Sermon 1859. The Cross Our Glory
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 13, 1885,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"But God forbid that I should glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me,and I unto the world." Galatians 6:14.
ALMOST all men have something in which to glory. Every bird has its own note of song. It is a poor heart that never rejoices.It is a dull packhorse that is altogether without bells. Men usually rejoice in something or other and many men so rejoicein that which they choose that they become boastful and full of vainglory. It is very sad that men should be ruined by theirglory and yet, many are. Many glory in their shame and more glory in that which is mere emptiness. Some glory in their physicalstrength, in which an ox excels them, or in their gold, which is but thick clay, or in their gifts, which are but talentswith which they are entrusted. The pounds entrusted to their stewardship are thought, by men, to belong to themselves and,therefore, they rob God of the glory of them. O my Hearers, hear the voice of Wisdom, which cries, "He that glories, let himglory only in the Lord." To live for personal glory is to be dead while we live! Be not so foolish as to perish for a bubble!Many a man has thrown his soul away for a little honor, or for the transient satisfaction of success in trifles. O men, yourtendency is to glory in something-your wisdom will be to find a glory worthy of an immortal mind!
The Apostle Paul had a rich choice of things in which he could have gloried. If it had been his mind to have remained amonghis own people, he might have been one of their most honored rabbis. He says, in his Epistle to the Philippians, in the thirdchapter, "If any other man thinks that he has whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, ofthe stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the Law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal,persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the Law, blameless." He says that he profited in the Jews'religion above many of his equals in his own nation and he stood high in the esteem of his fellow professors. But when hewas converted to the faith of the Lord Jesus, he said, "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yesdoubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." As soon as he wasconverted, he forsook all boasting in his former religion and zeal, and cried, "God forbid that I should glory in my birth,my education, my proficiency in Scripture, or my regard to orthodox ritual. God forbid that I should glory except in the Crossof our Lord Jesus Christ."
Paul might also, if he had chosen, have gloried in his sufferings for the Cross of Christ, for he had been a living martyr,a perpetual self-sacrifice to the cause of the Crucified. He says, "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool). I ammore; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often. Of the Jews five timesreceived I 40 stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods; once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night anda day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen,in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among falsebrethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watching often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness."He was once driven to give a summary of these sufferings to establish his Apostleship, but before he did so, he wrote, "Wouldto God you could bear with me a little in my folly." In his heart he was saying, all the while, "God forbid that I shouldglory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The great Apostle had yet another reason for glorying, if he had chosen to do so, for he could speak of visions and revelationsof the Lord. He says, "I knew a man in Christ above 14 years ago. . . caught up to the third Heaven. And I knew such a man.. .how that he was caught up into Paradise and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a
man to utter." He was in danger of being exalted above measure by reason of the abundance of these revelations and, therefore,he was humbled by a painful thorn in the flesh. Paul, when hard driven by the necessity to maintain his position in the CorinthianChurch, was forced to mention these things-but he liked not such glorying-he was most at ease when he said, "God forbid thatI should glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Brothers and Sisters, notice that Paul does not here say that he gloried in Christ, though he did so with all his heart-hedeclares that he gloried most in "the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ," which, in the eyes of men, was the very lowest andmost inglorious part of the history of the Lord Jesus! He could have gloried in the Incarnation-angels sang of it, wise mencame from the far East to behold it. Did not the new-born King awake the song from Heaven of, "Glory to God in the highest"?He might have gloried in the life of Christ-was there ever such another, so benevolent and blameless? He might have gloriedin the Resurrection of Christ-it is the world's great hope concerning those that are asleep. He might have gloried in ourLord's Ascension, for He "led captivity captive" and all His followers glory in His victory. He might have gloried in HisSecond Advent and, I doubt not, that he did, for the Lord shall soon descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of thearchangel and the trumpet of God, to be admired in all them that believe.
Yet the Apostle selected beyond all these, that center of the Christian system, that point which is most assailed by its foes,that focus of the world's derision-the Cross-and, putting all else somewhat into the shade, he exclaims, "God forbid thatI should glory, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." Learn, then, that the highest glory of our holy religion isthe Cross! The history of Grace begins earlier and goes on later, but in its middle point stands the Cross. Of two eternitiesthis is the hinge-of past decrees and future glories this is the pivot. Let us come to the Cross, this morning, and thinkof it till each one of us, in the power of the Spirit of God, shall say, "God forbid that I should glory except in the Crossof our Lord Jesus Christ."
I. First, as the Lord shall help me, (for who shall describe the Cross without the help of Him that hung upon it), WHAT DIDPAUL MEAN BY THE CROSS? Did he not include, under this term, first, the fact of the Cross? Secondly, the Doctrine of the Cross?And thirdly, the Cross of the Doctrine?
I think he meant, first of all, the fact of the Cross. Our Lord Jesus Christ did really die, upon a gallows, the death ofa felon. He was literally put to death upon a tree, accursed in the esteem of men. I beg you to notice how the Apostle putsit-"the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." In his Epistles, he sometimes says, "Christ." At another time, "Jesus," frequently,"Lord," oftentimes, "our Lord"-but here he says, "our Lord Jesus Christ." There is a sort of pomp of words in this full description,as if in contrast to the shame of the Cross. The terms are intended, in some small measure, to express the dignity of Himwho was put to so ignominious a death. He is Christ, the Anointed, and Jesus, the Savior. He is the Lord, the Lord of All,and He is, "our Lord Jesus Christ." He is not a Lord without subjects, for He is, "our Lord." Nor is He a Savior without savedones, for He is, "our Lord Jesus." Nor has He the anointing for Himself, only, for all of us have a share in Him as, "ourChrist." In all, He is ours, and was so upon the Cross.
When they bury a great nobleman, a herald stands at the head of the grave and proclaims his titles. "Here lies the body ofWilliam, Duke of this, and Earl of that, and Count of the other, knight of this order and commander of the other." Even thus,in deep solemnity, with brevity and fullness, Paul proclaims, beneath the bitter tree, the names and titles of the Saviorof men and styles Him, "our Lord Jesus Christ." There are enough words here to give a four-square description of the honor,dignity and majesty of Him who has both Godhead and Manhood and "bore our sins in His own body on the tree." Be it foreverhad in reverent remembrance that He who died upon the Cross between two thieves counted it not robbery to be equal with God!By nature He is such that the creed well describes Him as, "Begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light ofLight, very God of very God." Yet He "made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant. . .and becameobedient unto death, even the death of the Cross." I declare this fact to you in words, but I think them poor, dumb things.I wish I could speak this matchless truth in fire-flakes! The announcement that the Son of God died upon the Cross to savemen deserves the accompaniment of angelic trumpets and of the harps of the redeemed!
But next, I said that Paul gloried in the Doctrine of the Cross, and it was so. What is that Doctrine of the Cross, of whichit is written that it is "to them that perish foolishness, but unto us who are saved it is the power of God and the wisdomof God"? In one word, it is the Doctrine of the Atonement, the Doctrine that the Lord Jesus Christ was made sin for us, thatChrist was once offered to bear the sins of many and that God has set Him forth to be the Propitiation for our
sins. Paul says, "When we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly." And again, "Now once in theend of the world has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." The Doctrine of the Cross is that of sacrificefor sin-Jesus is "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begottenSon, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Doctrine is that of a full atonementmade and the utmost ransom paid. "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written,Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree." In Christ upon the Cross, we see the Just dying for the unjust that He might bringus to God-the Innocent bearing the crimes of the guilty that they might be forgiven and accepted. That is the Doctrine ofthe Cross, of which Paul was never ashamed.
This, also, is a necessary part of the Doctrine-that whoever believes in Him is justified from all sin. That whoever trustsin the Lord Jesus Christ is, in that moment, forgiven, justified and accepted in the Beloved. "As Moses lifted up the serpentin the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternallife." Paul's Doctrine was, "It is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy." And it was hisconstant teaching that salvation is not of works, nor of ceremonies, but simply and only by believing in Jesus! We are toaccept, by an act of trust, that righteousness which is already finished and completed by the death of our blessed Lord uponthe Cross. He who does not preach Atonement by the blood of Jesus does not preach the Cross! And he who does not declare justificationby faith in Christ Jesus has missed the mark, altogether! This is the very heart of the Christian system. If our ministryshall be without blood, it is without life, for, "the blood is the life thereof." He that preaches not justification by faithknows not the Doctrine of Grace, for the Scripture says, "Therefore it is of faith that it might be by Grace; to the end thepromise might be sure to all the seed." Paul gloried both in the fact of the Cross and in the Doctrine of the Cross.
But the Apostle also gloried in the Cross of the Doctrine, for the death of the Son of God upon the Cross is the crux of Christianity.Here is the difficulty, the stumbling block and rock of offense. The Jew could not endure a crucified Messiah-he looked forpomp and power! Multitudinous ceremonies and different washings and sacrifices-were these all to be put away and nothing leftbut a bleeding Savior? At the mention of the Cross, the philosophic Greek thought himself insulted and vilified the preacheras a fool. In effect, he said, "You are not a man of thought and intellect; you are not abreast of the times, but are stickingin the mire of antiquated prophecies. Why not advance with the discoveries of modern thought?" The Apostle, teaching a simplefact which a child might comprehend, found in it the wisdom of God! Christ upon the Cross, working out the salvation of menwas more to him than all the sayings of the sages. As for the Roman, he would give no heed to any glorying in a dead Jew,a crucified Jew! Crushing the world beneath his iron heel, he declared that such romancing would never win him from the godsof his fathers.
Paul did not budge before the sharp and practical reply of the conquerors of the world! He did not tremble before Nero inhis palace. Whether to Greek or Jew, Roman or barbarian, bond or free, he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, but gloriedin the Cross. Though the testimony that the one all-sufficient Atonement was provided on the Cross stirs the enmity of manand provokes opposition, yet Paul was so far from attempting to mitigate that opposition that he determined to know nothingsave Jesus Christ and Him crucified! His motto was, "We preach Christ crucified." He had the Cross for his philosophy, theCross for his tradition, the Cross for his Gospel, the Cross for his glory and nothing else!
II. But, secondly, WHY DID PAUL GLORY IN THE CROSS? He did not do so because he was in need of a theme, for, as I have shownyou, he had a wide field for boasting if he had chosen to occupy it. He gloried in the Cross from solemn and deliberate choice.He had counted the cost, he had surveyed the whole range of subjects with an eagle eye and he knew what he did and why hedid it. He was master of the art of thinking. As a metaphysician, none could excel him. As a logical thinker, none could havegone beyond him. He stands almost alone in the early Christian Church as a master mind. Others may have been more poetic,or more simple, but none were more thoughtful or argumentative than he. With decision and firmness, Paul sets aside everythingelse and definitely declares, throughout his whole life, "I glory in the Cross." He does this exclusively, saying, "God forbidthat I should glory except in the Cross." There are many other precious things, but he puts them all upon the shelf in comparisonwith the Cross.
He will not even make his chief point any of the great Scriptural Doctrines, nor even an instructive and godly ordinance.No, the Cross is to the front. This constellation is chief in Paul's sky. The choice of the Cross he makes devoutly,
for although the expression used in our English version may not stand, yet I do not doubt that Paul would have used it, andwould have called upon God to witness that he abjured all other ground of glorying save the atoning Sacrifice-
"Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ, my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrificethem to His blood."
He would have called God to witness that he knew no ambition save that of bringing glory to the Cross of Christ. As I thinkof this, I am ready to say, "Amen," to Paul and bid you sing that stirring verse-
"It is the old Cross still, Hallelujah!Hallelujah! Its triumphs let us tell, Hallelujah! hallelujah! The Grace of God hereshone Through Christ, the blessed Son, Who did for sin atone. Hallelujah for the Cross!"
Why did Paul thus glory in the Cross? You may well desire to know, for there are many, nowadays, who do not glory in it, butforsake it! Alas that it should be so, but there are ministers who ignore the Atonement! They conceal the Cross, or say butlittle about it. You may go through service after service and scarcely hear a mention of the atoning blood- but Paul was alwaysbringing forward the expiation for sin-Paul never tried to explain it away. Oh the number of books that have been writtento prove that the Cross means an example of self-sacrifice, as if every martyrdom did not mean that! They cannot endure areal substitutionary Sacrifice for human guilt and an effectual purifying of sin by the death of the great Substitute. Yetthe Cross means that or nothing!
Paul was very bold. Although he knew this would make him many enemies, you never find him refining and spiritu-alizing-theCross and the Atonement for sin are plain matters of fact to him. Neither does he attempt to decorate it by adding philosophicaltheories. No, to him it is the bare, naked Cross all blood-stained and despised! In this he glories and in none of the wisdomof words with which others vexed him. He will have the Cross-the Cross and nothing but the Cross! He pronounces an anathemaon all who propose a rival theme-"But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that whichwe have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
I take it that this was so, first, because Paul saw in the Cross a vindication of Divine Justice. Where else can the Justiceof God be seen so clearly as in the death of God, Himself, in the Person of His dear Son? If the Lord Himself suffers on accountof broken Law, then is the majesty of the Law honored to the fullest! Some time ago, a judge in America was called upon totry a prisoner who had been his companion in his early youth. It was a crime for which the penalty was a fine, more or lessheavy. The judge did not diminish the fine. The case was clearly a bad one and he fined the prisoner the maximum fine. Somewho knew his former relation to the offender thought him somewhat unkind to thus carry out the law, while others admired hisimpartiality. All were surprised when the judge quitted the bench and paid, himself, every farthing of the penalty! He hadshown both his respect for the law and his goodwill to the man who had broken it. He exacted the penalty, but he paid it himself.
So God has done in the Person of His dear Son. He has not remitted the punishment, but He has, Himself, endured it. His ownSon, who is none other than God, Himself-for there is an essential union between them-has paid the debt which was incurredby human sin. I love to think of the vindication of Divine Justice upon the Cross. I am never weary of it! Some cannot bearthe thought, but to me it seems inevitable that sin must be punished, or else the foundations of society would be removed.If sin becomes a trifle, virtue will be a toy! Society cannot stand if laws are left without penal sanction, or if that sanctionis to be a mere empty threat. Men in their own governments, every now and then, cry out for greater severity. When a certainoffense abounds and ordinary means fail, they demand exemplary punishment-and it is but natural that they should do so, fordeep in the conscience of every man there is the conviction that sin must be punished to secure the general good. Justicemust reign, even benevolence demands it! If there could have been salvation without an Atonement, it would have been a calamity-righteousmen, and even benevolent men, might deprecate the setting aside of law in order to save the guilty from the natural resultof their crimes.
For my own part, I value a just salvation. An unjust salvation would never have satisfied the apprehensions and demands ofmy conscience. No, let God be just even if the heavens fall! Let God carry out the sentence of His Law, or the universe willsuspect that it was not righteous-and when such a suspicion rules the general mind, all respect for God will be gone! TheLord carries out the decree of His Justice even to the bitter end, abating not a jot of its requirements. Brothers and Sisters,there was an infinite efficacy in the death of such a One as our Lord Jesus Christ to vindicate the Law. Though He is Man,yet is He also God and, in His passion and death, He offered to the Justice of God a vindication not at all inferior to thepunishment of Hell! God is just, indeed, when Jesus dies upon the Cross rather than that God's Law should be dishonored. Whenour august Lord, Himself, bore the wrath that was due for human sin, it was made evident to all that law is not to be trifledwith. We glory in the Cross, for there the debt was paid, our sins on Jesus laid.
But we glory because on the Cross we have an unexampled display of God's love. "God commends His love toward us, in that,while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Oh to think of it, that He who was offended takes the nature of the offenderand then bears the penalty due for wanton transgression! He who is Infinite, thrice holy, all glorious, forever to be worshipped,yet stoops to be numbered with the transgressors and to bear the sin of many! The mythology of the gods of high Olympus containsnothing worthy to be mentioned in the same day with this wondrous deed of supreme condescension and Infinite Love! The ancientShasters and Vedas have nothing of the kind! The death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross cannot be an invention of men-none ofthe ages have produced anything like it in the poetic dreams of any nation! If we did not hear of it so often and think ofit so little, we would be charmed with it beyond expression! If we now heard of it for the first time and seriously believedit, I know not what we would not do in our glad surprise! Certainly we would fall down and worship the Lord Jesus and continueto worship Him forever and ever!
I believe again, thirdly, that Paul delighted to preach the Cross of Christ as the removal of all guilt. He believed thatthe Lord Jesus on the Cross finished transgression, made an end of sin and brought in everlasting righteousness. He that believesin Jesus is justified from all things from which he could not be justified by the Law of Moses. Since sin was laid on Jesus,God's justice cannot lay it upon the believing sinner. The Lord will never punish the same offense twice. If He accepts aSubstitute for me, how can He call me to His bar and punish me for that transgression for which my Substitute endured thechastisement? Many a troubled conscience has caught at this and found deliverance from despair. Wonder not that Paul gloriedin Christ, since it is written, "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." This is the methodof salvation which completely and eternally absolves the sinner and makes the blackest offender white as snow! Transgressionvisited upon Christ has ceased to be, so far as the Believer is concerned. Does not Faith cry, "You will cast all their sinsinto the depths of the sea"? O Sirs, there is something to glory in in this and those who know the sin-removing power of theCross will not be hindered in this glorying by all the powers of earth or Hell!
Paul glories in it, again, as a marvel of wisdom. It seemed to him the sum of perfect wisdom and skill. He cried, "O the depthsof the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" The plan of salvation by vicarious suffering is simple, but sublime.It would have been impossible for human or angelic wisdom to have invented it! Men already so hate it and fight against itthat they never would have devised it! God, alone, out of the treasury of His Infinite Wisdom brought forth this matchlessproject of salvation for the guilty through the Substitution of the Innocent. The more we study it, the more we shall perceivethat it is full of teaching. It is only the superficial thinker who regards the Cross as a subject soon to be comprehendedand exhausted! The most lofty intellects will here find ample room and space enough. The most profound minds might lose themselvesin considering the splendid diversities of light which compose the pure white light of the Cross! Everything of sin and justice,of misery and mercy, of folly and wisdom, of force and tenderness, of rage and pity on the part of man and God may be seenhere. In the Cross may be seen the concentration of Eternal Thought, the focus of Infinite Purpose, the outcome of IllimitableWisdom. Of God and the Cross we may say-
"Here I behold His inmost heart, Where Grace and vengeance strangely join; Piercing His Son with sharpest smart To make thepurchased pleasures mine."
I believe that Paul gloried in the Cross, again, because it is the door of hope even to the vilest of the vile. The worldwas very filthy in Paul's time. Roman civilization was of the most brutal and debased kind and the masses of the people weresunken in vices that are altogether unmentionable. Paul felt that he could go into the darkest places with light in his handwhen he spoke of the Cross. To tell of pardon bought with the blood of the Son of God is to carry an Omnipo-
tent message! The Cross lifts up the fallen and delivers the despairing. Today, my Brothers and Sisters, the world's one andonly remedy is the Cross. Go, you thinkers, and get up a mission to the fallen in London, leaving out the Cross! Go, now,you wise men, reclaim the harlots and win to virtue the degraded by your perfumed philosophies! See what you can do in theslums and alleys without the Cross of Christ! Go talk to your titled reprobates and win them from their abominations by displaysof art! You will fail, the most cultivated of you, even to win the rich and educated to anything like purity, unless yourthemes are drawn from Calvary and the Love which there poured out its heart's blood!
This hammer breaks rocky hearts, but no other will do it. Pity, itself, stands silent. Compassion bites her lip and inwardlygroans she has nothing to say till she has learned the story of the Cross. But, with that on her tongue, she waxes eloquent!With tears she entreats, persuades, prevails! She may but stammer in her speech-like Moses, she may be slow of utterance-butthe Cross is in her hand as the rod of the Prophet. With this she conquers the Pharaoh of tyrannical sin! With this she dividesthe Red Sea of guilt! With this she leads the host of God out of the house of bondage into the land of promise which flowswith milk and honey! The Cross is the standard of victorious Grace! It is the lighthouse whose cheering ray gleams acrossthe dark waters of despair and cheers the dense midnight of our fallen race, saving from eternal shipwreck and piloting intoeverlasting peace.
Again, Paul, I believe, gloried in the Cross, as I often do, because it was the source of rest to him and to his Brethren.I make this confession and I make it very boldly, that I never knew what rest of heart truly meant till I understood the Doctrineof the Substitution of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, when I see my Lord bearing away my sins as my Scapegoat, or dying for themas my Sin Offering, I feel a profound peace of heart and satisfaction of spirit. The Cross is all I ever need for securityand joy. Truly, this bed is long enough for a man to stretch himself on. The Cross is a chariot of salvation where we traversethe high road of life without fear! The pillow of Atonement heals the head that aches with anguish. Beneath the shadow ofthe Cross, I sit down with great delight, and its fruit is sweet to my taste. I have no impatience even to hasten to Heavenwhile resting beneath the Cross, for our hymn truly says-
"Here it is I find my Heaven, While upon the Cross I gaze."
Here is perfect cleansing and, therefore, a Divine security guarded by the Justice of God. And, therefore, a "peace of God,which passes all understanding." To try to entice me away from the God's Truth of Substitution is labor in vain! Seduce meto preach the pretty nothings of modern thought? This child knows much better than to leave the substance for the shadow,the truth for the fancy! I see nothing that can give to my heart a fair exchange for the rest, peace and unutterable joy whichthe old-fashioned Doctrine of the Cross now yields me. Will a man leave bread for husks and quit the home of his love to dwellin a desolate wilderness? I dare not renounce the Truth of God in order to be thought cultured! I am no more a fool than themost of my contemporaries and if I could see anything better than the Cross, I would willingly grasp it as they-for it isa flattering thing to be thought a man of light and leading! But where shall I go if I quit the Rock of the atoning Sacrifice?I cannot go beyond my simple faith that Jesus stood in my place and bore my sin and took it away. This I must preach! I knownothing else! God help me, I will never go an inch beyond the Cross, for to me all else is vanity and vexation of spirit!Return unto your rest, O my Soul! Where else is there a glimpse of hope for you but in Him who loved you and gave Himselffor you?
I am sure Paul gloried in the Cross yet, again, because he saw it to be the creator of enthusiasm. Christianity finds itschief force in the enthusiasm which the Holy Spirit produces-and this comes from the Cross. The preaching of the Cross isthe great weapon of the crusade against evil. In the old times, vast crowds came together in desert places, among the hills,or on the moors, at peril of their lives, to hear preaching. Did they come together to hear philosophy? Did they meet at thedead of night, when the hounds of persecution were hunting them, to listen to pretty moral essays? I think not! They cameto hear of the Grace of God manifest in the Sacrifice of Jesus to believing hearts! Would your modern Gospel create the spiritof the martyrs? Is there anything in it for which a man might go to prison and to death? The modern speculations are not wortha cat's dying for them, much less a man!
A something lies within the Truth of the Cross which sets the soul aglow! It touches the preacher's lips as with a live coaland fires the hearer's hearts as with flame from the Altar of God. We can live on this Gospel-and for this Gospel die. Atonementby blood, full deliverance from sin, perfect safety in Christ given to the Believer call a man to joy, to
gratitude, to consecration, to decision, to patience, to holy living, to all-consuming zeal! Therefore, in the Doctrine ofthe Cross we glory, neither will we be slow to speak it out with all our might!
III. My time has gone, or else I had intended to have enlarged upon the third head, of which I must now give you the mereoutline. One of Paul's great reasons for glorying in the Cross was its action upon himself. WHAT WAS ITS EFFECT UPON HIM?
The Cross is never without influence. Come where it may, it works for life or for death. Wherever there is Christ's Cross,there are also two other crosses. On either side there is one and Jesus is in the middle. Two thieves are crucified with Christand Paul tells us their names in his case-"The world is crucified to me, and I unto the world." Self and the world are bothcrucified when Christ's Cross appears and is believed in! Beloved, what does Paul mean? Does he not mean just this-that eversince he had seen Christ, he looked upon the world as a crucified, hung up thing which had no more power over Paul than acriminal hanged upon a cross? What power has a corpse on a gallows? Such power had the world over Paul. The world despisedhim and he could not go after the world if he would-and would not go after it if he could! He was dead to it and it was deadto him and, therefore, there was a double separation!
How does the Cross do this? To be under the dominion of this present evil world is horrible-how does the Cross help us toescape? Why, Brothers and Sisters, he that has ever seen the Cross looks upon the world's pomp and glory as a vain show! Thepride of heraldry and the glitter of honor fade into meanness before the Crucified One. O you great ones, what are your silks,your furs, your jewelry, your gold, your stars and your garters to one who has learned to glory in Christ Crucified! The oldclothes which belong to the hangman are quite as precious. The world's light is darkness when the Sun of Righteousness shinesfrom the Cross! What do we care for all the kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof when once we see the thorn-crownedLord? There is more glory about one nail of the Cross than about all the scepters of all kings! Let the knights of the GoldenFleece meet in chapter and all the Knights of the Garter stand in their stalls, but what is all their splendor? Their glorieswither before the inevitable hour of doom, while the glory of the Cross is eternal! Everything of earth grows dull and dimwhen seen by the light of the Cross!
So was it with the world's approval. Paul would not ask the world to be pleased with him, since it knew not his Lord, or onlyknew Him to crucify Him. Can a Christian be ambitious to be written down as one of the world's foremost men when that worldcast out His Lord? They crucified our Master! Shall His servants court their love? Such approval would be all stained withblood. They crucified my Master, the Lord of Glory-do I want them to smile on me and say to me, "Reverend Sir," or, "LearnedDoctor"? No! The friendship of the world is enmity with God and, therefore, to be dreaded! Mouths that spit on Jesus shallgive me no kisses! Those who hate the Doctrine of the Atonement hate my life and soul-and I desire not their esteem.
Paul also saw that the world's wisdom was absurd. That age talked of being wise and philosophical! Yes, and its philosophybrought it to crucify the Lord of Glory! It did not know perfection, nor perceive the beauty of pure unsefish-ness. To slaythe Messiah was the outcome of the culture of the Pharisee. To put to death the greatest Teacher of all time was the ripefruit of Sadducean thought. The serious thoughts of the present age have performed no greater feat than to deny the Doctrineof satisfaction for sin! They have crucified our Lord afresh by their criticisms and their new theolo-gies-and this is allthe world's wisdom ever does. Its wisdom lies in scattering doubt, quenching hope and denying cer-tainty-and, therefore, thewisdom of the world to us is sheer folly! This century's philosophy will one day be spoken of as an evidence that softeningof the brain was very usual among its scientific men! We count the thought of the present moment to be methodical madness,Bedlam out of doors and those who are furthest gone in it are credulous beyond imagination! God has poured contempt upon thewise men of this world! Their foolish heart is blinded, they grope at noonday.
So, too, the Apostle saw the world's religion to be nothing. It was the world's religion that crucified Christ. The priestswere at the bottom of it, the Pharisees urged it on. The church of the nation, the church of many ceremonies, the church whichloved the traditions of the elders, the church of phylacteries and broad-bordered garments-it was this church, which, actingby its officers, crucified the Lord! Paul, therefore, looked with pity upon priests and altars and upon all the attempts ofa Christless world to make up, by finery of worship, for the absence of the Spirit of God. Once see Christ on the Cross andarchitecture and fine display become gaudy, cheap things. The Cross calls for worship in spirit and in truth-and the worldknows nothing of this.
And so it was with the world's pursuits. Some ran after honor, some toiled after learning, others labored for riches. Butto Paul, these were all trifles since he had seen Christ on the Cross. He that has seen Jesus die will never go into the toybusiness-he puts away childish things. A child, a pipe, a little soap and many pretty bubbles-such is the world. The Cross,alone, can wean us from such play.
And so it was with the world's pleasures and with the world's power. The world, and everything that belonged to the world,had become as a corpse to Paul and he was as a corpse to it. See where the corpse swings in chains on the gallows. What afoul, rotten thing! We cannot endure it! Do not let it hang longer above ground to fill the air with pestilence. Let the deadbe buried out of sight. The Christ that died upon the Cross now lives in our hearts. The Christ that took human guilt hastaken possession of our souls and, therefore, we live only in Him, for Him, by Him. He has engrossed our affections. All ourardors burn for Him. God make it to be so with us, that we may glorify God and bless our age!
Paul concludes this Epistle by saying, "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the LordJesus." He was a slave, branded with His Master's name. That stamp could never be erased, for it was burned into his heart.Even thus, I trust the Doctrine of the Atonement is our settled belief and faith in it is part of our life. We are rootedand grounded in the unchanging Truths of God! Do not try to convert me to your new views-I am past it. Forget about me! Youwaste your breath. It is done-on this point the wax takes no farther impress. I have taken up my standing and will never quitit. A crucified Christ has taken such possession of my entire nature, spirit, soul and body, that I am henceforth beyond thereach of opposing arguments!
Brothers and Sisters, will you enlist under the conquering banner of the Cross? Once rolled in the dust and stained in blood,it now leads on the armies of the Lord to victory! Oh that all ministers would preach the true Doctrine of the Cross! Oh thatall Christian people would live under the influence of it and we should then see brighter days than these! Unto the Crucifiedbe glory forever and ever! Amen.