One of the most loved hymns of the church is the old rugged cross. The chorus says, “So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, til my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown.” Oh how true! The cross meant everything to Paul. It was not only the place where Jesus bore his sin debt. It was the place where he died with Jesus to religion, self, and the false glamor of this fallen world system. When Paul went to sophisticated Corinth, he didn’t preach a series of Christian lectures. Paul’s sole desire for going to Corinth was to preach the message of the cross. Not as a stimulating speech, but as an ultimatum. It was not his desire to impress them with eloquence or sophisticated language, lest their faith rest (stand ) in his abilities as a speaker.
Here in Galatia, there were false teachers who were insisting on adding the ritual of circumcision to the work of Jesus on the cross as necessary for one’s salvation. To any who proclaim’s a “gospel” message of Jesus+ anything = salvation, listen to what Paul says. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Boasting in the cross of Jesus Christ is like talking about how fond you are of electric chairs. The cross is a message of death. Death to sin. Death to self. Death to religious systems. Death to this world. In the heavenly scene, John said, “I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.” The slain Lamb on the old rugged cross is the message that will inspire our worship throughout all eternity.