Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Offense Of The Cross

The Apostle Paul was constantly questioned, examined and reviled because he preached grace instead of law. People who thought godliness was the key to salvation, and that obedience to rules and regulations was the both the standard and mark of such godliness could not stand Paul’s message of the Christian’s total assurance in the sufficiency of Christ. The Apostle’s words resound with meaning as he rebukes the idea that he still preached law.
Gal 5:11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? The the offense of the Cross has ceased.
Paul says it clearly. The offense of the Cross is that through it the unholy are justified, and seen as holy. The Cross and nothing else.

The World is offended by the Cross because it shows them God’s wrath for sin. It declares each and every person throughout history as having been judged and found guilty. It shows the “god of this age” guilty, judged, defeated and even made a public spectacle. 1 John 2:2 John 12:31 Col 2:15

How? The only power Satan has to destroy someone is by deceiving them so that they fall under God’s judgment and just sentence of death. But since God died in our place the full payment has been made and can freely be applied to anyone who receives it. The “sting” has been removed. Because God paid the price, the one who has fallen under the influence of Satan doesn’t HAVE to pay the price for his sin, Salvation is available and even JUST. The payment has been paid in full. The power that justly should fall on Satan's victims fell fully on God's Only Begotten Son.

Some of the offense caused to the World by the Cross is just plain unreasonable. Such as the criticism that Jesus is made a martyr by the Cross, that He is the Man wrongfully convicted of sin He did not commit. But what is missed by those who make claims is that Jesus went willingly to the Cross. He was not “wrongfully” convicted. He willingly paid the price. Luke 22:42 He is the Man who gave His life for ours.

The World which has ignored the God Who’s Glory is clearly revealed by Creation Rom 1 is shown exactly how Good He is by the Cross. What more offensive thing can there be than absolute proof that the One you hate is perfectly good and loving? The Lord God Himself took on our guilt to save us from having to come under His just wrath. He’s not the evil God who’s waiting to damn sinners to Hell. He’s the Loving God who was willing to do the ultimate to show His mercy without compromising His justice. He paid the price we could not. 1 John 4:10 John 3:16 1 Cor 15:1-11

That’s the offense the Cross causes the world. But Gal 5:11 talks about the offense the Cross causes some professing believers. That the completely guilty go completely free by Grace through Faith. This is the offense of the Cross to those who preach Lordship Salvation.

See, Salvation is by Grace through Faith apart from works lest any should boast. Eph 2:8-9 Salvation is the Gift of God. Rom 6:23 John 4:10

What the false message of Lordship Salvation says is that one is enabled to be “worthy of Jesus” through regeneration prior to Salvation. Mat 10:34-38 is an example of a proof-text of what some will preach as a so called “Gospel presentation” by the Lord.

But Scripture says that Salvation is by Grace. Χαριτ or unmerited favor. The Lordship Salvation preachers would have one believe that God makes a person worthy and then saves them – regeneration then Salvation. They say that man can do nothing, not even see they need the Savior, and surely not call out to Him for help, because they are “totally unable” or “dead in their sins” but God makes them better – He regenerates them! They are “born into God's family” (which is what regeneration means) and then they are “able” to seek the Savior and respond to the Gospel in Faith. They are made worthy, and adopted, and then they are saved. This is not Grace, because the Salvation of a regenerated child of God is merited.

But this issue of Regeneration is not truly the matter of offense. What is offensive to the Lordship Salvation proponent is that a guilty man can simply stand before God trusting that Jesus Christ died for his sins and seek God's forgiveness and be fully and completely Justified. Luke 18:9-14 is as good a rebuke of the Lordship Salvation message as any
9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
This is the offense of the Cross that many true believers hold today. That the sinner who has given nothing, either through God given ability or their own is Justified (called Righteous by God) apart from works, simply by Grace through Faith. He who believes he is or even has been made worthy is rebuked by the Lord God Himself.

The Lordship Salvation proponent would have a sinner “pledge” to be a Christian. I will submit. I will love. I will work. I will forsake all. I will exchange mine for His.

But the Apostles, all of them, expected sinners to receive. 1 Cor 15:1-2, 11

Faith does not come by pledge. Salvation does not come by pledge. Works do not come by pledge.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Salvation comes by Grace through that faith. And Good Works, for which Christians are “created in Christ” for, were "prepared" for Christians to “walk in.” Christians are created in Christ for this purpose, not sinners to perform in the process of OR for Salvation.

But the Lordship Salvation proponent doesn't promote such a Gospel. That Christ died for our sins and that this is enough. That there is no other work to be done for Salvation. Their message turns even Faith it's self into a Work (as recent readers can attest to) using the common question “What must I do to be saved?” and the answer “Believe” to equate that Belief must therefore be a “work” that one does.

Instead of preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ that the Corinthians were saved through reception they preach what seems reasonable to them. They deny and rob the power of the Cross by preaching a man centered message instead of a Cross centered one. 1 Cor 1:17-18

Christ has forgiven all the trespasses of those who believe in Him. He has wiped out the handwriting of God's requirements that was against us. Col 2:13-14 There are no “requirements” for Salvation. The Living Water is free to drink. John 4:10 John 7:38 Rev 22:17

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall surely be saved.
Acts 16:31


Kevl said...

This article is the follow up to

It will be followed by an article centered on the "Thief On The Cross."

I hope discussion will continue with more people involved.


Ron said...

Hi Kevl,

Ron here from the US. I have been doing some posting over on Free Grace Theology and wanted to visit your site. I will tell you first off that I love the body of Christ, but I am not big on movements, denominations, sects, etc. I am not of the Free Grace Movement, the Lordship Salvation movement, a Calvanist, a Lutheran, etc. I, like most other people, am in search of the truth. No one person has all truth, but we learn by communicating with others. Men of God that I study include Randy Shankle, Oswald Chambers, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I also am very fond of Henry Blackaby. Mark Noll wrote a very powerful book called "Scandal of the Evangelical Mind" that is quite thought provoking. I hope to continue discussions with you, and I am sure we will learn more about each other as we grow. In the meantime, please feel free to check out my blog at

David Wyatt said...

Bro. Kev,

I just want to thank you for your posts & your friendship in Christ. You are a blessing. God Bless you.