8. Dead guys remind us about the power of the gospel and in so doing, lead us to the cross
The heroes of church history can rightly inspire us, motivate us, challenge us, and fuel our resolve for living the Christian life. But in the final analysis, these godly people remind us about the power of the gospel, and in so doing, lead us to the cross of Christ. “For in the cross of Christ, as in a splendid theater,” Calvin says, “the incomparable goodness of God is set before the whole world. The glory of God shines, indeed, in all creatures high and below, but never more brightly than in the cross.” Nothing would please the French Reformer more than when followers of Christ stand humbly at the foot of the cross.
Every one of the dead guys we have learned about over the last several days lived a long time ago; a time when everything was different. Cultures were different. Dress was different. Technology was virtually non-existent, at least by our standards. There was no internet, no television or radio. No motor cars or airplanes. Almost everything was different. But there are two things that have not changed since those days: the sinful hearts of men and the grace of God expressed most vividly in the work of his Son on the cross.
The Bible says that every man will face eternal death apart from the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture says emphatically, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:11–14, ESV).
My prayer is that people will learn to love the dead guys. May you learn from them, be inspired by them, be challenged by them. When you run across a new name, dig in and learn something new about one of the great heroes of the Christian faith. But ultimately, my encouragement is this: Follow the dead guys to the cross. The cross is where they want us to go!
Dead men are talking. Numbered among these giants of the Christian faith are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Ruth, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, John, Paul, and Peter. Gone are Augustine, Polycarp, Hus, Tyndale, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Owen, Spurgeon, Bunyan, Lloyd-Jones, and Schaeffer. They all worshipped and served the same God. They all bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. And each of them have a story to tell that tell of a glorious gospel. Are you listening?