Last week I had the opportunity to share my testimony and the book “Finding Healing” with a group of women. Even though I’ve shared our testimony many times, this time, it started me thinking. You see, nowadays I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about all we went through in the past. Yet, as I retold our story, I was overwhelmed by the awesomeness of all that God did in our lives and what is available because of the cross.
It started as I began telling the story of the night that my Mom answered an altar call at a small Pentecostal church down the road from our home. When we were adults, she told us that she had been thinking about suicide a lot at that point in her life. After growing up in an abusive household, she thought she married Prince Charming and would have a different life. When her marriage started following the same patterns, she saw no hope to go on. Still, because she didn’t know what would happen to my brother and me, she kept going.
Then one day, our neighbor invited her to church. When the pastor picked her out of the crowd and asked, “Do you want to be a Christian?”, she said she felt loved for the first time in her life. From that night on, her life, and ultimately our lives, were dramatically changed.
She was transformed that night. Almost immediately, the Holy Spirit started working in her heart, healing her from her past and making her into the woman God created her to be. Starting at salvation, she changed, and our lives changed. As I retold the story and remembered how her salvation experience changed our family, I was once again overwhelmed by the power that salvation has to change a person's life.
As I continued sharing our story of overcoming abuse, control, lies, secrets, and so many other issues, I was once again overcome by the incredible gift of healing that is offered to each of us through the blood that was shed on the cross. Because the cross didn’t just give us salvation. As Isaiah 53:5 says:
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
This healing isn’t just for our physical bodies (although that’s great); it’s also healing for our minds, our hearts, and our emotions.
Because Jesus chose to lay down His life on the cross willingly, we are given so much: salvation, healing, deliverance, freedom from the sins that want to control us, and eternal life in Heaven.
Because of the cross, we don’t have to carry the heartache and pain of our past throughout our lives—we can experience healing.
Because of the cross, we can experience deliverance from generational iniquities, and the sins passed down from our ancestors.
We don’t have to follow the same patterns as grandma and grandpa and all who have gone before because of the cross. We can experience freedom and follow Jesus down a completely different path.
The incredible thing is that these things aren’t just “doctrines” or “spiritual teachings”—they change actual people’s lives.
As I told our story last week, I was once again reminded of the incredible impact that Christ’s work on the cross has had on my life and our family’s life. The truth is that without the cross, we were destined to repeat the same destructive patterns as those who went before. As often goes, we probably would have delved deeper into sin, addiction, and heartache than our ancestors.
Yet, because of Jesus and what He did at the cross….because of salvation and its transforming power…I have a testimony of changed lives, healed hearts, and a purpose for living.
Once again, I am reminded that the heart of Christianity is found at the cross. That “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER should believe in Him should have everlasting life.” (John. 3:16)
Sadly, many in our culture and progressive Christianity want to remove the cross from Christianity. They believe that it didn’t happen, that it is just a metaphor, that a loving God wouldn’t sacrifice His Son, and that the cross is tantamount to child abuse.
This is absolutely demonic teaching because it is Christ’s work at the cross that separates Christianity from all other religions. If there is no cross, if there is no atonement for sin, and no price was paid for our freedom, what separates Christianity from any other religion?
The fact is that it is only because Christ willingly took the punishment for our sin and paid the price that we should have paid that we can be reconciled to God.
It is through the cross that we can experience a personal relationship with God.
It’s through the cross that we experience forgiveness, healing, deliverance, and eternal life.
The fact is that you can’t have Christianity without the cross.
No amount of social justice, personal reformation, or good works can ever transform a life and save a soul like Jesus’ work at the cross.
We cannot deny it, replace it, or allow any theology that debates it.
Instead, we need to celebrate it and thank God for all that He gave for us every day.
As the song says, we need to:
Love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross (rugged cross)
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it some day for a crown
(Old Rugged Cross, George Bennard)
We need to remember that the price Jesus paid was real…so was all the pain that He endured. Yet, He did it willingly because of God’s incredible love for us.
He did it so that we could experience forgiveness, so that we could have a restored relationship with God, so that we could experience eternal life and have an abundant life while we are here on earth.
None of this would be possible without the cross.
Every Christian’s testimony and every Gospel message finds its foundation at the cross.
While some may choose to deny it, fight it, and pervert the greatest truth ever told, as Christians, we are called to remember that our faith, our freedom from sin, and our hope for eternity are all about the cross. We cannot entertain any teaching, any teacher, or any theology that seeks to remove the cross from Christianity.
Without the cross, there is no salvation. Without salvation, where would we be?
It's something to think about as we head into the Easter season.
Where would we be without the cross? How can we contend for it and lead others toward it's transforming power?
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.