THE ‘OFFENSE’ OF THE CROSS
To the unregenerate mind the Cross will always be an offense. But for man to bypass that which was to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness is to bypass the way of salvation itself.
Wherein lies the offense of the Cross?
The offense of the Cross centers in the fact that the sin with which all men are infected is so serious in nature and in effect that nothing less than the death of the Son of God could have made atonement for that sin.
Paul tells us that the preaching of the Cross, with its full implications, is to those who are perishing folly, but to those who are saved the power of God.
He further tells us that the meaning of the Cross must be preached in simplicity so that the Holy Spirit may take this “foolish” message and lead men to faith in the wisdom and power of God.
When we strip away the unbelievable wordiness of theological controversy today, we find that the burning issue has to do with man’s attempt to bypass the offense of the Cross.
This “offense” is variously translated. In the King James Version we read: “the offense of the cross”; while Phillips speaks of “the hostility which preaching the cross provokes.” The Berkeley Version has it “the offensiveness of the cross.” In the RSV we read: “the stumbling block of the cross”; in the Amplified New Testament, “the cross … a stumbling block”; and Williams translates it “the hindrance done by the cross.” The word used in the Chinese is “t’ao ien”—“disturbing,” “offensive.”
The love of God, as revealed in the Cross, can never be overstated. At the same time this love can never be apprehended until we explore the reason for the Cross, namely, that man’s condition is one of such complete alienation from God because of sin that ...1
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