Is The Cross An Offence?

Posted: August 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

One of the things I really like about reading the Bible is no matter how many times I read a passage I can always learn something new. Not too long ago, I was reading through the book of Galatians when I got to chapter 5 something jumped off the page at me.

As most if not all of you know, the church in Galatia was one of the early churches Paul went to preach the gospel of good news, otherwise known as the gospel of grace. When one reads through the book of Galatians, you will notice Paul takes a real hard stance with them. As a matter of fact, in Galatians 3:1 he actually calls them “foolish”. To me that is really something because when one reads 1 and 2 Corinthians, which was full of turmoil and all kinds of sins, Paul never put them down once!

The letter to the church in Galatia is a letter where Paul is utterly flabbergasted that the people received the gospel of grace that Jesus died to give us only to fall back into relying on the Jewish law. In Galatians 5:11 what really jumped off the page at me was about the cross being an offence. In 1 Corinthians 1:23 Paul mentioned basically the same thing when he said preaching Christ crucified is a stumbling block to the Jews and to the Greeks (Gentiles) foolishness. Some more modern translations like the NLT say it is utter nonsense.

Paul’s words in Galatians 5:12 got even stronger when he said that he wished the ones who troubled the church would be cut off. In the New Revised Standard version it says he wishes they were castrated and in the NIV to emasculate themselves. Wow those are some pretty hard, heavy words from someone who preached the gospel of grace!

Getting back to verse 11 where the cross being an offence jumped off the page at me, I stopped and asked God. “Bottom line Father, when do I make the cross an offence? Do I do it without even knowing or intending to do so?” God’s answer to me was so clear, he said “Son, when you rely on your own strength and knowledge for anything without coming to me and asking me, the cross is an offence to you.” I then realized that when I try to make something happen myself, I am following the law and under grace where Paul says is the only place to be.

After hearing this I read on in chapter 15 and smiled when I got to verse 16. One thing I do admire about Paul, he provided for us the solution that God wants us to abide by. He said we are to live by the Spirit  and goes on to tell us what the acts of the sinful nature are and the fruit of the Spirit is.

I asked God to make this practical for me in an every day setting and give me an example. Immediately I thought of situations at my work in the factory where I will come in to start my shift and I will follow someone who has left the area for me in a real mess. We all have our faults and one of my glaring deficiencies is being vindictive. What I have done in the past is made mental notes about who it was and what they did and I would try to get even by doing the same thing to them. First of all, that is not one of the Fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. It certainly would not qualify as gentleness or goodness. As a matter of fact, it is just plain childish.

Now the world would look at that and would say I am justified in taking such actions. After all, if it is done back to them they might think twice, right? Where as if I go to the person and respectfully tell them what happened and to please not do it again, or even just letting it go, which do you think God is pleased with? However, the world would look at that as pure foolishness. Some would see it as a sign of weakness. But at the end of the day, God’s Word is there for our own good.

Even as I write this I am reminded of Romans 12:1-2 where Paul talks about the church in Rome to offer their bodies as living sacrifices to God and to not conform to the world’s way of doing things but to renew our minds in Christ. It is interesting that the word Paul uses is “renewing” which means a constant action. In other words, we are to be doing this until Christ comes back for us.

What Paul is saying essentially is that it`s all about relationship between us and God. As we allow God to reveal Himself to us in new, fresh ways, and as we realize just how much He loves us,  we will have our minds renewed to His way of doing things. We will develop more of a Christ like nature. However, when we try to take action ourselves and do things in our own strength instead of living by the Spirit as in Galatians 5:16, we will struggle and fail every time. More importantly, we are operating under the old law and we are making the cross an offence. After all, Jesus died so we can go boldly to God`s throne at any time for anything.

In closing, this gives me a greater appreciation and respect for Paul. He allowed God to renew his mind and transform him into the greatest apostle who ever lived. In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul referred to himself as the chief of sinners. Paul, who was the best of the best Pharisees put away the law and sold out to grace which Jesus paid for on the cross once and for all. I was certainly challenged by this and I hope you were too.

God bless you all!

 

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Comments
  1. Wifey says:

    Simply amazing my dear!! You shared Gods heart beautifully!! Thank you for being sensitive to his Spirit. Xo

  2. Barbara McCauley says:

    Hi Brett This latest of your blogs was nicely done! Not sure if I mentioned to you… the PAOC is taking the cross out of the churches along with pulpits and taking down steeples. When I asked why the cross was being taken out I was told people found it offensive! Imagine that!! Pretty soon they’ll be throwing the Bible away too. See you in a couple of days![?] Mom

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