“Contact with Jesus according to the New Testament is established by what Jesus does, not for others, but for us. The account of what Jesus did for others is indeed necessary. By reading how he went about doing good, how he healed the sick and raised the dead and forgave sins, we learn that he is a person who is worthy of trust. But such knowledge is to the Christian man not an end in itself, but a means to an end. It is not enough to know that Jesus is a person who is worthy of trust; it is also necessary to know that he is willing to have us trust him. It is not enough that he saved others; we need to know also that he saved us.

“That knowledge is given in the story of the cross. For us Jesus does not merely place his fingers in the ears and say, ‘Be opened’; for us he does not merely say, ‘Arise and walk.’ For us he has done a greater thing — for us he died. Our dreadful guilt, the condemnation of God’s law — it was wiped out by an act of grace. That is the message which brings Jesus near to us, and makes him not merely the Saviour of the men of Galilee long ago, but the Saviour of you and me.”

(J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, Chpt. 2, Doctrine, pp 36-37)

The Story of the Cross

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