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The Glory of the Cross – Whose Glory?

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The Epistle to the Romans 5:6-8 (ESV)

Ever notice humanity’s penchant to make everything about us? You don’t have to look far to see our culture’s narcissistic bent; TV celebrities reminding our children through Saturday morning PSA’s how great they are, advertising which traffics in the currency of the almighty consumer, even the church is not immune from the unhealthy love of self.

For some Christians, the Cross has become a symbol of the lovability of humanity. “Oh how wonderful we must be because Jesus died for us!” Just look through some of bestselling Christian books, music and television programming and often you’ll hear how great we are because of the Cross.

That’s missing it to say the least! The only greatness displayed in the Cross doesn’t revolve around us but God. The Cross isn’t a declaration of how wonderfully loveable humanity is but how wonderfully gracious and glorious God is. Romans 5:6-8 clearly says that it is God’s love which is displayed in the Cross not our worthiness to receive his love. As a matter of fact the text says that the contrast between the love God displays and the lack of loveliness in humanity is exactly why the Cross is a testimony to God’s grace and glory. Thus the Cross tells us not how good we are but how great God is in that he extends his love to those who have only merited wrath.

Frankly, he is good to us in spite of us! Now whose glory is displayed in the Cross?

So be alert the next time you hear a sermon, read a book or listen to a song that essentially makes the Cross a mirror reflecting our greatness. Trust that there is only one glory reflected at Calvary and it is not ours.

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

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