Cross, Metaphorical Sense of
Cross, Metaphorical Sense of This word (1), in its most comprehensive sense, as figuratively used in N.T., designates not only the whole passion of Christ, culminating in the death on the cross, but also the whole Gospel system, as a means of reconciliation with God through Christ. (2) It is also used to designate the sufferings and trials sent upon Christians for their moral improvement, and which have the effect of strengthening faith, and teaching humility, love, and submission. The command to "take up the cross" daily (Lu 9:23) signifies that we are cheerfully to submit to all the evils of life, circumstance, and position, which God, in his wisdom, sees fit that we should encounter; we are even to rejoice at misfortune, as the discipline of suffering brings fruits of sanctification to those who patiently submit for Christ's sake, remembering that all things work for good to them that love God (Ro 8:28). Four kinds of "crosses" have been recognized: I, the cross of martyrdom, the witness unto death for Christ and the Gospel; 2, the cross of trials, for the preservation of faith, love, and hope; 3, the cross of discipline, for the purification of the heart and the subjection of sinful desires and inclinations; 4, the cross of punishment, for the chastisement of sin; though the aim of punishment also is the improvement of the sinner. God is love, and therefore lays the "cross" on every one as he needs it. He chasteneth whom he loveth. It is a sad mistake to consider suffering as the result of caprice or anger on the part of God (2Co 4:188; 12:7; Heb 12:1-12; Ga 6:14; Eph 2:16-17; Col 1:19-22; 1Co 1:17-18; Ga 5:11; Php 3:18). — Krehl, N.T. Handworterbuch, s.v. Kreuz.