In my Rotary club we have a period in the beginning called “Brag-a-Bucks.” It’s a time where members give the Sargent at arms a buck to brag about something exciting in their lives. It may be the achievement of a child, or grandchild. A promotion. A vacation. A birthday. An anniversary. A win by their sports team.
What if you were asked to brag on something that you’re proud of, that you’re excited about? What would it be?
Here’s what the apostle Paul said. in Galatians 6:14. ” May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Boasting is usually considered a bad quality. Because it is connected with personal pride and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. However, Paul’s boasting was not personal. Or prideful. It was centered in the cross.
The Greek word translated “boast” is most often rendered “glory.” Sometimes it’s translated “rejoice.” Paul’s glory was in God’s grace demonstrated in the cross. But why? And how?
Specifically, consider five reasons that are the basis of his boasting in the cross. And why you and I can glory in the cross today.
(1) The Cross demonstrates God’s power, wisdom and glory. (1 Cor. 1:17-25)
Paul’s preaching and the power of the Gospel message resided in the cross. It has the power to change a person’s life. To redeem them from sin. To reconcile them to God. To remit every sin, no matter how vile and ungodly.
God’s wisdom is shown by Deity becoming human. By making His Son the perfect mediator and the sinless sacrifice. By creating a universal symbol that is etched in our minds. By taking an instrument of death and transforming it into a means of salvation.
(2) The Cross took away the Old Covenant and ushered in the New Covenant (Heb. 9:14-15; Col 2:14)
The Bible teaches that the Old Law or Covenant was nailed to the cross. It served its purpose. And came to an end, just as God planned. In its place, we have a new covenant. A better covenant based on better promises, a better sacrifice, and a better hope.
The new covenant, or testament, was sealed with the blood of Jesus. It’s a new agreement between man and God. The only reason the covenant exists is because of Christ and the cross
(3) The Cross Created the Church. (Acts 20:28-29; Eph. 3:21)
The Bible says the God purchased the church with the blood of Jesus. Our redemption was not “with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” ( 1 Pet 1:18-20)
Can we actually glory in the church? Yes! Paul said so. “To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:21). The church is people who belong to God. Called out of sin. Set apart. Sanctified. And saved. What a glorious relationship!
(4) The Cross made me a new person.
The Bible teaches that baptism is connected to the cross. When I was baptized I was born again (John 3:3-5). My sins were washed away (Acts 22:16). Not by any cleansing ability of the water, but by the power of the blood (Rev. 1:5).
Baptism is a reenactment of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:3-5). We die with Christ. The old person of sin is buried. The new person created in righteousness and holiness is resurrected. That’s something to boast about!
(5) The Cross provides peace.
The cross is the great paradox of all history. Friday’s ruckus resulted in Sunday’s resurrection. Defeat gave way to victory. Tumult resulted in triumph. And death was overcome by Him who is “The Life.”
The cross reconciled opposing factions. Jews and Gentiles. Slave and free. Male and female. Sinful humans and a holy God.
The risen Redeemer appeared to the apostles saying, “Peace, be unto you.” It was more than just a greeting. It was the foretaste of things to come.
Peace to unite all people into one spiritual Family. Peace to ease the pain of a nagging conscience. Peace to soothe the troubled soul. Peace to heal the broken heart. Peace to calm the raging storm.
No wonder Paul’s boasting was in the cross! You, too, can join him in the same glorious exaltation.
Thank God for Friday. And that Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman