The Cross Part 14

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14. It seems to me just on this ground, " That the cross is God's sentence against all that is carnal in the church," that in the opening of the first Epistle to the Corinthians we have so much mention of the cross. Had the question been one about cleanness of conscience, or access to God, or power over the world, the flesh, or Satan, I conceive Paul would have brought forward the blood of Jesus. But here it was no case about learning to do well, but about ceasing to do evil -ceasing to lie under and cherish the flesh and its proceeds; and therefore the cross is brought forward.* For the cross of Jesus was the reproach of nature; having no wisdom in it to man's thoughts; yea, a perfect foolishness; and here the blood of atonement was found. Did any at Corinth say, I am of Paul? (1 Cor. 1:1212Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:12).) " Was Paul crucified for you "? (ver. 13) says he. Did any glory in Apollos, because he was mighty in the scriptures? or in Paul, because of his deep wisdom? his answer is, " Christ sent me.... to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness."
(*Read carefully chapters 1 and 2. The evil to be met was carnality, marring the testimony of union in the church as God's witness. Paul meets it by the cross, first of all.)