Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Offense

I just wanted to play some ball with my friend. I didn't know it was considered "trespassing." But, nevertheless, I had a sinking feeling that climbing over the high school's fence to get into the ball court on a Saturday morning with my best friend wasn't the best idea I'd had. But I guess the middle school mind has some kind of built in override for those kinds of thoughts. Or it just might've been drowned out by the thoughts of other things - like cookies... mmm... cookies.

In any case, I guess you could call that my first criminal offense. Yup. I was a bad dude, writhing with all the rebellious, anarchist thoughts a tweenage boy could muster. Well, at least if rebellious thoughts consist of playing ball. In any case, it wasn't an ideal situation.

"But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed."
I like that. Perhaps it's because it appeals to a youthful "anti-" mindset, but there's something about the idea of the cross being offensive that makes Christ even better. At least, that is, on this side of the fence. Because if you live on the other side, then this makes Christ seem all the more ridiculous.

Well, what offense are we talking about? If you read the context, (the verses before and after the afore-quoted verse) the Apostle Paul is addressing the Galatians for their return to the way of circumcision as a supplement to salvation. Paul vehemently opposes this idea, even going so far as wishing that the instigators of this idea would emasculate themselves. Castration, anyone?


The idea was that Paul didn't want these new believers to rely on anything other than faith for their salvation. He was telling them that he was completely opposed to the idea of circumcision by showing that people hated him for rejecting it. If this is the case, then the offense of the cross is that we aren't allowed to rely on anything other than faith alone, which is given to us by Christ. Simply, it is that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. In other words: we are ultimately weak.

The offense of the cross is that we need the cross.

So, let's take joy in this offense. Let's not dress it up with the piling on of self-esteem audio tapes and confidence seminars. If the pulling of bootstraps is involved anywhere in this story, it is the straps that were pulled from the back of our Savior. Let's stop burying the gospel under mounds of ear-tickling and good vibrations.

After all, the Good News isn't the Good News without the bad news.


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