Chapter 24 Wisdom And Power In The Cross

O the depth of the riches…of the wisdom…of God (Romans 11:33).

Christ the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).

The Cross—the Wisdom of God

“The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness” (1 Corinthians 1:18). That wondrous cross has no charm for an unbeliever. It is a sad, sad thing that unbelief has so blinded the eyes of men that they see no beauty in the Lord Jesus that they should desire Him, and no value in His sacrifice. The altogether lovely One is not lovely to them. He who is the essence of preciousness is but vile in their sin-clouded eyes. God’s grandest gift is scorned by them. Heaven’s glory is cast away like “a root out of a dry ground” and as a husk to the wind.

But in the cross of Christ our Lord there is the fruit of God’s omniscient mind—the mind of the all-wise God. It is the expression of the eternal thought of God which is absolute wisdom. When Paul was at Corinth, he saw that the cross was foolishness to the intellectual Greek. Pride in such men must find a way to God more suitable to the supposed dignity of man. They turn from the revealed plan and wisdom of God to grope in the darkness of their own conceits. They place their puny reason above the counsels of the Most High God, who alone is the all-wise One.

What a delusion sin has brought to man! The intellectuals of this world’s wisdom know not that all they have is unenlightened reason. No light from Heaven shines into man’s darkened mind. Sin has plunged reason into the dust so that man cannot know the things of God.

Out of this unenlightened reason, pride rises up to make man walk in a vain show. He feels neither sin nor the need of pardon. Like Cain of old, he will dare to come before God with the fruit of his own toil, and proudly trample on the blood offering of the Saviour. The blood of Christ is offensive to his taste. He thinks he has need of nothing. Thus pride closes his eyes—he cannot see the Lord. It closes his heart—he will not receive Him.

Wherein, then, do we see the wisdom of God in the cross? It lies in the perfect concurrence of His love and His justice. On the one hand, God loved man and desired to save him. On the other hand, His justice required that each sin of man be punished. How then could God save man? What means could produce such a saving work?

It is here that God’s wisdom is displayed in devising a means whereby “He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). His devised means is in the cross! Till this is seen, the soul of man will never see God’s salvation—never see how sins are washed away—never see how the gates of hell are shut, how the door of Heaven is opened—never see and enjoy the eternal rest of God.

The Cross—the Power of God

“Unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). “Unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The cross is not just an objective display of God’s love, righteousness, and wisdom. It is designed for a very practical purpose—that of saving men. It is God’s means by which He can bring many sons to glory and make them eternally joyful, eternally happy, eternally peaceful.

Thus God not only gave His beloved Son and sent Him to be the Saviour of the world; not only did God’s beloved Son finish and complete the work of redemption by drinking up the cup of wrath upon the deserving sin of man; but He has sent forth the Holy Spirit to knock on the barred doors of sinful man’s heart. For this purpose the Holy Spirit assails the fortress of self-love, reveals the perils of sin, and points the penitent to the cross of Jesus our Lord so that he may shelter in the sure refuge of the sacrifice of the cross.

The cross is raised on earth to save men. It takes power of God to do that! There is no sin of man so crimson red but that it cannot be washed away by the precious blood of Jesus. There is no sinner so far away from God that he cannot be found and brought home again. That is the power of God! There is no remaining sin so deeply entrenched in a believer’s heart that it cannot be overcome and stripped of its power.

Through the cross God gives forgiveness to the guilty, peace to the conscience-stricken, cleansing for the defiled, victory for the defeated, relief for the burdened, rest for the weary, courage to the faint, confidence to the dying, and comfort to the bereaved. The cross of Christ has all that power, and much more. It is “the power of God.”

It is a thing most wonderful,
Almost too wonderful to be,
That God’s own Son should come from Heav’n
And die to save a child like me.

I cannot tell how He could love
A child so weak and full of sin;
His love must be most wonderful
If He could die my love to win.

And yet I want to love Thee, Lord;
O light the flame within my heart!
And I will love Thee more and more
Until I see Thee as Thou art.

William W. How