When the apostle Paul speaks of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ in Philippians 2:8, he distinguishes that death from all others by referring to it as "the death of the cross." "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:8) How is Christ's dying the "death of the cross" different from any other death? Many things make the death of Jesus Christ unique.
1. It was the death of the man Christ Jesus who was none other than God manifest in the flesh. He Himself is that unique Person being at the same time in one person God and Man. The dying man Emmanuel which is "God with us."
2. It was the death of a sinless man, the only sinless Man. He who knew no sin and was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. The spotless Lamb of God.
3. It was a substitutionary death. He is dying for someone else as a representative Man, so that all those He represented died with Him and in Him. In this last Adam, they died to sin, to the law, and to every connection and association with the first Adam.
4. It was a definite death, God telling us who it was that He died for. Yes, they were all sinners but it was not for all sinners. Christ distinguishes them as "the sheep" and "my sheep." It was a death He died giving Himself for and in order to purchase the Church with His own blood. It is a death for His friends, for the children the Father gave Him, His elect people.
5. It was a successful death. In His death, Christ actually accomplished the eternal purpose of God and redemption of His people, putting away their sins, made manifesting the justifying work upon which all their salvation depended.
6. It is a death from which He was raised, beheld as risen by many witnesses. He was received up into glory because He satisfied God in every way and honored Him in all His attributes.
7. It is a death for which He was rewarded. Having purged our sins, He was seated at the right hand of the majesty on high where He now sits, the Intercessor of His people in His redemptive glory.
The preaching of Christ crucified is the preaching of the "death of the cross." This is the gospel His people believe. He humbled Himself that He might as a man render this particular obedience to God: "the death of the cross."
Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together.” (Deuteronomy 22:11)
Who should have thought that such a precept as this of Moses had a gospel signification!
And yet as Christ was preached under types and figures though the whole law, we may reasonably suppose that not a single command was then given but what had an eye to Him and His great salvation.
If we find the Lord so strict respecting the outward dress of the body, what may we conclude the Lord would enjoin respecting the inward clothing of the soul?
If woolen and linen were offensive to be worn together, surely, we cannot appear before God in motley dress of Jesus’ righteousness and our own. The fine linen, scripture saith, is the righteousness of saints. With this, which Jesus put on His people, nothing our own woolen garments must be worn. The righteousness of a creature, had we any, which in fact we have none, cannot be suited to mix with the righteousness of the Creator. And no man that is wise for salvation would put the old piece of our corrupt and worn out nature upon the new garment of the renewed nature in Christ Jesus.
When therefore the Lord saith, “Thou that shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts;”my heart replies, ‘No, Lord! Let me be clothed with the robe of righteousness, and the garment of Thy salvation; then shall I be found suited for the marriage supper, when the King comes in to see His guests at His table.’
Dressed for the Wedding
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: Matthew 22:11
In The Parable of the Marriage Feast we are reminded that there is a sense in which every sinner may be said to approach the judgment before God clothed in 1 of 2 ways. Like the man who didn’t belong at the wedding feast, all of us by nature initially will dare to stand before a thrice holy God dressed in our own self-righteousness. Sadly, most persist therein and plunge headlong into judgment thinking they will be just fine dressed in their robe of self-righteousness.
I recognize that most so dressed don’t see it that way. But do not be mistaken. If by way of your thinking, that which distinguishes you from others as acceptable before God is anything other than (or in addition to) the one righteousness of God in Christ, and that made yours by God having freely and graciously imputed or accounted it unto you, then you will not be accepted.
We may be dressed in our ‘Sunday’s best’ so to speak, but hear what God says about our natural attire in Isa. 64:6, “…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” All who dare approach God so attired shall be cast out from His presence for all eternity. We must have a wedding garment that we can’t buy, earn, furnish, or acquire for ourselves. And that garment is the righteousness of God that our Lord and Savior established for His wedding guests on the cross – the merit of His obedience unto death that God graciously has imputed or charged to the objects of His everlasting love, mercy, and grace in Christ.