14 May 2006

"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God"-1 Corinthians 1:18

We have heard some say that they detest Christianity because it is a bloody, messy religion with its cross and suffering. Their abhorrence of Christ's blood and His suffering is a witness that separates all of humanity: those who view the cross as foolishness and those who view the cross as the power of God. This was Paul's line in the sand, his measuring rod, his litmus test as to those who were truly saved. Thus he wrote to the church at Corinth, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

Many of the Corinthians seemed to claim salvation and despise the cross… it had no effect upon their souls. Upon their conversion there was no apparent change in their life. Today, many are of the same stripe. They love the entertainment, the show, but the preaching has not changed them. Some of the Corinthians claimed to be followers of Apollos, others of Cephas and some of Paul. Again, nothing has changed. Some claim to be followers of some person who began their particular religion, they cling to the name on the church sign or the denomination they hail. Yet, the bottom question is this: what does the preaching of the cross mean to you personally? Your leader may be giving you good doctrine, the name on your sign may be fine and your denomination may be in order, but what about you? Does the preaching of the cross move you? This is a sober question for us all.

Paul divides the chaff from the wheat with this letter. If the cross made no impact upon their life, if it meant nothing to them, they could not claim His Holy name. Christian, it is much like the story I heard of a man who lost his best hunting dog. He was very grieved over the loss because he had enjoyed many wonderful hunts with his faithful friend. As he was burying the animal in a public place a crowd gathered around as he patted the last layer of dirt over the grave. Seeing his tears and knowing his spiritual estate, one man asked him, "What do you think of the death of Christ?" The man replied as he let out a last sigh for his dog, "Well, I have never been sure that Jesus was all that He claimed to be, that He was really God and we can't really prove that He rose from the grave." It wasn't long before the man, himself, died and the same neighbors were standing around his grassless mound, recalling his life. Though they all knew the man well, there was a difference of opinion as to his final estate. Some were sure that his soul was resting peacefully in the arms of Jesus because of the love and compassion he had for his dog. Others were of quite a different opinion. They saw him in eternal torment because of his indifference towards the suffering of Christ. Christian, if we understand 1 Corinthians 1:18 we must concur with the latter group.

The cross is the power of God because it has a dynamic effect upon the saved. How can a person continue in their sin when it was their sin that nailed their loving Savior to the cross? When we truly see our suffering Lord in our place upon His cross we are given a power that nothing else upon this earth can give us: the power to see sin, repent and turn from it. Have you looked upon Him whom we have pierced with our sins and mourned? We pray you will see Him today like Thomas did as "my Lord and my God."