Here we touch the deepest cause of the offence, for the world and the flesh are only the instruments and weapons by which the great hierarchy of Satan maintains its hold and its existence as the controlling force. As He approached the Cross, Christ said: “Now is the prince of this world cast out” (John 12:31). As Paul reflected on the deep meaning of the Cross he said that by it: “Christ stripped off principalities and powers, making a show of them openly, and triumphed over them” (Colossians 2:15).
It is perfectly natural, then, that the great hierarchy of evil should by every means and resource seek to make the Cross of none effect. By the “pale cast of thought” it will dilute the message of the Cross; by pushing in the world’s methods and spirit, it will sap the spiritual vitality of the Church; by stirring up the flesh, the self and the old Adam, it will cause schism, strain and disintegration; or by making much of the human elements in its artistic, aesthetic, heroic side, it will be blind to the need for regeneration. Reputation, popularity, the world’s standards of success are all contrary to the spirit of Christ, but they are the attractions by which the enemy engrosses the minds of many, sometimes even Christian ministers.
If, therefore, the Cross is preached in the full content of victory over and emancipation from the world, the flesh and the devil, it is to be expected that by hook or crook the intelligent forces of evil will stop at nothing to silence it, and will stir up every cause of offence which can be laid to the account of the Cross. No wonder that this message is repudiated or misrepresented, since it is God’s solution to the problems of fallen man. Crucifixion is a harsh end; it reveals the utterness of God’s repudiation of everything which belongs to the old creation. To the believer, however, the Cross as presented in the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
In conclusion let us not forget that the enjoyment of the full purpose of God, the experience of victory, and association in life with Him that sitteth on the throne in His glory are ours just in so far as we are one with the reality of the Cross as set forth in the Word of God. Perhaps it is best summed up for us in the words: “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they counted not their lives dear unto the death” (Rev: 12:11).
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