Is God OK With Christians Wearing a Crucifix?

The Crucifix has long been an important symbol in the Catholic Church. For centuries, Catholics have placed the Crucifix in church buildings and have worn the Crucifix as jewelry on their bodies. In recent years, many Protestants have started doing the same thing by wearing Crucifix necklaces (as opposed to wearing simply a cross without the suffering Christ). On one hand identifying with Jesus in this way seems admirable. It is always the right decision to love and honor Jesus. On the other hand, the question can and should be asked, “Is God OK with Christians wearing a Crucifix?”

And that answer can be complicated. While the Bible does not address Crucifix jewelry specifically, it does give us principles that should cause us to pause and consider.

Here are three questions to ask and answer personally before making the decision either way–

  1. Does the Crucifix primarily obscure or exalt Christ’s victory over death?

Another way to ask the question–Does seeing Jesus on the Cross shed more light on His death or on His victory over death? When Christ suffered and died on the Cross He revealed His human weakness in order to give those who would trust in God divine strength.

The death of Christ on the Cross is an altogether Holy and extraordinary moment in history, and yet the horrific beauty of Calvary doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, it doesn’t tell the best parts of the story of the Crucifixion. Jesus rose from the grave–conquering death–and is now seated by the Father interceding for believers. The Crucifix–while we should love the cross–stops short of telling the whole story.

  1. Does the Crucifix primarily highlight the Person or the suffering?

Christ did many wonderful things when He walked on earth. And yet, those who love Him typically do not wear jewelry depicting Him doing other things. What sets the Crucifixion apart from the other scenes of Scripture is the tremendous suffering Jesus experienced on behalf of mankind And there is no doubt about the agony.

The Crucifixion of Christ remains–uncontested–the most difficult and somber scene in all the Bible. And yet, why would followers of Jesus highlight the darkest chapter in the Bible in lieu of what Jesus did a mere three days later? Wearing the Crucifix speaks volumes of the suffering and death of Jesus. Wearing an empty cross?–that speaks volumes of the resurrection and power of the Savior.

  1. Does the Crucifix primarily offend or comfort the person who sees it?

The religious world is filled with people who take deep interest in deciding what is offensive and what is not offensive and making decisions accordingly. Different religious groups make choices of faith and practice based on the issue of offending (or not offending) other people. Most people go to great lengths to avoid offending or being offended.

But when it comes to the Cross of Christ, the Crucifixion–the event that took place 2,000 years ago–should be wildly offensive to those who know and love Jesus. The fact that the perfect Son of God was nailed to a tree and was condemned to die in the place of those who deserved the penalty of death should be the hardest reality believers ever consider. In Galatians 5, Paul writes, “If I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.”

To Paul, not being offended by the cross would be disastrous.

The cross served as an instrument of execution at the time of Christ. Wearing a Crucifix in today’s context would be paramount to wearing an electric chair or a syringe filled with lethal chemicals. The instrument of the Cross itself was never meant to bring believers comfort. Jesus Himself–what He did before and after His death–is meant to bring believers comfort of the greatest kind.

One final thought

To be certain, the three questions above say nothing of a person’s love for Jesus. Without a doubt, an individual can wear a Crucifix and love God with heart, soul, and mind. But these questions should at least cause a follower of Jesus to ask whether or not his or her devotion and adoration is being clearly communicated in a piece of jewelry that depicts a suffering Savior. If so, hallelujah! The beauty of the Cross is that it makes wearing the Crucifix a choice at all.

Bottom line: Life after death tells the whole story.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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