I have always felt that the cross should not be the symbol of Christianity. While the cross is a symbol of the price that Christ paid on our behalf at Calvary, it is the stone being rolled away and the open grave that I have thought should be the symbol of our faith.
I was wrong.
The open tomb and Christ being raised from the dead is the focal point of all of history and our belief in it is linked to our salvation (Romans 10:9), but there is something about what happened on the cross that speaks against the counter-gospel of the world. The counter-gospel that is preached by the world says this: be a good person and you will go to heaven.
They might not know this, but on this point we should all agree. If you are a good person, you will go to heaven. The problem is that most people don’t realize what being a “good” person really means. When most people think of a person as a “good” person, what they really mean is that they are a “decent” person. They pay their taxes, say “please” and “thank you”, they don’t hurt anybody, and some might even give money to a worthy cause. Such a person would be a “good” person by society’s standards.
In Luke 18 the Bible tells us:
“A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Luke 18: 18-19, NASB)
God is good. God is perfect.
We are born imperfect (Psalm 51: 5) and all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 5:23). All have sinned and all continue sinning. Yes, that includes us Christians. I don’t want to sin, but I still sin. Thankfully, my duty as a servant of Christ does not include being perfect for those who are lost or to those I am striving to be an example to. But, what they should see is my contrition when I do sin.
And that, I think, is the major problem. The commonality of sin has made its perceived gravity diluted and not so serious. Then the cross comes into focus; displayed on the wall in a home, on the steeple of a church, or hanging from a chain around a person’s neck and the question comes to mind: If sin is not so serious, why did Christ have to die?
While the miracle of Easter gives us hope, it is the tragic event of His death that displays His mercy, grace and the vastness of His love. “but God shows His love for us for while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)