And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.
What is the offense of the cross? The Scripture says in I Corinthians 1:18 & 23, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.—but we preach Christ crucified,--to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness," The cross is offensive to religious people and foolishness to heathens.
At one time to Paul (then Saul), the preaching of the cross was very offensive to him, and he wasn't persecuted then--he was the one persecuting the Lord's people. When we have a works mentality, the true message of the cross becomes offensive to us. Just as it was at one time to Saul, it can be the same in the church today.
I have seen this within my own family members. Don't get me wrong, they are Christians, Born Again Christians.... But by the church taught a form of holiness that must be maintained before God will answer our prayers and accept a person. It is insinuated that if a person is not baptized with water... you are yet lost and do not have salvation... yet when confronted, they might say... "well no that isn't true"--Some know better, and won't give voice to such things, but in every other way they still enforce it as true.
Recently, we had just finished watching a series of teachings entitled "Not A Fan" at Pastor Allen's home. What stood out above everything else is when they spoke of how we cheapen Christ by our actions. He (the pastor in the movie, which I don't recall his name) compared it to trying to get someone to marry his daughter... as if she wasn't worth marrying. The church is guilty of this.
We think God needs help, and so push people to live a holy life style... flooding them with do's and don'ts... and so on. In stead, if we are seeking God--God will grow our church. If we are seeking God, teaching His word to make disciples--Holiness will be the fruit that comes forth. But some how, we are fearful God is not able to be Yehovah-Hoseenu, the Lord our Maker. The Lord our Maker who is able to finish the Salvation in us that He has started. And the cross then, without us knowing it, has slowly become offensive to us. We are angered when someone teaches the Cross alone. We fall in the trap. We know those things happened in Paul's time, but can not see it happening in our day, to us. We don't show faith in God, that He is able to bring about change in the lives of others. We cannot force Jesus on others.
Father, may be always keep our heart wide open to believe fully and readily willing to accept Your truth at all times. Holy Spirit give us discernment and keep our path well lit that we may always follow closely to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen