The cross on Calvary has been a symbol of hope for Christians through the ages. How remarkable it is that the love of God transformed a gruesome crucifixion into good news of how He has saved us and will never forsake us.
When I first went to church, this was the gospel of Jesus presented to me. God loved me so much that He sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to die on the cross to forgive my sins.
If I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, I would go to heaven and have eternal life with Him. Otherwise, I would go to hell and suffer eternal punishment.
My choice as an eight year old was obvious. I wanted to go to heaven and be certain of my salvation. From that moment, Jesus’ death on the cross (and his resurrection) became the core foundation of my Christian belief.
Interestingly, Jesus’ death is not where the story of the cross begins. Jesus was carrying his cross long before he was crucified.
My short stint with Professor James Torrance in Aberdeen started me on my journey to this realization. Professor Torrance described Jesus like this: “He, who was Son of God by nature, became son of man by nature, that we, who are sons of man by nature, may become sons of God by grace!”
And that is exactly where the story of Jesus’ cross begins…
For most of us, God is the supreme being of absolute perfection, all-powerful, all-present and all-knowing.
Being perfect, God must be unchanging, for only imperfection would require him to change, to become perfect.
Perfect in all ways and all things, God makes no mistakes, has no regrets and is without any flaw.
An Unchanging God gives our lives certainty. What God promises or pronounces, God will do. We can trust God to be faithful, to keep His word to us, to not change his mind and renege. As such, we have no reason to doubt God’s faithfulness and love; God is faithful and God is love.
As a child and through my teenage years, when my prayers were answered or when things happened in my favour, I considered myself to be in the perfect will of God. Any wrongs and imperfections were always due to my failings and rested with me.
My relationship with God was expressed as an imperfect me, walking along a straight and narrow path with a Perfect God. It made perfect sense.
Why should I ever think otherwise?