Summary: The importance of the cross in the life of the believer TODAY. Especially in the light of opposition in the UK to this Christian symbol
11 Notice what large letters I use as I write these closing words in my own handwriting. 12 Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised are doing it for just one reason. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save. 13 And even those who advocate circumcision don’t really keep the whole law. They only want you to be circumcised so they can brag about it and claim you as their disciples.
14 As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world died long ago, and the world’s interest in me is also long dead. 15 It doesn’t make any difference now whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people. 16 May God’s mercy and peace be upon all those who live by this principle. They are the new people of God.
17 From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus.
18 My dear brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Verse: 14 ‘As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world died long ago, and the world’s interest in me is also long dead.’
We live in a ‘church world’ of extremes. Only this week in the paper, Terry Waite, who was the Archbishop’s envoy to Lebanon. He shot to fame by being held captive for five years. He spoke out about the modern trends in the Church of England. He was disgusted that a vicar did not wear his robes and then when it came time for him to preach removed his jacket and actually moved around while preaching. We have church services and especially worship which have taken on more the guise of a show, with lights and smoke and other special effects.
Out of the church scene there is the debate on television about PC of the presenters, should they wear a cross? BA staff member at home because of wearing a cross. I have to say is to so many no more than a piece of jewelry with no significant meaning at all. (The one in question was not even a crucifix just a plain cross.)
Modern presentations, feeling about the correctness of a piece of jewelry. If we are not careful, we will lose sight of the cross itself. If the cross of Jesus Christ with all it’s symbolic meaning, is lost to the Christian Church, whether under a smoke screen of presentation or through the political correctness of our world today, then we have lost a central part of our message. We might as well shut up shop!
The words of verse 14 in the AV are powerful. ‘But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,...’ Yet the cross stands for shame. It is not a good luck charm it is a symbol of death and stands for the abrupt and violent end of human life. For the Christian believer it does of course stand for the death to the old life, and through Christ’s death and resurrection, it also stands for the new life which we have through and in Jesus Christ. The man who in the time of Jesus took up his cross, he had already said his good-byes to his loved ones and friends, he stepped out on a road of no-returns.