As I made my list of praise and thanksgiving the other morning, I added that Jesus died and rose again for me (especially after the way I acted this week), which got me to thinking about how it might seem a little silly to always be thanking God that Jesus died on the cross. I mean, really, it can seem like a platitude. Can't we move on and thank God for greater things?
No. We can't.
We can thank and praise God for lots of things in addition, but the believer should always be praising and thanking God for Jesus, the cross, the resurrection. We must never feel ourselves above or beyond thanking God for what was accomplished on Calvary. (In fact, we should be quite scared if we do find ourselves there.) Pardon the pun, but it is at the crux of all the Christian believes; we have to keep going back to the cross, because our daily access to the Father depends upon the work of Christ.
What this illustrates, (starting from the left) is how when we become a Christian, we're aware that it is the cross that bridges the gap between us in our sin and God's holiness. As we move toward the right, the cross gets bigger, because as we mature as Christians we learn more of just how awesome God's holiness is (high and unattainable) and how wretched our sin is (low and despicable) ... but the cross is always there - the work of Jesus - to bridge the gap. The cross becomes more precious because we know we need it today more than ever!
Ironically, as we walk with the Lord and the Holy Spirit works in our lives, we might actually be "better people," more prone to good works and trusting the Lord. But even in the midst of that, He shows us more or our sin (like peeling of layers of an onion) that we might cling all the more tightly to the cross, forsaking our pride and self-sufficiency.
So folks, don't be ashamed or embarrassed to be thanking the Lord every day for Christ's work on the cross and don't think it's silly when it's spoken of over and over again in worship this morning. Join in and give thanks and rejoice!
We praise you, Jesus! Thank you for dying on the cross to rescue us from our sin so we could return to right relationship with the Father. Thank you, Father, for putting together such an amazing rescue plan. Thank you, Spirit, for working in our hearts by conviction and transformation so that the cross is increasingly precious to us. Thank you, in Jesus' name. AMEN!