Far From Simple
We see them in many different places. Some stand proudly on top of a church. Others hang around a friend’s neck as jewelry. While some mark the burial plots of loved ones who are no longer with us.
As you’ve probably guessed, I’m referring to crosses. The ordinary cross we often times see is simply designed and not much to look at. It seems insignificant, but it’s far from.
I believe that most people, even those who deny God and his work, associate the crosses they see with Jesus Christ to a certain extent. The cross is a symbol of the Christian faith. Yet, as Christians, I don’t think we always hold the significance and amazement of what happened on Calvary’s cross in the right light as often and as highly as we should.
When Christ died on that simple, wooden cross, something far from simple happened. The sin of the whole world; past, present (at that time), and future was paid for by a carpenter from Nazareth. Did you hear that? “The sin of the whole (entire, sum of, complete, total) world… was paid for.” Let that linger in your mind. It’s truly amazing when you ponder that fact that is revealed to us through Scripture. The sacrifice Christ gave was that of a criminal, yet no crime stained his life. He was sin-less. His death and resurrection was necessary for our salvation.
According to Scripture, the spiritual debts of every single man, woman, and child were cleared by his sacrifice. By faith, through grace, is the reality of that substitutional act fulfilled in and credited to those who believe in Christ. (Eph. 2:8-9)
Over a year ago I was deeply reminded of the impact, awe-inspiring, and sheer grace of the Gospel message. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I hope the following story will help you realize the amazement of the Gospel as it continues to help me remember what Christ did for me.
It happened nearly one year ago at my job; I was reminded of the love of the Gospel. I work for a century old rug cleaning business where I clean, check-in, take payments for, and do all sorts of things for rugs. This day in particular my supervisor told me of something he dealt with earlier that day. He said that a rug cleaning customer had come in to the retail store to inform us on his ability to pay off his rugs that we had cleaned.
The customer owed us approximately $130 for the cleaning of his two rugs. He had come in that day to say that he had lost his job and that he did not have the amount of money needed to pay off his debt. Although, he was willing to deposit $5. He said it was all he could afford. My supervisor politely denied the customer’s offer of the deposit and told the man to pay the debt off when he was able. He didn’t pressure the man to pay the full price at that moment; instead he gave the man grace. But that wasn’t the ultimate reminder of grace that I saw that day.
After my supervisor told me of his conversation with the customer, I began to ponder something. At first, I saw the customer’s need to pay off a debt. And so I thought to myself about the possibility of paying off the man’s debt with my own money. But after that moment was when the desires of my sin nature and selfish flesh crept up and took the helm of my thoughts. My flesh had some input to give the situation.
I thought to myself, “Wait, why would I go out of my way to help pay off someone else’s debt? What good would that do me? It wasn’t my problem anyway. I didn’t accumulate that debt, he did. Plus, I didn’t even know the customer! How would I know if he was worthy of such an unexpected, yet generous gift? For all I knew, he could have been a selfish, heartless, worthless excuse for a human being. Why would I do that for him? He didn‘t deserve it.”
And that’s when it hit me! I saw the Gospel in a new light. I saw God in the form of a man dying for those who owed an enormous debt. I saw the undeserving receiving the best gift of all; eternal life through faith. Man’s sin gave birth to death, but God offered us life through his Son.
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. He willingly took my spiritual debt upon himself and was nailed to a simple, wooden cross. His broken and tortured body was beyond recognition. The man of miracles chose the most gruesome execution device of his day to be hung upon in order to say that “It is finished,”; that my wretched sin was taken care of. He then rose from the dead to give me life! There‘s no better example of love than that.
Yet it wasn’t a glorious sight to behold. It was bloody and unjust. But that’s what was necessary to open a way for sinful mankind to be made right with God.
So when I see a simple, wooden cross, one thing will come to mind. I will remember that Jesus Christ suffered horrendously upon a cross to save me from the spiritual death penalty that I rightly deserved. I will never again see a cross as simple. I’ll see it as the ultimate sign of a matchless love.
By faith, through grace are we saved. If you have not placed your full trust in Christ’s blood for the atonement of your sins, I urge you to. It is the only way to have new life. Most importantly, it is the only way to be made right with God. (John 14:6)