Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    While the World Tries to Cast Slurs of Irrelevance ...

    "For the message 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

    The whole world looked with contempt—indignant at the
    audacity of a few humble Christians, thus affronting and
    defying the "public opinion" of nations and ages; assailing
    the religions of earth with the cross as their only sword;
    striking down their idols with this as their only hammer;
    and with this, as their one lever, proposing to turn the
    world upside down!
    From that day the cross became "a power" in the earth;
    a power which went forth, like the light—noiselessly yet
    irresistibly—smiting down all religions alike, all shrines
    alike, all altars alike—sparing no superstition nor philosophy.

    This power remains—in its mystery, its silence, its influence,
    it remains. The cross has not become obsolete! The
    preaching of the cross has not ceased to be powerful and

    There are those who would persuade us that, in this modern
    age—the cross is out of date and out of fashion, time-worn.
    But this shakes us not. It only leads us to clasp the cross more
    fervently, and to study it more profoundly, as embodying in
    itself that gospel which is at once the wisdom and the power
    of God.

    Yet the cross is not without its mysteries.

    It illuminates—yet it darkens.

    It is life—yet it is death.

    It is honor—yet it is shame.

    It is wisdom—but also foolishness.

    It is . . .
    both pardon and condemnation;
    both strength and weakness;
    both joy and sorrow;
    both love and hatred;
    both medicine and poison;
    both hope and despair.

    It is Christ's humiliation—yet it is His exaltation!

    It is Satan's victory—yet it is Satan's defeat!

    It is the gate of heaven—and the gate of hell!

    The cross is the key to God's character, His word,
    His ways, His purposes. It is the summary of all
    the Bible—the epitome of Revelation!

    Words by Horatius Bonar

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