The power of the cross

Paul was in great fear that the cross would lose its power. Read about what this power is and how we can keep it.

Written by Aksel J. Smith
The power of the cross

“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.

We can preach the power of God and the wisdom of God to both Jews and Greeks. (V. 24.) “Not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” 1 Corinthians 1:17.

The power of the cross: Power to put all things in order

The power that has been given to us through the word of the cross is a power in which we can put all things in order according to God’s wisdom. Clever thoughts and arguments cannot lead anyone to perfect unity, but the word of the cross can. Jews and Greeks, who differ greatly from one another as people and have hated one another, can be saved to such an extent through the word of the cross that they can become new people in a genuine brotherhood that lasts forever.

Paul was in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling when he considered the possibility that excellence of speech and persuasive words might enter the church and weaken the word of the cross for salvation through God’s power and God’s wisdom. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5.)

The word of the cross results in death to everything that has to do with any sinful desire; then the new man is born for victory and to live for the benefit and joy of the others. Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness above His companions because He loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. (Hebrews 1:9.)

Get to know Jesus by the message of the cross

Jesus was the first One to take up His cross daily, and He put the flesh with its passions and desires on the cross. Throughout the years He has received brethren on this way of the cross—brethren who possess the same Spirit and the same mind. They have become Jesus’ true brothers, with Jesus as the greatest and most excellent among them, and they are brothers to all those who have hated sin and loved the truth in Jesus Christ.

If I love the message of the cross, I will “know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10. “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection …” Romans 6:5.

Ungodly people consider it foolishness to deny the desires and passions of sin. They go the way of death, believing it is the way of life. But the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23; Romans 8:13.)

The message of the cross creates a clear division between good and evil, between the way of life and the way of death, and it can unite people of all nations in a new and blessed life. “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythians, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:11.

True salvation by the power of the cross

If the message of the cross does not bring about a radical separation and a melting together with the word of life, the result will be only religiosity.

Without the cross there is neither peace nor unity in the home or in the church. Without the cross in love it is only a human love that does not measure up to the love that is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit that believes all things, hopes all things, and bears all things. This is how we could mention each single virtue. The flesh is allowed to live if the message of the cross does not separate the precious from the vile. There will be no death over the demands of our self-life.

Then righteousness will be accompanied by self-righteousness, and wisdom will be accompanied by human ideas that are one with the wisdom that is from below, which is earthly, sensual, and demonic. (James 3:15.) Mercy will be accompanied by honor-seeking and exalting yourself. Instead of true godliness the result will be the appearance of godliness without power. Instead of that noble, precious humility that results in grace from God the end result will be an external piety, and hypocrisy, which God hates.

Everything can appear to be alright seen from the outside, but Jesus says in Luke 12:1: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

If the virtues are not born of a pure heart, everything will be impure.

By the cross the world has been crucified to us and we to the world. (Galatians 6:14.)

Through the separation of the cross, only that which is genuine, true, and pure will remain before God to His honor.

The message of the cross is truly the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes.


This article has been translated from Norwegian, and was first published in BCC’s periodical
Skjulte Skatter (Hidden Treasures) in October 1986.
© Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag | ActiveChristianity

You may be interested in reading more on our topic page about the cross or in these selected articles:

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.