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The ‘foolish’ message every Christian believes


There is one primary doctrine within Christianity that many unbelievers consider to be foolish. I am referring of course to the message of the cross. Scripture reveals that God sent His only Son to suffer and die by crucifixion so that our sins could be paid for and we could be forgiven. (see John 3:16; Romans 5:6-8; 1 Peter 3:18).

Christians understand and believe that without the cross, we would be lost forever. In fact, every Christian over the past 2,000 years has believed that Christ’s death on the cross is what secures our salvation. The Anglican bishop Charles Ryle (1816-1900) said, “Take away the cross of Christ, and the Bible is a dark book.”

And yet many people who are spiritually dead either ignore the cross as useless or mock the message of the cross as ridiculous. The Apostle Paul wrote, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). Atheist Dan Barker is a case in point. He said, “It does no good to say that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. I don’t have any sins, but if I did, I wouldn’t want Jesus to die for my sins. I would say, ’No, thanks, I will take responsibility for my own actions.’”

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Pastor A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) pointed out what ultimately happens to those who think like Barker: “The cross stands high above the opinions of men and to that cross all opinions must come at last for judgment.” “It is appointed for man once to die, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). How you respond personally to the cross will determine where you spend eternity. And the only two eternal destinations are Heaven and Hell.

The world's definition of wisdom differs greatly from the biblical definition. Paul wrote, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:20-21). 

Scottish evangelist Oswald Chambers (1874-1917) wrote, “All of Heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, Hell afraid of it, while men are the only ones to ignore its meaning.” Why do you suppose Satan and his demons are so afraid of the cross? It is because the cross sealed their eternal doom. “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, God made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15).

Many people consider any talk about Satan to be mere superstition, but Jesus knows better. After all, He is the one who created the angels in the first place (see Colossians 1:15-17). And when Lucifer rebelled in Heaven, he got kicked out! Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven” (Luke 10:18). Satan then tempted Adam and Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden, and the rest is history. “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

You must realize that you are sick before you go to the doctor in hopes of being made well. Likewise, unless you understand the wages of sin, you will be unable to appreciate the value of the cross. Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). In other words, you will never seek forgiveness from Jesus until you understand that your soul is sick with sin. Sadly, if you are self-righteous, you assume your soul is healthy even though you are completely lost in sin and headed toward Hell.

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13,14). Receiving Jesus as your Savior is the only way to be saved, redeemed, forgiven, born again and justified. 

Natural man wrongly assumes that people get into Heaven by doing more good things than bad things. While God of course wants His children to do plenty of good works, our noble deeds cannot save our soul. The cross of Christ and the blood of Jesus are what save lost sinners who “repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). If we could be saved by our works, there would have been no reason for Jesus to suffer and die for our sins on the cross. And no matter how foolish that may seem to you, it is nevertheless the truth.

In addition to the “foolish” message of the cross, man’s desire to pursue sinful pleasures is another huge factor that keeps many people far away from God. Saint Augustine said, “It is not reason which turns the young man from God; it is the flesh. Skepticism but provides him with the excuses for the new life he is leading.” A love for sin is often at the root of man’s strong resistance to the Gospel and the message of the cross. The fire of sexual lust, for example, is spiritually opposite to the fire of the Holy Spirit. (see Galatians 5:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Are you willing to turn away from sin and receive the free gift of everlasting life through faith in Jesus? If so, I highly encourage you to do so immediately, even if some of your family members and friends may think you are foolish for doing so. After all, it is far better to be foolish in the eyes of man than in the eyes of God!

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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