When you preach the gospel, you are preaching the most offensive point in your sermon. Paul preached the “offense of the cross” knowing the “word of the cross is foolishness” in the eyes of the world (Gal. 5:11; 1 Cor. 1:18).
You know why the gospel is so offensive?
In the gospel, we are saying to de-trust yourself and totally trust a man who was beaten, stripped naked, nailed to a Roman cross, crucified in public as a spectacle for all to see. We are calling people to bank their past, present, and future on Jesus alone.
The gospel calls people to abandon relying on their works to save them, and to look to Jesus dangling on a cross, dying for their sins. Take matters out of your own hands and see hands fixed with iron spikes—put your matters in the Messiah’s hands.
The gospel is so offensive because it claims there is a ruler, a King, a Lord higher than Caesar, a man more powerful than any Czar, President, Dictator, or Tyrant—and he was crucified and raised from the dead for our sins. Jesus, the God-Man, is first place in everything and over everyone (Col. 1:18).
Christ Alone Is Our Righteousness
The promise of the gospel is offensive to our sensibilities. The cross is no respecter of persons. Here’s what I mean: When you believe in Jesus, his death and resurrection for your sins, you are declared totally righteous in the sight of God. There is nothing you can do to add to Christ’s cross, and nothing you can do to take away from it. It is finished.
[bctt tweet=”The finality of the cross is offensive because it puts a blockade on our attempts to smuggle in our own works.” username=”mrmedders”]
The empty tomb means there is nothing we can do to improve our righteousness.
Every Christian is equally righteous. It doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, American or Syrian refugee, Reformed or Arminian—every person who clings to Christ has the same amount of righteousness in Christ. It doesn’t matter if you avoid drinking alcohol or if you are an amateur home brewer—in Christ, we are righteous.
Do you see why this offends our self-righteous sensibilities?
The offense of the cross means that the seminary professor who grew up in a Christian home, trusted Christ at a young age, never did drugs, is happily married and has four kids on the mission field—he is no more righteous than the crystal meth dealer convicted of murder, who trusted Christ while on death row. Both are equally righteous in Christ.
The woman who got an abortion her freshman year in college but found forgiveness of sins in the risen Christ while weeping over a Bible she found in Cancun the next summer—she is no less righteous than the home-schooling mom of six who believed in Jesus when she was thirteen at her church’s youth camp.
The gospel offends our self-righteousness and our unrighteousness, leading us to Christ’s righteousness.
Christ alone, and none of our works, makes us righteous before God.
Preach the offense of the cross. It’s the kind of glorious gristle we need.
“For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3–7 CSB)