Friday, April 26, 2013

The Cross is Folly

"The cross is folly" (1 Corinthians 1:18)

What makes the cross so foolish?  The word Paul is using in this passage has to deal with the cross being a foolish thing.  But why?  We know all of humanity was created in the image of God from the book of Genesis.  That truth alone links all of us being created equal.  But many of us neglect the reality that we are all linked by another event: the fall.  All of us are born sinners (Romans 5:12-21).  We are born with a broken relationship with our Creator.  God never intended it to be this way yet in his kindness he had a plan before he created anything or anyone (Ephesians 1).  What sort of plan?  According to our sinful nature it is a foolish plan.  But once revealed through the illumining eyes of the Spirit this plan makes total sense.

God's plan to rescue sinners involved the coming from heaven in order to die.  That's right.  God left the glories of heaven to die on a wooden cross.  He came to die the death of a criminal.  The most heinous sort of death a human could ever experience was the death the perfect Son of God came to take.  But he did not endure death with no purpose.  Christ came as a man in order to live the life we could not live.  He came humbly and meek, perfectly obeying his Father all way to the hill at Calvary.  In love he laid on the cross while the spikes were driven through his hands and feet.  He did not revile those who reviled him yet silently took the mocking.  He was lifted up outside the city, naked and ridiculed.  The innocent Lamb was slaughtered for the sake of his people.  His death was the death I deserve and his life was life I could never live.  Yet Jesus came because of my sin.  He came to rescue me the sinner.  "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).

This is not news to take lightly.  It demands a response.  Two responses are possible; the first is a repenting of sin because you see the love of Jesus while being his enemy and the other is mocking the cross and its foolishness. Heed the words of Scripture: "The word of the cross is folly" but only "to those who are perishing."  Jesus is the Judge who will one day hold each one of us accountable for our sins.  They will either be paid for through eternal torment or through the death of Christ on the cross.

What makes the cross so foolish?  The cross puts every man and woman on a level playing field.  No earthly merit can earn you favor with God and no crime can keep you from him.  At the cross we see both ways of thinking will produce repentance.  But the foolishness of the cross becomes so glorious once our eyes are opened to the reality that forgiven sinners in Christ are no longer perishing but are now adopted sons and daughters to the God who created us.  The foolishness of the cross makes total sense because no man can receive the glory in it.  God alone deserves the glory.  He plan is folly to those who are perishing but for those who are being saved it is the power of God.

Grace upon grace,
JRL