I have a question: are there situations when it would be advisable to take the cross off the neck? When we sin, knowingly, for example … would it be a sign of defamation? Or you can leave it around the neck …
Unfortunately, the Orthodox Church gives a different meaning and importance to the cross sign and especially to the cross that is worn around the neck, which is different from the one that we find in Scripture. Here’s what the Orthodox Christian Education Book for the fourth grade says:
The baptized is given a holy cross that he has to wear the whole life. It is never taken off the neck, and man is even buried with it. The Holy Cross is a sign of our salvation and a weapon against the devil. (Orthodox Christian Education, book for the Fourth Grade, p. 26)
It is true that for some the cross is the sign of their salvation, but for most it is a talisman and has nothing to do with salvation, because they are plunged in sin and transgression. Because of such people Christ’s name is mocked among the nations. When you go to Arab countries Muslims are talking about Christians as the most debauched people because they saw the cross around their neck while they were smoking, using drugs and living in fornication.
If the cross were a weapon against the devil, why would a nation in which 94% of the population declared themselves Orthodox Christians came to be the first place in the world in alcohol consumption per capita? For these people, the cross is an amulet (as to the pagans) and not a sign of salvation, because they are not Christians and are not saved. True Christians who are saved by faith in Jesus Christ live a holy life and do not get drunk. I invite you to read the articles “Is it right to wear cross around your neck?” and “What is the significance of the cross? “in which I addressed more detailed about the sign of the cross.
When we sin knowingly …
When asked whether the cross should be removed from the neck or not when you knowingly sin, I want to ask you a question, too …
Is the wedding ring a sign of the covenant which was concluded between a man and a woman when they got married? God forbid this to happen, but what would a man think when his wife comes to him asking: “Honey, if I get to sin, to be unfaithful to you and to sleep with another man, knowingly, would you prefer me to remove the ring of my hand at that time? Would you feel insulted if I leave it on my hand?” Won’t it produce a deep wound only if he hears such words from his wife?
To be a Christian (with or without your cross around the neck) means to be a man dead for sin and living for Christ in righteousness. The Bible says that true Christians, who made a covenant with the Lord Jesus and was born again, does not sin:
No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:6-10)(NASB)
If you start to sin knowingly, make sure you are not born of God and you are not a child of God, because God’s children do not accept sin in their lives either in thought or deed. The cross around your neck does not help you anyway, as long as you are not born again yet. Seek to be born again and enter soon the New Covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru