Is the Cross Politically Correct?
Today, we have become so politically correct and so sensitive to words that even in our congregations and our churches we have compromised our beliefs and our words so we do not offend anyone. Tolerance is the word of the day, and yet we do not have tolerance for everything or everyone: it’s like pick and choose depending on who you are or what you believe. "Everyone must get a trophy, everyone must win, we can not have anyone left out. Watch your words! Are they degrading, or harsh, or something I just don’t want to hear? Give me a place to run to, give me a safe place from words and life!" But is this really life? The world we live in is a dangerous place. The Bible tells us that there is good and evil, there are those who will be saved and those who will not be saved, there is a heaven and there is a hell. But to so many people these statements are politically incorrect.
So I ask, do we live by the Word of God or do we live to please those who cannot or will not believe in a God who would not include all? It is sad to say, but many believers will say, "I can only believe that God in His mercy and grace will save all those who are good." Many say, "God is a God of love and He would not send anyone to hell." Many say, "Well, I am a good person and God would not send me to hell." Many even would say, "I go to church, God would not send me to hell." I have even heard believers say, "There are many ways to get into heaven. They may have been baptized, they may have said a prayer, belong to a certain denomination, go to church, or even read their Bible." Many even would say, "My pastor tells us that we can still do this or that. He even does those things himself."
So the question is, have we moved away from the cross of Calvary? Have we taken a step backwards? Is the cross even politically correct? In our society today, we do not like the thought of pain or torture. We do not like the sight of blood and death. We do not want to hear about it. We have become calloused to it, we resent it even. We want to run to our safe place, we want comfort, we want to close our ears and we do not want to listen. We close our eyes and we do not want to see. We have become weak, we have become soft.
We see death and we ask, "Why? Why does a loving God allow this?" Today’s believers do not even want to see a crucifix because we say, "Yeshua has risen, He is no longer on the cross. Quick, take the sight of it away from me! We want to live in the resurrection, not the death." Without His death, we would have no need of the resurrection. It was through that grief that He bore our sins. It was through His death on the cross that He paid our debt. “Yes, we will accept that, but not the cross." But this same cross, this instrument of pain and suffering and death which our Messiah Yeshua carried to His death, this cross is exactly what Yeshua tells us that we need to pick up in order to follow Him. We say, “NO, NO! I do not want to die. I have my life and I want to keep it. I have my business, I have my home, my car, all those things that I love and enjoy. I will not give them up, I will not die." When a person hears that he is going to die, that is his response. There is a process that a man goes through when he hears that he is going to die. There is anger and denial and a sorrow and a letting go of this world which has to take place, and then hopefully they reach a place were there is peace. We in our nature cling to life. This is why God gave us eternal life through Messiah Yeshua, because He is the God of life. And yet Yeshua tells us to pick up that instrument of death and follow Him. Now, I know that I have heard many people who have an illness or some misfortune that they have to live with say that this is their cross in life, so they pick up their cross and go on in life. But is this what our Messiah meant? What are we dying to? Ourselves? To sin? The world? Let’s look at all the Scriptures where the Word tells us we have to die.
"Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Luke 9:23-26)
“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” (Luke 14:33)
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24)
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2)
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Messiah, we believe that we will also live with him.” (Romans 6:6-8)
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Messiah Yeshua.” (Romans 6:11)
“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
"I have been crucified with Messiah and I no longer live, but Messiah lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)
“Those who belong to Messiah Yeshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)
“May I never boast except in the cross of our LORD Yeshua Messiah, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
“I also consider all these things as loss for the majesty of the knowledge of Yeshua the Messiah, my Lord, him for whose sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all as rubbish that I may gain the Messiah.” (Philippians 3:8)
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14)
“Therefore, since Messiah suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2)
So we see that we are to die to the world, to ourselves, to sin. The question is, have we died to this world? Have we died to ourselves? Have we died to sin? 1 John 2:15-17 tells us, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” Have we looked into the mirror and then walked away and forgot who we are? Have we truly laid aside the old self and put on the new? I’m sure if we were honest with ourselves we would have to say, "No, I have not died to myself. I have not put on the new. I still watch those worldly shows. I still use language I shouldn’t. I still live like the world and sound like the world and even look like the world." How we need the cross before us! How we need the shed blood of Yeshua to cleanse us of our sins daily, and the only place for that blood to fall on us is at the foot of the cross.
We need to see the cross every day, and every day we need to crucify our flesh. Do not think that an image of our Yeshua on the cross is wrong. It was that image that paid our debt, and we need to be eternally grateful for the life that Yeshua gives us. As a disciple of Yeshua, a follower of our Messiah, we must walk in His footsteps. We must follow Him to the cross and we must deny ourselves and crucify our flesh so that we too may have life. "This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Yeshua Messiah the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." (1 John 1:5-2:3)
The cross may not be politically correct, and in this world we may not all win, but as for our Father, He has made the way for all of us to be winners. But to win we must first die. Do you need to come back to the cross? That is where the cleansing flow of the blood of the Lamb is. Come on bended knee and the love of Messiah will wash you clean.