It’s exciting to travel to a luxurious vacation resort where you spend a week or two really living it up. You eat delicacies you never tasted before, you see entertainers on stage you only dreamed of seeing in a live performance, and you visit jaw-dropping historical sites you only saw photos of on the internet. But, like a rubber band snapping back to its original size, you snap back to home sweet home, sit in your favorite chair, eat familiar food, and sleep in your own bed. It’s been fun splurging on yourself but it’s not where you want to be 24-7. Not only are you satisfied in the comfort and familiarity of home, it’s where you want to be – it’s just feels right to be home. Have you ever come back from a vacation and thought to yourself, “I don’t want to go anywhere for a long, long time – I’m so happy to be home”? Some think that is a bad and boring way to live, but you interpret it as simply having a greater appreciation for the heart and soul of your life – and you thank the good Lord for it.
This can happen (good or bad) in Christianity. Sometimes people get ALL caught up in ALL the fanciful and ALL the exhilarating externals of Christianity. They are enthralled with tongue speaking, miraculous healings, music from entertainers in worship that gives them goosebumps, eloquent speakers who mesmerize them with their performance, the rapture, 666, the mark of the beast, prophesies, end times, etc. They give little thought to the cross of Christ, which is the heart and soul of Christianity. They have moved on to what they consider bigger and better things. They want the thrills and frills of faith rather than being deeply moved spiritually by the simple message of the love of God in Christ on the cross.
Staying close to the cross is like being in the comfort of your home – you don’t need to be entertained and have a thrill a minute – you need and want Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The cross is the meat, potatoes, bread, butter, dessert – everything pertaining to spirituality. Even when you consider the other particulars of the faith you still have them revolve around and flow out of the cross of Christ. The cross is what you need and what you crave.
The apostle Paul corrected the spiritually immature Corinthians for craving all the bells and whistles of fancy, eloquent preaching and missing the simple message of the cross. In I Corinthians 2:1-5 Paul writes, “And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God”. Just prior to that Paul writes, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (I Corinthians 1:18,23-25). Notice that Paul anchors everything to the cross. No matter what issue Paul addresses he will always appeal to the cross to do spiritual repairs in any of the churches.
If the cross of Christ does not trip your trigger and you feel like spirituality has to feel spectacular, you have been duped by the duper, Satan. On the other hand, if the deeper you dive into Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross the more you want to know Jesus and study and meditate on the implications of His cross, you are showing signs of great spiritual maturity.
Read Romans 3:21-28; 5:1-11 and listen to a very simple song full of the love surrounding the cross
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.