The “vertical and the horizontal of the cross” is a helpful way of defining justification and sanctification. It’s a symbolic way to explain our relationship with God and our relationship with man. It’s a way to differentiate between what God has done for us and what we can do for Him.
The cross is constructed of two beams. The upright beam is placed in the ground and extends from the ground to the sky. It points to Heaven and can be thought of as representing God’s work in justifying us and our relationship with Him. It’s up and down, reflecting the cardinal directions of north and south.
The horizontal beam, which is supported by the upright beam, stretches from east to west. It can be thought of as representing the sanctification God works in us after we are justified and the relationship we have with our fellow man.
Another Way to “See” the Vertical and Horizontal
(excerpt from Remember Me – A Course in Rightly Remembering, by Shari Abbott)
It’s interesting to note that the first three of the Ten Commandments pertain to our relationship with God. The last six are about our relationship with our fellow man. So where does the fourth commandment fit in?
The fourth commandment, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy is the one that binds the others together. It is the commandment to rest in God and to find our satisfaction and peace in Him alone.
In His earthly incarnation, Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments with two Great Commandments:
Matthew 22:37-40 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
The first three of the Ten Commandments are summarized in Jesus’ first and great commandment to love God. Those three commandments are about our vertical relationship with God.
The last six of the Ten Commandments are summarized in Jesus’ second commandment to love our neighbors. Those commandments are about our horizontal relationship with others.
Jesus clearly proclaimed that His Law is all about love—loving God first and then loving our neighbors. But what about the fourth commandment?
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Ex 20:8)
Jesus is our rest. He fulfills the fourth commandment as our Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4). And His Law is love (John 13:34, James 2:8).
We are to abide in Christ and allow His love and His Spirit to work in and through us, and direct and guide us.
- Abiding in Christ is our source of peace, comfort, and strength. (vertical — gifts given to us by God)
- Abiding in Christ fuels us with His love and enables us to love others. (horizontal — gifts/service we can give to others)
Live your life in the light of what Jesus has done for you. Be anchored in Him. Rejoice in who you are in Him. Find your rest in Jesus and remember that the law we live by is His Law of Love — Love for God (vertical, 1 John 4:19) and love for our neighbors (horizontal, Rom 13:10).
The Royal Law
The Royal Law is the Law of King Jesus. He gave this Law/commandment to His 11 faithful disciples (after Judas left) on the night in which He was betrayed :
John 13:34-5 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
The love we give to others, in our horizontal relationships, flows from the love we have received in our vertical relationship.
1 John 4:19 We love him because he first loved us.
Loving our neighbors is fulfilling the Royal Law.
James 2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.
Abide in Christ. Allow His love and His Spirit to work in and through you, to direct and guide you, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, keep the Royal Law. Understand that God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does! Until Jesus returns for us, or until we die and go to be with Him, show His love by loving and serving others.
Find Sabbath Rest in Jesus
It’s easy for us to focus on the horizontal. The world calls loudly and the flesh desires that which is worldly. Always remember to focus on the vertical, first and foremost. Only by seeking God first (the vertical) can we receive strength for the day, joy for life’s journey, and rest for the soul.
Isa 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…
Mat 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Heb 4:9-11 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
When thinking of the cross, the best way to remember the vertical and horizontal is:
“It is Finished” (vertical).
It’s new every morning (horizontal).
***Lent: 40 Titles for 40 Days (Download NOW: 40 Titles for Lenten Devotions)
What is Lent? Should I Give Up Something? (Article and Video)
This Time Called Lent (Video)
Prepare for Lent (Video)
Lent Reflections (Video)
How Should You Observe Lent? (Article)
How Should You Observe Lent? (Reflect and Prepare short video)
Have You Sat At The Master’s Table? (John 13-17)
What's Wrong with This FB Lenten Fast?
About Holy Week
Jesus’ Last Days Timeline: the Cross and the Resurrection
Blessed is the King -- A Palm Sunday video
Hosanna -- Palm Sunday (Jesus Wept) (video)
Walking with Jesus – Tested by the Chief Priests and Elders
The Last Supper
What is Maundy Thursday? The Basin & The Towel
Maundy Thursday until Easter Sunday (video)
What’s your Judas experience? The Pain of Betrayal
What Do We Know about Judas? This Might Surprise You.
The Last Supper was NOT a Passover Seder?
Was Jesus crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
Thursday Crucifixion? Do these two reasons “nail” it?
Why do we call it good [Friday]?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
How is Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the Crimson Worm? A Remez In Psalm 22?
Who do you need to reconcile with today?
Who Killed Jesus?
Since Jesus was the Passover LAMB, Why Didn't God Provide a Lamb in Genesis 22?
Did Pilate Proclaim Jesus to be God?
Was Jesus Forsaken by His Father?
The centurion's song from the foot of the cross: “Surely This Was a Righteous Man”
Journey to the Cross: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday
How Do We Know Psalm 22 Is About The Cross?
Q & A: Thursday Crucifixion Discussion
Three Days in the Heart of the Earth
The Days of Darkness
Sadness and Despair: The Darkest Days of All Time
Obituary of Jesus: Body Stolen or Risen? What do you say?
About Easter and Resurrection Life
The Father's, Son's and Believer's Perspectives of the Cross
Because He Lives, I Can Face Tomorrow (video)
Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia (video)
A Place in the Sun (Son) (video)
You'll Never Walk Alone (video)
How to Close Your Eyes and Really SEE Jesus!
Open Your Eyes to The Full Gospel
Are you glad to see Jesus?
Ponder the Prophecies of Jesus’ Mission (video and downloadable file)
What If We Skipped Easter This Year?
He’s back….and it changed everything!
The Lord is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!
Because He Rose: The resurrection changed everything! (video)
What’s the Meaning of the Folded Napkin in the tomb?
Keep Easter Alive in Your Heart: He Came Back (video)
The Only Soul-Saver, Sin-Forgiver, Chain-Breaker, Pain-Taker, Way-Maker, Hope-Giver: Jesus
Keep Looking Up
Praise God, He’s Alive
Christian Internet Forwards? The Rest of “The Birdcage” Story? (video)
Ways to Glorify God - Bookmark
Watch NOW...You will be blessed.
Read: Is Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” a Christian Song?*******
Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists
We continue to reach people worldwide with the truths of God's Word and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Your generosity is both a blessing and encouragement. Our mission is to glorify God by equipping, encouraging, and empowering YOU to understand the Bible and grow in faith. If our online resources have blessed you, please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Our ministry outreach has grown significantly and . . .
Please support Reasons for Hope* Jesus with a donation of $5, $10, $20, or more. A donation of any amount is needed and greatly appreciated.
CLICK TO DONATE
to Reasons for Hope*Jesus(a 501c3 Ministry)
Use a Credit Card or PayPal for safe, secure giving.
***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***
Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus. When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).
A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.
The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2022
- The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
- Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
- Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
- How long did JOB SUFFER?
- What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings?
- How are the Shepherd’s ROD and STAFF Different?
- Which Old Testament Book Did JESUS QUOTE most often?
- The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
- ONLY ONE LIFE, Twill Soon Be Past – by C.T. Studd (1860 – 1931)
- How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM in Psalm 22?
This is not a Got Questions? article. But it's so popular it ranked among the top pages viewed:
More Popular Got Questions
- Did Jesus Fight Satan to Take Back the KEYS of Death and Hell?
- How Did the Wise Men Know This Was the Messiah and KNOW TO FOLLOW HIS STAR?
- What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDAN River mean? (Joshua 4)
- Jesus' Last Days TIMELINE: The Cross and The Crucifixion
- How Many MIRACLES Did Jesus Do?
- Is Leonard Cohen’s “HALLELUJAH” a Christian Song?
- Where did OT Saints go at death? ABRAHAM'S BOSOM?
- SIN, INIQUITY, TRANSGRESSION? How are they different?
- What are the NAMES of JEHOVAH Hidden in Psalm 23?
- Jesus in the Gospels: What are the Four Different Presentations of Jesus?
- If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Re-Baptized?
- Why Did God Create Man Knowing MAN WOULD SIN?
- What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
- What are the “I Will ” STATEMENTS of Satan, God, and Jesus?
- Was MARY a LEVITE Making Jesus both a Priest and King?
- Why Was a RAM SACRIFICED in Genesis 22 Instead of a Lamb?
- Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER?
- Can Jews go to Heaven without knowing Jesus?
TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
- Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace
- RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
- WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
- PAUL HARVEY: THE BIRDCAGE
- PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: A SOLDIER'S PLEDGE
- Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas
- JOHN WAYNE ~ WHY I LOVE AMERICA
- Jimmy Stewart - Nativity Scene Prayer: Mr. Krueger's Christmas
- THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share
- Not by Might, Not by Power, But BY MY SPIRIT says the Lord (Zechariah 4:6)
- Erwin Lutzer - We Will Not Be SILENCED