Friday, 16 September 2016

The Cross and the Power

When Paul said that his only message was the cross, he wasn't choosing between a message of the cross-only versus a message of the cross 'plus' spiritual gifts - he was really only contrasting his message with the message of the Judaisers who were insisting that the cross wasn't enough, that Gentile believers should also become subject to the Law of Moses; and

Paul was also contrasting his approach with that of the Greek philosophers who were all about mere words and 'wisdom' - Paul's message was always with power.

Paul's point was that thanks to the cross, Jesus was all - without the deeds of the Law; and

As for philosophy and mere words, Paul pointed out that the message of the cross was instead accompanied by a demonstration of the very power of that message - never merely in words and concepts. Signs and wonders were always concomitant with the message of the cross, wherever that message was fully preached, and whenever it was fully believed. Always!

In the very passage where Paul said, "I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified..." he went on to say, "....And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND OF POWER..." Why? "...That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the POWER OF GOD".

The message of the cross, and a demonstration of the power of that message, are therefore inseparable - when it's fully preached, and fully believed.

To separate the demonstration of the power of God from the message of the power of God, is an unnatural separation, and not one Paul was making. 

Forgiveness of sins isn't the only matter that the message of the cross has power to provide - healing also is powerfully provided by the cross. It's part of the message of the cross.

Remember Jesus asked which is easier to say, "Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men". Thus forgiveness of sins and the power of God with regards to physical healing, were much of a muchness. 

The things is: very often we've only preached part of the message of the cross, not all of its message. And we've done the very thing Paul said he didn't do - which is preach messages which consist more in concepts than in demonstrations of the power of God. 

People's faith is meant to be based as much on the demonstration of the power of God that they see, as it is in the inherent wisdom of our message.

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