“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is not difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Rom. 3:22-23)
From The Christian Church in the Last Days
If ever there was a persuasive and clearly demonstrated argument for the wrongness of man going his own way apart from God, the cross is that argument. Man’s actions on that day condemned not Jesus, who had done nothing wrong, but the practice of a religion that conspires with a “civilized” Roman judicial system that can both be so far off-the-mark that they end up killing the God and Creator of the universe.
If ever there was a well-stated, practically demonstrated argument for trusting and relying upon a capable and loving God to show us the correct approach to life, the cross is that argument. Salvation, redemption, and a new resurrected life of love and peace is made possible by God through this enormous blunder by mankind in putting to death the Creator of life itself on a cross fashioned crudely out of two large, heavy pieces of wood and some metal spikes. That God is intelligent and well-intentioned enough to take the worst action in all of human history, in all of eternity, and turn it right-side up into the very means to provide forgiveness, cleansing from sin, and re-birth into a new spiritual life of joy and peace, is something so sublimely powerful it may take a lifetime in heaven to comprehend and appreciate.
On one side of the cross was the enormous tally of all of history’s offenses, misdeeds, sorrows, injustices, and shortcomings that are a result of fallen mankind going its own way apart from God. On the other side was the contrasting approach of Jesus using surrender, faith, dependence, and reliance upon the Father’s uniquely ingenious plan to cancel out the weight of this massive debt of human sin. No wonder Jesus sweated great drops of blood when finally confronted with the insurmountable task of nullifying this great mass of self-centered rebellion, using only His own spotless and blemish-free life, and a lamb-like surrender and reliance upon the will of the Father. No wonder Jesus had to return moments later to the same spot in the Garden of Gethsemane to pray a second time “more earnestly” (Luke 22:44).
At the cross is where Christians must take their cue to strike out on the path of faith and trust in God, to match the stories of the lives of people of faith as patterned in the Bible. Self-autonomy, self-reliance, and self-direction are on the wrong side of the cross, in the territory of man-made religion, in the camp of the spiritually blind religious leaders and the worldly-minded Roman authorities who crucified Jesus.