February 17th, 2014 | By admin
By Paul Holland
“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18).
The word of the cross is foolishness. It is foolishness to those perishing. You see, a man who is lost does not appreciate the death of Christ. If he did, he would not be lost long. A man who is lost and does not want to be saved, naturally is not expected to understand the preaching of the cross. He is trying to explain the things of God by human wisdom.
The word “fool” is a key word of the book of Proverbs. It is found 71x in those 31 chapters. “How long, O naïve ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” (Prov. 1:22).
When men come to the cross, they come as fools. We came as fools believing that we didn’t need the cross. We came as fools believing that we didn’t need God. We came as fools believing that we could live a moral life without Christ. We came as fools believing that our righteousness outweighed our sinfulness and we could make it to heaven on our own. We came as fools believing that God would accept anything we said or did, as long as it sounded good. As long as we are sincere, God accepts anything we do. We came to the cross as fools.
What happened at the cross? The power of God was manifested at the cross. It was not manifested in cleverness of speech. According to 2 Corinthians 10:10, Paul’s enemies in the church at Corinth said that his personal presence was unimpressive and his speech contemptible. Even today, we place high value on the eloquence of speakers without checking the virtue of their facts. But the power of the Cross is not in eloquence or rhetoric or oratory.
To us being saved, the preaching of the cross is the power of God. The ancient Greek philosopher Cicero spoke of the cross – “The cross, it speaks of that which is so shameful, so horrible it should never be mentioned in polite society.” But Paul says the power of God is in the cross.
Compare it with any other power and its superiority is manifest. What else can awaken the selfish, the sensual, and the hard-hearted to a sense of shame? What else can compel the low-minded and earthly to pursue holiness? What else can guide and constrain us to a life of consecrated service? What else can enter a corrupt society and, with the influence of leaven, bring it to purity?