We are to let the Word dwell in us richly, Colossians 3:16 tells us, and one of those ways to teach and admonish with thankfulness in our hearts is by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to one another. “The Old Rugged Cross” is a beloved hymn that proclaims Jesus’ death for our sins and then gives us a glimpse of our glorious future if we not only obey but live out the gospel.
I. Romans 3:21-25. After describing the place of Jesus’ vicarious sacrifice (John 19:17-19), the song tells us that the cross is an “emblem of suffering and shame” (Galatians 3:11-13). And yet we “love that old cross.” How? Because, we discover, that the “dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain.” As we realize that Jesus died for us, we want to live for Him (Galatians 2:19-21) … and the horrific cross takes on new meaning.
II. John 15:18-19. The world doesn’t get it, and in the best of its wisdom despises the cross … and so us who have obeyed the gospel and are living it out in our lives (1 Corinthians 1:18-25). But to us, the cross is the power of God and the wisdom of God. That the “dear Lamb of God” would leave His “glory above” to “pardon and sanctify me” (John 1:29; John 17:4-5) is the “wondrous beauty I see.”
III. 1 Peter 4:12-13. Then promising that living out the principles of the gospel will be hard, we’re encouraged in the song to persevere to one day share in Jesus’ glory. If we “cling to the old, rugged cross,” we will one day secure a crown (James 1:12).
Since Jesus gave all for you, won’t you give all for Him?