The Cross Plus?

In his book Cries from the Cross, Dr. Erwin Lutzer describes an encounter with a woman on an airplane. He noticed that she was wearing a necklace with a cross and commented, “Thanks for wearing that cross… We really do have a wonderful Savior, don’t we?”

He then describes her reaction:

“Surprised, she rolled her eyes upward and responded, ‘Well, I don’t think that I understand the cross like you do—look at this.’ She held the small cross in her hand and showed me that beneath it was a Jewish Star of David and next to it was a trinket that symbolized the Hindu god Om. ‘I’m in social work. The people I work with find God in different ways. Christianity is just one of the paths to the divine.’”[1]

Obviously for this woman the cross had very little meaning. It was merely a symbol of one path, one way, to god (I use the lower case here purposefully). It had no real impact on her because she completely ignored what that cross signified.

You see, the cross is only significant because of what happened on it. It is only significant because God Himself came to earth, lived for a time as a human like us, then ultimately chose to be nailed to that cross so that He could take upon Himself the penalty for our sins—your sin, my sin, even that woman’s sin. 

When He died, the full penalty for our sin was paid. The full justice of God was satisfied. Why? Jesus tells us in John 3:16, a verse that should be very familiar to you:

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life” (Amplified version, emphasis added. I’m quoting that version because this is such a familiar verse that you might be tempted just to skip over it rather than read it.)

But there’s one more component that we must address. Yes, Jesus died; yes, your sins were covered by His death. However, while this gift is extended to all, it is only received by those who recognize their need—their sinfulness, their inability to gain salvation through their own efforts—and reach out to Him in faith. To those people God says, “But to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the right [the authority, the privilege] to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) His name” (John 1:12, AMP).

Are you guilty of making the same mistake that woman made? Do you think of the cross as just a symbol? Or perhaps you think simply wearing a cross gives you some type of protection, or an “in” with God. No, only His blood will save you. 

Have you called upon His name? Have you personally received His precious gift of salvation for yourself? If not, may I urge you to take that step today? Your prayer can be as simple as that of the tax collector in Luke 18:13: “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Realizing that you are a sinner who needs what Christ has done for you is the first step. Then just tell Him what is on your heart. Be honest with Him. Ask Him to help you, to cleanse you, to give you the desire to follow Him. When you do that He has a precious promise for you: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” 

Find out more about how to be saved at our website:

Your next step is to get involved with Christ-followers who are committed to do what God has told us in His Word, the Bible. Find a church that believes the Bible, and begin to learn, to obey, and to grow in the faith.

Go Deeper

  1. Erwin W. Lutzer, Cries from the Cross: A Journey Into the Heart of Jesus (Moody Publishers: Kindle Edition), pp. 14-15.

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