Once during a concert, Derek Webb said the following: “The Cross is both beautiful and offensive, and it must be both. There is no other Gospel for you to preach.” It’s a bold statement, but it’s a statement that has validity. There is nothing more offensive to some than the message of God’s salvation through Christ. But the question remains of where this offense comes from. Was it due to Catholicism’s resistance to the Protestant Reformation? Is it due to Athesim’s and Secularism’s slow creep into the schools? Is it because of the jihad declared by radical Islam against all things Judeo-Christian?
Or is it because even Satan himself knows that the power of the Cross cannot be contained.
Mark 5 tells the story of a man possessed by demons who encounters Christ. The power of the presence of Jesus forced even the demon to fall at the feet of the Saviour and worship Him (v.6). James 2:19 says that the demons believe in the one Triune God and tremble at their belief. But throughout all of this, the offense remains.
Ephesians 1 explains how a person must be “enlightened” by God to understand anything about God and salvation. For anyone to understand the processes of God, they must allow their hearts to be opened up by the Holy Spirit to receive the knowledge. Man, being imperfect from the fall, is a finite being and cannot grasp the infinite wisdom of God on his own accord. For man to be able to do so would mean that perfection can be obtained without Christ’s sacrifice, which it can’t (John 14:6, Philippians 3:3-14). So therefore, to those rejecting Christ and living in the flesh, controlled by the masters of the fallen world, the Gospel presents a terrible offense.
What this means is that the Gospel must be offensive to some. The demons may tremble at the Gospel, but they still resent it. They fight it at every corner. In response, Christians begin to lay down and succomb to the temptation to disregard parts of the Gospel. The Gospel becomes somewhat tamed down. It’s labeled as “just a prayer” or “making a committment to follow Christ” when in fact it is so much more. It is about being fully sold out to the call of Christ and going wherever He leads you. As Christians, we are the bride of Christ. Our lives should reflect as such, but they rarely do. We know that the very Gospel we believe makes the enemy falter, yet we act as if we are afraid to fight even though God is always on our side. Will we be successful every time? No. Should that statistic stop us? Not at all.
The Gospel cannot be tamed. It cannot be whitewashed into something more managable. It isn’t politically correct. It isn’t en vouge. Not all of the cool kids believe it. It isn’t always safe to proclaim.
But it is good.