Boasting in the Cross
by K. Neill Foster
Authentic revival has several doctrinal and theological components which can easily be enumerated and listed. They include, in my view, the anointed preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ.
They will include thorough repentance, the unfettered Word of God, a whole obedience to God in every area, the confession of sin to God and to others who have been impacted by our sinfulness, the sovereignty of God, a full determination to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, to literally do all for the glory of God. And to have fervent love for God and among ourselves. While this list is not necessarily complete, the preaching of the cross of Jesus Christ belongs right in the middle of these powerful themes.
Paul put it this way, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
There is something about the message of the cross that reaches the hearts of believers. Paul asserts really, that the message of the cross is a part of Christ’s ongoing saving work. The cross continues to deliver more and more of our salvationit is through the power of the cross we find freedom in Christ in the here and now.
Peter once said that Paul was difficult to understand (2 Peter 3:16). But there are many things in Paul that are powerfully clear. “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). “Consider,” “count,” and “reckon” are all words used to describe what Paul said. We can do, if we will, what Paul mandates.
He further explains the role of the Holy Spirit in the process. “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live”(Romans 8:13). This statement is clearcounting ourselves dead and unresponsive to sin is our Christian duty. And the Holy Spirit is the Enabler. He offers His explosive power to make this work.
The result in Paul’s own life was spectacular. This is a text he seems to sing. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
Imagine, he was celebrating his “death!” By faith and by the Holy Spirit too of course!
Having died, he was wonderfully alive, and he was able to say, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14).
We should not be surprised that when revival descends, multitudes are going to be crucified with Christ. We should not be surprised that when George Mueller, the missionary financier and apostle of faith, was asked so many years ago about the secret of his ministry, he bowed very low and said in response, “There was a day when George Mueller died.”