The other night I was having a conversation with a friend, and this friend said to me, "If you could live forever, would you?" They then proceeded to explain to me how they would want to. "After a few hundred years," they explained, "I would love to have things figured out." Their belief was that it would take probably a few hundred years to get to the place where they had enough experience and wisdom that life would be what they always wanted it to be. They would have "figured it out."
And so the story goes... the story of glory. Of course, not all stories of glory are the same, but they have the same basic theme: given enough time, effort, resources, help, or whatever, we can and ought to be able to reach the level of "glory"... whether it be wealth or wisdom or power or anything. We can reach the pinnacle if only we have enough character and time.
Some stories of glory are more humanistic or atheistic, like this one. But some are more religious... even "Christian" sounding... with enough books, effort, prayer, speaking the right words, doing the right things, I can reach either some kind of subjective "Christian goodness" and rise above the rest of the world or sequester God's blessing.
But the story of the cross is the only real story. What I mean by that is that the story of the cross is the only story that represents reality, in the end. All other dreams of glory ultimately fade into the wind. My friend could be given thousands or millions of years to try, but they would never reach the place they sought. They would never reach that utopia because it cannot be achieved like that. It doesn't exist. This world, and this life, cannot be "fixed" like that. It can be improved to varying degrees, but never "fixed". A "patch job" just won't do.
Yet, in the cross we find life on the other side of and through death. In the cross we see that what is required is not more effort, more religion, more time to accumulate enough wisdom, or anything of the sort. We see that what is required is nothing less than death... coming down, dying under the system of this world with all of its pretense and boasts of power and wisdom, and rising from that death to a new age, a new system of things.