Stauros is probably the most dangerous Greek word ever devised. It is foolishness to many, a stumbling block to others, unknown to some, despised and ridiculed by countless, and eternal life to those who are chosen.
Stauros (σταυρός) is the Greek word for cross which was used in the Bible for the method of execution of Jesus on that fateful Friday. And that execution was done with a planned purpose to put God’s ultimate glory on display for all to see throughout history.
There were four ways that Jesus’ death on the stauros glorified God and all are found in Romans 3:21-28 (from a sermon by John MacArthur):
21But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27Where then is boasting? It is excluded By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
- The cross declared God’s righteousness. God’s standard is perfection and no sin can enter heaven. Each person has sinned and has fallen short of God’s absolute standard. But those who repent and have a saving faith in Jesus Christ have His perfect righteousness credited to their account.
- The cross satisfies God. Our sin still needs payment or else God is not a just judge. Just as a good judge in a courtroom would not be good if he just let off liars and murderers and thieves if they were sorry for their transgressions against the law. There needs to be a payment for that sin against a holy God and Jesus took on God’s wrath that should have been given to us.
- The cross puts God’s grace on display. There is no boasting. No one can work their way to perfection. The cross was all about God and the cross is all about grace. Unmerited favor. We get what we do not deserve which is forgiveness of our sins and a relationship with the God of this universe. All we do is believe – and that ability to believe is still a graceful gift from God. We rejoice in both our salvation as well as His righteousness and are indebted to Him for His amazing grace.
- The cross demonstrates God’s integrity. It is only through faith in the name of Jesus that man can be saved. There is only one name under heaven and earth that saves – and He died for all those who would ever believe while they all were still sinners. There is no greater love, no greater gift, no greater gracious act than this – that God would lay down His Son’s life for me.
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.2For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)