The Power of the Cross
What does the cross mean to believers & unbelievers?
The message about the cross doesn't make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, it is God's power at work. (1 Corinthians 1:18 CEV)
To them that perish - By obstinately rejecting the only name whereby they can be saved. But to us who are saved - Now saved from our sins, and in the way to everlasting salvation, it is the great instrument of the power of God.
The preaching of the cross. The gospel of a Crucified Savior.
To them that perish. Those who are unregenerate. Is foolishness. The Greek philosopher and the Jewish scribe scoffed at the thought of a Savior who had been crucified. They held that his crucifixion proved that he was not divine. Unto us who are saved. There are two sections of mankind--the unsaved and the saved. To the first, the cross is folly; to the second, the gospel of the Crucified One comes as the power of God. See Rom_1:16. To the unsaved, the cross is a pillar of cloud; to the saved, a pillar of light.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16 KJV)
I am proud of the good news! It is God's powerful way of saving all people who have faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. (Romans 1:16 CEV)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ - This text is best illustrated by Isa_28:16; Isa_49:23, quoted by the apostle, Rom_10:11 : For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed; i.e. they shall neither be confounded, nor disappointed of their hope. The Jews, by not believing on Jesus Christ, by not receiving him as the promised Messiah, but trusting in others, have been disappointed, ashamed, and confounded, from that time to the present day. Their expectation is cut off; and, while rejecting Christ, and expecting another Messiah, they have continued under the displeasure of God, and are ashamed of their confidence. On the other hand, those who have believed on Christ have, in and through him, all the blessings of which the prophets spoke; every promise of God being yea and amen through him. Paul, as a Jew, believed on Christ Jesus; and in believing he had life through his name; through him he enjoyed an abundance of grace; so that, being filled with that happiness which an indwelling Christ produces, he could cheerfully say, I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. And why? Because he felt it to be the power of God to the salvation of his believing soul. This appears to be the true sense of this passage, and this interpretation acquires additional strength from the consideration that St. Paul is here most evidently addressing himself to the Jews.
It is the power of God unto salvation - δυναμις γαρ θεου εστιν· The almighty power of God accompanies this preaching to the souls of them that believe; and the consequence is, they are saved; and what but the power of God can save a fallen, sinful soul?
To the Jew first - Not only the Jews have the first offer of this Gospel, but they have the greatest need of it; being so deeply fallen, and having sinned against such glorious privileges, they are much more culpable than the Gentiles, who never had the light of a Divine revelation.
And also to the Greek - Though the salvation of God has hitherto been apparently confined to the Jewish people, yet it shall be so no longer, for the Gospel of Christ is sent to the Gentiles as well as the Jews; God having put no difference between them; and Jesus Christ having tasted death for Every man.