The Calculus of the Cross – G. Fluhrer

Some more good thoughts for you from the new title from Ligonier Ministries, The Beauty of Divine Grace: Gabriel N.E. Fluhrer.

This is taken from a section subtitled “The Calculus of the Cross” in chapter two, “One Way Back: Grace Alone.”

Paul’s message in Ephesians 2:8-9 is that we are saved by grace alone precisely because of our tendency to boast in the wrong things. So God, in His mercy, removes the ground of any kind of boasting in our salvation by offering [presenting] us a crucified Savior. Why would God do this?

Perhaps the main reason is that any human contribution to salvation immediately reduces the necessity of the cross. There is a kind of ‘cross calculus.’ Any kind of contribution on our part proportionately reduces both the effectiveness of and the need for the cross. So in a brilliant gospel mathematics lesson, Paul teaches us here that the value of our works relative to our salvation is precisely zero. Therefore, salvation by grace alone once and for all destroys the ground for our idolatrous boasting.

But our sin is insidious and even more cunning than we imagine. Our preference to boast in something other than Christ reveals this deviousness. We boast in other things so that we can keep Christ at a distance. Our pitiful works are just one more way that we avoid the cross.

Therefore, any attempt to save ourselves is, at the same time, a deadly avoidance of Jesus. We think our efforts will make us right with God when, in reality, they keep God and Christ at a distance from us. Ironically, what we thought would save us – our works – keep us from being saved.

Here is the altar at which we must sacrifice our pride. Once we grasp that our works contribute nothing to our salvation, we have come to the end of ourselves. And at the end of self, we always meet Jesus. We will never meet Him anywhere else. How could we? Blinded by our relentless doing, we miss the centrality of His dying and doing.

This is why every other system of salvation does not provide a savior that actually saves you. What do they provide for you? They provide moral guidance. They provide teachers. They provide ways and means and systems and rituals and things to obey and laws to follow. But what they do not and cannot provide is any meaningful assurance that you will actually be saved. [pp.38-39]

May our sovereign God’s gospel math drive us to our knees where we crucify our pride and place all our trust in our crucified Savior, Jesus Christ.

That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (I Cor.1:29-31)

Published in: on March 5, 2023 at 7:37 AM  Leave a Comment  

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