The Forgotten Cross: Meditations on 1 Corinthians 2:2

In 1 Corinthians 2:2 the Apostle Paul writes: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Studying Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church quickly reveals that he actually knew and was concerned with more than the crucifixion; however, his point in writing this verse was that the crucifixion remained central to his preaching and teaching. One commentator says it like this: “[Paul] did not take a vow of excluding everything else….but he did make a commitment that nothing would compromise the central place of Christ crucified.”[1] It’s the centrality of the cross of Jesus Christ that stands out in 1 Corinthians 2:2, and it’s the centrality of the cross of Jesus Christ that is my concern today. 

Over the past year or so I have heard and observed many conversations among professing Christians that are a far cry from 1 Corinthians 2:2. A great number of believers are consumed with politics, health care, mask-wearing, and a host of other issues. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with being informed and concerned about current events, the question I find myself pondering is: Where does the cross fit into all of this? With all the talk about masks, vaccines, and the threat of COVID-19, how many of us are recognized by our love for Christ? Or are we only recognized by our passion for current issues? For many of us, the cross has not only been relegated to the background, but it’s actually nowhere to be found in our speech and social media posts. The cross of Christ was the centerpiece and focal point of Paul’s ministry, but, sadly, for many of us the cross of Christ is yesterday’s news.  

What about you? Can you honestly say with Paul: “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”? Is the cross central in your life, or is your life defined by a host of causes that believer and non-believer alike can take up and fight for or against? You might even be convinced that you’re fighting in the name of Jesus, but if the crucifixion is anywhere but central in your fight, then you aren’t fighting in Jesus’ name. In fact, you’re most likely bringing reproach upon Christ and His cross by the very fact that you’re claiming Christ, while His death, burial, and resurrection make no difference in your pursuits.

Let me reiterate: I’m not saying the Gospel is necessarily irrelevant to many of these prominent issues; what I am saying is that I’m not hearing much Gospel. In fact, I’m hearing and seeing a lot of professing Christians acting as if they had never been touched by the amazing grace of God. From my perspective, which is limited at best, it seems as though we’ve become so consumed with the things of this world that we’ve grown indifferent to the cross and to our sin for which Jesus died. We’ve become so focused upon worldly concerns that we’re numb to the centrality of the cross in the Christian life.  

Consider your own life: Are you best known for your political persuasion, your position on masks, or your stance on vaccines or some other issue? Or are you best known for your whole-hearted devotion to Jesus Christ? If we are honest, I suspect that many of us would rewrite 1 Corinthians 2:2 to say: “I knew everything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

For this reason, it’s time to stop playing around. It’s time to stop being most passionate about things for which the cross of Christ makes no difference. Our positions on many of these issues are merely preferences, yet many of us are more zealous about these things than we are about the greatest act of love in all of history. 

So, if you’re still tracking with me, you might be asking: What should I do?  

Here are several helpful reminders for us all:

First of all, it’s time to put down our smartphones and devices and to stop being consumed with the news and social media.

Second, let us return to the Scriptures and swim in the oceans of God’s grace as revealed to us in His Word.

And lastly, let us love and pray for those with whom we disagree.  

At the end of the day, we have a lot more in common with one another than we often realize.

We are all, every single one of us, created in the image of God. Not one of us lacks this image. We are all alike in this regard. In addition to being created in God’s image, we are all sinners, rebels against the Holy God, in need of a Savior. And that Savior is Jesus Christ, who calls all men and all women to come to Him, without distinction. If you call upon the name of the Lord, you will be saved.  

Your position on vaccines will not save you, and if you convince someone of your position, that will not save them either. Neither will your position on masks, the threat of COVID-19, or whichever other prominent issue you want to include in there. At the end of the day there is only one Savior, Jesus Christ, who became like us in order to die for us so that we might have life in Him.  

So stop selling yourself short. You weren’t made for this world. You were made for eternity.  

And eternity is so much more than health care and politics. These things will one day pass away, but your soul will carry on. I pray that we can all say along with Paul: “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Paul knew what was at stake. He knew that while the cross of Christ might sound foolish to the worldly mind, the cross of Christ is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). 


[1] Thiselton, Anthony. 1 Corinthians (NIGTC)

One thought on “The Forgotten Cross: Meditations on 1 Corinthians 2:2

  1. Sean Petty

    Excellent advice Corey and very convicting. I am guilty as charged with this daily but am praying God helps me to focus on him. When I pray with the kids they ask for the same thing every night for themselves, that they will turn their focus to him. It’s funny that they see things better than adults do who think they are in the good fight but more than anything are trying to be right.

    Like

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