1 Corinthians 1:18. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The cross seems like folly because it is in direct opposition to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Everything in us wants to live from some sort of system of right and wrong. We want to control our lives by figuring out what is good and what is evil. We want to figure out salvation on our own. Our default is to work for it. To self justify. Anything other than this seems like complete idiocy to the world. But the cross is power because it frees us from this bondage to any system of law keeping.
The cross seems like folly because it is a shameful death. The death of a criminal. The death of the guilty. But it is power for those that realize that they are the criminal. When we realize the truth of our shame, we are empowered to receive the sacrificial work of the cross for us. Not just once but each and every day.
The cross seems like folly because it is plain and simple death. But “to live is Christ” means that we can only obtain the power of the resurrection by means of the cross. No death – no life. No sacrifice – no victory. No shame – no glory. No cross – no resurrection. The finality of the cross is overcome by the death swallowing power and glory of the resurrection power of God. Death, the ultimate punishment, is now the doorway to eternal life.
Living the cruciform life seems like folly because life is supposed to be about finding my happiness through self identifying and then self actualizing that identity. But the cruciform life, the life lived in sacrifice for others, is truly the only way to find the power of happiness. Happiness is that thing that you will never find by trying to find it. Happiness comes when we find our identity in the cross, and the resurrection power to love that it brings.
“To live is Christ” may seem like folly, but it is actually power. Resurrection power. The power to live fully alive. The power to live for God and others from the power of knowing that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Is the word of the cross folly to you or is it power? Have you experienced the power of living the crucified life? How does the gospel allow you to live from weakness and power at the same time?