Speaking Up For The Cross
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Galatians 6:14 (NIVUK)
Does the cross of Jesus Christ embarrass you? This week news came out about a survey in the UK concerning belief in God. From the responses to the poll it was projected that around 20% of people are pleased to say that they are atheists. It was also suggested that many Christians are reluctant to talk openly about their faith or to make it known to others.
When Paul wrote to the Galatians some people wanted to cover up any association with the cross. They were doing so in order to avoid being victimized or persecuted. Not only that but they preferred to be known as Jews instead of Christians. After all, the Romans tolerated Judaism but were suspect of this new Christianity. Would it not be safer to appear to be Jewish? Surely God would understand. Therefore the Galatians were being encouraged to identify more with the Jews than with their fellow believers. Does this not sound reasonable?
Paul’s view was that we should be proud of the cross. We should boast in it and live out its actuality and symbolism in everything we do. The cross spelt out God’s way to him. Jesus chose the way of the cross and so should we. In claiming the cross as ours we surrender to God’s purpose. It was with reference to the cross that Jesus said to the Father “not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). Paul advocates a spiritual intimacy with the cross. Christians should not distance themselves from it but rather draw closer to it. Of course, he does not mean that we should worship it or make an idol of it: he means we should take delight in being involved with it and that the cross should reflect how we live our lives.
Later Paul wrote, “many live as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18). In other words, their words and actions were against the cross. Their lifestyle was not one of total surrender to Jesus Christ. Rather they boasted about other things and other ideas.
As for us, let’s identify with our Lord, and speak up in support of the cross.
Father, to borrow the words of Paul, let your wonderful Holy Spirit lead me to “never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”. In Jesus’ name.
Study by James Henderson
About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland. You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.