Today's Devotional

The Cross: Pain and Glory (18 September)

For Christ didn't send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News-and not with clever speeches and high-sounding ideas, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power. I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18

The faith we hold and proclaim is inseparable from the cross. The cross stands at the very core of everything we believe, and inevitably early on it became the symbol of Christian faith. The cross of Jesus is God's declaration of his love for all mankind.

When we speak of the power of the cross, we do not, of course, mean the physical object itself. No, "the power of the cross" means the power of the Lord Jesus himself, who through his death on the cross defeated the power of sin and death.

The cross stands at the center of history. It was through the atonement carried out in Jesus' death on the cross that even people in the Old Testament enjoyed God's gifts of grace, and it continues to serve as God's channel of blessing today and will be so forever into the future.

The cross embodies two seemingly incompatible symbols: one expresses joy, and the other signifies pain. The pain is human suffering, suffering which Christ took on himself. The joy of the cross is the power of Christ's resurrection and his victory over death. The believer experiences both of these.

For us believers, the cross is the foundation for our life, power, virtue, and victory. Our faith is built on the finished work of the cross, and we are strengthened by the power of the one who was crucified. "We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up." (Hebrews 12:2-3)

Millions of people throughout the centuries and across the world today have "carried their cross" with love and joy. By God's grace they have continued to walk through their own Golgotha. Sadly, others have refused to bear the cross and have chosen to abandon it.

May we be those who glory in the cross of Christ and bear its burden joyfully in our own lives.

"As for me, however, I will boast only about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; for by means of his cross the world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world." (Galatians 6:14)


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