When I survey the wonderous cross
Pastor Michael Newsom, Lamson Evangelical Free Church, Dassel
What does the cross mean to us?
I have seen delicate, little filigreed crosses and four-inch-tall chrome- plated crosses, studded with fake diamonds. I have seen them made of silver, gold, stone, and wood. They were worn as a beautiful ornament, a decoration.
The cross of Christ was not something beautiful; it was a hideous means of execution, stained with our Savior’s blood.
There is nothing wrong with wearing a cross. However, it is a great loss for us if we fail to grasp the meaning of the cross. It is much more than a decoration. It is a sermon, a message from God.
Since the crucifixion of Christ, the cross has become a symbol of what God accomplished for man through His Son.
I’m concerned that modern Christians have never learned to weep at the cross. If they have not wept at the cross, it is because they have not grasped its meaning. Certainly, we should be grieved when we understand that the greatest and the best of all beings suffered a horrible death on the cross. But there is more to it than that.
Romans 5:6-11: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” ESV
This is such an amazing statement that Paul is making. He is saying that it would be rare and incredible if someone would die for a very good and righteous person. In contrast, while you and I were still sinners, while we were still in our sin, enemies of God, guilty and worthy only of condemnation, the righteous Prince of Glory willingly went to the cross and died for us.
Have you ever wondered why the Pharisees hated Jesus so much? They hated Him because He was a friend to sinners.
Jesus wasn’t a friend to sinners because He loved sin. He was a friend to sinners because He loved mankind and all have sinned.
God so loved us that He gave His only Son so that sinners who trust in Him can be saved from sin and wrath. This is grace, God’s free gift of life. Self-righteous people resent this. They resent grace.
The message of the cross says that even in our best state, we all fall short of the glory of God and deserve nothing but condemnation. However, because of His great love for us, God provided a means through which we unworthy sinners could be given the gift of eternal life. This means was the brutal death of His precious Son, who allowed Himself to die in our place so that we could live.
When I really think about the meaning of the cross, it stirs deep emotions in me. The thing that touches me the most is that I am always aware that I am just a sinner saved by grace.
When I consider the cross, I am moved to tears of thanksgiving. How grateful I am that the greatest and best of beings should humble Himself to die for a wretch like me.
He died so that we could be forgiven, and even though guilt wants to remind us of our unworthiness, the cross reminds us of the gift of forgiveness provided by Jesus Christ our Savior.