“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness…” 1 Peter 2:24
I knew a man who wore a cross. He was not a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Didn’t even believe in Him. He simply had a cross hanging from his neck. I talked to him about it briefly. I don’t remember his response exactly. Nothing remarkable. Not memorable. Something to the effect he wanted to wear it despite not believing in Christ as Lord. Just a symbol to him apparently. Of something. Cool to wear? Maybe. So he may have thought. I used to wear a cross around my neck. One day it fell down the toilet. Probably a good thing. Though I believed in Christ intellectually, I had no relationship with Him. I called Him Lord but didn’t act like He was. I saw Him as Savior. Not Lord. He is both. I wasn’t following Him. I followed the world and lived for myself. Not Christ who was crucified on the cross and was raised from the dead so all who repent and believe in Him as Lord, who turn away from the world and turn to God and His ways, devoting their lives to Him, will be forgiven by God and promised a relationship with God now and forever in heaven instead of eternity in hell and the lake of fire in perpetual torment permanently separated from God. I didn’t live for this Christ who died for me. Who on the cross bore the world’s sins and the sin debt penalty of condemnation, death, hell, and the lake of fire. The cross symbolized something I felt I could get from Him, rather than that He is Lord of my life. Which now at long last I see and know He is. Day by day I learn to live and act accordingly.
The cross was a symbol to me. A necklace. Something to wear. Sure, it symbolized Jesus dying on the cross. That was all. I wore it. Because. Countless times through the years I have seen people wearing crosses and assumed they were believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. So many times, in conversation, I discovered they were like the man or me with the cross. Not believing in Christ as Lord at all, or believing in Him as Savior, or even Lord and Savior, but having made no true commitment to live their lives as though He really is. Do they truly know those who will spend forever with God are those who repent and wholly give their lives to Christ, turning to God and His ways for eternity, saying no to the lusts of their flesh and saying yes to the Lord God almighty, living to love and revere Him for eternity? I did not know. I did not understand. I did not live this way. The right way. I just hung a cross around my neck.
I don’t wear a cross now. Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing a cross. But I have chosen instead of devoting my neck to a cross to devote my heart and life to the one who died upon it and rose again. A cross necklace isn’t the way to eternal life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the way.