Monday, February 21, 2011

The Cross

Do you realize the magnitude of what our Lord did for you? He, who was without sin, covered you with His righteousness.

When we look upon the cross as the iconic representation of our faith and the crucifixion it stands for, we have to realize it was once something quite different. It was an icon for what was, at one time, the most brutal torture ever conceived. It was a symbol of absolute terror. The Romans, who acquired the practice from the Arabians, Carthaginians, and Persians, would set these crosses up within the city limits of pre-conquered areas and randomly crucify some of their inhabitants, just to keep the others in line. Alexander the Great practiced this because it made the rest of an area to be in fear, thus easily conquerable. The Romans saw this as a good idea then took it and even improved it. Subsequently, they instituted the same practice and used it against non-Roman people accused of a crime for capital offences. It was most effective!

Cross. The cross—that symbol of torture and punishment—turned into an enduring icon of redemption and love! The cross is pivotal for the real Christian faith. Without it, there would have been no redemption or real faith, as the substance of our faith would have been absent.

The cross is central to who Jesus is and what He did for us. If you take away the cross, you no longer have a faith; you have a mere religion based on superstitions and man’s creative ingenuity. The cross represents atonement—our being forgiven of our debt of sin by our Lord’s shed blood. This is the heart and core of our faith. There is no Christianity without the cross! Jesus carried the sins of those religious leaders, the sins of those soldiers, and our sins to the cross. Such an enormous, incredible gift of grace! If only we will accept it by faith! If only we would be willing to pursue that faith into the depths of His Word and precepts in order to be better in our character, in our maturity, and in our witness (Matt. 27: 32-37; John 19)!

He dealt with our sin here and all the way to the cross; we are to receive His grace and continue to look to Him to do away with our sin—not look to ourselves or to circumstances. If not, even if pride does not get us, compromise will! It will take over our integrity and we will lose. Look to Him! Look to the acceptance of the God of the universe and the loving community of the Church, which we can enjoy so we do not need to partake of the world when we have so much more. We cannot seek virtue unless we deal with sin; we cannot grow in Him unless we deal with sin; so—deal with your sin! If you do not, pride, selfishness, and hate will win out and you will lose in your faith formation and in your testimony to others!

Jesus chose to endure through the most heinous suffering a person could experience. How does this affect you? What can you do to be appreciative of our Lord? How will this affect the way you live your life and treat others?

What does it mean to you that your debt of sin has been paid and that you no longer owe a penalty or sacrifice for your sin? Keep in mind that as Jesus did this, He did it for you! What does this mean to you?


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