Friday, September 17, 2010

The Word of the Cross is Folly


“The word of the cross is folly” (1 Corinthians 1:18)

In our society it seems like the cross is just a normal idea. Crosses are around people’s necks, hanging on walls in houses, tattooed on bodies and even displayed for all to see on interstates. For the most part crosses are fine decorative pieces, but all of that changes once someone start to speak about the cross. This is why Paul says, “The word of the cross is folly.”

As Christians we must speak about the cross. When Paul speaks about the cross he is speaking about all that sums up the cross. Christ coming, living a perfect life, dying on the cross for sin, resurrecting three days later showing his power over death and now being seated at the right hand of the Father. The cross is the summary of all those truths. Trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation is clinging to all of these truths. Christ did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but humbled himself by coming to take on the form of humanity (Phil. 2:5-7). Christ perfectly obeyed the Father therefore he was able to be the mediator between us and God (Rom. 8:3-4; 1 Tim. 2:5). Christ obeyed perfectly even to the point of death upon the cross as our substitute (Phil. 2:8; 2 Cor. 5:21). Christ then resurrected three days later just as he said demonstrating his power over sin and death (John 10:17; 1 Cor. 15:56-57). Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father as the name above all names and the only name by which humans can be saved (Phil. 2:9-11; Acts 4:12). True Christians affirm each of these truths and they shape the way we live while here are earth. Sadly to the majority of the world “the word of the cross is folly.”

What can we do as Christians to make this message more appealing to our society who reject the message of the cross? Should we change the parts people find offensive? Tempting. No one enjoys being rejected. Rejection normally produces future fear. But we must trust God’s unfailing Word. When you are tempted to change the message of the gospel open God’s Word and find comfort in truth. When we change the message of the gospel we do the most unloving thing a person could do, we lose the message of hope. God’s Word tells us to not be ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). The Scriptures tells us to speak the truth of the gospel in love (Eph. 4:15). When we proclaim the truth boldly in love, God does his saving work in the lives of others. But we must be prepared for rejection. We should be grieved when the gospel is rejected. We must be faithful to pray for those to whom “the word of the cross is folly.”

Christian, are you faithfully and lovingly proclaiming the word of the cross? We are all familiar with 1 Corinthians 13 because it is read at the majority of weddings. This chapter is known as “The love chapter” in Scripture. I think we casually read over it many time not really pondering what is being said by the apostle Paul. Tucked away in the middle of the chapter are these words: “[Love] does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (6). Love rejoices in the truth and God’s Word is truth which means God’s gospel is truth. May we love others through the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. May we rejoice in the message of Christ crucified knowing it is the power of God unto salvation.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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