Summary: The Cross must be erected in our minds as a lasting memorial to God’s amazing love.
A Monument of the Mind
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Tomorrow we celebrate Memorial Day which was unofficially begun by women of the South during the Civil War when they placed flowers over the graves of the “men in gray.”
In 1868, General John A. Logan, Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued an order officially setting aside May 30 as “Decoration Day.” It has now become an occasion on which we remember not only those who have fallen in war, but all our dead.
A few years ago a wall was built in Washington D.C. and on it were inscribed the names of the thousands who had died in the Vietnam War, perhaps the most controversial war in our nations’ history. But regardless of what people thought about that war, this wall memorial reminds us that thousands of Americans sacrificed their lives in that far-off place.
Most of them were young people who wanted to hold on to life. Their names are on that wall. One of them was a young man from one of our families in my home church—a wonderful Christian family. I’ll never forget standing beside his coffin as he was buried with military honors.
All of us owe these young men and women a great debt. Down through the years, in many wars, millions have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom. On this Memorial Day weekend it is fitting for us to remember them and thank God for their precious gift.
Illus.: Soldier by the Wall”
On the news they showed a video that profound in it’s message. Someone hap video-taped a man standing next to the Vietnam Memorial. His right hand was extended to the wall and he was gently caressing someone’s name that was etched into that wall. It was very moving. Over and over again, he repeated these words: “He died for me. He died for me.” Was it a brother? A father? A friend? We’ll never know. But one thing is for certain—the man was visibly moved by the sacrifice of one man!
And that scene set me to thinking. Each time we enter church we must remember another sacrifice. We must ERRECT A MONUMENT IN OUR MIND. For you see, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross brought the greatest hope and freedom to the world.
This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 5. Out of his experience he shared the reason we must never forget Christ’s
Sacrifice. Paul reminded us of what it did for us.
1. It Brought Us PEACE With God.
Look at verse one: “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This means that before the cross there was a war going on—a war between God and human beings. It is a sad tale to tell. God created the world and mankind, giving them everything they needed for a good life.
All they had to do was love God and follow His guidelines. But they didn’t want to do that. They didn’t trust God. They didn’t think He knew what was best for them, so they did their own thing and brought what we call “sin” upon the human race. The best way to remember the meaning of that word is to capitalize the “I” in the middle of it.
By bringing sin into the world, people erected a wall between themselves and God. It was sad for it meant separation—no more fellowship with God, no more relationship with their Creator. As a result, people began to think of God not as a friend, but as an enemy—someone who had to be appeased and feared. So they established a lot of rituals and sacrifices to try to appease God. They thought of God only as a Judge and not as their Redeemer.
Then Jesus came. He came to show people that God was really love and the cross was the explanation point that tried to prove it. God was not their enemy. He was against them. He was for them!