The Acceptable Cross

The cross, for the most part, seems to be accepted in our society. People seem to be comfortable with that old rugged cross. No offense is taken by it as it hangs around one’s neck in wood, silver or gold. Furthermore, culture accepts and even appreciates the rows upon rows of white crosses at Arlington. And so, the cross is accepted…. or is it?

The cross is accepted without it being accepted per say… it is accepted without definition. Seemingly, our culture is ok with the cross until its full meaning, power and glory is expressed. It is one thing to wear a cross around ones neck, it is quite another to accept the cross and all that it is! Yes, the cross means so much much more than a piece of jewelry and much more than the tool by which Christ died.  So, what is it? What does that cross in the graveyard represent? As it stands there quietly, it is not silent! So, what does that cross say?

Accepting The Cross Is To Accept He Died For Our Sins

Only sinners need the cross of Christ. Contrary to how most of us think, we are not basically good people with a few minor flaws. We like to think all is well; that we are all ok. After all,  we are not like those “really bad people”. “Sure” we say, “nobody is perfect, but I am pretty good…”

And so we figure God loves us and He certainly accepts our minor character flaws. “Besides”, we tell ourselves, “I am working harder to do better.” But, what if we are not as good as we think we are?

Let me invite you to have a moment of honest reflection within yourself? Are you as “good” as you think you are? Allow me to explain…. as I consider my day, my week, my month, and even my life…. I begin to realize just how sinful I am. Sin is anything in our words, thoughts, or actions that does honor God. Sin comes naturally. I don’t have to think about it and no one needed to teach me.  From my youngest memories – anger, jealously, pride, lust, greed, impatience, ingratitude, and so much more flowed like a fountain. Words, thoughts, actions that do not honor my God appear with more regularity than I care to admit or would want anyone to know.  And yet… God does know….

Let’s be honest – we are not as good as we think.

If we are all basically good people, then why did Jesus die? The cross on which Christ died begins to tell us that we are not as good as we think. If we were, then why did He die? If people are basically good, then what is the point of the bloody cross and a crucified Savior? If we are basically good, then the cross is nothing more than something to hang in the hallway of our house. It might be nice wall art, but it will never save us from our sins or bring us to a place of worship!

And so, for the most part, we accept it. But, being sinners, the cross says something infinitely more. It says, we are not basically good, and our sins are in need of a Savior. Our sins deserve death! Christ died for our sins! Accepting the cross calls us to accept the really bad news that we are sinners before we come to understand the good news…the best news, that Christ died.

Accepting The Cross Is To Accept That Sin Separates Us From God

To accept the cross and all that it is, is to accept that, in our sin, we are separated from God. What this means is that outside of fully accepting the cross (by repentance of sin and faith in Christ), all is not “ok” between us and God. We want to believe that we will all go to heaven in the end. We tell ourselves as such each time we consider our human frailties and eventual death. And so, we view God as the all loving grandpa; always accepting and waiting to greet us in the sky one day. At least that is what we hope.

But friend, the cross tells us something radically different. Accepting the cross is to accept that in our sins we are separated from God, which is the really bad news. That is the whole point of the cross. Christ died on the cross so that we do not have to die for our sins. Christ died FOR us, in our place, taking the punishment that OUR sins deserved, which is the BEST NEWS! And, because he did, we can now repent of our sins and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins! When we do so, God forgives us of our sins and we are no longer separated from God. He restores us into relationship with Himself. And yes, on that day, when we die, we will be joined together with God for eternity!

Accepting The Cross Is To Repent

Repentance is turning away from one’s sins and embracing all Christ offers at the cross. The very nature of this repentance is an acceptance of what Christ has done and all that the cross means. Repentance is what one does in response to what Christ has done for us.

As we approach Good Friday and Easter, I pray that you might consider accepting the cross and all that it means. While it is one thing to accept it as wall art, it is quite another to accept the bad news of our sinfulness and the good news that that cross offers.

 

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