THE POWER OF THE CROSS

…but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.

(1 Cor 1:27 NASB)

The latter days prove to be a very unique period of time on earth. It was foreshadowed by the prophet Daniel that ‘many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase,’ (Daniel 12:4). The world has indeed become a small place. Not only do people travel from one corner of the world to the other in no time, but we are also able to connect with one another through the World-Wide-Web at any given moment in time, whether through social media or a phone call. Furthermore, the apostle Paul warned us that SELF-LOVE will permeate in the latter days – not only in the world system, but also into the spiritual worship of the Body of Messiah, (2 Tim 3:1-5).

We need no research to verify the reality of these predictions – we live in them. We live in a world-wide society dominated by cell phones and computers. These devices creep into every possible social gathering, affecting the quality of interpersonal communication. Beyond that, knowledge about almost every matter is available to the touch of a screen. Most disturbing, though, is that the general focus shifted from common good to self-elevation. This culture does not only affect the way we relate to one another, it also affects our walk with the Lord.

The gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ the Messiah is the cure to our broken lives and the chaos in the world. Yet, the message of the cross contradicts the prevalent self-centered culture with which we are confronted in our daily conduct. Nothing good dwells in our sinful nature (Rom 7:18), and religious works, however pious they might appear, do not cut away the core of sin, (Col 2:20-23). There is only one way to overcome the power of sin and destruction, and that is to put it to death, having no confidence in the FLESH. This really requires a close and personal walk with Jesus Christ our Messiah, for it is indeed His resurrection that gives us LIFE and victory over sin and death, (Rom 8:1-2; Rom 6:1-13).

In fact, Paul puts it straight, stating to the Corinthians that we are, ‘always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body,(2 Cor 4:10). We thus find this paradox – the power of life eternal can only manifest in our daily lives if we continue to die to self and put our faith in Jesus our Lord, (Gal 2:20). Nonetheless, the apostle Paul warns of some who will become ‘enemies of the cross’ (Phil 3:18-19), having evidence in themselves of a false circumcision, when he writes, ‘Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,’ (Phil 3:2-3).

We should not be surprised though, for if we choose this way of conduct, dying to SELF daily, we (or our conduct) will certainly become a paradox in this increasingly self-centered society. Inevitably, this will lead to a conflict in conduct, it might even lead to persecution and ridicule, (1 Peter 4:4).

All said and done, the benefits of being a principled man who lives according to the Spirit, will outweigh momentary affliction, and will produce for us an eternal weight of glory, (2 Cor 4:7-11; 4:16-18). Let us thus not be drawn into the false knowledge of self-elevation, for ‘God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,’ (1 Cor 1:27). Take courage then in the power of the gospel, ‘For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God,’ (1 Cor 1:18).

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