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The Cross: The Power of God to Believers

1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The cross was a tool of great pain and death when it was used in Rome, but Christ has made it into a glorious reminder of His victory and our redemption. Whatever shape it takes or whatever design is carved into it, it is all about Him. We are happy to carry such a variety of wooden cross necklaces so that we can be a blessing to believers of all kinds. When you wear one a Logos Trading Post olive wood cross necklace around your neck, we hope that you remember that the cross is not “folly” - far from it - but it is instead “the power of God.”

Still, what does that mean exactly? What makes the cross, “the power of God?” If we think about it, that’s a pretty big deal. God is said to be almighty; all power and might are His. As Isaiah 40:28 says of Him, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint of grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” To declare that the very power of God is found within such as simple thing as the cross certainly means that cross demands the fullness of our attention. After all, Isaiah carries on in the following verse to tell us that His strength can be bestowed to us, specifically Isaiah 40:29-31, which declare, “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” The cross, then is not only the power of God, but we should look at it and dwell upon it, because we can find strength to face our Christian journey within it.

The Exalting Cross

When we look at the simplicity of the wooden cross, it is hard to believe that by it the son of God was utterly glorified beyond reproach, but we know it to be true. As Paul tells in Philippians 2:4-11, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.” It is by his selflessness, then, by his humble willingness to resign Himself to it, that the wooden cross was made to glorify Him, transformed forever from a symbol of death to a symbol of eternal life.

The Restorative Cross

The wooden cross indeed has power in that it brings the Son glory, but it has power that we can look to as well. 1 Peter 2:23-24 speaks to the Son’s selflessness once again, and demonstrates what the crucifixion has done for us, with Peter writing, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” The cross demonstrated His selflessness, but it has restorative and redemptive power in the lives of those who believe as well. Our sins are forgiven, and our debt has been wiped away so that we can be free from the sin that holds us back, instead living in righteousness.

The Crucifying Cross

Of course, the wooden cross is a demonstration of God’s glory and it is the very power of God. However, it remains a tool by which people can be crucified, albeit now in a good way. Indeed, we can be crucified symbolically as Paul indicates in Galatians 2:20, in which he writes, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” We can lay down our lives as Christ laid His down, following His example. After all, He says in Mark 8:34-35, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me, for whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” If we try too hard to cling to this life, it will be an unfulfilled one, but if we join Jesus in the humility that it took for Him to reach the cross, we can live a deeply fulfilling life for the Kingdom of God.

The Wooden Cross of Christ and Our Wooden Reminders

We know that by the cross Christ was exalted, and in it we can find redemption, healing, and the humility required to live an incredible life. This is why we preserve the cross as a symbol; from the grandest church cathedral to the simplest olive wood cross necklace, we can look upon its shape and remember that it is indeed “the power of God”!