The Cross as a Symbol

Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18

It is common to see the cross used as a symbol – a symbol of “Christianity”; an image in art/jewelry. In this lesson, we are talking about “the word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1:18) – the message of the gospel. In the gospel, the cross is shown as a symbol representing some fundamental concepts. In following Christ, we are to take up our cross (Luke 9:23) – the same symbol is manifested in our lives.

A Symbol of Love

  • God so loved the world (John 3:16) – He willingly let Jesus suffer on the cross (1 John 4:9-10)
  • Jesus laid down His life for us (John 10:17-18) – this was an act of love (John 15:13)
  • Man’s condition before Jesus died on the cross was sinful (Romans 5:6-11) – demonstration of God’s love
  • As we take up our cross, we must have an attitude of love (John 14:15; Matthew 22:36-40; 1 Corinthians 16:14)

A Symbol of Grace

  • Forgiveness through the blood of Christ is “according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7)
  • We did not deserve the salvation offered to us (Ephesians 2:4-6) – because of our condition (Romans 5:8)
  • We deserved the wages of sin, death (Romans 6:23) – but eternal life is a free gift
  • As we take up our cross, we must show grace (Matthew 5:7) and respond properly to God’s grace (Romans 6:1-5)

A Symbol of Faith

  • Jesus going to the cross shows an example of trust in and reliance upon God (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44; Luke 23:46)
  • This should help strengthen our faith – faith involves the unseen (Hebrews 11:1)
  • Jesus knew and had seen the Father and heaven (John 1:1-2, 18) – enduring the cross shows how great this is (Hebrews 12:2)
  • As we take up our cross, we must have faith in God and His promises (Hebrews 11:6; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 7)

A Symbol of Obedience

  • Jesus showed an example of obedience in going to the cross (Hebrews 5:8)
  • He took on the form of a servant (Philippians 2:5-8) – not forfeiting His deity, but He submitted to the Father
  • Many believe that Jesus’ sacrifice guarantees our salvation – yet salvation is not unconditional (2 Corinthians 6:1); this idea goes against everything we have discussed in this lesson about taking up our cross (Luke 9:23)
  • We will be saved IF we obey (Hebrews 5:9) – obedience is an act of love (John 14:15); obedience is the response to grace (Titus 2:11-14); obedience is the result of true faith (James 2:17-18)


  • The cross of Christ is a symbol of love, grace, faith, and obedience – God loved us, extended His grace, Jesus trusted the Father’s plan, and He obeyed to the point of death
  • We must take up our cross, also a symbol of love, grace, faith, and obedience – love God (highest motivation), receive/show grace, walk by faith, and be obedient to the Lord

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