William J. Stewart | Faces Surrounding Calvary
This is our final article in the series on “Faces Surrounding Calvary”. It is my hope that the discussions presented have helped us in some way to draw closer to God, as we have viewed the happenings at the cross from several different points of view. The series would not be complete however, until we discuss yourselves. You and I.
You may be thinking, ‘I wasn’t there, neither was he’. You are correct, neither you nor I were present at the cross some 2,000 years ago. But I would suggest to you that our influence was there. As Jesus endured such awful hostility, we need to realize that it was not for His crimes. He had no crimes. It was not for any type of evil which He had done, for He accomplished no evil. He was beaten, bruised, crowned with thorns, whipped, scourged, and finally nailed to a tree for things that YOU AND I had committed.
Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, “…as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned….” Note, Paul did not say that we are recipients of death because of Adam’s sin. Many of our religious friends hold to a doctrine of Adamic sin, or original sin. This Scripture is used in support of such a doctrine. Yet, it says nothing of the sort. Did Paul write, “…thus death spread to all men, because all ARE SUBJECT TO ADAM’S SIN”? No, he wrote, “…thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” If we are in a condemned state, it is because of our own sin, not Adam’s.
Now, how does this relate to us and the cross of Calvary? If all sinned, then we have sinned. If we have sinned, then we have contributed to the reason for Jesus going to the cross. John the Baptist said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” All too often we generalize the sin that put Jesus on the cross. Might we realize, ‘It was MY sin that put Jesus on the cross.’
Jesus died, that sin might be removed. If we would be a partaker of the pardon which He graciously provides, we need to consider ourselves to be faces surrounding Calvary. Consider these words penned by William R. Newell and D.B. Towner:
Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died,
By God’s word at last my sin I learned,
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned,
Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing,
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan,
Oh, the grace that bro’t it down to man,
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span,
Mercy there was great and grace was free,
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty,
The song writers illustrate the need for us to see ourselves as faces surrounding Calvary. It was for us that He died. To rid ourselves of sin, we must turn there. Once we have been forgiven of our sins, our thoughts are centered there. If we would be a child of God, our spirit is continually kneeling there. If we should remove ourselves from the picture of Calvary, we would thus remove the salvation which was so freely given.
As we have looked at the faces surrounding Calvary, we have been witness to two different types of people. Some were believing. They loved the Saviour. They desired to do right, to obey His will. Remember the imploring cry of the thief for a home in heaven. May that be our cry as well.
If not, we are of the second class. There were those who scoffed at the cross. They were unbelievers. They persecuted the Christ, and those who would follow Him. They received not the forgiveness of sins, but rater the condemnation of their souls through their unbelief and disobedience.
Will you be one who will “Kneel At The Cross”, or will you curse both the cross and the One who died upon it? Your face is there, as is each man who has ever lived. It’s up to you to decide what you shall do about it. Confess or Reject? Follow or turn away? You choose!