The Old Rugged Cross

“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

As we ponder the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, a fuller understanding should bring us to an ever-deeper reliance on and identification with Him. To assist us in examining the work of Christ on the cross, let us use the beloved hymn “The Old Rugged Cross.” Here we will find its words reflecting a deep and abiding love for Christ and His cross. The next four days we will, in turn, study each of its four verses, but today, note its chorus:

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Our text reminds us that there is no worth in any deed of our own, including even a full adherence to the law of Moses (Galatians 6:12-13). Only through the cross and the salvation by grace made possible by the cross do we have any standing before God. We must cherish the cross, and cling to it! Thus, we can say with Paul that this “world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world”—its sinful allurements and the recognition of men of no value.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). All our legitimate accomplishments: those true trophies or “[crowns] of rejoicing” (1 Thessalonians 2:19) done in His power and for His glory will be cast before His throne (Revelation 4:10) in recognition of His worth and kingship. His cross made it all possible. So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross. JDM

Click here for the sheet music for this hymn.

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