As I have been mentioning in the previous posts in this series, the meanings of the cross in the New Testament writings are many. They form a prism with all of the facets focusing on what God is doing through Jesus for the world. I believe that there are many meanings of the cross beyond those already mentioned. These include such facets as the cross as Warfare by God’s Warrior-Prince-of-Peace (or, Anti-Warfare by God’s Anti-Warrior); the cross as the great equalizer; the cross as God’s judgment on our religious, economic, and political institutions; the cross as a demonstration of human faithfulness at all costs; and the cross as ultimate human rebellion.
But I want to end this series with a brief look at one of the most commonly mentioned meanings of the cross—a meaning of the cross that needs to be redeemed for at least some of us: the cross described in terms of “being saved” and “salvation” and “Savior.”
It is terribly sad that “Are you saved?” has become the stereotyped way for people to make fun of the arrogance and judgmental attitudes of many Christians. This stereotype is unfortunately often quite deserved by us Christians. But, it does not capture the Biblical writers’ intent. The Biblical concept of “saved” is actually a beautiful and powerful concept.
In Biblical thinking, the concept of “salvation” includes “being valuable enough to be wanted,” “being salvageable – not beyond original potential,” “being made whole,” “being liberated,” “being healed,” and “being rescued.” These all sound like pretty wonderful things! (more…)