The Preaching of the Cross
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
The Christian is instructed to deny himself and to bear his cross daily as he follows Christ. This is a truth that no Christian can, or would, deny. Consider the following verses:
Matthew 10:38 “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Mark 8:34 “…Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Mark 10:21 “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
Luke 9:23 “And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Luke 14:27 “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
However, some proclaiming to be Christians, make an idol of these truths. It is nothing but damnable heresy, damnable heresy, to read 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” and proclaim that this is not the finished work of Christ on the cross but rather, our bearing of our daily cross as we deny ourselves and endure persecution (or for some, provoke men unto persecution for the sake of pride and boasting in such things). It is damnable heresy to mock, as some do, “the wood,” knowing that it is not the wood that the Christian clings to but what the “wood,” the cross, represents — and that is the all-sufficient, all-efficient, salvific work of Christ as He bore the sins of His elect, in His own body, enduring the wrath of God unto the utmost, and putting away our sins forever (“our” — being the elect’s, and not the elect in some abstract sense, but those whom God elected to hear and believe the true Gospel, which reveals the True Christ, and in whom the elect saint will believe and rest for all aspects of their salvation — by God’s grace).
There are few things more wretched in “Predestination” circles than to make what Christ does in us, what Christ ordains for us, more important, more paramount than the completed substitutionary and propitiatory atonement that Christ victoriously made. To make our cross-bearing, our self-denial, our persecution for righteousness’ sake of higher worth and value than the cross of Christ is the height of idolatry. To deny that Christ made us perfect, truly perfect in Him — to deny that we have a perfect righteousness and perfect sanctification in our Lord (who is our righteousness and sanctification) -even now- is to take all right doctrine concerning election, predestination, justification, etc. and to mangle the divine intent and focus of it. These truths point to Christ and He must be the center-point, He must be the object of our single-eye (Matthew 6:22). Everything in the word comes back to Him and is in light of Him. Never let anyone tell you that the finished work of Christ does not mean that Christ finished, completed, perfected, all that was necessary (as to the basis and ground) of our salvation. Sure we must be regenerated and converted in this life, but that is the fruit of Christ’s work, the result of it. Sure we are to strive to deny ourselves, mortify the flesh, and witness boldly before men — but such things do not perfect us; they evidence before men the perfection that we already have in and by Christ. Moreover, it is Christ who works these things in us, by the Holy Ghost, all according to the will of the Father; so who can take credit for a single atom of it?
To God be the glory and may we never pride ourselves in anything that we do; may we never elevate even that which Christ works in us above what Christ, alone, worked and suffered during His baptism on the cross. Do not be deceived by words that sound like the words we hold precious and dear — we must try the spirits; we must have everyone define their terms and prove them via scripture. Make sure that they mean (by the key terms, phrases, and passages common to Predestinarian circles that they use) what the Bible declares that these things mean… do not be deceived by the deceivers — no matter how much they may speak about “Grace and Truth…”