How Does The Cross Become Precious?

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Christians are commissioned to share the message of the gospel with unbelievers in our world. The Lord promises that if we are faithful to share the gospel, disciples will be made, and those disciples in the nations of the world will learn and obey the Lord’s commands. It’s a piece of cake, right? Wrong! Anyone who shares the gospel with unbelievers knows that many of the people who hear the gospel dismiss it, and some of them scoff at and revile the messenger.

Negative reactions are what the Apostle Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 1:18. Those living in spiritual darkness, under the reign of sin and Satan (“those who are perishing”), consider the message that God sent His Son to die on the cross to appease God’s righteous wrath and pay the penalty for the sin of those who repent and believe in Jesus as their Savior, to be foolish nonsense (“folly”). What needs to happen for people to be moved from the position of “perishing” to the position of “saved” (brought to safety by being transferred from the realm of darkness and Satan into the realm of light and Jesus Christ)?

Paul knows a little bit about having his darkened eyes opened to the realm of light. Paul is confronted while traveling from Jerusalem to Damascus with intentions to persecute and imprison followers of the way of Jesus. Jesus appears to Paul on this journey, physically blinds him with His glory, and gives Paul spiritual life, spiritual eyes, and a new heart. The cross Paul saw as folly becomes the means of saving grace by the power of God.

The Lord who confronted Paul on the road to Damascus still confronts people through the word of the cross today. Jesus transforms hearts so that what was seen as foolish nonsense becomes the wisdom of God with saving power. A power that continues to illuminate and realign followers of Jesus for the remainder of their days on earth. A power that inspires hope in them that the message of the gospel shared with unbelievers has divine power to open the eyes of the blind and set captives of sin free. By the grace of God, the ridiculous idea of the cross becomes the precious hope of deliverance.

We are not commissioned to make the message of the cross palatable and inviting, which inevitably compromises truth. We are to share the message of the cross honestly and accurately, trusting the power of God to do the saving work no man or woman can do.

Remember, only the Lord can make the cross precious to the perishing!