Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Retro SGM Radio: The Cross - Reflections By Artists and Pastors
The Cross as Seen by Artists and Pastors
By Lorraine Walker
The symbol of the Cross brings hope to some and derision from others. For the Christian, it represents freedom, a bridge, healing, and redemption. SGM Radio asked several pastors and artists about their view of the Cross.
Without the finished work on the Cross of Calvary, mankind would be in a hopeless, helpless state. The Cross of Christ is a symbol of perfection and completion. Christ finished his earthly works in a grand incomparable fashion by demonstrating his unconditional love for all of us on the Cross. To elect to no longer preach, sing, or talk about it would be blasphemous at the very least and I believe that those who bow under the pressure will have the blood of lost souls on their hands when they stand before God.”
"Here is the wisdom. Paul says in 1Corinthians 1:18, ‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ First of all, the cross tells us that we need a Savior. In spite of the modern mind and its “I’m ok, you’re ok” belief in humanity, the Scripture says differently. Our hearts and our natures are flawed and soiled by sin. We are not good enough as we are for a Holy God. We need a Savior. Secondly, the cross reveals that sacrifice is the way to gaining things of eternal value. Jesus revealed this paradox to us by His example and teaching, when you lay down your life, you gain it. If our lives are consumed with getting in life, we will ultimately lose life. Finally, the cross is a means of our transformation, hence, the call of Jesus to ‘take up your cross and follow Me’. The pride that infects and cripples us is laid there. Cultured and educated people have sincere and genuine hopes of utopia, society has devised its plans and passed its laws to make things better, but are they? We may be better educated but have we attained a higher and purer morality? The truth is that our hearts need to be changed and only bowing before the Christ of the cross can do that. I remember having the privilege of singing in a quartet when I was just 14 years of age. We didn’t garner many accolades but God did imprint on our minds some powerful truths. I can still quote the first words of the very first song we ever learned – the words were ‘Kneel at the cross, Christ will meet you there.’”
"Hard isn’t it, and yet this is what Christ did for us on Calvary, ‘In that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’. In that while we were doing that which mocked, offended and was absolutely repulsive to Him, Christ loved us so deeply He gave His life on Calvary. What does the cross mean to me? Amazing Love, and un-merited Grace handed down to man from an Almighty, all-loving God above.”
"In Jesus’ day the cross was a tool of execution. If we could move this statement into 2007 maybe it would sound like this, “let him deny himself, and take up his electric chair, and follow Me”. I don’t believe that the Lord was speaking of burdens in Matthew 16:24. I believe that Jesus was telling us that if we really want to follow Him, we must forget about ourselves, be willing to be executed for the cause of Christ, and then follow Him. That is such a foreign concept to us that live in a place where our persecution consists of not much more than some name calling. What if singing those gospel songs and preaching those gospel messages were an offense that was punishable by execution? Would you still do it? Wow, what a verse!”
"The most obvious mission of the Cross is that Jesus died to take away our sins. As true as that is, it’s not the primary purpose of the Cross. The complete mission of the cross is this: that Jesus died to take away our sins so that we could have unlimited access to God.
"These two thoughts are worlds apart. The Cross is a means to an end. The fact that the believer is declared righteous, again, is only a means to an end. The ‘end’ is found in having a working relationship with Christ, which can only come by being declared righteous. What if the entire world accepted the sacrifice of the Cross and was declared righteous? Great! But what if God then decided to move on to another universe and leave us in our righteousness? What value would the victory over sin have? The declaration of righteousness is not a trophy or a decoration; it’s our ticket to God. It’s our ticket to His Throne and to His warm embrace. The primary mission of the believer is to take advantage of the primary purpose of the cross every day.”
First published April 2007 on http://www.sgmradio.com
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Cross image courtesy of http://jkitchen.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/cross.3.jpg