In this message we shall consider further how the crucified Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom. In 1:23 and 24 Paul says, “But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews an offense, and to the nations foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, God’s power and God’s wisdom.”
As believers in Christ, we all must be able to answer this question: Why was it necessary for Christ to be crucified? In his preaching to the philosophical Greeks at Corinth, Paul must have indicated why it was necessary for Christ to be crucified. Perhaps the most common answer to this question is to say that Christ had to be crucified in order for God to save us. God cannot save us apart from the crucifixion of Christ. According to the New Testament, God has no way to save anyone apart from the cross of Christ. Let us consider briefly why this is so.
In the universe there are many kinds of problems. There are the problems of Satan, the world, and sin. There is also the problem of man. The man created by God for His purpose fell and became sinful. Other problems related to man are the flesh and the natural life. In addition, everything in the universe has become old; that is, it has become rotten, corrupt. Anything that is not corrupt cannot be old. Oldness indicates a shortage of life. When a tree grows, it has life. But when it begins to die, there is a shortage of life. Because of Satan, the world, and man with sin, the flesh, and the natural life, the whole universe, including the heavens and the earth, has become old, corrupt, ruined, and full of death.
In addition to all these problems, there is the problem of the ordinances and regulations given by God for man’s living. Therefore, the cross deals with the problems of Satan, the world, sin, man, the flesh, the natural life, oldness, and ordinances. In order for these problems to be solved, it was necessary for Christ to be crucified.
Before Christ could be crucified to solve all these problems, He had to put on human nature. This means that He had to become a man, a creature. By becoming a man, Christ became a creature. He took on human nature, not only for the purpose of dying for us and of shedding His blood for our sins, but also for the purpose of solving the problems of Satan, the world, sin, fallen man, the natural life, flesh, oldness, and ordinances.
Although Christ could have refused death by crucifixion, He was crucified. According to the human understanding, Christ was executed by others. However, His understanding of His death was different. In John 10:11 the Lord Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” Concerning His life, the Lord goes on to say in John 10:18, “No one takes it away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again.” His life was not taken from Him. On the contrary, He gave up His life for us. If Christ had not been willing to lay down His life, it would not have been possible for people to execute Him. Instead of fighting for Himself, Christ accepted the death of the cross. He was willing to be crucified in order to accomplish redemption and solve all the problems in the universe. Christ crucified is an offense to those who seek signs, and foolishness to those who seek wisdom. But to us who believe He is God’s power and wisdom.
In the cross of Christ we see God’s power. It takes the power of God to defeat Satan, the world, sin, fallen man, the flesh, the natural life, the old creation, and the ordinances. What other power is greater than Christ crucified as God’s power? What other power can destroy Satan or overcome the world? Only God has the power to accomplish these things. This power is not that of doing things by speaking, such as the power God exercised in creation. Rather, it is the power of crucifixion, the power of the wonderful death of Christ. This means that the crucifixion of Christ has become the power of God. The death of Christ has become God’s power to destroy Satan, to solve the problem of the world, to eliminate sin, and to terminate fallen man, the flesh, the natural life, and the old creation. By this power God is able also to solve the problem of the ordinances. By one death, the death of Christ, all the problems in the universe have been cleared. Thus, Christ crucified is God’s power to abolish all negative things and carry out His plan.
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