CUTUD, ANGELES CITY - Dozens of Catholic devotees were nailed to crosses, scores more whipped their backs and others chanted the Passion of Jesus Christ as Filipinos mixed faith and gory ritual on Good Friday.
To be fair to the Catholic churches, they do not encourage or condone the behavior. In fact, I'm well-aware that people in your church don't always listen to or practice your teaching!
But the point is this. Those poor people, in punishing themselves, have completely missed the point of the cross. They don't yet realize that Jesus suffered God's wrath - so that I will never have to. He suffered God's displeasure - so that I might have peace with God. He suffered God's hatred - so that I might know God's love.
You might not be whipping yourself today, but your focus might be on your performance rather than Christ's propitiation. Don't miss the point of the cross.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5.21)
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3.21-26)