The Preaching of the Gospel and the Cross.

J. Wilson.

The fact that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable is calculated not only to develop the true Berean spirit in us but also to stimulate enquiry into the teaching connected with the different terms used therein. At first sight these two foundations upon which the Apostle Paul reared the edifice of his preaching at Corinth may not present the intended significance. It is, therefore, with a view to unfolding the thoughts suggested by these two things that a few words may not seem out of place. In 1 Cor. 1:17, it is the preaching of the Gospel and in verse 18 it is the preaching of the Cross. This is godly order, for God is first of all introduced in all His grace before man is shut out in all his sinfulness. These two lines run parallel from Genesis to Revelation (see Gen. 3:9 and Rev. 20:9).

The Gospel is a theme which thrills the heart of the believer and which may fall upon the ears of the unbeliever without raising either enmity or controversy for it reveals the love of God in all its surpassing excellence. It launches us into an ocean of salvation with no obstruction in the slipway as to the question of judgment. To this give all the prophets witness in both the Old and New Testaments; may we just cite three references from the New Testament? "God our Saviour who will have all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:3-4), "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19), "The grace of God that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared" (Titus 2:11). These and allied scriptures like 1 John 4:10 are all connected with the Gospel and present the attitude of God as being that of favour to all men. But let it be noted that this was only one of the Apostle's foundations, and he had two!

Coincident with his announcement of the Glad Tidings was the preaching of the Cross which is the abiding witness that man by nature will not do for God. It has often been said that the man whom God could not correct, He ended in the Cross. Scriptures such as Gen. 6:5, Luke 18:23, John 3:6 (first clause), and Rom. 8:8 (the flesh being the body plus the will) reflect very accurately what man after the flesh is before the eye of God and suggest the necessity of the Cross before there could be anything for God's pleasure relative to man. Preaching of this description is foolishness to the unbeliever for it sets him aside as worthless before God, no matter what wisdom he may possess as to things here, but to the believer it is the power of God for it gives him the sense of his nothingness and causes him to look to the One who alone is his resource. Were the preaching of the Cross more fully understood amongst the Lord's people there would surely be a deeper realisation of the power of God and a corresponding depreciation of the wisdom of men! May the Lord give us to understand a little better the distinctions presented in the Scriptures of truth!