Remember the Cross - Don't Merely Romanticize It

This past Sunday, I made a passing comment during our morning worship service about how modern Christianity has "Cleaned up the cross. Made it a piece of jewelry. A pretty symbol to be looked at." So, a thoughtful individual challenged me after the service by asking "what place then does the symbol of the cross have in Christian life and worship?" What a great question! Without debate, the cross is the blazing center of the Christian message, faith, and practice. When the centrality of the cross is lost, the Christian faith will soon digress into some sort of moralistic, deistic religious system. 

My question to help clarify this issue is this - are we remembering the cross or romanticizing the cross? Church history has done a pretty good job of romanticizing the cross. Make the cross a pretty symbol that hangs on steeples, bejewels scepters, dangles on chains, and decorates book shelves. All of these romantic symbols, may well encourage some to truly remember the Savior, but often the true symbol of the cross is lost. It becomes a piece of art, a mark of beauty, and maybe even a religious good luck charm. 

However, when we actually use the symbol of the cross to remember the wrath-satisfying, righteousness-securing, atonement-providing, grace-lavishing, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on our behalf, the symbol of the Cross is truly glorious. 

Colossians 1:19-23 was our text this past Sunday at EGBC - ponder Colossians 1:19 for a moment with me: 

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 

The line that leapt off the page to me was, making peace by the blood of his cross. There is an apparent dichotomy here - peace by the cross. An instrument of torture and death produced peace. A tool designed specifically to humiliate, to brutalize, do destroy, to ultimately take life. This cross was the very thing through which God would produce peace. Sinners would be eternally reconciled to God through this horrific, torturous symbol. 

The cross must be remembered, but when it is truly remembered it will not merely be romanticized. It must not only produce sentimental feelings, but rather it should produce worship. Whole hearted devotion to the One who suffered in our place on that cross. Joyful submission to the One who secured our peace with God by that cross. Deep rooted affection for the One who suffered under the curse of Genesis 3 by enduring the cross. 

 

May we never cease to Remember the Cross - 

Pastor Justin