Summary: As the cross represents the supreme act and evidence of the love of God, even so our attitude toward it represents for us the greatest blessing or the greatest sin. A classic sermon by A. B. Simpson.
"They are the enemies of the cross of Christ" (Phil. 3:18).
"They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh" (Heb. 6:6).
Once more we stand facing the cross of Jesus Christ, that wondrous cross which is at once the measure of the love of heaven and the sin of man. For as the cross represents the supreme act and evidence of the love of God, even so our attitude toward it represents for us the greatest blessing or the greatest sin. It is still true, as of old, "on either side one, and Jesus in the midst." That central cross divides the world into the saved and the lost, the heirs of glory and the children of wrath.
Something like this must have been in the mind of the author of the epistle to the Hebrews when he penned that dismal sentence, ’They crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." All that he meant by that awful word of warning may be difficult to define, yet it is wise to trace those steps that may lead some day to that dreadful place where the very cross that was meant to save, can only become "the savor of death unto death."
It is possible to be among the enemies of the cross of Christ long before we have reached that final state and "crucify the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame."
We may take the wrong side of the cross of Christ by ignoring or depreciating the doctrine of the cross. The very foundation of Christianity is the Gospel of the cross. Take that away and we have nothing left but a scheme of philosophy and morals. But alas, in the craze for novelty, religious leaders are growing weary of the old story and they invent a new doctrine of the cross. They tell us that Jesus Christ died not to atone for the sins of men or to bear our guilt and stand beneath the judgment of God as our Substitute and Sacrifice for sin, but simply that He might inspire other men to live a similar life of sacrifice for their fellows. The atonement, according to these wild weavers of the spider’s webs of the New Theology, is simply learning to imitate the self sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and, like Him, give our lives for our fellowmen. Is it too much to say that such a caricature of Calvary and Christianity "crucifies the Son of God afresh, and puts him to an open shame"?
We may also take the wrong side of the cross by believing false doctrine respecting the cross and the precious blood. The Roman Catholic sacrifice of the Mass is a fearful misrepresentation of the cross of Christ. In that man-made ceremonial the Lord Jesus is represented as really offered again in actual sacrifice every time the worshipper receives the sacrament. It is literally crucifying Him afresh. In distinction from this, how emphatic is the teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews, that "once in the end of the world," or better, "once for all hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:6).
We may be enemies of the cross by neglecting to give due emphasis and importance to the doctrine of the cross and the blood of Christ. This charge holds against much of the preaching today. As the expression goes, all roads lead to Rome, so all truths point to Calvary and there is probably no Gospel message in which the cross of Christ should not find some place. And yet, in answer to a challenge from a brother minister, the writer once searched through volume after volume of published sermons of one of the greatest preachers of modern times in a vain endeavor to find one single mention of the atoning blood.