The apostle Paul writes to the Galatians: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
In the passion week we are especially reminded of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross. In regard to the Lord’s supper, he admonishes the Corinthians: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
Is the cross our glory, something to boast about? Most people have something they are proud of and sometimes even boast about. Young men like to boast about their physical strength or their fast cars. Older men boast about their academic or their financial achievements. Some parents boast about their talented children and the list goes on and on. Didn’t Paul have anything else to boast about than the cross of Christ?
The apostle had things to boast about. He could have boasted about his legalistic righteousness. To the Philippians he writes in the Philippians 3:4-11: “If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
Paul could have boasted about his suffering for Christ’s sake, which he describes in 2 Corinthians 11: three times shipwrecked and spent days and nights adrift at sea; he was stoned once and left for dead; five times received 40 lashes minus one. He could have written volumes about these experiences and all he suffered for Christ’s sake, but he chose to boast about the cross of Christ!
Why exactly the cross? Wasn’t that the deepest and darkest hour in the life of Christ? Could he not have rather chosen Christ’s incarnation to boast about? “God with us” coming as a helpless infant, born in abject poverty. Could he not have boasted about the remarkable life of Christ, His compassion for the lost and rejected, how He healed the sick, raised the dead, and how even the forces of nature obeyed Him? He calmed the raging sea and even walked on water. No, Paul chose the cross of Christ to boast about!
The cross is more than a religious symbol. Jesus Christ, the son of God, suffered and died on a literal cross! “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Paul chose the cross of Christ to boast about because it is the greatest revelation of God’s love for a fallen world! “For God so loved the World that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have ever lasting life!” (John 3:16) The blood of Jesus Christ, the unblemished, spotless Lamb of God, cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31).
Art E. Lange
Vernon, British Columbia