After many years of studying and preaching, meditation and observation, I think the Lord is beginning to show me just a little something of what He and Paul meant by the “Offense of the cross” (Matthew 11:6; Galatians 5:6).
The message of the cross (Christ crucified - I Cor. 1:23; 2:2) is of such PURE GRACE, that once the gist of it is perceived, it will inevitable offend man’s pride. Like a “two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12), it verily decapitates the sinner’s natural pride and self-righteousness, before ever clothing him in the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus (II Cor. 5:21).
PURE GRACE spits in the face of those human distinctions wherein men judge one another and commend themselves to themselves and others. Every man stands on the same level before the Gospel – “Dead in trespasses and sin” (Eph. 2:1). It pays no respect to prince or president because of his honor, or the wisest philosopher because of his learning, or the moralist because of his upright conduct, or to the religious man on account of his zeal and devotion. No, my friends, in the eyes of God’s justifying grace, that religious man who appears to be “as clean as a hound’s tooth” and the drunken pervert lyingyonder in his own vomit; that virtuous dedicated mom and the most notorious prostitute stand on the same level!
Oh, “The offense of the cross!” Precious beyond expression, yet so unpalatable and difficult for fallen man to swallow! Each believes that in some way, he is in a better standing with God than are many others. The teetotaler feels certain God must place a higher premium on him that upon those wretched boozers, while the boozer says, “Sure, I get looped occasionally, but at least I’m not a self-righteous hypocrite like those teetotalers,” and he feels sure that God must be pleased by his honesty.
Have you learned the Gospel of PURE GRACE? Have you experiences its power? If so, you have learned two things: (1) The only qualification any sinner has to apply for God’s mercy is his sin and guilt and (2) The only hope any sinner has of receiving God’s mercy is the Gospel of PURE, FREE GRACE – unmerited favor.