Al Ngu. New York. January 7, 2023
1 Corinthians 1: 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The antithesis and fulfillment of the cross to the culture of the world is astounding. That’s why Paul in first Corinthians chapter one says that to the Jews the cross it’s a stumbling block, whereas to the Greeks the cross is foolishness, but to the believers Christ is the power of God for salvation. When Jesus hangs on the cross, people scoffed at him saying he said “destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days”, now he can’t even save himself. Our culture today doesn’t understand the power of the cross, in fact mocks at the person hung it on the cross as foolishness and weakness. And that’s why culture today never gets it. Which is why Christianity it’s constantly baffling to them, even as it continuous to pose a threat and challenge to their worldliness and sensual desires. Thinking that they would do it their own way, to achieve personal fulfillment, satisfaction and in fact gratification, they missed the glory and power of the cross of Jesus Christ. This is self exertion, self will power and self ascension to the throne of life, completely pushed God out of his throne in our lives. It’s always a tension between God’s way or my way. Looking at the tower of Babel, they intended to make a name for themselves, and they ended up completely dispersed and in disaster. Why? Because they do it for their own glory and not for God.
A chapter later, God called Abraham to greatness. God called Abraham to leave his country his homeland and go to a land he will show him. God will bless him and promised to make his name great and make him to a great nation. The greatness from yourselves will lead to destruction but the greatness given by the grace of God will lead to true greatness and fame in the name of Christ, for the sake of Christ. It would not be our own endeavor, so to speak, but it will be empowering from the Lord himself to achieve the purpose he has called us. And that’s what God did with Abraham. It was a complete reversal of the tower of Babel when they wanted to make a name for themselves, they ended up in total dispersion and destruction. That shows the man’s greed and self actualization as in our modern society today and see where that leads them. That’s why the call of God is so powerful. We need to realize that true success comes from God and God alone. True blessing comes from the Lord and him alone. And if its from where else, it will just bring us to complete disappointment and discouragement.
Abraham was not exactly seeking for fame or greatness (Gen 12), he was a mere immigrant migrating with his clan his father from or to Haran and that’s all we know about him. And out of the blue God called him to greatness in total contrast to the Tower of Babel where the people wanted to make a name for themselves (Gen 11). This is also in contrast to Eve who wanted to make a name for herself. All of them ended in disasters breaking the covenant with God.
This is the same for us today as believers in Christ, our only channel and way to success and glory is one that comes from God in Christ Jesus. And not from anywhere else or anybody else. Especially not from ourselves the self ego the self ambition the self gratification and actualization is truly a dangerous path to go.
So the gospel actualizes, and realizes the dreams of the world. By the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. And by his resurrection, he destroyed the devil who hath the power of death. All effort to self-glorification, self-achievement, self actualization, is simply going into a path of darkness. That is led by the Evil One. And that’s exactly what happened to Eve. Who was tempted? By the devil. So if we continue the path of self-desire, self-planning and self-ambition, we will end up to be like the Tower of Babel. Or like Eve, who was cast out from the Paradise.
Therefore the cross. is the fulfillment of the very thing that the world longs for. And fights for. And can never get. Because the cross made peace with God between. God and man. The peace that can only come from God by the reconciliation brought by the blood of Christ. Jesus reconciled mankind to God through the offerings of his blood on the cross. Therefore the cross or the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is the absolute power of God. To bring salvation to anyone who believes in Christ. And the cross is a fulfillment of the deepest longing and desire of every sane human being. Only human being who is so out of the right thinking reject Christ. Who died on the cross for us all.
Therefore, anyone who thinks the death of Christ on the cross is irrelevant to us is completely blind sighted to total darkness and judgment of God’s coming.
And that’s why Gospel is the antithesis or opposite to our culture. Our culture’s longing is self gratification. Self ambition. Self ego. Without any reverence to who God is, and his love and his glory. Therefore Gospel is constantly a threat to the culture because it is the antithesis of the culture today. But at the same time Gospel can fulfill human’s deepest longings. Whereby. Culture can only watch with helplessness. And in fact going the way of culture will bring us down the path of destruction.
That’s why the cross is so powerful. It is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes in Christ Jesus. Amen.