13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Wingmen, suppose the cross that Jesus died upon could someway, somehow talk? After over 2,000 years, the cross of Jesus is speaking more loudly than ever. This is good news for those who are listening and troubling news for those who aren’t listening either intentionally or by neglect. Something took place at the cross that had never in the history of time and eternity happened.
Crucifixion was a cruel form of execution. A prison would have a written charge against him stating his crime. Jesus took your sin—the sin that would send you to hell—and nailed it to His cross, which communicated, “The sin debt has been paid.” Paul writing to the Colossian believers warning them of the false teachers who promoted a rules-driven salvation rather than a faith-based salvation.
I. You Are Not Okay!
There is a problem, an issue with every single one of us; and that issue is we have sinned against God. We have missed the mark of God’s perfection. We have broken the commandments of a holy God.
The cross is God’s way of saying that man has failed, man has fallen short, and man has sinned. The cross is not an affirmation of “all religions are the same,” or “this is one path to God.” The cross demands that everyone, regardless of who they are or what they have done, seek salvation at the same place (the cross) and from the same Person (Jesus). Salvation is a result of what Jesus did on the cross.
II. It Is Not Enough
What’s not enough? Anything you do to attempt to get to God to gain eternal life. Your “enough” is never enough. The presence of Jesus on the cross says there is nothing you can do or not do, say or not say that is enough to forgive your sins and give you a relationship with God. The greatest difference between Christianity and other religions is this: All other religions require that you work for, earn, or deserve salvation through something you do. Christianity teaches that God had to come to us in the flesh as perfect man yet still fully God, and die in our place for our sin. “Religion” is doing something to try to gain God’s favor. Christianity brings God’s favor to us, if we will only receive it.
The cross is saying that goodness is not enough; sincerity is not enough; religion is not enough; baptism is not enough; church membership is not enough; counting a Rosary is not enough; feeding and clothing the poor is not enough. But when God looks at Jesus on the cross, He declared, “It is enough.”
5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,
III. You Are NOT TOO Bad
The cross of Jesus declares that no matter what you have done, God can forgive you and give you a second chance, a new beginning. At the cross God accepts you at your worst if you come to Him in repentance and faith. We see the repentant bad man (the thief) beside Jesus:
42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”
43And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
The cross is saying that there is absolutely nothing you have done or could ever do (with the exception of the unpardonable sin of rejecting Jesus) that it cannot address with forgiveness.
IV. God Loves You This Much
The cross does not answer WHY God loves us; however, it does answer how much He loves us.
The cross is a visible, historical sign that God really loves you, and that John 3:16 is more than just the words from the most beloved Scripture in all the Bible. The cross is God’s most profound expression of His unconditional love toward you. The cross shows the height, length, width, and depth of the love of God.
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and
length and height and depth,
V. Satan Is a Loser
I John 38b says, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” To destroy means to undo them, put an end to them, demolish them. Jesus took the chains of Satan and broke them, which means he no longer has the power to place you in bondage (Colossians 2:15).
VI. God Understands
The cross says, “God understands your hurts, your sorrows, your bad days, your difficult decisions, your dealing with discouraging people, your impossible-looking situations, your pain, your wounds and your broken heart over a relationship.
15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
No matter what you are facing, the cross is God’s tangible way of saying, “I not only sympathize with your circumstance, I empathize with it. I’ve been there. I understand.”
VII. No Deals
The cross says God does not make special deals when it comes to salvation. God doesn’t make exceptions when it comes to salvation. God won’t take into consideration that your situation is different, so therefore he will make an exception concerning the exclusive way of salvation. Jesus Himself said:
6 …“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
VIII. Carry Me Daily
As followers of Jesus we are called to carry His cross every single day and everywhere we go.
27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Taking up His cross daily means facing difficulties, trials, sufferings, heartache, spiritual attacks from Satan and his army of demons, betrayals, ridicule, people problems, mocking, the object of joking, and being categorized by names such as “bigoted,” “narrow-minded,” “right wing fundamentalist,” and a “communicator of hate speech.” When you identify with Jesus, when you boldly take up His cause, you invite adverse circumstances into your life that you would not have had if you were not carrying His cross. If you really love Jesus, you will be willing to be persecuted for your faith in Him.
IX. You Don’t Have to Go to Hell
Jesus died on the cross so you would not have to go to hell. You can choose to go there, but you don’t have to because of the cross. The cross stands in every person’s way on the road to hell. You have to receive it or reject it, embrace it or escape it, accept it or decline it, but you cannot ignore it. The cross says, “God has something better, something more for you.” You don’t have to go to hell! That’s one reason Jesus’ message is called the good news.
X. Decide Today
The presence of the cross demands a decision. Is Jesus who He said He was, or is He a fake? Is He the Son of God as the Roman Soldier admitted, or is He simply a good man, a moral and ethical teacher, or just another prophet? The cross is not easy or convenient for those who accept it. It is not a comfortable lifestyle when you identify with Jesus’ cross. However, when you decide to pick it up, not only does eternity change for you, your life becomes exciting, purposeful, impacting, and the journey of a lifetime. Your life becomes eternally significant.