We have a constant tendency to stop remembering the cross . . . . and to start depending on legalism and self-effort to make our way in life. It’s natural, not supernatural as in “God-inspired.” Just natural, reverting to the old pathways which lead us away from God’s transforming embrace instead of towards Him.
The cross should be an inspiration to us as Christ-followers, reminding us of the sacrifice made to demonstrate God’s passionate love for us which granted us salvation. Most of us don’t choose to consider the flip-side of what we deserved and have been delivered from by accepting Christ’s work on the cross. That’s understandable. Who wants to dwell on the wrath of God and the ugly truth that prior to our embracing the cross we were enemies of God? Frankly, I don’t think even God wants us stuck on the morbid truth that we were fallen and broken before He lifted us above our past and practices by virtue of the blood of Christ. He wants us thinking of ourselves and viewing life as His new creations. God wants us to lead positive lives, leaning into Him and worshiping Him for His great grace and mercy.
There’s something about verb tenses with respect to the cross that we need to nail down.
In Galatians 2:20, the apostle Paul declares “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Let’s look more closely. That “old” me, my sin nature, my rebellious flesh has been crucified, put to death as it was laid on the cross with Christ to die. My old self is dead and gone and what now exists is new and pliable in the hands of God. Perhaps more so, we have the privilege of saying these words about the cross and what we meant and still mean to Jesus . . . “The Son of God loved me . . . (my messy old self) the Son of God gave Himself for me.” How can there be any room for uncertainty about God’s passionate love for you and me? Romans 5:8 adds an exclamation point by saying “but God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Do you get that? From the standpoint of a perfectly holy God, we were attractive to Him even when we were at our messiest.
Before you and I were conceived or took a breath or took our first steps or committed our first sins, God saw ahead into the future to make provision for us to be acceptable to Him and engage in relationship with Him. His desire for us began much before our awareness of Him. The Bible speaks often of God being jealous for us, meaning he wants sole possession of us with no distractions and certainly no lesser gods vying for our affections. We must begin to see the cross as the focal point of our relationship with God. Granted there are many distractions that turn us away from being conscious of the cross. Perhaps for you it is guilt. God will help you deal with that while not condemning you. (Romans 8:1 Look it up!) Shame. God forgives our sin and chooses not to remember them. (PS.103:12; Heb. 8:12 Look it up! ) A sense of unworthiness. Really,would God offer the life of His Son for something of little value?I’m not sure what to think about the cross as worn in jewelry or as household decorations. I’m also a mite uneasy about pictures of Jesus. But one thing is sure. A cross is where the One who created me made it possible for me to know His love and know Him by a sacrifice of unimaginable proportions . . . . while I was still a mess and a rebel. What kind of love is that? The cross reminds me. Think About It.