Quotes & Excerpts from

THE CROSS: God's Way of Salvation

By Pastor Martyn Lloyd Jones

Chapter 2

Chapter 1: The wondrous Cross


    "...the Apostle speaks about what he describes as the offence of the cross.... Nevertheless, in spite of the fact that it was not liked and that it was thoroughly unpopular, this was the very thing that all the apostles preached. They went on preaching and eventually suffered martyrdom and death because they persisted in doing so."19
    "What is the message of the Christian gospel, and of the Christian church? Now at the risk of being misunderstood I will put it like this. It is not primarily the teaching of our Lord. I say that, of course, because there are so many today who think that this is Christianity. They say: ‘What we need is Jesus' teaching. He is the greatest religious genius of all times.... Let us have a look at his teaching, at the Sermon on the Mount and so on.... A dose of his ethical teaching. We must preach this to people and teach them how to live.’ But according to the apostle Paul, that is not their first need....
    "It was not the teaching of Christ, nor the example of Christ either. That is often preached, is it not? ... Read the Gospels,’ they say, ‘and see how he lived. That is the way we all ought to live, so let us decide to do so.... I say once more that that is not the centre and the heart of the Christian message." 20


    "...the cross was there at the centre of our Lord’s own teaching. ...

     "...our Lord turned to his disciples and said, ‘Whom do men say that I am?’ and they gave various answers. And then he said, ‘Whom say ye that I am?’ and Peter stepped forward and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And our Lord turned to him and said, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’...’ (Mt 16:13—18).
     "But then read on: ‘From that time forth began Jesus to show his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be ..." 21

     "...He had come in order to die.... His disciples did not understand all this...." 30

"...the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mt 20:28

"He knew exactly where he was going, and why he had come into this world. And there at the very end when he is surrounded by his enemies, and they have confined him to the Garden of Gethsemane, his own disciples become concerned for him and they say, Shall we go out and buy swords? We must defend you at all costs. And one of them drew out his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, you remember. Put the swords back, he says. ‘Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me, more than twelve legions of Angels?’... Do you not know that if I wanted to get out of this world without the death of the cross, I have simply to ask my Father...? But, he says, if I do that, how can I fulfill righteousness? How can I do the work that my Father has sent me to do? No, he says that he has come deliberately to die." 31

"...we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone." Heb 2:9


"But why did he do this? The answer is here in the whole of the Bible, from beginning to end. It is here in this one
verse. He came because you and I and all mankind are guilty and under the condemnation of a Holy God. He came to deliver us from this world which is doomed to disaster and final destruction, ‘by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’

      "We all belong to the world. We are men of the world, we are born in the world, and we will bear the world’s fate, unless he can deliver us. That is why he did it.... All this nonsense about the good men and the bad men, moral and immoral men. It means nothing in the sight of God. I agree it is important from the point of view of the state, but in the sight of God the most respectable non-Christian is as damned and as hopeless as the vilest reprobate and sinner....

"...there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...." Ro 3:22

"Yes, but then you say, Why can God not forgive this, why does the love of God not forgive a man who says he is sorry and who repents? That question, also, is answered in the Bible, and this is why the Son of God died. God, unlike us, is light, and in him is no darkness at all. God is just, God is holy. God is righteous. Of course, that means nothing to us. How can we think of holiness? We, ugly, foul, vile, sinful creatures.
       "No, we do not understand the righteousness of God. That is why modern man does not believe in the blood of the cross. He does not know what righteousness is. He does not know what justice is or what law is. He does not believe in discipline, and his world is becoming a hell for that reason. But God is righteous, he is the law giver, he is holy... He must punish sin. His own holy nature insists upon it..." 32


"So here is the problem. Man is a guilty sinner, God is a holy God. How can the two be brought together? The answer is the cross of Christ.... The wages of sin is death.... Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. If you go back to the Old Testament... you find a great deal about sacrifices for sin. The people take a bullock to the High Priest and he puts his hands upon its head. They then kill the bullock, take its blood and present it before God in the holy place. ... By putting their hands on the head of the bullock they were, as it were, transferring their sins to the bullock. The sins were on the bullock. They then killed the bullock and presented his blood as an offering. God taught them to do that." 33

"I do not care what particular form your sin takes. There is a great deal of attention paid to that today.... Lord Jesus Christ, is preached unto you the forgiveness of sin. And by him all who believe, you included, are at this very moment justified entirely and completely from everything you have ever done—if you believe that this is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and that he died there on the cross, for your sins and to bear your punishment. If you believe that, and thank him for it, and rely utterly only upon him and what he has done, I tell you, in the name of God, all your sins are blotted out completely, as if you had never sinned in your life, and his righteousness is put on you and God sees you perfect in his Son. That is the message of the cross...." 36

"Tell me, do you glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ? Would you willingly and gladly spend all your days in singing the praise of this Son of God who loved you and gave himself for you? Let us examine ourselves." 37


Chapter 2: The Acid Test


‘Well,’ he said, ‘it is my good friend here. Of course I believe in morals as he does. I believe in ethics. I believe in living a good life. I believe in improving this world, but,’ he continued, ‘he will bring in this blood and thunder element.

     "That was the cause of the trouble, what he called ‘blood and thunder’. What men call ‘this theology of blood’. They pour their scorn and their ridicule upon it. They hate the Old Testament, they hate what they call the God sitting on Mount Sinai, they hate all this offering of burnt offerings and sacrifices. They say that is primitive religion, and you should  not introduce it into the discussion, you should not talk about such things. They hate the cross, it is an offence still, to the polite, the sophisticated... the modern man." 44

     "But perhaps the people who find the cross most offensive of all are those who on the surface seem to praise it most of all. I am thinking of the people who tell us that the cross is a very beautiful thing. They preach a lot about the cross, yes, but they preach it as something that is beautiful—so touching, so affecting, so moving. ... In fact, they feel it so much that they have got to
turn it into something that it was never meant to be. They find it so offensive in its stark reality, that they philosophize it into the most beautiful thing... and so they sentimentalize the cross ... 44-45

      "The test of whether someone is teaching the cross rightly or wrongly is whether it is an offence to the natural man or not. If my preaching of this cross is not an offence to the natural man, I am misrepresenting it." 45

First and foremost it is an offence to his mind. I have to put this first, because man’s ultimate sin is intellectual pride. And this preaching of the cross is an offence to man’s mind, because it cuts across all his preconceived notions and ideas and prejudices. It was a stumbling block to the Jews for this reason. They would tell you, We are expecting the Messiah, and, as Jews, our idea of the Messiah is that when he comes he will be a great military personage."46

"...the cross is an offence, because it cuts across all our ideas. We all have ideas about everything, including religion. We think we know what makes a man a Christian. We think we know what God expects, and we are quite confident that we can do it, that we have it in us. If we only put our backs and our wills into it, we can do it....

     "The second respect in which it is an offence to the mind of the natural man is tremendously important at the present time, even as it was with the Greeks of old. The cross proclaims at once that we are not saved by ideas... by thought, or by understanding. We are not saved, if you like, by philosophy. But that is the one thing that the natural man believes.... Who is going to save us? Well, the wise men. And who are they? The wise men are the great thinkers. ....

     "The most bitter opponents of the cross of Christ in this country today are the idealists who are not Christians. You see, they have their noble ideas, their thoughts about uplift, and what needs to be done...." 47



"The world is full of do-gooders. These people are anxious to put things right. They set up an organization, they form a society and other people join it and they write protests and they are going to put the world right.... 52

      "The cross is an offence to the pride of the natural man, because it says that not only are we all sinners, not only are we all equally sinners, but it tells us that we are all equally helpless. We can do nothing at all. It tells us that all our righteousness is but as filthy rags. All we regard as best is dung and refuse, and absolutely useless. ...

      "And it is equally an offence to the will of man. It tells him: I do not care what your will is.... I do not care what your resolutions are. Do all you will, you will never save yourself.

Not the labors of my hands can fulfill thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone, Thou must save, and thou alone. 52


Why does the Christian glory in the cross? ...First of all, he glories in it because of what he sees in it, or, if you prefer it, he glories in it because of what it shows him. Now here, it seems to me, is the key to the whole matter. I must quote Isaac Watts again because I think he makes this clear. He says, ‘When I survey the wondrous Cross’, and I do not think any man glories in it until he has surveyed it.... 55


These men have really seen the meaning of the cross. They cannot contain themselves, they cannot express themselves. Why? The only secret is that they have been surveying it and looking at it, they have been gazing at it. And you see this is a very good test. How much time do you spend in thinking about the cross, in looking at it, in gazing upon it, in surveying it from all its angles?

When I survey the wondrous Cross, On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride." 55


"As Paul puts it later: ‘The Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me’ (Gal 2:20). He did not wait until Paul was converted before he loved him. He loved him as he was, a blasphemer and persecuter and injurious. He loved him even when Saul of Tarsus was there blaspheming his holy name, ridiculing his claim that he was the Son of God.... While Paul was doing that, he was dying for Paul. And he was doing the same for you and for me. You who have reviled him and blasphemed him and hated him and regarded all this preaching of the cross as an offence, he did it for you. That is the measure of his love.


When I survey the wondrous cross, what do I see? ... I see a spectacle that the world has never seen before, and will never see again. I see the holy Son, of God bearing the punishment of my sins, the author of life dying that I might live, that I might become a son, a child of God, and go on to spend my eternity in the glory everlasting with him.

And this is only the beginning....

Love so amazing, so divine so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

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