The cross was not a sad mistake, as some may think, but crucial to the mission of Jesus.
At the cross, Jesus made a once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world. He made propitiation to God for all the sins of all of God’s people throughout all the ages.
Jesus’ death is central to Christianity.
The symbol for Christianity, is not an empty tomb or a dove, but a cross.
The importance of the cross may seem self-evident, but a characteristic of prosperity preachers, with their false theology and ”victorious” version of Christianity, is that they downplay the importance of the cross. They speak about victory, anointing and breakthrough; but they seldom speak about the sin-bearing death of Jesus.
This is not too surprising, as they never speak about sin or the wrath of God on sin. It follows that there is no need to speak about Jesus’ death as a propitiation for sin.
Many churches, pastors and religious practitioners talk about “alignment”, “spiritual birthing” and “covering” (I don’t know what any of those terms mean), but they don’t talk about sin.
If you don’t talk about sin, you won’t talk about the very reason Christ came – to shed his blood for sin.
Sin is the creature telling the Creator to get lost.
Sin is our impulse to forego the joy of serving and obeying the One who knows what’s good for us.
Sin is the fish thinking he does not need water.
The bottom line of all sin is wanting to run my life my way.
The just consequence for our sin against an infinitely Holy God is for the infinitely holy God to infinitely pour out his wrath on us – that’s justice.
But God is his great kindness pours out his wrath on Jesus, at the cross, so that we may be forgiven and have eternal life.
Instead of preaching about penal substitutionary atonement (Christ died for you), prosperity preachers preach about sowing your seed (Give more to gain more blessing).
Evangelical Christians agree that Jesus is the victorious King who gives us victory, but maintain that Jesus is the King who achieved his greatest victory on the cross. Not to destroy sickness, average-income and low self-esteem, but to propitiate or placate God’s great anger at sin.
We certainly do believe in victorious Christianity.
We certainly do believe that in Jesus we have “overcome the world” (1 John 5:5).
But that does not mean that as Christian people we don’t have trouble, hardship, average days, low-income, bad health, depression and struggle.
No. It means that Christian people can know that, during struggle and depression, the world no longer enslaves, dominates or deceives them.
Jesus has won the victory for us on the cross and we share in that victory over the world, the devil and death.
We look forward to total victory one day in the future in the renewed universe when we reign with Jesus – where there will be no death, sin or devil.
A Christian is therefore someone who acknowledges that Jesus is King, but the King who died for sin.
The prosperity “gospel” promoters have no concept of how bad sin really is, nor any concept of the great victory of Jesus over sin at the cross.
As we celebrate the cross of Christ this Easter, don’t be hoodwinked.