THE CROSS

 

Growing up in religion, I learned to worship the cross or the crucifix that was located at the front of the church behind the altar. We also had crosses hanging from the rear view mirrors in our cars and many wore them around their necks on chains or as earrings. I am going to show you in this teaching that this is idolatry and looking back, it now seems ludicrous as the crucifix was an instrument of execution. We might as well have been worshipping a gallows or an electric chair

In Exodus 20, God gave the children of Israel some commandments. And in verses 3 through 5 God said,

"Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me..."

Can you see that God said to not worship ANY image? I thank God that he sent Jesus to give sight to the blind (me)

Idolatry

The Old Testament makes it clear what God considers an idol and other gods. Talking about the gods of the heathen which,

"were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone" (2 Kings 19:18 and Isaiah 37:19) and,

"The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands" (Psalm 115:4 and Psalm 135:15).

Worshipping any man made image makes us a heathen in God's eyes and his wrath will visit not only us but our children even unto the third and fourth generations. That alone is enough to make one fear God enough to heed His word. Paul writing in 1 Corinthians instructs us,

"Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say." (chapter 10:14-15)

It is wise to flee from the idolatry involved in worshipping the cross that was made with men's hands.

Jesus on the Cross

The Spirit of God revealed to me out of the mouth of His servant, from the pages of the bible, that the image at the front of my childhood church could not have been Jesus.

"As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:" (Isaiah 52:14).

"...he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2).

"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint..." (Psalm 22:14).

"...they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me." (Psalm 22:16-17).

Can you see that when my sins and sicknesses and those of the whole world were placed upon Jesus while he was on the cross, all his bones were out of joint and his body was marred more than any man's body was or ever will be. He was not pleasant to look at in this state and he sure didn't look like the graven image portrayed on the crucifix.

Why was this done to Him? "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5).

We thought God did this to him, but it was our iniquities and transgressions that were put upon his body that did this. If you read on in this 53rd chapter you will see that,

"...it pleased the Lord to bruise him..." (verse 10) and,

"He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:..." (verse 11).

When our sins and iniquities were placed on Jesus, the Father was satisfied that Jesus paid the price for our sins, so we wouldn't have to die.

"...For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23).

We deserve to die for our sins, but Jesus paid the penalty for us. Now that is good news!

The Cross is the Gospel

So what is the cross? What did Jesus mean when he said in Luke 9:23,

"...If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

Did he mean we should carry around two wooden sticks (gold around our necks) or did he mean we each have to bear our own personal suffering, as he suffered? That is what Satan would like you to believe. As in all questions concerning God and things spiritual, the answer is contained in the bible which some say is written on a fifth grade level.

Jesus speaking through his servant Paul, said in 1 Corinthians 17 and 18,

"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

Paul interchanged the words Gospel and Cross. He said the cross is the power of God. In Romans 1:16, Paul speaking by the Holy Spirit said,

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth..."

Can you see that the gospel is the power of God and that the cross is the power of God? The gospel is defined in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 as,

"...Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

The gospel and the cross are the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which is the power of God. This power was manifested when God raised Jesus from the dead. If we worship an image of Jesus dead on the cross, then we are still dead in our sins.

"And if Christ be not raised, your faith is in vain; ye are yet in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:17).

While Jesus died for our sins, we were not forgiven our sins until He was raised from the dead.

Again, the power of God for our salvation is the resurrected Jesus, not the one still hanging on the cross. Paul in praying for the church at Ephesus said he gave thanks for them and he prayed that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened, that they would know the hope of His calling and would know,

"what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead and set him at His own right hand in heavenly places..." (Ephesians 1:19-20).

God's power that raised Jesus from the dead, worked out our salvation. And when he raised Jesus and set him in heavenly places, he raised us also.

"And hath raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6).

Jesus visage today

The book of Revelation tells us what Jesus looks like today. When Jesus appeared to the apostle John after the resurrection and instructed him to write down the things contained in this last book of the bible, John described what Jesus looked like:

"And I turned to the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters." (Revelation 1:12-15).

Is this the Jesus you worship, or do you worship a graven image of a man on two wooden sticks which is not Jesus? This is the question that was posed to me. I had to determine that either what I learned from religion was incorrect or the bible was incorrect. God in his infinite mercy caused me to make the right decision and believe His word over man's tradition. If you will confess Jesus as your Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, the power of the cross of the Lord Jesus will set you free from the cross made with men's hands.

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