|Volume 25 Number 5 May 2023
Charles E. Burch
The apostle Paul wrote, “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” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV). The cross has different meanings for different people, and it always has. To the people of Jerusalem in A.D. 33 the cross was just a cruel form of execution, usually reserved for the worst type of criminals. It was shameful, and that is the reason for the statement about Jesus that He “…endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Hebrews 12:2). However, for believers, the shame of that cross was overcome by the glory made possible by Jesus who died there. Paul wrote, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Galatians 6:14).
What do we see in the cross? Do we just see a religious symbol to be worn as decoration? Do we see a form of torture and execution? Do we see hope for eternity? Let us notice some things that we should see in the cross.
We should see the love of God. When Adam and Eve sinned in Eden, God drove them from His presence. Yet, He announced to them His intentions to overcome the devil’s influence and save man from sin (Genesis 3:15). God sent His Son to do that. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We can see God’s love in the giving of His Son.
We should see the blackness of sin. Many think that because everyone sins, one little sin won’t hurt. Contrariwise, we need to see sin as God sees sin! It is filth (Revelation 3:4), it is the dirt of the world (James 1:27), and it is described as a muddy hog pen (2 Peter 2:22). If we could see sin through the eyes of God for five seconds, it would change us forever.
We should see the torment of Hell. Solomon wrote, “…Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV). Regarding impenitent sinners, Jesus said, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment…” (Matthew 25:46). It took the cross to keep man out of this torment.
We should see the glory of Heaven. Jesus made a great and glorious promise, “…I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). It took His death upon the cross, as the perfect sacrifice, to make it possible for man to go to that place.
What do you see in the cross? A child of God will see the love of God, the blackness of sin, the torment of Hell and the glory of Heaven.