Friday, April 30, 2010

Preach Christ Crucified


“Preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23)

As God has been patiently working on me and allowing me to proclaim the message of Christ crucified to others I’m slowly discovering how much of what I believe is not the majority. I guess I’ve been more like bubble boy than I thought. I’m slowly seeing just how crazy this simple message of Christ crucified really is to those whose eyes have not been opened to such beauty. But my prayer is that no matter the cost I would be faithful to this simple yet profound message to “preach Christ crucified.”

Why is this message so widely rejected? What great love God the Father has shown to send his only Son to die on our behalf. It is hard to think of such a love being rejected. We can view the world around us and see that sin is so prevalent. But part of this message of Christ crucified is having the humility to admit that we are sinners. We have this issue where we try to find people who are worse off than us so we can set them as the standard declaring ourselves to be fine with God because we are a “better person.” The problem with that sort of logic is this: Only one person in all of history would be damned to an eternity in hell and the Bible is clear that this is not the case. “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matt. 7:13). If we use other people as the standard we have nothing but a cycle of people who are better than other people therefore only leaving the worst person in all of history to hell. But think upon this: How is your attitude? How are your thoughts? What is your motive behind what you do? Things can look good on the outside but the truth remains that your heart is wicked (Jer. 17:9). We are all sinners. This is what makes the message of Christ crucified so essential.

We obviously cannot hold up God’s perfect and holy standard. Sure we can find people we are better than visibly but unless we are the Judge of the universe it really doesn’t matter. The Judge is perfect and set apart so his standard will be what we are judged by. Are you willing to claim perfection? But this is where Christ crucified comes into the picture. Jesus Christ left the glories of heaven to take the form of humanity (Phil. 2). The God-man Jesus Christ willingly descended from heaven to become like one of us. Jesus came to live in this world of sin to be tempted and suffer like he calls us to do. Yet he was without sin. He perfectly obeyed his Father even to the point of his death. He lived the life you and I are unable to live. Jesus knew the reason he came was to bear the Father’s wrath and bring forgiveness of sins. He was willing to live the life we could not live and die the death that we deserve. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends”, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (John 15:13, Rom. 5:8). Jesus’ love is beyond the greatest love because he died for his enemies. He died so his enemies could be reconciled to himself. R.C. Sproul says, “The glory of the gospel, is this: The one from whom we need to be saved is the one who has saved us.”

This is love to the greatest degree yet many people love themselves supremely unable to humbly trust in Jesus. They cannot imagine or comprehend this love. Instead of embracing it they reject it. His love is so great it is despised by the world. But our task as Christians is to “preach Christ crucified.” This message alone is the power of God unto salvation so may we press on unashamed. May we praise God for sending Jesus. May we praise Jesus for living the life we could not live and dying in our place. May we praise him for his perfect robe of righteousness which we have been clothed in. May we be faithful to “preach Christ crucified” to the world.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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