The Cross In Four Words, Kevin DeYoung, Richard Coekin, Yannick Christos-Wahab
The Good Book Company, 2020
This is a superb little book, that does exactly what it says on the cover, the authors of this book take it in turns to look at one aspect of the cross and try to explain it. The first chapter covers the theme of freedom and explains how the cross frees us from our past guilt and shame and frees us to live a life to the glory of God. The second chapter covers the theme of forgiveness and reintroduces us to a word that has perhaps dropped from our theological lexicon the idea of propitiation. The idea that on the cross Jesus bore the wrath of God’s judgement on sin that should have rightly fallen on us instead fell on Jesus; Jesus propitiated the wrath of God for his people. The third chapter goes on to deal with the theme of justice, a theme that seems to be everywhere in our society today, from the #metoo movement through the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s clear everyone is seeking justice of some description. This chapter seeks to address the question how is it just that one man suffers for the sins of the many? The final chapter deals with the theme of purpose and shows how the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ is the only thing that will give our lives true purpose and meaning.
The thing I enjoyed most about this book was that the chapters focused mostly on the Old Testament for their scripture references. The Passover in Exodus 12, the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 and the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 all feature, this is a helpful reminder to us that the plan of salvation, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is not just a New Testament idea but had been the plan of salvation since the beginning of time. It is also a helpful rebuttal to those who wish to see the God of the Old Testament as a vengeful God who somehow the Son of the New Testament placated with His death by showing us this was the plan all along.
This is a short book only 90 pages, even less than that as there are some blank pages in between the chapters and can easily be read in a couple of hours, it would make an ideal give away to work colleagues or friends especially coming up to Easter and there are discussion questions at the end of each chapter which would help aid thinking and talking about the subjects raised.