A few weeks ago I arrived at the Troy campus well before sunrise. It was a very foggy morning. As I entered the north driveway, the fog hid the building and all that I could see was the large well-lit cross that now appeared to be suspended in midair. It was beautiful and almost breathtaking. The LED lighting of the cross was powerfully cutting through the dense fog. What a graphic picture of the cross as it for centuries has cut through the fog of men’s religion, human pride and self-sufficiency. We are indebted to the Lord for what he did for us on the cross.
While many (even religious people) seemed to be embarrassed by the cross with its cruelty and bloodshed, the Apostle Paul had a much different perspective: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)
For the Jews in Galatia the cross was an object of shame, but for the Apostle Paul and us today it is a symbol of God’s love, Christ’s sacrifice for us and our freedom from sin and reconciling with God.
We can and must boast in the cross. John Stott wrote in his classic book, The Cross of Christ, “The object of our boast or glory fills our horizons, engrossed our attention and absorbs our time and energy. In a word, our glory is our obsession.” So we boast in the cross for many reasons; let me give you a couple to think about:
First, we can boast in the cross because it is our only way to God the Father. It is only through the cross that I as a guilty sinner can stand in the presence of a holy God. It was on the cross that God placed on Jesus my sins and the sins of the entire world (2 Corinthians 5:21). Since he took my place and offered me something I could have never earned or purchased, I have no reason to boast except in the cross. The cross eliminates all claims to boasting because I brought nothing to the table. The song writer summarized it well, “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.”
Second, we can boast in the cross because it shows us how to live. While Christ died on the cross, my identification with him means “the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” The cross calls me to live a life of gratitude, humility and self-sacrifice. The cross delivers me from sin and has broken the power of sin over me. Another songwriter exclaimed, “My sin O the bliss of this glorious thought. My sin not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord O my soul.”
Along with Paul, we boast in the cross as we carry it and preach it. Thank you Father for the cross.