The Ethic of the Cross

The cross of Christ is about saving and showing but it is also about instruction. The ethic of the New Testament is essentially an ethic of the cross. The essence of Paul’s pastoral instruction to the various churches is a robust practical theology of the cross. He takes on every pastoral challenge and every situation in the church by rooting his instruction in the gospel. He is always grappling with and instructing the churches how the gospel speaks to any and every situation that they face. The ground of Paul’s instruction on generosity, hospitality, marriage, reconciliation, and sexual immorality (to mention a few) is the cross.

The hospitable God of the cross saves us through his sacrificial welcome and in so doing calls us and compels us to imitate that type of hospitality toward others. The generous God who spares not his own Son is the root of Paul’s instruction for us to give with great freedom and sacrifice. Marriage is brought under the umbrella of atonement. Reconciliation and peacemaking both find footing in the cross-work of the Lord Jesus. The heart of Paul’s instruction to believers is found in the cross. His desire and ours should always and ever be a life that clings to the gospel and labors to conform to it.


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