Have you ever wondered why such great emphasis is placed on the cross? Based on Galatians 6:14, this message explores why the cross is the heart of what Christians believe, the different roles the cross plays in people’s lives, and how the apostle Paul boasted in the cross. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to https://intouch.org/tv

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Dr. Charles: And the Son of
God, Jesus the Lord, said,

“I am the way,
the truth, and the life.

No one comes to the
Father but by Me.

Therefore, go into all the
world, teaching and preaching

the gospel to every
single person,

at the remotest parts
of the earth.”

male announcer: In Touch,
the teaching ministry

of Dr. Charles Stanley.

Dr. Stanley: One day, I
was sitting in my study,

and I was thinking, “Well, we
need to give this thing a name

besides just the
First Baptist Church.”

I looked over to my
left, and there was

a Living Bible translation.

They had titled
this Bible “In Touch.”

I looked at it and I
thought, “That’s the name.”

Dr. Stanley: “Let your light
so shine before men that they

may see your good works and
glorify God who is in heaven.”

Dr. Stanley: I thought, “Well,
God, that’s what I’m up to.

I want to get as many people
as possible in touch with Jesus

Christ and his way of life.”

I had taken the leadership
team up to the mountains,

and we’d been praying and asking
the Lord to give us direction,

and I’m reading the
twenty-eighth chapter of

Matthew, which I had read in
many, many times, and somehow,

it’s like it just came off
the page and grabbed me.

I thought, “Now, Lord, did
you really and truly

mean the whole world?”

It’s like God said, “Yes.”

I believe that’s what
God wants us to do.

And that is he wants In Touch
in every country in the world,

and let’s trust Him to
do it within two years.

And to–that week, we went
every single country

in the world in some fashion.

Here’s the mission of In Touch.

My goal has always been to get
the simple truth of the gospel

to as many people as possible,
as quickly as possible,

as simply as possible in
the power of the Holy Spirit,

because I know that’s the
only way it’s going to work,

to the glory of God.

Dr. Stanley: Grow in the
grace and knowledge

of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Grow in our knowledge and grace.

I know that if you listen to In
Touch, if you listen to the

message week after week and
you take notes and you apply

these notes, you are going
to grow in your knowledge

and understanding
of the Word of God,

your knowledge of and
understanding of who God

is, and your knowledge
and understanding

of how to live the
Christian life.

That much I know.

Dr. Stanley: Whatever
you’re facing in life,

sovereign God of this universe
is gonna hold you safely and

bring you through
it no matter what.

Dr. Stanley: What I
want you to see is this,

this loving God,
all-knowing, all-forgiving,

loving God loves us with
a love that’s eternal,

never-ending, so strong,

so powerful that He’s willing
to forgive all of our sins,

and when we die, they can say
of us “Absent from the body,

present with the Lord,” amen?

[congregation applauding]

Dr. Stanley: I’d want them to
say, “He believed the most

important truth in his life
is obey God and leave

all the consequences to Him.

And it appears from
what we see and heard,

that’s the way he lived.”

I’d like for it to be that way.

Dr. Stanley: I am home
in heaven, dear ones,

all is so happy,
all is so bright.

There’s perfect joy and
beauty in this everlasting life.

All the pain and grief are over.

Every restless tossing passed.

I am now at peace forever,
safely home in heaven at last.


announcer: Next on “In Touch,”
“Why We Believe.”

Dr. Charles Stanley: Well,
if someone should say to you,

“Why do you Christians place
so much emphasis on the cross?

Isn’t that rather negative?

I mean, shame,
suffering, and death.”

Well, why do we?

Certainly, you would seem to
want to be more positive than

that, to be talking
about somebody’s death.

“Why don’t you emphasize
His preaching and

His teaching and His healing?

That seems to be far
more positive than

emphasizing His death.”

Well, that’s a good question,
and I can certainly understand

why people would ask that
question because that’s the very

question that people were asking
Paul in his day as an apostle.

And if you’ll
recall, he said, in fact,

the preaching of the cross is a
stumbling block to Jews and it

is also very foolish to
those who are Greeks.

And so, I thought about that
many times and tried to put

myself in their place, and it
would sorta be like saying today

in the twenty-first
century, it’d be like saying,

you know, “Jesus died
on–Jesus died for my sins,

and when He died in
the electric chair,

it made it possible
for me to be saved.”

“In the what?”
“In the electric chair.”

Electric chair today would be
as obnoxious and as repulsive as

the cross was in that
day, because it was the

most horrible way to die.

It was the most
shameful way to die.

It was the way criminals died.

“And you mean you’re telling me
that I am to believe in someone

who died a shameful
death as a criminal,

that I’m to place my
faith in Him for the

forgiveness of my sins?”

It would be like us saying
today, “Dying in the electric

chair, He made it possible
for me to be saved.”

So, you can understand
why they had a very,

very difficult time with that.

Yet, in spite of that, it is
the very heart of everything

we believe as Christians.

And the Apostle Paul made a
very strong statement about his

conviction about the cross
in Galatians chapter six.

And I want you to turn there,
if you will, for one verse,

this–the fourteenth verse
of the sixth chapter.

And what is happening here is
right before he is sorta chiding

those Judaizers in the
Galatian churches there,

who were boasting about their
circumcision and boasting about

keeping the law, which
he knew they could not.

And all of their
boasting was in vain,

and so here’s what he said.

In comparison to what
they were boasting about,

Paul said in verse
fourteen, “But,” he says,

“may it never be
that I would boast,

except in the cross of
our Lord Jesus Christ,

through which the world
has been crucified to

me, and I to the world.”

Look at that.

He says, “May it never be, God
forbid that I would boast in

anything except the cross
of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now, why in the world
would the Apostle Paul

make such a statement?

Because he understood
the meaning of the cross.

Because he understood
that it was central

to everything he believed.

Because he understood that it
was central to the very message

of the gospel, the good
news of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s the reason he
made that statement.

And so, what I’d like for us
to do is I would like for us to

look at this question ourselves.

That is, why do we make
the cross the central

focus of our faith?

Why do we place them on our
church steeples and why do we

have ’em hanging
around our neck,

and why do we have ’em
imprinted on our Bibles?

What is this cross all about?

Well, I want us to think about
it because there are a lot of

people out there who ask the
question “why,” and sometimes a

Christian will say, “Well,
that’s just what we believe.”

Well, to an unbeliever,
that’s not a very acceptable

answer, and I don’t blame them.

And it’s not a very good answer
and it’s not very clear answer,

and it may be that you’re
one of those persons who,

likewise, maybe you’re not a
believer or maybe you are and

you’ve wondered what all this

emphasis about the
cross is all about.

Well, I mean, we know
Jesus died on the cross,

but what’s the–why
all this emphasis?

So, we’d like to
answer that question.

And this fourteenth verse is
a–certainly a strong verse,

a strong statement
by the Apostle Paul.

And if you’ll notice
the intensity of it.

He said, “May it never be, God
forbid that I would ever boast

in anything except the
cross of Jesus Christ.”


Well, let’s look at it for a
moment because we have to ask

ourselves the same question.

First of all,
because the cross, listen,

because the cross is the
heart of what we believe and,

listen, the reason
that’s true for us,

it’s because it holds such a
preeminent position and place in

the entire New Testament.

Now, look at the
Gospels for a moment.

The Gospels are not histories,
they’re not biographical

sketches of the
life of Jesus Christ,

and they’re not
works of literary art.

The Gospels are
treaties or, shall we say,

treaties, they’re
theological treaties.

That is, the whole message of
the gospel is to identify who

Jesus Christ is and His death
at Calvary and its impact

upon our life personally.

And if you’ll think about
the Gospels for a moment.

If you start reading them,
you’ll find that in the very

beginning of them, they’re
all heading in one direction,

and that’s toward the cross.

And that anywhere from one
sixth to one third of the four

Gospels, Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John,

all deal with events around the
cross or are implying the cross

or indicating
something of the death,

the passion of the
Lord Jesus Christ.

So, it isn’t just one position
at the end of the Gospels,

though the word cross is only
mentioned eight–the word is

only mentioned eighteen
times in all four Gospels.

But what I want
you to recognize,

and I want to give you
an example in a moment,

that all through the
Gospels, the cross is there.

The message of the
death of Jesus Christ,

because that is
exactly why He came.

And so, we say that the cross is
the heart of all that we believe

because of its place and
position in the Word of God.

So, what I want us to do, I
want us to look through the four

Gospels for a moment.

I want us to look at four
verses specifically and

for a reason that neither of
these verses have the word cross

in ’em, not any of ’em.

They don’t even have
the word cross in them.

But what I want you to see is
this is just an indication how

the Gospels are
filled with the passion,

the death of Jesus Christ,
the shedding of His blood.

It permeates the entire
Bible from beginning to end.

So let’s go through so you’ll
have a little background so you

can have something
that you might

be able to discuss with others.

So, let’s begin in Matthew
chapter sixteen for a moment.

Sixteenth chapter of
Matthew, and here Jesus,

speaking with His
disciples, He’s just asked them,

“Well, who do
people say that I am?

What do they think of Me?”

And in the process of
answering that question,

of course Peter says,
“You’re the Christ,

the Son of the living God.”

And then He
begins to say to them,

in verse twenty-one of
Matthew chapter sixteen.

Notice the word
cross isn’t mentioned,

but I want you to
notice this whole

Gospel’s moving
toward the cross.

Jesus said, “From that
time Jesus began to show His

disciples that He
must go to Jerusalem,

suffer many things from the
elders and chief priests and

scribes, and be killed, and be
raised up on the third day.”

All right, that’s just one
verse, there are many of them.

We don’t have time
to take them all.

Let’s go to Mark for a moment.

Mark chapter ten,
Mark chapter ten,

and look, if you will,
in the forty-fifth verse.

Jesus speaking here.
Here’s what He said.

He said, “I even,” He says, “For
even the Son of Man did not come

to be served, but to
serve, and to give His

life a ransom for many.”

That is a payment, an exchange.

And so when He
died on the cross,

He paid sin’s debt.

Now, listen carefully.

Jesus did not pay off the devil,
when Jesus Christ died at the

cross, He satisfied God’s
requirement of the shedding of

blood for the payment of sin.

And the only person who could
die for the sin of mankind is

someone who had never sinned.

That’s why I want
to show you this.

That in John’s Gospel, he starts
out in the very first chapter of

the very first few
verses, and he says,

“In the beginning was the
Word,” speaking of Jesus,

“and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God.”

If that were not true, then the

crucifixion would
have been meaningless.

He would have been
just another person.

He had to be the sinless Son
of God and He had to be deity

Himself in order for the
crucifixion to effect what God

intended, and that is the
forgiveness of man’s sin,

satisfying the
requirement of the death.

Then, for example, if
you’ll look in Luke.

A little different kind of verse
in the second chapter of Luke.

Here again, Jesus has been taken
to the temple as just a babe

now, and Mary and Joseph
meet two people there,

a prophetess and
also a prophet,

the prophet by the
name of Simeon.

And so when he
saw her with Jesus,

the scripture says he took Him
in his arms and began to bless

the Lord and make some
statements about Him.

And then the scripture
says in verse thirty-three,

“And His father and mother were
amazed at the things which were

being said by–about Him.

And Simeon blessed them,
and said to Mary His mother,

‘Behold, this Child is appointed
for the fall and rise of many in

Israel, and for a sign to be
opposed,'” then he said,

“‘and a sword will pierce
even your own soul,

to the end that thoughts from
many hearts may be revealed.'”

And what he was referring to
is he knew that His mother was

going to see His death,
His crucifixion,

of course, which she did.

Then if you’ll look in John,
for example, the Gospel of John.

You haven’t heard
the word cross at all,

but all these verses
refer to the cross.

You’ll recall in John chapter
one when John, speaking here of

John the Baptist down at
the Jordan baptizing.

And you’ll recall what happens.

Look, if you will, in
verse twenty-eight,

“These things took place in
Bethany beyond the Jordan,

where John was baptizing.

The next day he saw
Jesus coming to him,

and said, ‘Behold, the
Lamb of God who

takes away the sin
of the world!'”

Now, watch this, all down
through the Old Testament

from the beginning in the garden
of Eden when God gave Adam

and Eve skins to cover them.

From the very moment of the
crucifixion of Jesus Christ,

when the earthquake came and the
veil in the temple was rent from

top to bottom, God did it, and
opened the veil to all mankind.

In the crucifixion of Jesus
Christ, He was the Lamb of God,

listen, the Lamb of God slain

before the foundation
of the world.

Which means, listen to this, in
the mind of God, Jesus was

already a slain Lamb before
the creation of the world.

That was God’s plan for mankind.

So God’s redemptive plan, the
cross, wasn’t something that

God thought about after
Adam and Eve sinned.

It was, listen, it
was pre-planned,

foreordained before
it ever happened.

And so, when you look at the
Gospels and you see one verse

after the other, and this is
just one verse in each Gospel,

but all through the
Gospels, the key,

everything is moving toward
the cross of Jesus Christ.

That is the climax in
each one of the Gospels.

But there’s a second reason.

The second reason is
this, and that is,

it is by the cross of
the Lord Jesus Christ,

listen, it is by the cross of
the Lord Jesus Christ that we

experience, listen,
that we experience

spiritual liberty in our life.

Listen, something
happens in our life.

And when I think about what the
Apostle Paul said here when he

said, he said, “God
forbid that I should boast

of anything else,” why?

Because it’s the
heart of what we believe.

It, listen, it is the liberating
power of our personal life.

There is no liberty,
there’s no freedom.

For example, we–the
problem man has to face

is a problem of sin.

And so therefore, since
everybody has sinned against

God, and since the penalty of
sin is death, and since he says,

“How shall we escape if we
neglect so great a salvation?”

and the wrath and
the condemnation,

the judgment of God before every
single person who denies Jesus

Christ as their personal Savior.

Man has an awesome, he has
an awesome, uncertain future.

And it isn’t because
God is an unloving God.

God is a very
loving God, and He says,

“You know what, I have made
provision for your salvation.

I have done the one thing that
no one else could do for you,

and that is I’ve come into this
world in the person of My Son to

lay down My life in
order that you might

be forgiven of your sin.”

This isn’t some
denominational doctrine.

This is the heart and core of
the Bible from cover to cover.

And not only
that, it is, listen,

it is the key to our
walking in liberty every day.

Here is the power of
the death of Jesus.

That death was so awesomely
powerful that any person who

accepts Jesus Christ from–for
the forgiveness of their sins,

they, listen, they are
immediately forgiven,

past, present, and future,
of all sin so that–listen,

that’s the kind of
pardon that is absolutely,

listen, it is eternal pardon.

That is, once and for all,
eternally secure because the

basis of our
salvation, our forgiveness,

is not what we did, but what
He did at Calvary once and for

all, in one awesome,
unforgettable event,

the shedding of His blood
bought us our forgiveness.

So, one of the reasons we
say it’s the heart of what we

believe is because it permeates
the scripture from beginning to

end, and secondly, because,
listen, it liberates us and

frees us from the penalty
of sin in our life.

We are saved by it.

But Paul went one step further.
Listen to what he said.

He said not only that, look at
verse fourteen in chapter six

again, “But may it never be.

God forbid that I would boast
except in the cross of our Lord

Jesus Christ through,” listen,
“through which the world has

been crucified to me
and I to the world.”

Now, what did he mean by that?

He didn’t say, “I
crucified the world.”

He said, “The world’s
been crucified to me.”

Here’s what the
Apostle Paul discovered,

what so many Christians will
live their entire life and

never, never, never understand,
that when we come to the cross

and God forgives us of our sins
and indwells us with the Holy

Spirit, listen, the same,
listen, the same blood of

Jesus that purchased your
forgiveness and cleansing and

eternal life is the same blood
of Jesus Christ that has made

provision for us to walk in
victory day after day after day.

When he says, “The world’s
been crucified to me,”

here’s what he said.

He says, “When I got a glimpse
of the cross and I began to

understand the cross,” he says,
“the world lost its appeal.

When I began to understand
that, through the cross of Jesus

Christ, everything I will ever
need, my God will provide.

Every desire of my heart
that fits the will of God

for me, God will provide.”

Because you see, it is
by our relationship,

it is by our relationship to
Jesus Christ that you and I

come to God in prayer.

It’s because of our
relationship to Jesus Christ,

we can expect Him to
meet all of our needs.

The truth is that every good
thing that comes our way–some

of them may be painful,
many of them are not.

Every good thing that comes our
way comes by the grace of God.

What makes it possible for
God to love and forgive

and to cleanse us?

The shedding of His blood.

He said, “The soul that
sinneth, it shall die.”

God had to not violate His
own principle but answer–

satisfy His own demand.

And that’s what Jesus did.

His death satisfied God’s
demand for the penalty of sin.

I will say that probably every
Sunday, every Sunday,

in every single one of
these messages many times, why?

Because it is the
heart and the core,

listen, the heart and the core
of the redemptive plan is that

Jesus was a
substitute for you and me.

He paid our penalty, bore
it in His body on the tree.

Now, when I look at this and
think about what Paul was saying

here and thinking
about how he said it,

when we begin to understand
the meaning of the cross,

here’s what happens: we begin to
look at it in a different light.

The cross is like a mirror.

What does it mirror?

The cross, listen, the
cross mirrors our unworthiness.

The cross mirrors
our sinfulness.

What put Jesus
Christ on the cross?


That’s the wickedness
and the evil of sin,

that it nailed to the
cross the perfect Son of God.

But it also, listen, it
also mirrors God’s what?

God’s love, God’s
goodness, God’s mercy,

God’s kindness,
God’s forgiveness.

It also magnifies and
mirrors the attributes of God,

His greatness and His power, and
all the other attributes of God.

When you look at the
cross and you begin to see,

what does it say
about the Father?

What does it say about the Son?

It–everything it says
is fantastically

and absolutely wonderful.

It talks about a God and His Son
who loves us enough to lay down

His life in our behalf.

It’s like a mirror.

But not only is it like a
mirror, but I think when

I look at it, I think about the
fact that it’s the means of

our salvation, as we’ve spent
this whole time talking about.

There is no other way.

“Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God.”

He says, “I’ve come to seek
and to save that which is lost.”

“Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

Not that His–He was a teacher
and a preacher and a healer,

but that He died on
the cross for our sins.

It is a mirror, it is the
means of our salvation,

and it’s certainly
a magnet, it’s like a magnet.

Listen to this, you remember
what Jesus said when He

was speaking to His disciples?

He said, “And I,” He said, “If I
be lifted up, I will do,” what?

“I will draw all men to Myself.”

And so, what is He doing?

He’s been drawing men, women,
and young people to Himself

down through these ages.

And what is it that draws us?

There’s something
magnetic about the Son of God,

something magnetic
about the cross.

While to some it’s
a stumbling block,

to others it’s foolishness, to
us who understand what the cross

is, listen, we hang
’em around our neck,

we put ’em on our steeple.

We have glasses
with them or cups

with them or shirts with them.

I mean, you see
the cross hanging

on every kind of
thing imaginable.

And some things I wonder
about what it’s hanging

on, but that’s all right.

It’s the cross of
the Lord Jesus Christ.

The cross is a
symbol of God’s love,

His forgiveness of sin, and His
power in our life to liberate us

and to free us to walk a
godly life every single day.

Now, the Apostle Paul
saw it as a mirror.

He saw it as the
means of salvation.

He saw it as a magnet, but he
also saw it as something else,

and that is he
saw it as a model.

Now, you say, “Well, does
that mean we’re all supposed

to go to a cross and die?”

When I say model, I mean this.

What is it He modeled?

He modeled sacrificial
love, the love of

Almighty God for sinful man.

And you remember what he said?

He said, “By this all men shall
know that you’re my disciples.”


“That you have love
one toward another.”

What an awesome model,
what an absolute–

Somebody says, “Well,
I do believe that

Jesus was a model
for good living.”

Jesus was the Son of God.

He is the Son of God, the
Lamb of God who came and who was

slain before the
foundation of the world,

and it became a reality some two
thousand years ago in order that

your sin and my sin may be
forgiven because He was the

substitute for us and
bore the penalty Himself.

That’s who He is.

Now, I ask you a question.

Have you ever, at any
given time in your life,

ever applied the message of
the cross to your personal life?

What do I mean by that?

Has there ever been a
time in your life when you,

before almighty
God, said to Him,

“God, I know that I
have sinned against You,

left You out of my
life, rebelled against You,

sorta had it my way, God.

I recognize that my sin has
separated me from you,

and I need Your forgiveness.

And so therefore, I am
accepting Your forgiveness,

provided for me through
the death of Your Son,

Jesus Christ, at Calvary.

I do believe that when He died,
He paid my sin-debt in full, and

I’m accepting Christ and
His work at Calvary for the

forgiveness of my sin.”

And I want to invite you,
that if you’ve never made that

decision in your life,
listen, this is a

key moment in your life.

You have heard the
heart of the whole Bible.

And I want to ask you: Are you
willing to ask the Lord Jesus to

forgive you of your sins, that
you do believe the witness of

scripture concerning the
cross, and you’re accepting

His forgiveness by faith?

By faith we’re saved.

We believe what the Bible says.

We act on it.

Listen, you can believe about
it, but until you act on it

personally, a confession
of your own lips.

Yes, I believe that Jesus
Christ is the Son of God.

Yes, I believe He died
on the cross for my sins.

Yes, I believe my
sin-debt was paid in full.

Yes, I receive Him as my Savior.

In that moment, your whole
eternal destiny gets changed.

And you can pray that
simple prayer in your words

any way you want to.

And if your heart is
sincere, you can’t–listen,

not won’t, you cannot
ever be the same again.


announcer: If you’ve
been blessed by today’s program,

please visit us at …

Philip Bowen: As I stand
here in Dr. Stanley’s study,

it is hard to believe it’s
already been a year since

Dr. Stanley went home
to be with the Lord.

There isn’t a day that goes by
that I don’t think about him and

miss him deeply,
as I’m sure you do.

It seems like just yesterday he
and I were praying together for

you, as we so often would, that
the words the Lord had given him

to preach would help
you walk in God’s will

and grow closer to Him.

As the reality of
his passing hit me,

l thought, “What are we
going to do without our pastor?”

But God immediately
gave me a peace that

transcends all understanding.

Having worked side by side
with Dr. Stanley at In Touch for

almost two decades, he often
reminded our staff it isn’t a

man we follow but the
everlasting God who

doesn’t fail or forsake us.

Many have wondered what will In
Touch Ministries continue to do?

We’re going to keep broadcasting
Dr. Stanley’s messages,

proclaiming the Word
of God like he would,

as quickly, clearly, and
irresistibly as possible,

to the ends of the earth.

We’re going to honor Dr.
Stanley’s legacy by seeking out

new ways to proclaim the gospel.

And we’re going to keep fighting
all of our battles on our knees,

obeying God and leaving all
of the consequences to Him.

In today’s sermon, “Why We
Believe,” Dr. Stanley quotes the

apostle Paul in Galatians 6:14,
saying, “May it never be

that I would boast,
except in the cross of

our Lord Jesus Christ.”

That’s how Dr. Stanley
lived his life and how he’d

want us to live.

Thank you for staying with In
Touch as we continue leading

people around the world into a
growing relationship with Jesus

Christ without
compromising the Word.

Dr. Stanley’s calling
remains our calling,

and I am so grateful it
remains yours as well.