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.
–1 Corinthians 1:18
What is wrong with human philosophy? Why is it worthless? First of all, human wisdom rejects the cross. Look at 1 Corinthians 1:18: “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.”
“The word of the cross” refers to the entire gospel message: that God became flesh and died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. To the unbeliever, it is foolishness that God would do such a thing; even to believers that message is sometimes hard to fathom. Before my first trip to Jerusalem, I had always imagined the hill where Jesus died to be in a secluded spot outside the city, and there would be a holy mist around it and a divine light from heaven shining down. If you have been to Golgotha, you know that is not the picture at all. The hill is right over the Jerusalem bus station. As you stand there and watch those buses coming in and out, belching their gas fumes, you think, “Are you telling me the God of the universe came in human form and died in this nondescript place, and somehow it affected all creation for all eternity?”
Let’s face it: it is hard for us who are being saved to accept such a message, but it is foolishness to those who are perishing. For one thing, the message of the cross implies there is a creator God to whom we are responsible. We have this idea that unbelievers are just misguided souls, and if they had the truth, they would believe. But the fact is, people reject the true God and embrace false gods not for intellectual reasons but for moral reasons. Paul said in Romans 1:18-20: “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them. . . . For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Anyone in the world can look up into the sky and know there must be a creator God. As Charles Ryrie explained, that knowledge is not sufficient to save a person, but it is sufficient, if rejected, to condemn a person.
Most people today are not searching for the real God for the same reason a thief does not search for a police officer: we are guilty, and because we are guilty, we do not want to face God. That is one reason unbelievers reject the truth of the cross.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Foolishness of God” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Charles C. Ryrie, “Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth” (Chicago: Moody, 1999), 37-38.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.