Justice Jackson stated, “A person gets from a symbol the meaning he puts into it.” What defines a symbol? Webster’s dictionary says, “A symbol is something that stands for or suggests something else by reason of relationship, association, convention; a visible sign of something invisible.”
As we near the celebration of Easter and focus on the message of the cross, can the church be relied upon to stand for truth? Do believers today demonstrate allegiance to the cross? What is allegiance? According to Webster, it is “The obligation of fidelity. It is faithfulness, loyalty, devotion: Adherence to truth or fact; and reliability.” Are we who call ourselves Christians faithfully loyal and wholly devoted to the call of Christ? The cross is our symbol of freedom. There the Lord paid the price for our deliverance, dying so that we might live.
Matthew wrote, “Then Jesus said to His disciples ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'” (Matthew 16:24) Jesus also said that it is impossible to serve God and live like the world. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
It seems the pressure of our changing culture has influenced many to relinquish their devotion of adhering to the teachings of the Bible as truth. Jesus addressed this issue of taking Him at His word saying, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23) The Lord requires our allegiance. Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46-49)
The church is the conscience of society. When God’s order is disregarded, it leads to the downward spiral explained by Paul to the church in Rome. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:20-21)
Our redemption was purchased with the price of our Savior’s blood and intended to forever end our separation from God. Accepting forgiveness and salvation frees us from the bondage of sin. Through His word, He has empowered us to live free, but it is necessary to submit to His authority to remain free. We are instructed to act as free men and women, “Yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants of God.” (I Peter 2:16) Infidelity to the Lord and His word causes compromise and deception soon follows.
Paul told the church in Galatia, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery… You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:1,13)
The cross is our symbol of freedom and Jesus told us that serving Him and receiving His words of life bring joy and peace. “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11) In a world filled with turmoil and uncertainty, we can be certain of this:
“That in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
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