THE cross, how wonderful! To the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness, but to them which are called, it is the wisdom of God, and the power of God. Paul makes the cross of Christ the central figure of the gazing universe, from which the divine light of the Sun of righteousness radiates through time and eternity. From the cross we look back by faith upon the records of the eternal mind, and read the ancient and fixed purpose of love and mercy. In the cross we see the harmonies of all divine revelation. The incongruous events of time all meet and are mobilized at the cross of Christ. The cross! the cross! affords of the most wonderful significance! In it we behold all the holy attributes of the Godhead shine forth with an eternal splendor. The Sun of righteousness pinioned to the cross, is the focal center of universal being, with all things hanging upon the issue. Behold, it is the throne of God upon which is sovereign power and holiness displayed, and against which is arrayed all the power of evil. We look forward from the cross of Christ to the crown of life, and the reign of righteousness. What an issue! Who can behold it without amazement? The mystery of godliness and the mystery which is engaged in an exterminating warfare against it. It is an awful conflict. The God of truth who upholds the worlds by the word of his power against the father of lies, and all the elements of destruction. “If a man die, shall he live again?” is the question to be determined. Upon the answer, yes or no, hangs the faith of God’s elect, according to the hope of eternal life which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. Michael and his angels fought, and the dragon and his angels, and the dragon was cut off, and his angels.
Jesus Christ was crucified and buried according to the Scriptures, and was raised again from the dead, according to the Scriptures. It is done; the decision is given; the ungodly are justified; the enemies are reconciled; life and immortality are brought to light through the gospel; the hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. A foundation is now laid for faith and repentance, the doctrine of baptism, and the laying on of hands, and of eternal judgment. All is now fixed and settled. There is no more offering for sin, and no more worldly administration. Of the things which we have spoken this is the sum. “We have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens.” All is perfect. He is a perfect Priest upon the throne of glory. There is a perfect tabernacle, a perfect altar, a perfect sacrifice, and eternal salvation. Now if such should fall away there can be no more renewing to repentance. There is no more laying again the foundation of repentance. “For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” This is going on to the perfection in Christ.
These are some of the wonders of the cross in which Paul gloried. And well he might, for in it is treasured the rich endowments of God’s eternal purpose, containing the choice, or election, the grace given in Christ, his predestination, and sovereign will, and his foreknowledge. For whom he did foreknow he did predestinate, &c. The preaching of the cross contains the hidden wisdom which God, that cannot lie, ordained before the world, unto our glory, but which is now made known by the appearing of Jesus Christ. O, what a theme it opens up to the thought of poor, ignorant, fallen man, the wisdom of God in a mystery. Here carnal wisdom staggers, goes backward and falls, and is taken. And here it is written, “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish, for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.” And again it is written concerning this same thing, “The natural man received not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.” The preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness, but unto us that are saved, it is the power of what? Means? No, but the power of God. Not by the power of human means at all, but by the power of God: “By means of death, [the death of the Son of God] for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” From the observatory of Mount Calvary, and through the telescope of the cross of Christ, the eye of faith gets such a view of the heavenly world, as like Stephen, sees heaven opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. And O, how wonderful are the revelations! They bring to mind the words of Isaiah, “Though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.”
The foregoing has been written to relieve my mind, with no fixed purpose in view, but, dear brother Allison, as I have thought many times of late, that I would write to you, I will send you this. I am well at present. I remain your brother, I hope,
I. N. NEWKIRK.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 67., No. 12.
JUNE 15, 1899.