September 17, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“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 (NKJV)
The cross of Christ is remarkable. It can ignite such completely different responses in the hearts of humanity. For the believer, there’s awe, reverence, and immense gratitude. But for many unbelievers, there’s disdain, mockery, and contempt.
I pray that as we read today’s verse, a deep empathy will be sparked for the unsaved—for family, friends, and coworkers who think our faith is foolish and for those who believe we’re entertaining fairy tales and fables. We need to have compassion for those who look upon the cross with apathy, misunderstanding, and disbelief.
Understand that empathy is not just feeling sorry for someone. Empathy joins hands with relatability. It’s remembering how we, too, before being saved, looked upon the cross with no regard. We didn’t understand the tremendous act of love the God of the universe performed on our behalf.
If we want to be used to plant seeds of the salvation message throughout the world, we can never allow God’s message of love to ever become commonplace in our lives. John 3:16–17 (NIV) says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” The message of the cross is not only powerful, it’s saturated and overflowing with love, mercy, and grace.
Unbelievers wrestle with a Jewish carpenter crucified two thousand years ago having a profound impact on their eternal destination. As the Scripture reveals, it’s utter foolishness to the unbelieving heart. The struggle lies in the fact that the cross of Christ requires a verdict; a response. The unsaved are faced with the issue of accountability. For them to understand that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross pays for their sin debt, they must first believe their sin offends a holy God; that their sin is worthy of divine wrath.
It’s difficult for them to comprehend they’re a sinner while living in a culture that celebrates wickedness with parties and parades. However, if they believe in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, they’d be taken from sinner to saint and their eyes would be opened to the power of the cross. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to remove spiritual blindness. He’s willing to save and transform every single aspect of their lives. With the swoop of His mighty and powerful hand, He can deliver them, as He did us, out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dearly beloved Son (Colossians 1:13).
As Christians, this isn’t new to us. So, how do we make an impact? Prayer. Prayer is the single greatest tool for change we’ve ever been given. By the blood of the Lamb, we’ve all been given an invitation to boldly enter the throne room of God to receive grace and mercy for ourselves and to pray that the Lord’s mercy and grace would break through in the lives of our unsaved family, friends, and coworkers. Enter with reverence and awe, and pray for their souls.
Pause: Consider who in your life needs the saving truth of the gospel message.
Practice: Make a written list of those that view the cross as foolish. Practice empathy, patience, and grace when communicating the gospel to your unsaved family, friends, and coworkers. Remember their beliefs, behaviors, and choices are the result of blinded eyes. Jesus Christ did not give up on us. May we pray with great diligence and patience for those who are lost. Keep the faith and press on with the gospel message.
Pray: Dear Lord, I pray for hearts to soften and eyes to be opened to the truth and beauty of Your message of salvation. Only You, Holy Spirit, can transform my loved ones. Please give me the words to communicate life, hope, and truth. Remind me I can’t change anyone’s mind. I can only share the gospel and pray, the rest is in Your hands. Deliver them from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Your glorious light. Amen.