Let’s look at the word cross. Did you know that the Word cross has different meanings in the bible?
When Paul talks about the cross, he is talking about everything that Jesus did. This you will see has everything to do with what Christ did for us and not what we have to do to please him.
When Jesus talks about the cross, He is speaking of the burdens we carry. There is the cross that Christ was crucified on.
Paul described in the Bible, the cross as the atonement of Christ 10 times. In this part of our lesson, we will be discussing what Paul is saying about the cross of Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
Why is the preaching of the cross foolishness? 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
This is not just talking about a lost man. All lost people are limited only to the natural way of thinking. They don’t have spiritual perception because they are dead spiritually. They haven’t been revived. So, it does apply to people who don’t know the Lord. But also, if you have been born again and if you now have a capacity to understand spiritual things and the Holy Spirit is available it’s not automatic, you must draw on Him. you must start operating by faith. Walking by faith and not by sight. Why? Because there are Christians born again who are just carnal. It doesn’t mean they are sinful. All sin is carnality, but not all carnality is sin. The word carnal means of the five senses.
sad thing is there are some Christians who are dead to spiritual perception, just as a lost man is. Why is this so? Because he relies on his five senses instead of choosing to walk by faith in Christ. Habakkuk 2:4 says “the just shall live by his faith”. So, a carnal person whether they are lost carnal (unsaved) or saved carnal (born again) cannot understand the things of God. Remember, to be carnally minded is death. Romans 8: 6-7. The carnal mind cannot please God. It is enmity to Him. Romans 8:7-8. The Word of God says 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. The preaching of the cross is saying to us what Jesus did for us and this doesn’t make sense to our natural mind. You must receive this as a revelation from God.
The natural mind would always try to live holy in order to please God. But, Can he? If I must earn God’s relationship, then what I’m doing is saying that what Christ did on the cross for me was not enough. It only took care of it partially and I must do the rest. That is offensive to God. My holiness is based on what Christ did. Not what I can do.
Then why do I have to live holy? This is because I don’t want to give Satan any access to my life. I do it also because I love the Lord and I do want Him to be pleased with me. My sinning doesn’t change how God feels about me, but it does give Satan access to me. God will not condemn me because of my sins. That was already judged in Christ’s flesh on the cross. That doesn’t mean I can continue to sin, because, there are consequences to sinning.
John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Satan is the god of this world. 2 Corinthians 4:4. The book of John tells us, he comes to steal, kill and destroy. When I choose to be carnal, or when I choose to sin, I give access the him. Even though I am not condemned by my Heavenly Father open doorways will allow Satan to come in and steal, kill or destroy me. THIS IS WHAT I MEAN BY CONSEQUENCES. My bad actions don’t affect God, but they do affect me. My actions make me vulnerable to Satan and he will take full advantage of it. 2 Tim. 2:25-26.
God wants us to walk in holiness not because of how good we can be, but because of how God already is and has made us to be. Eph. 2:10; Rom. 15:14; Philemon. 1:6. Our walking in holiness cannot bring us any closer to God. WE ARE ALREADY THERE. Ephesians 1:6 we are accepted in the beloved. He asks us because it helps our heart towards Him (Helps us to love Him more) and because of Satan; to stop Satan from gaining any kind of access to us and our inheritance. John 10:10
Our performance, no matter how well meaning it is, will never move God. This might sound offensive so I’ll explain further.
Paul says in Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offense of the cross ceased. Paul is speaking here about circumcision. He isn’t just talking about the physical act of circumcision. He was also speaking about keeping the law. circumcision was the number one act of the old testament law. It symbolized you were a Jew, you were committed to the law, you were living holy as far as the law of God was concerned. So, this was referring to a person who was observing all the law and all the commandments to be right with God. So, Paul is saying if you must perform to earn God’s favor, he says Gal. 5:11 why would I suffer persecution? Why am I suffering when I am doing all that I am supposed to do? Then would the offense of the cross be ceased. In other words, you are persecuting me for preaching the law which you claim I am doing then the cross shouldn’t bother you. (these were rumors being spread about Paul that wasn’t the truth). So, people who are saying, unless you be holy and live a righteous life God wouldn’t answer your prayers. You must be this way for God to hear you. The truth is that makes a whole lot of sense to the carnal mind. God doesn’t hear us based on how we live. He hears us based on who we are.
We were always thought that if we do good God would bless us and if we do bad God would punish us. If we do bad why would God punish us if Christ paid the price for all of this on the cross already? That is how it is in the natural world. That is how the natural man thinks. But did you know everything that Christ did on the cross for us changed everything. He paid the price for us not based on what we do but what was done for us.
Paul says if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross ceased Gal. 5:11.
Galatians 6:12As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. Again, this scripture is pointing to what Christ did and not about your keeping the rituals like circumcision or paying tithes or anything within your own self. It’s just about Christ. People put condemnation on you for things that Christ already took care of so that they do not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. That is what this verse means.
Galatians 6:13 3 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
So, does this mean I can sin and still be right with God? Based on what Christ did, YES. It sounds scary but it’s true. Let me explain further.
Romans 8:1-2 tells us that there is no condemnation in Christ for those of us who walk after the Spirit. What does NO mean? It means that it is impossible to be condemned once I’m walking in Christ. Verse 2 goes on to explain that the Law of the spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. What is THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE? it is the law of the divine life which we received through regeneration when we received Jesus as Lord. We received that divine life into our spirit. Then if that divine life is in our spirit then how can we be condemned? According to Romans chapter 1, it is impossible.
Am I saying that it is ok to sin? Romans 5: 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: this is simply telling you that where there is sin there is grace. The more you sin the more grace covers you. Sin can never outrun grace. So, does that mean that it is ok to sin? Paul answers that question in the next chapter. Romans 6:1-3 (KJV) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? NO, IT IS NOT OKAY TO SIN. You were baptized unto the death of Christ. this means that you have been buried with Him (dying to the old way of life) and raised with Him to a new way of life by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead living in you. You have been justified (just as though you never sinned). Declared righteous (right standing with God) and sanctified (a people separated unto God). This is who you are.
God expects you to walk in holiness because you are holy.
Pastor Karen Bruce