The “sign of the cross” is a ritual where a person uses their right hand to trace the shape of a cross by touching their forehead, their lower chest or stomach, and both shoulders. It is often accompanied by the words, “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” It has a double meaning, for the “cross” symbolizes the “cross of Jesus Christ,” and thus it reminds one of His sacrificial death on the cross to atone for sin. The words spoken express one’s belief in the Trinity, that there is one God Who exists in three distinct Persons. This ritual is practiced mostly by Roman Catholics, though it is also practiced by some Lutheran, Anglican, and Episcopalian churches.

The signing of the cross is a “human tradition,” which has no real support from Scripture. Yet Roman Catholics (and others) often point to passages in the book of Revelation to justify it. Revelation 7:3 and 14:1 read: “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have SEALED THE SERVANTS OF OUR GOD ON THEIR FOREHEADS”…..“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having HIS FATHER’S NAME WRITTEN IN THEIR FOREHEADS” (NKJV). These passages do speak of the Father’s name on the forehead, but nothing is said about the name of the Son on the chest or the name of the Holy Spirit on the shoulders. Nor do they indicate at all the shape of the cross, so this would be an example of taking a scripture out of context and using it to justify a human tradition. The context of these passages speak of a FUTURE EVENT when God will seal His witnesses with a real sign on their foreheads, guaranteeing them protection from those who would seek to harm them during the 7-year Tribulation Period outlines in Revelation chapters 6-19.

You rightly ask, “Is it wrong?” If you were to ask those who perform the sign of the cross why they do it, you would get various answers. To some it has a “supernatural power to repel demons or other forms of evil,” which has absolutely no support from Scripture. To others it is simply a ritual that they have been taught and they have no idea why they do it. And then there are those who really believe it symbolizes the truth of Christ’s death on the cross, along with the truth of the holy Trinity, truths which are indeed scriptural and very precious to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this, they truly believe they are honoring God by practicing this ritual. The important thing to realize is that the Word of God says nothing about this so the true believer is NOT instructed to do it, thus one should not feel that they are dishonoring God by not performing the sign of the cross. (243.1) (DO)