First, from God’s word: Exodus 20:3-5, “You shall have no other gods before Me [repeated in Deuteronomy 5:7]. You shall not make for yourself a carved 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. You shall not bow down to them, or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” (emphasis mine)
There are numerous songs about “The Cross,” and a complete list would take pages and pages to show them all. Just a few: “At Calvary,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” “At the Cross,” “Take it to the Cross,” “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross,” “Room at the Cross for me,” “The Wonderful Cross,” and many many others. So the question is, should we worship the cross?
One of the most popular hymns of all time is “The Old Rugged Cross.” It was written by George Bernard, a Methodist minister, in 1912. This song has been sung in just about every evangelical church, and recorded by more artists than can be named.
The song: (v1) “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. And I love that old Cross where the Dearest and Best for a world of lost sinners was slain.
(chorus) So I’ll cherish the Old Rugged Cross till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the Old Rugged Cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.
(v2) Oh that Old Rugged Cross, so despised by the world, has a wonderous attraction for me. For the Dear Lamb of God left His glory above to bear it to dark Calvary. (chorus)
(v3) In the Old Rugged Cross stained with blood so divine, a wondrous beauty I see. For the Dear Lamb of God left His glory above to pardon and sanctify me. (chorus)
(v4) To the Old Rugged Cross I will ever be true, it’s shame and reproach gladly bear. Then He’ll call me someday to my Home far away where His glory forever I’ll share.” (chorus)
Philippians 2:9-11, “For this reason, also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, of those in Heaven and on the earth and under the earth [remember Exodus 20:4], and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.”
Deuteronomy 6:13-14, “You shall fear only the Lord your God, and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods; any of the gods of the people who surround you.” And yes, this does apply today.
Even a warning from Jesus to Satan in Matthew 4:10, “Then Jesus said to him, go Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord Your God, and serve Him only.”
With all this in mind, what about all the crosses that are available in jewelry, carved images, in paintings and so forth? Are they in and of themselves sinful to possess? How about pictures portraying our Lord and Savior?
The Exodus and Deuteronomy warnings are specific that we do not bow down or worship anything but our Lord. Jesus was very specific about this warning to Satan.
In the first verse of the Old Rugged Cross, the author states he “loves that old cross,” then qualifies it further with “where the Dearest and Best” was slain. The image in my mind is that the cross is a reminder of the sacrifice by My Jesus, and the Savior is what is to be worshiped, not the cross. It’s the same as saying, “I love my Bible, but the object of my worship is the One it tells me of.”
I realize it’s a fine line being left for interpretation, but the main point is we worship nothing of this earth. If we find ourselves doing otherwise, we need to change our ways.
We are to be grateful for all the Lord has given us, and thank Him daily for fulfilling our needs. However, if a home, automobile, jewelry or any other object becomes a focus of our worship, then it has become a “false god idol.” If another human becomes more important than Our Heavenly Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit, we need to reconsider our priorities.
This is not to say we don’t “Love” someone else, but that Jesus should always be first in our lives. Jesus said in John 15:12, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.” He basically repeats this in John 15:17, “These things I command you, that you may love one another.” We’re talking about a “spiritual Christian” love. We may not even like someone, but they have an immortal soul just as we do, and we are to see them as a brother or sister in the Lord. Jesus definitely wasn’t fond of the religious leaders of that day, but He loved them for their souls just the same.
Everyone’s immortal soul, that part of us that resides in our earthly shell, will eventually end up in one of two places. All who have called on the name of the Lord to be their Savior, repents of their sins, believes He did come to this earth to be our perfect sacrifice for our sins, and only through Him are we saved, will be able to spend eternity with Him (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 4:12 and John 14:6). There is no other way in spite of what some false prophets are saying. The “we all worship the same god” is straight from the lips of Satan.
All who reject Jesus will end up in the Lake of Fire for all eternity with no chance of pardon (Revelation 20:11-15). This is the unforgivable sin.
So, am I saying to get rid of any crosses you may have, or pictures or sculptures? No, unless you are using them as a prayer object. Our Father, Son and Holy Spirit is to be whom we call on, and no one or nothing else.
In 1 Corinthians 1:12-13, Paul is telling them about a report he had received about division within the Church. “What I mean is, that each one of you says, I follow Paul, or I follow Apollos, or I follow Cephas, or I follow Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
We follow, worship, glorify and give all praise to the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. We have been given the privilege of going into the presence of the Father in prayer through the sacrifice of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. He bought us this blessing with His sin-free shed blood on that Old Rugged Cross at Calvary. The only “payment” we can give is to receive His precious gift and accept Him. We have to realize we can neither buy nor earn what He completed that day on Golgotha. We definitely do not deserve the price He paid for us.
We see a Cross, and our minds should turn to Jesus. We see an image of the Savior, and our minds should turn to Jesus. Reminders of all He did for us are one thing; but to worship the object or portrait is dead wrong.
Review Exodus 20:3-5; Deuteronomy 5:7; Deuteronomy 6:13-14 and Matthew 4:10 very carefully. Then go to John 14:6, “Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; No one comes to the Father except by Me.”
There is no room left for any discussion of alternate ways here. It’s Jesus or the Lake of Fire; and where you end up is entirely in your hands. Forever is a very long time, and there are no other options. Satan through his antichrists is trying to convince you this is all just a myth, and that we have plenty of time to decide. Also, his greatest lie – Did God Really Say? – has taken a lot of souls into the line that leads to destruction.
Jesus died for us, was risen to conquer sin and death for us, and He is the only way we will have eternal paradise. Call on Him today – tomorrow may be too late. The time for Him to come for His believers is drawing ever closer.
Come Lord Jesus!