The Berean Expositor
Volume 38 - Page 206 of 249
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The First Reckoning, "Crucified with Christ".
pp. 104 - 107
In the preceding article of this series, we noted the occurrence in the Gospels and in
the epistles of sustauroo "to crucify with", but paused to examine the Lord's promise to
the dying malefactor. We discovered that this man who was "crucified with" the Saviour
was directed to the goal that was before Him, the Paradise of God, when the kingdom
should indeed be the Lord's. This dying man is the first great pledge and type of all who
shall thus reach the crown by means of the cross, whether in the kingdom or the church.
No other books in the N.T. outside of the Gospels make use of the word "to crucify
with" than Paul's epistles to the Galatians and Romans. The words stauros "cross" and
stauroo "crucify" are not found in the epistles of the circumcision, but are found only in
the epistles of Paul. In Paul's epistles stauros occurs eleven times and stauroo eight
times. For this there must be a reason. Peter speaks of Christ being slain and "hanged on
a tree", as does Paul (Acts 5: 30; 10: 39; Gal. 3: 13); and in his epistles Peter tells us
that Christ bare our sins in His own body on the tree (I Pet. 2: 24), but he never once
speaks of "The Cross" neither does he ever use the word "crucify" except in his charge
against the people of Israel (Acts 2: 36; 4: 10) repeating the historical fact already
made known in the Gospels but never using the term when speaking doctrinally or of
It appears from this, that when either of the apostles are speaking of the death of
Christ to those who were or who had been under the law, they used the word "tree",
referring back to the law of Moses, as Paul actually does in Galatians and in Acts 13: 29
saying: "For it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Gal. 3: 13). Not
only is this difference observable, but another most important doctrine emerges; "the
curse" which is so intimately associated with "the tree" and "the law" is never spoken of
by the apostle Paul when dealing with the Gentiles as such. Only by putting themselves
"under the law" can a Gentile come "under the curse" (Gal. 3: 10). In the O.T. from
Genesis to Malachi we meet with the possibility of coming under a curse, and so
widespread is this imprecatory teaching, that we find, even when limiting ourselves to the
A.V., that the O.T. contains seventy references to cursing, and that nine Hebrew words
are employed to express it. Of these seventy references, sixty-five belong to Israel, and
five only occur before the call of Abraham. These are the primeval curse upon the
ground because of the sin of Adam and of Cain, and the curse pronounced by Noah upon
From these facts we are led to see the reason why Paul in his peculiar ministry, was
inspired to adopt the Gentile words "crucify" and "cross" in place of the Hebrew words
"hang" and "tree". Once only in the LXX does the Greek word stauroo occur, namely in
Esther 7: 9, where we read "and the king said, let him be hanged thereon". In this
particular passage the writer is reporting the saying of a Gentile king, and so puts into his
mouth the word "crucify". The Hebrew word thus translated is talah, and occurs in