The Cross - RR274A2b
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Though we kindreds of the people give unto the Lord Glory and strength, give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name. Bring an offering and come unto His courts. Oh worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Fear before him all the earth. Let us pray.
Oh Lord our God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, we give thanks unto Thee that our times are in Thy hands who doeth all things well. We confess before thee that all our efforts to change the government of things from Thy hands into our hands have been a disaster. And Thou in Thy wisdom has ruled and over ruled our folly. Because Thou hast made us Thine. Give us grateful hearts, teach us always to praise thee; in everything to give thanks. To know that Thou art God and beside Thee there is none other. How great Thou art oh Lord and we praise Thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Our scripture this morning is First Corinthians 1:18-19 and our subject ‘The Cross’. First Corinthians 1:18-19, The Cross.
“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.”
It is intimidating experience to attempt writing or preaching or teaching on First Corinthians 1:18-31. Having heard the magnificent exposition of this text by Dr. Cornelius Van Til and more than once; such hearing is the experience of a lifetime. The Cross, the doctrine of the atonement by the vicarious sacrifice Jesus Christ is foolishness to them that perish but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. [00:04:07]
Those destined to perish may actually believe in God...
Those destined to perish may actually believe in God. Indeed the very devils in hell believe and tremble, they know the reality of God but they reject Jesus Christ as the savior. Men can see life as meaningless without God but unless they see Christ’s atonement as their salvation they are no better than the devils in hell. There are many people who faced with life’s meaningless turn to the church and profess to believe to God and Christ but unless their belief is based on the cross, on atonement, they’re not saved. After all the knowledge of God is inescapable knowledge. More so than knowledge of the reality of the sun. And it takes a fool, we are told, to say there is no God. They are not wise men who deny God because there is either the God of the Bible or universal chaos and chance. An absurd conclusion and absurd. But man is a fallen creature. He insists on believing that he is himself a God with a power to determine for himself what is good and evil. This at least is what makes him a fool. Moreover an arrogant and pretentious fool at that. It is the preaching of the cross which is those dead in their sin and their warfare against God that is foolishness. The word foolishness is in the Greek a word meaning silly, stupid, dull or foolish. Such fools see themselves as wise men, Intellectuals, perhaps. And their outlook is premised upon themselves as judges over God and man. The cross demonstrates the power and the wisdom of God. But to the self-appointed wise men of this world it is foolishness. For Paul the center of fact of theology is the cross. The atonement. Men are ready to claim heaven on other grounds or to find God acceptable if He satisfies their reasoning. But they are unwilling to make man’s sin the key problem and Christ’s atonement the answer. The god of the philosophers is unrelated to the atonement. Such a god may satisfy man’s reasoning but he saves no one. There is no true preaching without the cross. There’s a belief that a good life will save them, deny the cross and they deny their own fallen nature and claim for themselves what only God can give. As [unintelligible] pointed out, first the learned men and philosophers have not been able by their wisdom to know God as verse twenty one tells us, second not the learning of these wise but the preaching of the cross is alone effectual, verses eighteen, twenty one and twenty four. [00:09:00]
Then third God has chosen persons who by the world...
Then third God has chosen persons who by the world’s standards are powerless and no significance to do his work according to verses twenty six through twenty eight. Human pride is thus out of place. We can only be proud of what God the Lord has done for us according to verses twenty nine through thirty one. [Unknown name] was emphatic in stating and I quote: “The gospel in its essence is not wisdom of philosophical system, it is salvation.” Unquote. It is a hidden gospel to those who are lost. They are self-blinded because they follow the tempter’s thinking and he is a god of this world God says according to verse nineteen: “For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” This statement is repeatedly made by God in the Old Testament as in Job 5:12-13 and Isaiah 9:14-15. And in Isaiah God declares that astute political thinking and planning that leaves Him out of the picture shall be confounded and destroyed. Practical thinking by man that leaves out God is destined to fail and is a prelude to disaster. Their wisdom and their prudence will destroy ungodly men. There can be no valid thinking or planning that leaves out God but only if God is basic to our thinking on His terms can our hopes be valid. Paul tells us what this means. The cross, the atonement, God is all holy and wise, all righteous, all just. We can have communion with God only on His terms and this means the cross. The service of communion celebrates the cross, no cross, no communion. The wise of this world, the intelligencia, want to negotiate with God on their terms, in their wisdom. Be self-appointed wise men see knowledge, not the atonement, as the necessary and central fact. [00:12:59]
The Bible does not depreciate godly wisdom unlike any...
The Bible does not depreciate godly wisdom unlike any other religion and unlike any philosophy it stresses literacy so that God gives us His word in a written revelation, we are to study and understand it. But our thinking is not in terms of knowledge but the atonement which has its own realm of wisdom. We thereby know our selves to be rebels against God. We have tried to be our own god and law in contempt of His majesty and power. By His grace and mercy we have seen what we are and have found ourselves redeemed by his atonement. Christ assumes the death penalty for our sins and he then makes us a new creation, a member of His new humanity as our second Adam. On the one hand God saves us, on the other he declares ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent’. This destruction is a continuing process in history. Fallen man tries constantly to build his towers of Babel and to bypass God. But God destroys all man’s pretensions, past present and future. The world glories in its efforts and it is always confident that the newest effort shall prevail. It is said that at the center of the European Community Offices there is a poster depicting a modern construction of the Tower of Babel. A poster available and which I have. But at the offices it has on it these inscribed words: This Time We Will Make It Work. We should always remember, he that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision, the faithful preaching of the cross, the atonement reminds us, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. [00:16:27]
Men who do not glory in the Lord are much of the time...
Men who do not glory in the Lord are much of the time glorifying their own idiocies. Let us pray.
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for Thy word. Make us ever mindful that our communion with Thee is based on the cross, on the blood of Jesus Christ. Keep us from the wisdom of men; make us bold in affirming what they see as foolishness of preaching and of the cross. Make us stand firm not in our righteousness nor in our wisdom but in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and his wisdom. We thank Thee that Thou has given us Thy word. Make us strong and faithful and ever loyal. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?
[Person speaking] Rush will you discuss the problem of those today who want to maintain a doctrine of salvation as sort of experimental-born-again-ism but don’t really want to extract the atonement?
[Rushdoony speaking] Well, a great deal of the teaching of the church today is no longer biblical. It will use portions of scripture but not the heart of it. First of all in most of the mainline churches the atonement is no longer a part of the preaching or if it is it is an alien doctrine, not the cross, not the blood. In others it is unfortunately an emotional and an experiential thing that saves us rather than the cross. I have known too many people and it hurts to think of them and to remember their great self-assurance who cannot tell you why they were saved but they had a marvelous born again experience. And if you raise questions about the cross and the blood of Jesus Christ and what it means, they say well it’s a great mystery. They don’t want to hear anymore because any such talking leads them away from their own experience. And that’s a very sad thing because our experience does not save us, it is only the blood of Jesus Christ. His atonement for us, His vicarious work as our sin bearer. The law of God is forgotten therefore the atonement is obscured. The law says that penalty for sinning against God is death. The soul of a sinner shall die. Doesn’t specify which sin, it just says the soul of the sinner shall die. Well this means that the law is as Paul says, a handful of ordinances against us, that is a bill of indictment calling for the death penalty against us. [00:21:49]
And Christ becomes our vicarious substitute and assumes...
And Christ becomes our vicarious substitute and assumes the death penalty. And that’s our salvation. It is not our experience but that. So that the church, mainline and evangelical, has drifted away from the centrality of the cross. Any other questions or comments?
This is one reason why of course Paul is detested in modernist circles, they want to say he altered the gospel totally. They cannot get around the centrality of the cross in Paul’s teaching. And yet Paul simply brings to focus everything that the gospels teach, everything that the Old Testament sets forth. And this is of course his offense. Well if there are no further questions let us conclude with prayer.
Our Father how glorious is Thy word and Thy salvation. We thank Thee that in Jesus Christ we have by virtue of His atonement been made a new creation. The death penalty against us has been nullified; we have been given by Thy spirit strength to begin a life of obedience unto Thee. We give Thee thanks day by day, Thy ways are great and totally beyond us and yet Thy mercies extends to the least of us. Our God we praise Thee. And now go in peace God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always, Amen. [00:25:06]