You have all seen it in a popish procession or hanging around someone's neck, that figure of a cross with an image of Christ hanging on it. It's called a crucifix and at times you will see a priest hold it up before his congregation as a focus for their devotion or you will see a person take one and kiss it as a sign of devotion, prayer, thankfulness or even of hope for good luck. I have always found something macabre about people making a piece of jewelry out of the cross. The cross was one of the cruelest instruments of torture and death ever devised by man. Death by crucifixion was usually slow and agonizing, with victim reportedly taking up to three days to expire-which will tell you why Pontius Pilate was so surprised that the Lord Jesus Christ had died after six hours. When I see someone with a cross of gold as a piece of jewelry it seems to me to be on a par with someone making the gallows or the electric chair or the guillotine a statement of fashion. It seems more than a little incongruous. I know that many who wear gold crosses don't think of it this way and look on the cross as a Christian symbol that makes a statement that what Christ did for them on the cross is precious to them and worth keeping ever in mind. To be honest, I don't think too many people actually give wearing a gold cross that much thought-so it still seems strange to see the Roman instrument of death hanging as a fashion statement around the delicate neck of a woman who would most likely faint if she actually had to witness a crucifixion.
Making the cross a piece of jewelry is something I think incongruous. But making and wearing a crucifix is something altogether different. It so openly flies in the face of both the law and the gospel that only a church like the Church of Rome (and I know that others have followed her in this) which makes a habit of replacing Scripture with vain traditions could promote. There are good reasons why no Christian should ever wear the crucifix.
First, as I stated in an earlier broadcast, the law of God particularly prohibits making any image or physical representation of deity. Jesus Christ is God. He is the proper object of our worship. We are thus prohibited from making any representation of Him, for such a representation at once becomes an idol. Those who ignore this are therefore guilty of a form of idolatry, something that is clearly seen in the way Rome elevates the crucifix and in the way her devotees finger it and kiss it. This is heathen, not Christian.
Again, the crucifix leaves Christ on a cross. Thus it does something that lies at the heart of all the false theology of the Roman Catholic Church, viz. it shrouds the glorious truth of the finished work of Christ at Calvary. He died once and for all and made a never to be repeated sacrifice for sins and then He rose again from the dead. A Christ forever on a cross is foreign to Scripture. Our Saviour laid down His life and took it up again and now lives to apply to His believing people all the merit of His finished atonement. The crucifix is just one way Rome has of robbing her people of the glorious reality of Christ's finished work. The Mass is, of course, her main means of practically denying the work of the cross but the crucifix plays no small role in keeping people occupied with the sign of the cross rather than the sacrifice of the cross, with the symbol rather than the finished work of the Saviour.