Why should the love of God given to mankind through His Son Jesus Christ offend any human being? Isn’t that what we all want, to be loved? Don’t we yearn to be cherished, protected, well taken care of? The Lord God Almighty has compassion and love for mankind; He has put it on display through His Son Jesus Christ. Many, however, will never respond to His love because they are offended by the cross of Jesus Christ. Why?
Scripture gives us two ways that people are offended by the cross of Jesus Christ. The first is because Jesus Christ’s death upon the cross nullifies our self-righteousness. The second is because His death doesn’t align with our sensibilities. Following are the two passages from God’s Holy Word, the Bible, that reveal these mindsets.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (2) Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (3) For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (4) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. (5) For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (6) For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (7) Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? (8) This persuasion cometh not of Him that calleth you. (9) A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. (10) I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. (11) And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. Galatians 5:1-11
Certain Judaizers had come to the region of Galatia telling believers they must be circumcised to be justified before God, or saved. This was completely contrary to the gospel which Paul had preached to them. Paul preached belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ as sufficient for salvation. The Galatian believers were leaving the sure foundation of truth of the gospel laid down for them by Paul and were reverting to a works righteousness salvation procured through circumcision. The Holy Spirit, through Paul reminded them and us that works righteousness is incompatible with the grace of God given to us through faith in Jesus Christ and what He has done for us through His death upon the cross for our sins and resurrection from the dead for our justification. Self-righteous people can never believe they are too evil and their works completely tainted to ever deserve God’s grace. They refuse to see their utter depravity and inability to do anything to affect their salvation. So they refuse the grace of God proffered to them in the cross of Jesus Christ. Self-righteous people are offended by the cross of Jesus Christ and refuse to humbly accept His genuine offer of gracious salvation based upon His merit, His work, His standing before Almighty God. Through the cross of Jesus Christ, we either die to sin and self and live to God for all eternity in heaven, or we die to life and true righteousness and enter eternal damnation in fiery hell. The cross of Jesus Christ not only slays our self-righteousness it also smashes our sensibilities.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (19) For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (20) Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (21) For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (22) For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: (23) But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 1Corinthians 1:18-24
Paul, by the Holy Spirit, clearly lays out the conflict between mankind and the message of the cross of Jesus Christ. The Jews, or religious, want signs to prove the veracity of the cross, while the rest of the world wants intellectual feats of wonderment to win them to the cross. The gospel of Jesus Christ renders the wisdom of man of no effect and at the same time is the greatest display of God’s power throughout all time.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:16-17
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; (4) And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: 1Corinthians 15:1-4
In the final verse of 1 Corinthians chapter one we see that Paul acknowledges the only way that anyone overcomes the offense of the cross of Jesus Christ, they must be called. Jesus Christ Himself made this abundantly clear when confronting Jewish unbelief recorded for us in the Gospel of John.
Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. (44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me. (46) Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father. (47) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life… But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him. (65) And He said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father. John 6:43-65
The cross of Jesus Christ renders human pride of no effect. We either humble ourselves before God, repent of our sins, and receive His gospel grace given to us through Jesus Christ’s death upon the cross taking the punishment we deserve and His life given to us for all eternity through His resurrection from the dead, or we continue on in our lost estate, die in our sins, and spend eternity suffering in fiery hell. God’s commands all to repent, His power is sufficient for us to heed His call, is efficacious to all who are called by Him. May Christ Jesus grant you repent faith and salvation through belief in His gospel of grace.
Lord Jesus Christ You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through You. May you bring many to repentant faith in You for their salvation and Your glory. Amen!