By Edwin Raymond Anderson
An acquaintance had recently returned from a business trip through Central America. As we met for dinner, I asked him, “What impressed you the most?”
He arched a smile, pursed his lips in thought, and answered, “Well, I can tell you in just two words: cheap crosses.”
I stared in surprise, “Cheap crosses! What do you mean?”
“I had reached this place when they were having one of their important religious festivals,” he said. “Everywhere I turned, everywhere I looked, I saw crosses--crosses of all kinds, of all sizes, all the way from the very expensive down to the crudest of homemade affairs. Later I learned it was required of the people either to carry or to display a cross on that special day.
“Well, I shall never forget turning onto a side street and coming upon that small cart with its drowsy donkey and its equally drowsy peddler. He had only one kind of product for sale, and the cart was loaded with them. They were crosses, made of wood, poorly put together. What struck me was the sign on top of that pile. It read, ‘CHEAP CROSSES.’ Obviously here was a religion of convenience, and he was doing his bit in meeting it…”
“Cheap crosses.” I think that can be written over a good deal of what passes for religious observance in this day! Many people desire a belief which does not bind them to high cost or press too sharply where the pocketbook is concerned. But it is always well to remember that what is without cost is likewise without power, however attractive the purchase price may be.
Let us not be content to apply this principle to a lost world alone. The Holy Spirit would arouse the Christians with this same searching, uncomfortable, cutting truth. There is a personal price, a high cost connected with belief in Christ. In these last days it is more than necessary for each of His blood-bought own to enter more thoroughly into the heartfelt declaration of David: “Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24). Perhaps it required a long and drastic exercise of heart, and much prompting of the Holy Spirit before David reached that pinnacle.
This is a day of ease, comfort, and carnal carelessness. The desire of people to get “something for nothing” is cursing us, causing many to seek delightful detours and smooth side paths rather than the clear, high line of Christian duty.
We need to look long and lovingly at Calvary, time after time, to learn that there simply cannot be any cheap crosses. We must catch a glimpse of the infinite cost of “so great salvation.” Behold the blessed One in the fierce battle of Gethsemane, sweating “as it were great drops of blood,” crying out to the Father, “Not My will, but Thine, be done!”
We need to go back to the portrait of the Saviour which Paul presented: “Christ Jesus…made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
There at Calvary love reached its wonderful limit; there grace spanned the farthest extent of its glory; there mercy magnified itself beyond degree. When the Son submitted Himself to Calvary, He was demonstrating the fathomless cost of redemption. And even now the Holy Spirit presents the power of the Cross as a penetrating persuasion to win our complete and undivided allegiance.
We need to experience the power of the Cross in our lives continually. The privilege of walking with God must not be lightly esteemed. There is no natural desire in the heart of man to behold the agonies of the Cross or to take up one’s personal cross and follow the Saviour daily; but when we become overwhelmed with the price He paid to redeem us, we cry with Paul, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14).
The Spirit is continually dealing with us, cutting across the comfort and convenience and complacency of our lives, to make us willing to pay the price of carrying our cross. He who spared not His own Son surely will not spare us the keenest sort of judgment if we spare ourselves in any way from making a full surrender.
There are no cheap crosses for those who would walk with God on the highway of holiness.
---From The Evangelist.