gal 05v11 The Cross of the Cross
"...THE CROSS OF THE CROSS..."
By "the cross", Paul did not mean the material cross. That is offensive to no one. It is a piece of jewelry. It is a universal symbol of religious sentimentalism at best, and outright idolatry at worst. Nor does he moan the mere historic fact of the cross. The fact of the crucifixion is a part of history which everyone receives. When Paul talks about the cross, he is talking about the doctrine of the cross - the doctrine of substitutionary redemption - the doctrine of blood atonement - the doctrine of free justification - the doctrine of complete pardon in Christ. He is talking about the preaching of the cross. By the preaching of the cross I mean the proclamation of its necessity, its nature, and its efficacy.
††††††††††††††† The preaching of the cross was an offense to the religious: self-righteous Jew, and to the proud intellectual Greek. If Paul had been willing to allow that man had any part in the work of salvation, both the Jew and the Gentile would have accepted his doctrine. But he would not allow any space for man. He declared that salvation was altogether the work of the triune God. It is a work of the grace of God, through the mediation of Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not a co-operative effort of God and man. It is a co-operative act of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
††††††††††††††† The preaching of the cross offends the pride and dignity of man. It is a vivid reminder of manís sin and hatred of God. In its profound simplicity, it offends the wisdom of man. The inventions of man's religion are declared to be vanity. It is offensive, because it puts all men upon one level. Princes and paupers, moralists and harlots, scholars and drunkards are all the same in the eyes of God. All are sinners. And if they enter into glory, they must all stoop down and enter in at the door of the cross, elbow to elbow, indeed, God is no respecter of persons.
But there are some to whom the cross is no offence, To them who are called, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God! Has God removed from your heart the offense of the cross? Do you now see its wisdom and beauty? Have you entered in by faith through the door of the cross? If so, give thanks to God alone!