatically put right. When someone explained to me that Christ had died for ME, I responded haughtily, ‘everybody knows that,’ as if the fact itself or my knowledge oof the fact had brought me salvation. But God does not impose his gifts on us willy-nilly; we have to receive them by faith. Of both the divine gift and the human reception of the Lord’s Supper remains the perpetual outward sign. It is intended to be ‘a participation in the body and blood of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 10:15).” (pg. 73)

    Amazing discussion of Jesus facing the cup of God’s wrath in the Garden of Gethsemane. (pgs. 78-80)

    “‘He saved others, but he can’t save himself!’ Their words, spoken as an insult, were the literal truth. He could not save himself and others simultaneously. He chose to sacrifice himself in order to save the world.” (pg. 80)

    “‘At the birth of the Son of God,’ Douglas Webster has written, ‘there was brightness at midnight; at the death of the Son of God there was darkness at noon.'” (pg. 81)

    Verses on the Great Exchange: pg. 81.

    Ch. 4: THE PROBLEM OF FORGIVENESS
    “It is when our perception of God and man, or of holiness and sin, are askew that our understanding of the atonement is bound to be askew also.” (pg. 90)

    “How could anyone imagine taht Christianity is about sin rather than about the forgiveness of sin? How could anyone look at the cross and see only the shame of what we did to Crhsit, rather than the glory of what he did for us?” (pg. 100)

    “A guilty conscience is a great blessing, but only if it drives us to come home.” (pg. 100)

    “To be ‘cured’ against one’s will, and cured of staes which we may not regard as disease, is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we ‘ought to have known better,’ is to be treated as a human person made in God’s image.” (pgs. 103-104)

    “It is perilous to begin with any a priori, even with a “God-given sense of moral justice” which then shapes our understanding of the cross. It is wiser and safer to begin inductively with a God-given doctrine of the cross, which then shapes our understanding of moral justice.” (pg. 106)

    “When thinking of the great and living God, it is better to look up than down, and outside than inside ourselves.” (pg.108)

    “We learn to appreciate the access to God that Christ has won for us only after we have first seen God’s inaccessibility to sinners. We cry ‘Hallelujah’ with authenticity only after we have first cried ‘Woe is me, for I am lost'” (pg. 110)

    “In Dale’s words, ‘It is partly because sin does not provoke our own wrath that we do not believe that sin provokes the wrath of God.'” (pg 110)

    “All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and humanity, If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely ‘hell-deserving sinners,’ then and only then doe the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.” (pg. 111)

    “The essential background to the cross…is a balanced understanding of teh gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we diminish the cross.” (pg. 111)

    Ch. 5: SATISFACTION FOR SIN
    “[Hardy] caricatured the Christian understanding of the cross in order to more readily condemn it.” (pg. 113)

    “Anselm defines sin as ‘not rendering to God what is his due'” (pg. 119)

    Ch. 6: THE SELF-SUBSTITIUTION OF GOD
    “Consecration leads to celebration. The life of the redeemed is a feast, ritually expressed in the Eucharist, the Christian festival of thanksgiving…” (pg. 141)

    “We must not, then, speak of God punishing Jesus or of Jesus persuading God, for to do so is to set them over against each other as if they acted independently of each other or were in conflict with each other. We must never make Christ the object of God’s punishment or God the object of Christ’s persuasion, for both God and Christ were subjects not objects, taking the initiative together to save sinners.” (pg. 151)

    “Because ‘the holiness of god…is meaningless without judgment,’ the one thing God could not do in the face of human rebellion was nothing.” (pg. 152)

    “We strongly reject, therefore, every explanation of the death of Christ that does not have at its center the principle of ‘satisfaction through substitution,’ indeed divine self-satisfaction through divine self-substitution.” (pg. 158)

    “The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives that belong to god alone; God accepts penalties that belong to man alone.” (pg. 159)

    “At the root of every caricature of the cross lies a distorted Christology.” (pg. 159)

    “But we cannot escape the embarassment of standing stark naked before God. It is of no use for us to try and cover up like Adam and Eve in the garden. Our attempts at self-justificiation are as ineffectual as their fig leaves. We have to acknowledge our nakedness, see the divine substitute wearing our filthy rags instead of us, and allow him to clothe us with his own righteousness (cf. Rev. 3:17-18).” (pg. 162)

    Ch. 7 THE SALVATION OF SINNERS
    “God’s anger is poles apart from ours. What provokes our anger (injured vanity) never provokes his; what provokes his anger (evil) seldom provokes ours.” (pg. 171)

    “God does not love us because Christ died for us; Christ died for us because God loves us.” (pg. 172)

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