Maybe you’ve heard this criticism before. Maybe someone has aimed it at you. The accusation underlying this statement is that the Christian faith is for the weak-minded, the weak-willed, or the ill-informed. It is for those who aren’t strong enough to navigate the treacherous waters of life on their own. They are weak. They need help. They need someone to lean on.
In our culture, to admit you are weak and in need, is perhaps one of the most awfully embarrassing admissions to make. Ours is a culture that values strength and independence. We recount stories of people who through their own will-power overcame great odds to achieve success. Disney movies teach us that if we just believe in ourselves enough we can do anything. In a cultural climate like this, the real sin is not pride, but weakness.
So the gospel of a crucified Saviour dying for weak sinners is one our world considers ‘foolish.’ Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God.” The word ‘folly’ means ‘ridiculous, stupid or moronic.’ This is precisely what the world thinks of the cross.
You see, the cross declares to us that we are sinful and weak. That we need saving. That we can’t save ourselves. And to save us is precisely why Jesus came (John 3:17). The “word of the cross” is not good advice for those who are strong and competent. It is good news for the weak and helpless. Like me. It is good news for people drowning in their own sin. And it is good news because Jesus hasn’t just thrown us a life jacket and said swim. He has hauled us out of the water.
So, to those who are ‘being saved’, the cross is not foolish, it is ‘the power of God’ (1 Cor. 1:18). The cross is not insulting, it is inestimably precious. As John Bruce says, “If you think you're independently righteous, intelligent, wise, competent or powerful, you will not be attracted to Jesus. Only the spiritually bankrupt rejoice in his goodness (Matthew 5:3), only the guilty delight in his pardoning grace (Luke 7:47), only the burdened find relief in his steadfast strength (Matthew 11:28-30).”
So, is Christianity a crutch? Most definitely it is! We “lean not on our own understanding” (Pro. 3:5-6), we lean not on our own strength or righteousness. We lean on the cross of Christ. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)
Just quickly, we have had a really encouraging term at Young Adults! We have experienced significant numerical growth and our Growth Groups have really enjoyed the ‘God’s Mission, Our Mission’ and ‘Set Free’ studies! This Monday coming we will be exploring the question “Can I Trust the Bible?” If you are in Year 12+ please join us - Monday 7:30PM at BPCC. We’d love to see you there!
Grace and peace,