What does it mean that God is cruciform love?

My vision is to see a world where all human beings, despite our many differences, can find the real, self-giving, unfailing, human-embracing, and shalom-giving love of God in Jesus.

My mission is to equip human beings to see God through the eyes of cruciform love.

Why? Well, I love the idea of a Spirit-inspired movement that focuses on bringing human beings closer to the God we know in Jesus—the concrete image and executor of God’s cruciform love.

God’s core nature as cruciform love

When we say that God is cruciform love, what we mean is that God’s essential nature—what most defines Him at the center of His being—is revealed in the voluntary, self-emptying love of Jesus on the cross.

Superlative revelation

At the cross of Jesus, who the Bible says is the “visible image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), and in whom the “fullness of Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9), is the superlative revelation of the Triune God and His unfailing love for human beings. “The cross stands at the heart of the trinitarian being of God.” (Jurgen Moltmann)

The Lamb slain and the Word made flesh

Jesus is the concrete image and executor of God’s cruciform love. And, when the Bible says that Jesus is the “Lamb who was slain from the creation of the earth” (Revelation 13:8), not only is this cruciform love reality displayed on the Redeemer’s cross, but also in the Creator’s handiwork.

Jesus is the concrete image and executor of God’s cruciform love. Click To Tweet

This means that God, through Jesus, not only emptied Himself to redeem and heal human beings and the earth at the cross, but that God also emptied Himself prior to creation so that He could make room for human beings like us. “Through him [the cruciform Word] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3).

In Jesus, God revealed His cruciform love through the voluntary, self-emptying work of the incarnation and crucifixion of Jesus. And Jesus, who is the eternal “Word [of the cosmos] made flesh” (John 1:14) is not only “God with us” (Matthew 1:23) but also God for us (cf. Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

Paradoxical God

“Where Jesus is, there is God’s love” (Bonhoeffer). God is most “God” at the cross of Jesus, where He [and His power] is paradoxically revealed in weakness, humility, forgiveness, mercy and suffering solidarity with humanity.

War via the cross

And, because God is cruciform love at His core, He wages war in the spiritual and earthly realms only through the cross of cruciform love and the power of the Spirit, who is spreading the Good News of that unfathomable love to human beings throughout the human Empire.

This is God's cruciform (cross-shaped) love.

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About the author


ChristianWeek Columnist

Josh is a faith and culture commentator, an award-winning writer and columnist, and a nationally-recognized voice in the Canadian faith community. He holds a MDiv from Tyndale Seminary, and is the recipient of the Stanley A. Boswell Expository Preaching Award and the Dr. Ross and Carol Bailey Theology Award. He lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with his wife and their two adorable daughters and blogs at joshvalley.com