So, years ago, in a small Central Texas town, there was a church, a simple little L-shaped brick church. The Calvary Baptist Church. Great name for a church. They built a sign out front and painted the name of the church, “The CALVERY Baptist Church”. It was a misprint that wasn’t noticed for a LONG time. But there is a bigger misprint going on with many people.
Today I was watching a TV show, and the actor said “The CALVARY is here”, when help arrived. That set my mind to spinning about the confusion with many Christians. Do we need the cavalry or Calvary?
The cavalry in the past were soldiers on horses. From old movies, we can hear the bugler playing, and the hooves pounding the ground, and feel relieved that help is coming. Today, the cavalry is the brave heroic soldiers in armored vehicles protecting from us evil.
But, Calvary is the English derivative of the Latin word for the hill called Gol’gotha, a place of execution, shaped like a skull, outside old Jerusalem. It is the place where countless, nameless, many were executed. But there is one name we know, it is where Jesus was crucified in the 1st Century, between two convicted thieves, though he himself was innocent of any sin or act against God or Man.
Calvary, in God’s court, is about atonement. The Old Testament is full of the concept of an innocent life becoming a substitutionary sacrifice of atonement, a propitiation, for the sin of man, seeking right standing with God.
Leviticus 16:34 (NIV84) – 34 “… Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.” And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.
But, as you can see, the Old Testament atonement was a temporary activity, over and over, pointing us to the coming of the final sacrifice, the last lamb.
So, why am I writing? We are often looking for Christ to be our “cavalry”, to come riding in, on a white horse, and save the day. The problem is that we don’t need the cavalry, we need Calvary. Often our cry for the cavalry is over things that are insignificant things, at least eternally. We get fearful and worried about things that don’t matter. As Jesus said, in the Sermon on the Mount, we run after food, clothes, and treasures. We lay up things, as treasures, that will ultimately rust and decay, or we fight to control our tomorrows. We run after, fight to protect, cry out to God, for the Cavalry, all for unimportant things. But Jesus says, in Matthew 6:33, “seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added …”
So, how do we attain position in the Kingdom of God? How can we achieve the righteousness of an All-together Righteous God?
All our righteousness is like filthy rags – Isaiah 64:6
There is no one who is righteous, not even one – Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:10-13
How can we, who are so far away from God, be brought near?
Ephesians 2:13 (NIV84) – 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Years I spent in vanity and pride
Caring not my Lord was crucified
Knowing not it was for me he died
By God’s Word at last my sin I learned
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
Mercy there was great, and grace was free
Pardon there was multiplied to me
There my burdened soul found liberty
At Calvary – William R. Newell
We are sinners, our only hope is found at Calvary.
Romans 3:25 (NIV84) –25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
Hebrews 2:17 (NIV84) – 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
1 John 2:2 (NIV84) – 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 4:10 (NIV84) – 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
And there, on Calvary, love was personified as the Lamb of God gave himself, once and for all. Remember in the Old Testament the sacrifice was offered once a year for all sin. But at Calvary a sacrifice was offered once, for all sin, for all time.
Hebrews 7:27 (NIV84) – 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
Hebrews 9:12 (NIV84) – 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
1 Peter 3:18 (NIV84) – 18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,
So, at Calvary, we are offered what we need for eternity.
Oh, there is nothing wrong, even everything right, with seeking the intervention of God in our every day, even temporal things, but set your heart on Calvary, not the cavalry. Set your affections on Calvary. There’s no better place where I can see God’s love poured out for me, than Calvary. Oh, by the way, longing for the cavalry is ok, matter of fact, that longing is right and will be fulfilled. THE Cavalry IS coming. We will have our White Horse Day, but all things in proper order, and for eternal things.
In Revelation 19:11+, Heaven will open and a White Horse Rider will emerge. He is called “Faithful and True“. With justice he judges and makes war. He will come, eyes blazing, with many crowns on his head. His robe has been dipped in blood, at Calvary, and his name is The Word of God. He is John’s “Word” from John 1:1. He is one with God, from the beginning, and himself God, Creator of all things. But when THE Cavalry of Heaven comes, it will not be for temporal things, but eternal. He is coming for his people, his land, his creation, his dominion, to fulfill his promises.
Revelation 19:14 says that the Armies of Heaven will be with him, also riding white horses, dressed in fine linen, white and clean. I believe this army includes the Raptured Church, dressed in the Righteousness of Christ, secured on Calvary’s cross, received by faith, by those who believe.
And the leader of The Cavalry, “Faithful and True“, the “Word of God“, will have a name written on his robe and on his thigh, “King of kings, and Lord of lords”. Could it be that this name will be written in blood, the blood of Calvary? I believe so. But why the thigh? The thigh contained the strongest bone, and the strongest tendon. Covenants were made by placing a hand on the thigh.
Jesus, because of Calvary, has made us a promise, and he will keep this promise. The Cavalry is coming, because of Calvary. A promise written in blood.
Where will you turn today? The Cavalry or Calvary?