“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 6:23
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” — 2 Corinthians 5:21
The Cross of Jesus Christ is the signature symbol of the most central event in the history of civilization, yet today it is depicted as a common, everyday image. Its shape is molded into an unending array of jewelry pieces so we can staple them to our ears and wear them around our necks. Manufacturers have reduced this symbol of unlimited atonement into fuzzy things for our rearview mirror, garden ornaments, and wall decorations. From teacups to T-shirts, society has used the cross to corner the market on insensitivity. Department stores offer chocolate shaped crosses for Holy Week. Baseball players and businessmen cross themselves before their big moment. The cross itself has become big business but it was never intended to be reduced to a lucky charm – this is profanity in the truest sense. Is it any surprise we have lost the wonder of what happened on Calvary?
The resurrection of Christ was the event that accomplished salvation and verified His victory over death, but it was the cross of Christ that showed us the grace of God. Everything that God wants us to know about Himself comes together in those crossbeams.
Our entire purpose in life is to elevate the Cross. In your mind’s eye, picture Jesus Christ, stretched out against the sky: What is He doing up there? The answer? He is subbing for you and for me. He is taking God’s wrath for your sin. He is satisfying the demands of a Holy God. He is paying the price that God’s law requires so that you and I could be forgiven. In the place where our blood should have stained the ground, Jesus hung as our substitute.
The gospel cannot be understood without a comprehension of this substitution. His death was in the place of every person who has ever, and will ever live. I am in that line, and you are too. Each of us deserved this death penalty for our sin, but Jesus stepped in and took that penalty for each of us. Jesus died FOR us; He died so we would not have to. No one was worthy to stand in the place of fallen humanity except the Son of God.
I am glad that Jesus died for us and took our place on the cross not only so that we could live for Him, but so we could lift the Message of the Cross high for all to see. This coming Easter season, reflect upon the work of the Cross and give thanks to the Creator God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
— Scotty Dingess is pastor of the West Logan Church of God and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association