THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:17,18).
In these two very important verses we learn so much of what the Gospel actually is, and, what the Word of God says about those who believe it and those who disbelieve it. They show how extremely important it is to know and believe the Gospel of God, or the preaching of the cross, for only those who believe the Gospel are saved, and those that do not believe it will perish. We also learn that believing the Gospel is the primary evidence that a man is saved, that he has received Revelation from God, and the gift of Faith to believe God’s Truth.
Firstly, we notice what the apostle Paul calls the Gospel. Paul talks about preaching the Gospel, and later refers to it as "the preaching of the cross". The preaching of the cross is the Gospel, the Good News, of God. But what does the preaching of the cross mean? The preaching of the cross is a clear reference to the Person of Christ, Who He is; the Work of Christ, what He did; and for whom Christ did it, the intent, and, therefore, the extent of His atoning work: who actually benefits. You cannot separate Who Christ is from what He did, and, consequently, for whom He did it. Christ did not do several contrastingly different things on the cross. He did one thing. He died. And, through that Sacrificial and Substitutionary Death He achieved something: Christ Jesus the Lord obtained salvation for all those for whom He died. He did not merely make salvation possible, but He obtained redemption for those whom God had given Him. “…by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:12 cf. Eph. 1:14; Col. 1:14, 20-22). Having OBTAINED eternal redemption, HE has SECURED eternal redemption for all for whom He obtained it. The sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice cannot be separated from the efficiency of it. What Christ's atoning work has accomplished can never be dissociated from its efficaciousness and, accordingly, for whom it was accomplished. “All that the Father giveth Me SHALL COME to Me…” (Jn. 6:37), because Christ has “obtained eternal redemption” for them. Their eternal destiny was secured by the Father giving them to His Son, and His Son giving Himself for them.
Of vital importance is the fact that verse 18 of 1 Corinthians 1 shows clearly for whom Christ did not die. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that all for whom Christ died will believe, they will be given the Gift of Faith to see, understand and believe the glorious Gospel of God (see John 10:26-28). Those who do not believe the Gospel, who perish, will count this preaching of the cross as foolishness, evidencing the fact that they have not been provided with the gift of saving faith which comes from God to believe in HIS Son, and is given to those whom He wills to receive it. Atheists, and people who believe in false gods, including all who believe in the various false christian gods, all count the preaching of the cross of Christ as foolishness. Only those who have been elected, chosen by God before the foundation of the world and appointed to salvation will believe God's preaching of the cross and see it, and it alone, as the very Truth of God, the Good News of God, the GOSPEL of God. "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (Jn. 6:37). Those who have been appointed unto Wrath will not see, and, therefore, will not believe in God’s only Saviour: His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, but will count the Gospel as nothing but foolishness. Conversely, those chosen of God unto salvation have been given the Grace of God to recognize this Gospel as His ONLY Gospel, and count all others as foolishness. However, for those who are not saved, not chosen before the very foundation of the world by a gracious God, for those who instead will perish, they see the preaching of the cross of Christ as foolishness. This includes all atheists, and all believers in every false gospel, which includes all those who claim to be Christians who call God's True Gospel, foolishness. This is the kind of evidence which distinguishes who is saved from those who will perish; Who is Christian and who is not.
Believe the Gospel and you will be saved, the Scripture says. Christ says in Mark 16 that those who do not believe the Gospel of God shall be damned. It is not enough to say 'I believe the gospel', or 'I believe in Jesus'. One must believe the true Gospel, the true doctrines of God's grace in the salvation of His people, and one must believe in the true Jesus. One must believe and trust in God’s only Way to salvation, or one is trusting in a way that will simply not work. However, when sharing this with lost people who believe they are Christians, it does not take very long at all before it becomes abundantly clear that they are convinced they are Christians regardless of what they actually believe. They judge themselves, and others, saved based on their sincerity of conviction, and their conduct. The veracity of a doctrine does not have any pre-eminence for such people. All that seems to matter to such people is their experiences and 'love for God'. They judge themselves saved based on their own perceptions rather than God’s perspective. They believe the true Gospel believer is a Christian, however, the astonishing, mind-numbing fact is that they also believe that though the gospel they believe differs from the Gospel the true believer believes, both parties are saved regardless of what is actually believed!
To refer to our main Scriptures again, the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that perish. In other words, unbeknownst to them, they do not believe that the true preaching of the cross is the truth of God, they see it as foolishness. They do not believe it. It is not something which is worthy of their belief, or even consideration. In other words they do not believe the Gospel is the Gospel! Such people are anti-Gospel, and will, therefore, perish. Not only do they reject God's Gospel, they put a false gospel in its place and call that God's Gospel. They do not place their faith, their trust, in God's Gospel, but in another, and, therefore, in another god. Those that perish do not believe the Gospel of God, for they believe in another, a false gospel which is foolishness to God and all His people. And yet, they insist that they and believers in the true Gospel are both equally saved people despite the fact that they hold to different gospels which render the other completely redundant! How many Gospels do such people believe God has? Two? Three? Fifteen? How many Gospels do these people believe are the power(s) of God unto salvation? May I refer the reader to my book, 'How Many Gospels?’. The book deals with such a question in great detail, and shows conclusively that there is only one true Jesus, one true God, and, therefore, only ONE TRUE Gospel of God.
Contrary to popular belief, there are not several different and contrasting pathways to salvation. God has not devised several different plans of salvation to fit everyone's theological persuasion. There is but one Gospel that belongs to God. Only one Gospel that He has Authored. Only one Gospel which is His power unto salvation. What do you think the Scriptures are referring to when they talk about the preaching of the cross? Your idea of what that preaching entails? Does God have several differing and contrasting versions of the Gospel? NO! Scripture talks about God's preaching of the cross, His Gospel, His truth about Who His Jesus is, what His Jesus has done and for whom His Jesus has done it. Romans 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 1:17,18 are speaking about God's Gospel, and no one else's as being His power unto salvation. These Scriptures are speaking about God's preaching of the cross of His Christ and no other, for no other can save. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the Witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; BECAUSE HE BELIEVETH NOT THE RECORD THAT GOD GAVE OF HIS SON. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:10-12).
“But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8,9). Now, how do you think Paul arrived at such a conclusion? What made him so definite in his conviction that if a man taught or believed a gospel that differed from his, it would give him license to pronounce such a man accursed? Do you think Paul reasoned this out with his mind after the Lord had delivered him His Gospel? Perhaps. Even if he did he would have been right because what other gospel could possibly save apart from the one the Lord had told him. God did not reveal to him any other plan of salvation for He has only one plan and it is revealed in one Gospel. Doesn’t it sound reasonable to conclude though that the Lord Himself told Paul that there was no other gospel that could save; that there is no other message that any man could come up with that would be God’s message, and, therefore, that was worthy of belief and that could save. After all, what Paul wrote on the matter was to become Holy Scripture. Now, I am not saying God did say this to Paul, or that He even had to say it, but just that it surely must be considered a possibility if not a probability. One thing is certain, the Lord most assuredly inspired Paul by the Holy Spirit to write such a thing and made sure that no man tampered with or removed this from Paul’s letter, which was later to become Holy Scripture. God not only wanted Paul and those in Galatia to know this but as many as would read it, that as far as God was concerned there was only ONE Gospel. God is not aware of any gospel other than His own that can save so how could any man come up with one! How can there be another way to salvation other than the one outlined by God in His one and only Gospel? There is no better authority on the matter than God. Remember, Paul is here writing not his own words, but words inspired by God Himself. EVERYTHING PAUL SAID WAS BACKED 100% BY GOD BECAUSE IT WAS HIS WORD TO BEGIN WITH!! IT WAS GOD’S THOUGHTS THAT PAUL RECORDED IN HIS LETTER TO THE GALATIANS. It was in fact God Who was saying, ‘Anyone who preaches, or believes any other gospel than My Gospel is an accursed person. Anyone who counts My Gospel as foolishness will perish’.