The message of the cross is the power of God
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“For the message 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 1:18.
The message of the cross
Paul prays for the Ephesians, when they had received a love for all the saints, that they might receive enlightened eyes of the heart, “… that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:15-23.
There we can see a bit of those powers which God has made available to those who believe. If Jesus hadn’t been so faithful to His Father, if He wasn’t obedient in all things, then the flesh which He had inherited from His mother would have come forth. But He said, “… nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42. And it was the cross which brought forth that power from God within Him. He also needed to live by faith, because He is the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2.) And there wouldn’t have been any finishing for Jesus if He had even given in just one time to that flesh. Because then the wisdom of God wouldn’t have come forth from Him. Then God could not have given Him such a mighty power that He could raise Him from the dead. And that is the power that is effective and active within us who believe. (Ephesians 1:19.)
Everything has to do with the cross. It’s through the cross that God’s power and God’s wisdom come forth. The finished work of Calvary is one thing. Satan miscalculated when he got Jesus up on the cross. He thought that he had won when Jesus died. But then the work was finished, which meant that Jesus could commit His Spirit to the Father, completely pure, after having gone through everything that a human being can go through here in the world. And throughout all of that, His Spirit was never defiled by anything that was in His flesh. That is victory. That is the message of the cross.
Crucified with Christ
And we have been called to sit on thrones together with Jesus, we who overcome just as He overcame, it’s written in Revelation 3:21. So the message of the cross, that needs to have a daily effect in our lives. Jesus speaks about a cross that He took up every day. And we need to do the same in our situations, in relation to our children, in relation to our marriage partners, in relation to our brothers, in relation to our colleagues. We need to be crucified with Him.
Read more about what it means to be crucified with Christ here.
Paul gives the strongest testimony that you can read in the whole Bible when he says: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me …” Galatians 2:20. The life that Paul lived, he lived by faith in God, who strengthened him, who helped him, who was with him every day. That is the God – the Jesus – whom we are following. That is the message of the cross that we preach. In that way the power of God and the wisdom of God also came upon the church, which is His body. He who fills all in all, it’s written. (Ephesians 1:23.) That is Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us believe in the message of the cross. Death over my own will. Death over my own desires. Death over everything that has to do with self-seeking and egotism. Then the life of Jesus starts coming forth. Then love is poured out and shed abroad in our hearts. That same love that Jesus lived in and walked in here on earth.
This article is based on a talk given by Kaare J. Smith on May 26, 2020.
You may be interested in reading more on our key teaching page about the message of the cross. You may also be interested in the following selections which speak more about the significance of the cross:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.