The Two-Sided Cross

by Olden Cook
The cross was a two-sided structure. It was both ugly and beautiful. It was ugly because our sins were hanging there in the personage of Jesus … it was beautiful because it was our Savior hanging there, dying for our sins. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:4). It was ugly in that it meant horrible suffering for the Son of God, suffering beyond our wildest imagination … it was beautiful because it portrayed in the most graphic way the love and grace of God extended to us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16,17).
As Jesus was lifted up on the cross atop the hill of Calvary, God was reaching down to the valley of our despair and hopelessness. It was the nature of the event taking place there that made it both ugly and beautiful at the same time: ugly in that it was sin — the sin of those who physically perpetrated the act, your sins, my sins — that nailed Him there … but beautiful in what it did for us!

The beauty and ugliness of the cross.

2 Replies to “The Two-Sided Cross”

  1. Why does this article use the NIV of the N.T.for the John 3:16 verse? The word “shall” found here replaces the word “Should” found in earlier versions. If this version is true, this verse is the only verse necessary for the entire NTest, since we have only to believe to have eternal life. Since Satan “believes in Him”, will he have an eternal life in Heaven? We should have eternal life if we believe, because if we do, we will want to do his will as a result. If all who believe “shall have eternal life”, no one who believes would perish but have eternal life. This is just another example of man wanting to change the word to suit his own view of what we all need to do to be saved. Think about what you write!

  2. Thanks for your comment. We share your concern for doctrinal purity and accuracy in translation.
    In this case, the translation as “shall” or “should” does not promote or deny the doctrine of faith only, so this distinction does not hold. For, if “shall” makes mention of belief and salvation into a faith-only doctrine, then we had better reject the KJV rendering of Acts 16:31: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” And we must reject the KJV rendering of Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
    This argument based on the wording in John 3:16 comes from those who want to retain the use of the KJV and invent specious arguments like this one to defend it.
    I grew up using the KJV and appreciate its place in bringing the gospel to many. But it is not the only version we may use profitably for evangelism and edification.

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