Summary: Presents the wisdom and power of Christ's atoning work.
Some wonder how I can come up with so much to say each Sunday. That may be a nice way of saying I preach a long time. In most cases, my problem is not coming up with enough to say, but having to limit myself. More often than not, I end up cutting material out. I did that last Sunday. I left out what any Christian would be most desirous to hear. I went on about how foolish the cross sounds to unbelieving ears. But what about those who are being saved, who have been called of God. How is it that the cross is the power of God and the wisdom of God?
For we who are being saved, we know the power; it is the power to save us from sin. As William Evans says:
We believe that Christ’s Cross reveals the love of God, and that throughout all these ages men have been bowed in penitence as they have caught a vision of the One who hung thereon. But if you were to question the multitudes that have believed in God because of the Cross, you would find that what moved them to repentance was not merely, if at all, certainly not primarily, that the Cross revealed the love of God in a supreme way, but the fact that there at that Cross God had dealt with the great and awful fact of sin, that the Cross had forever removed it.
Everyone likes to speak of Jesus’ death as an act of love. It proves that we are all God’s friends. Even Jesus said that the highest act of love is to die for a friend (cf. John 15:13). Therefore, Jesus died for us to let us know that we are all friends of his and friends of God.
For those of us who find in the cross the power to save, we have no trouble saying what our true condition was when Christ died. We were sinners; indeed, we were the enemies of God. We were slaves to sin, which we served with full obedience. Some of us were oblivious to our condition and thought that God ought to be pleased with how good we were. Some of us realized our precarious state and were dismayed over our inability to be good enough. Some of us did not care and were smug about our “independence” from God. But at some point, for all of us, the helplessness of our state and the power of Christ to save us hit home, and the love of God overwhelmed us. Now when we read such verses as these, our spirits affirm the great love that is expressed:
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9,10).
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).
This is love! And it is a love with power. For God does not simply look upon us with love. And Christ did not die on the cross simply as a Valentine card. God sent his Son to make the just payment for our sins and to break the stranglehold of sin on us. Once we were guilty and over us hung the just punishment of God ready to fall upon us; now there is no condemnation for our guilt has been removed. We are pronounced “not guilty” and set free. We are justified in Christ. That is power!
And we are no longer haunted by our past, fearful that our sins will find us out. For God’s Word tells us in Colossians 2:13-14: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
On the cross Jesus Christ reconciled us to God. As Romans 5:10 states: while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son. And the point that is made in this passage is that if God would pay the supreme sacrifice to reconcile us to himself while we were enemies, how much more will he do now that we are reconciled. In other words, what God began, he will complete. The cross justifies us now; the cross has rid us of our sinful past; and the cross guarantees a glorious future. That is power!