I love a good mystery. My favorite mystery writer is Mary Higgins Clark, and I’ve managed to collect all but a few of her entire works. But the greatest mystery ever told is why God chose to redeem mankind through Christ’s death on the cross. This week we’ll explore the mystery of the cross—foolishness to the unsaved but the power of God to those who claim Him as Lord and Savior (I Cor. 1:18).
What the Cross Tells Us about Us
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
When we think of the cross, we can easily get mired in the view of ourselves as sinners, unworthy of God’s love or Christ’s sacrifice. After all, Christ died to save us from our sins. The New Testament is pretty graphic in its portrayal of us before we became Christians: impure, idolaters, jealous, selfish, angry, liars, and so on.
Paul says any of us might give our lives for a good person, but no one would willingly sacrifice himself for an enemy. But Christ died for us while we were sinners! (See Romans 5:6-8.) But that’s not the last word on the subject. Good news! God must think of us as VERY worthy to have gone to so much trouble to save us. In fact, He must think we are the pinnacles of His created order—the cat’s p.j.’s you might say!
If the cross proves our value to God, our response must be one of thankfulness. In a familiar story from Christ’s life, a woman with a bad reputation bathes Jesus’ feet with perfume. When the other banquet guests scorn her actions, Jesus replies, “Well, guys, those who have been forgiven little, love little. She must love me a lot!” (See Luke 7:36-50 for the full account.)
Do you love much? Our gratitude quotient says a lot about whether we feel a need to praise and honor Jesus for His sacrificial death and saving grace. If you’re glad you will spend eternity in heaven instead of hell, perhaps a little kingdom service might be in your future, as well. In fact, we are saved in order to do good. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).
Salvation is past (when you accepted Christ), present (as you continue in Him), and future (when we all get to heaven, hallelujah!). Meanwhile, we are to shine like stars in the universe (Phil. 2:15) as we point others to the light of life (Matt. 5:14).
Are you shining? If not, try an attitude of gratitude. Focus on God’s love, Christ’s offering of His body and blood, the significance of the cross, and your future in glory. That ought to cast a blinding light on the next person who comes your way.
Living in the light,