What would happen if God changed the “plan of salvation” in this dramatic way? What if the voice of God parted the skies and spoke a new revelation to us, saying, “If you are crucified on a cross for your sins, you will be eternally saved!” Would you do it? Assuming that every human living heard and understood His mighty voice, don’t you suppose countless millions would line up to fulfill this requirement?
The Bible says with Divine credibility that death on the cross was absolutely necessary for the saving of mankind. Many may scoff at that, but that truth must be believed. Yet, no one could save himself by dying on a cross for his own sins. God would reject that sacrifice! Such a sacrifice is blemished and flawed by the filth and disease of sin. The only spotless and unblemished sacrifice that could ever be offered was Jesus (1 Pet. 1:18), who condemned sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3) and “put away sin by the sacrificing of himself” (Heb. 9:26). He was “once offered to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28) upon the cross.
If Christ had taken the mockers’ challenge to come down from the cross to prove His deity (Mk. 15:32), all mankind would have lost all hope of heaven. He endured the shame and pain of Calvary (Heb. 12:2) to make heaven possible for all who obey Him (Heb. 5:9).
Now, consider this. Through the Bible, the voice of God rings out, demanding that we figuratively crucify our desires and lives on Jesus’ cross through sincere obedience (Gal. 2:20). He tells us to obey the Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus, in order to have sins forgiven (Rom. 6:17). No one has to die the death of a thousand deaths, nailed to a literal cross, to be saved. No one could! But if we come to the One who did so die, we can avoid the only fate that is worse than crucifixion (see Rev. 14:10-11)!
God does not call you to get up on a cross for your sins. He calls you to take up the cross of self-denial, following Him (Mt. 16:24). In this way, may we crucify ourselves!