I see the cross in a different light than many Evangelicals.
But is the cross important to me? Absolutely, Yes!
I've previously posted 10 reasons why I'm not a fan of Penal Subtitutionary Attonment (actually 11 reasons). I also don't see the cross as the central part of the gospel message that Jesus or His disciples preached (see Gospel in the Gospels - Summary - 6 part series).
But picture for a moment a tent. What kind of tent would I have if I only used one pole and one peg to support it? There may be one, two or four central posts - depending on the type of tent. But most stable tents have more than one post.
For me the cross may not be the central post, but it is certainly an essential post.
I admit the cross has some mystery to me, but I find a good place to start is understanding what Jesus had to say about the cross.
Matt 16:24-26 (NIV)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew records Jesus saying something similar in Matt 10:38-39, and Mark 8:34-38, and Luke 9:23-27. There is something to this passage that the gospel writers agreed was important.
So what could Jesus be asking of us here? In what way are we to follow Jesus' example of taking up the cross? By taking up our cross is Jesus asking us to pay the price for our sins like he did on the cross... no, I don't think so.
Christ's example for us on the cross is how he defeated sin for us. I think he is asking us to follow His example of defeating sin, putting sin to death. By rejecting the rule of selfishness, and accepting the reign of God, we can find life in Christ. We must denying our own selfish ways and allow God to rule in our hearts and lives.
This tent post gives good support to the good news of the reign of God that Jesus and His disciples preached.
Another verse that speaks to our selfish ways being put to death:
Gal 5:24 (NIV)
1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)
"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."
All of Romans 6 has helped me understand the cross better. Here are two snippets:
Rom 6:11 (NIV)
"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Romans 6:9-11 (NIV)
"For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
- Importance of the cross - a look at many verses talking about meanings of the cross
- Whodunnit - Who Killed Jesus?
- slaves to sin or God - my attempt to internalize Romans 6
- 10 reasons why I'm not a fan of Penal Subtitutionary Attonment
- Difference between ransom and paying a debt
- Did Jesus pay our debts?
- Good News
- Gospel in the Gospels - Summary - 6 part series
- What is the Gospel? - lists verses related to gospel in 'the gospels'