Good Friday is an opportunity for Christians to reflect on Jesus’ suffering and death, His sacrifice and our redemption. We focus on the cross because it is God’s answer to our sin. In Christ alone, our sins are fully forgiven and we are worthy before God. In this peace and assurance, we celebrate Easter Sunday with songs of “Hallelujah! He is Risen!”
Christians now have the opportunity share the true message of the cross with others. Recently, the Lord gave me a unique chance to reach out with the message of the cross.
When I came home from work, I spotted two Mormon missionaries knocking on my neighbor’s door across the street.
Instead of scrambling to get inside my house with the hope that they didn’t see me, my heart gave a quick prayer of thanksgiving. This was an opportunity I had been praying for.
I waited inside my garage—and hoped that my new neighbors were not at home. The Lord answered my prayer and I walked out to greet the missionaries and invited them inside my home.
After several minutes sitting in my living room, one of the missionaries pointed to the cross on my living room wall.
“Are you a Christian?” he asked.
“What church do you belong to?”
“I belong to a church that believes in the message of the cross.”
“We also believe in Jesus’ sacrifice and what he did for us,” the missionary expressed.
“How we view the cross,” I answered, “depends on what lens we use.”
Then I took the opportunity to provide a new pair of “glasses” for my Mormon friend. I showed him, through the lens of the Bible, that believers point to the message of the cross and receive comfort with the words, “You are forgiven!”
I knew that through the lens of Mormonism, they point to the cross and say, “You can be forgiven!”
For them, forgiveness is not found on the cross. Instead, forgiveness figuratively starts in the Garden of Gethsemane. They believe that Jesus’ suffering there is equal to the suffering on the cross. Mormons believe it’s possible to be like Christ and suffer in this life like he did in the Garden of Gethsemane. They believe—like Jesus—they can receive comfort in their resolve to carry out the will of Heavenly Father and do all they can do to eternally progress. If they sacrifice themselves in their obedience, they can inherit Eternal Life through their determination, resolve, and good works. It’s now up to the Mormon to fulfill the process of faith and repentance.
“We can be made spotless and pure once again. We can be redeemed by the eternal sacrifice of our beloved Savior.”
Looking back at the Mormon missionary, I told him, “The cross is not a symbol of death and defeat, but a reminder of God’s promises. Because Jesus substituted himself on the cross, I receive all the benefits of his sacrifice. Right now, I am forgiven. Right now, I am declared worthy. Right now, I am redeemed. When I look at the cross, I don’t focus on what I have to do, but what Christ has already done for me. Peace, joy, and assurance come from trusting God’s promises that my status is secure.”
Here is a great link to learn how to share God’s Word with Mormon missionaries: www.pleaseopenthedoor.com