The Cross of Jesus Christ is central in the lives of His disciples, but it can lose its significance when it becomes merely a symbol. At the same time, it is important to guard our hearts, so we worship Him Who was crucified, and not the Cross itself. Having said that, the Cross can serve as a reminder of the death and Resurrection, and help us stay in agreement with God. Part of worship is agreeing with Him. Without agreement, there’s no true worship, nor praise. So what are some things it symbolizes we should agree with, or at least come into agreement?
The Cross does not symbolize our sin and shame; it symbolizes our Father’s love for us, in spite our sin.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. It underscores His desire to have fellowship with us. It reveals a love that cannot be earned. In fact, His love is not based on our performance, but it is revealed by the performance of Jesus Christ. Who do you know who loves humanity enough to sacrifice his or her child for the sake of the world? For some, it is time for you to agree that He does love you. The Word clearly says it is impossible for God to lie (see Hebrews 6:18). The Cross declares you are precious in His sight. 1 John 4:16We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
The Cross declares the death of our old carnal nature.
His death is also our death. Romans 6:3-7Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? . . . knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin (read the entirety of chapters five through eight for full context). While on the Cross, as the Son of Man, Jesus took our sin upon Himself. Why do you think the sky went dark from the sixth hour onto the ninth while He we being crucified (see Matthew 27:45)? Why do you suppose He cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me” (Matthew 27:46)? He took our sin, so we wouldn’t have to be forsaken by Father. Jesus fully dealt with our sin issue, which made it possible for us to be formed into His image. When we were baptized into Jesus, we were counted as dead with Him, so we could also live with Him. His resurrection is ours as well. Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
A third thing the Cross reveals is our righteousness in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. This means if God declares you righteous, then you are righteous. Instead of being sin-conscious, you can now focus on righteousness. By taking this approach, sin will not be an issue for you. In other words, if you focus on not sinning, your focus is still sin. However, if you realize sin is no longer an issue before God, and you focus on living righteously, you will gravitate to righteous living. When you walk in the love and faith of Jesus Christ, you also walk in righteousness. By deciding to love well, you will also live well. 2 Peter 1:5-10Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.
These are only a few things the Cross represents for us. Truthfully, there is so much it does symbolize that it would overflow a library if it were written, which means there is so much more that could be said than what would fit into a single blog. The bottom line is that Jesus made the Cross about Father and us, and in turn, we make it about Him!