I Will Glory in the Cross

Title: I Will Glory in the Cross

Bible Book: Galatians 6 : 14

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Cross; Salvation; Christ, Death of; Redemption; Calvary


I Will Glory in the Cross

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com

Galatians 6:14 ...

"14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

All people boast about something, because it is in our human nature to do so, but often our boasting exaggerates the matter being discussed. We are a like the man with a toothache who went to his dentist. "I have a huge cavity!" he said. The doctor, seeing only a moderate amount of decay, assured him, "It'll only be a small filling." But the patient complained, asking, "But why does it feel so large?" The dentist replied, "Just the natural tendency of the tongue to exaggerate, I guess."

We smile, but aren't many of us equally prone to enlarge things out of true proportion? This can be especially true when it comes to our goodness as compared to others.

Paul knew that the Galatian Christians had begun to boast in regard to their obedience to the Law and he warned them that this was dangerous. Paul went on to say that his own personal boasting was only in the cross of Jesus Christ - that is, Paul was bragging on Jesus and not on himself.

Paul was seeking to remind the Galatians, and through them to remind us, that our victory is not in our righteous deeds but in the Redeemer's death. He wanted them to remember that salvation does not rest in the Law given at Mt. Sinai, but rather that our salvation comes from the Life of Christ given at Mount Calvary. Our eternal reservation in heaven is not the result of our duty but the result of His death - and His resurrection.

What did Paul mean when he said that he would glory in, or boast in, the Cross? We know the cross was a device used by the Roman authorities for punishing criminals and enemies. It was a horrible way to die and was commonly used by the Romans as a way to intimidate people and keep them in their place. We can be sure that Paul is certainly not implying by his statement that he was boasting in the object of the cross, nor is he saying that he was glorying in the manner in which the Romans put people to death. What then was Paul saying? Paul was speaking of the atoning work Christ did on the Cross, and in that he was determined to boast as long as he had life and breath.

Yes, Paul gloried in and boasted about the work that Jesus completed through His sacrificial death on the cross. Paul boasted about how the work of Christ on the cross had changed his life and made him a new creature. Paul said that through the cross the world was crucified to him and he was crucified to the world.

In biblical times a person placed on a cross for crucifixion was said to be accursed. When Paul stated that the he was crucified to the world and the world to him, he was stating that he was accursed from the world's point of view, and the world was accursed to him from the divine point of view. It was not as though Paul hated the people of the world, to the contrary, Paul loved people and sought to win them to faith in Christ at any cost. He was saying that the world's system of evil and corruption was crucified to him. He was saying that the world's prejudice, hatred, greed and system of religion through human achievement was accursed to him. Clearly Paul was reflecting on the fact that the burden of the world and its system had been lifted from him at the cross of Christ.

In Eugene, Oregon, a sand and gravel company erected a large cross in a public park many years ago. For a long time no one said anything negative about it but then as the times became more anti-Christian, a group of citizens protested and tried to have the cross removed. A judge heard the case and ruled that the cross could stay. Why? The judge said that the cross was nothing more than a symbol and had no religious value.

It is sad, but true, that many people view the cross as being without significance. But to us who believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus the Cross it is much more than merely a modern symbol. To us the cross is an object that points backward to a hill where our Lord poured out His life's blood for our redemption. To us who believe, the cross reminds us of the power and love of God to save souls and change lives. The cross reminds us that the Lord took our burdens on Himself that day at Calvary, and he lifted those burdens from us. Indeed, we sing:

"Burdens are lifted at Calvary,

Calvary, Calvary;

Burdens are lifted at Calvary,

Jesus completely saves." (John M. Moore, 1952)

Let us note today three burdens lifted at Calvary and how they can cause every believer to glory in and boast in the Cross of Christ.

I. The Burden of a Wicked Life was Lifted at the Cross

A. Power of Wickedness

Acts 3:25-26 states ...

"25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

Isaiah 64:6, reads ...

"But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like [a]filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away." (NKJV)

Let us first acknowledge that we are wicked. A woman came forward in a downtown church one Sunday to join the fellowship. The preacher asked if she had ever asked Christ into her heart. The woman answered that she had not done so. The preacher asked if she would then and there pray with him to receive Christ. She agreed that she was ready to make that commitment. So the pastor began to pray, telling her to repeat the words. He prayed like this: "Dear God, I am a wicked sinner." The woman hesitated. The preacher asked if something was wrong. She replied, "Sir, I may have been a little naughty in my life and perhaps not perfect, but I am not a wicked sinner." The preacher replied, "Dear lady, either you are a wicked sinner coming to Christ to be saved, or you are a wicked sinner and think too much of yourself to accept him. You will leave this altar saved, if you can acknowledge your condition and trust Him, or you will go back to your seat a wicked sinner thinking too much of yourself but actually on your way to hell."

She stood there for a moment, then she bowed her head and with tears streaming down her face she prayed, "Dear God, I am a wicked sinner." She went on to ask Jesus into her heart and she was gloriously saved.

If we are not sinners, no cross was necessary. If we are sinners, only the Christ of the cross can save us. I assure you, we have all sinned and all of us come short of the glory of God.

B. Purging of Wickedness

Romans 4:5 states ...

"5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness ..."

Titus 2:11-14 reads ...

"11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."

It is a sin to let anything entice your heart from the redeeming work of Christ. Even in the Old Testament, Job knew that he had to put the Lord first. Job 31:24-28 reads ...

“If I have made gold my hope,
Or said to fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’;
25 If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,
And because my hand had gained much;
26 If I have observed the sun when it shines,
Or the moon moving in brightness,
27 So that my heart has been secretly enticed,
And my mouth has kissed my hand;
28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment,
For I would have denied God who is above."

If we are to boast, it must be in the Lord. Jeremiah wrote, in 9:23-24 ...

23 Thus says the Lord:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.

R.G. Lee, the late, great, Southern Baptist pastor, visited the Holy Land on one occasion and asked a guide to take him to the top of Gordon's Calvary, where it is believed that Jesus died for our sins. The guide said it could not be done, but Dr. Lee insisted and finally the guard agreed. Dr. Lee went up to the top of the hill. Standing there the great preacher began to weep with emotion and feeling. The guide asked, "Sir, have you been here before?" Dr. Lee answered, "Oh, yes, I have been here; I was here 2,000 years ago."

Dr. Lee was saying that his own sins had helped crucify the Lord. Lee was present at Calvary because his sins were laid on Christ long before R.G. Lee was born. How true that is. It was our wickedness that caused His death.

When you and I come to Christ in confession and faith, our sins are removed from us – we are purged of our wickedness. Jesus became sin for us at Calvary. No wonder Paul boasted in the cross and so should each of us.

Note also ...

II. The Burden of a Worried Life was Lifted at the Cross

Romans 8:31-39 reads ...

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

A. Don't Worry About your Past

Nothing in your past can condemn you once you are in Christ. The cross takes care of our past! There are those in God’s service who feel they have no right to be blessed or used in His service. They feel that way because of past deeds. You do have a right to worship and serve Him because the cross of Jesus gives you that right.

John 1:12-13 states ...

12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:

‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
The King of Israel!”

You have a right to praise Him and serve Him, if indeed He is your Lord and Savior. Your rights come from your new birth - the new brith you experienced when you received Christ into your life. You are a new creature. Grace abounds to you and in you.

B. Don't Worry About your Present

There is nothing present that can hinder or rob you of eternal life once you have come to the cross of Christ in repentance and faith. Whatever you are facing, Jesus is the answer. He loved you enough to die for you, will He withhold any good thing from you? You may be called upon to bear a cross in your life for Him, but He bore the cross that matters most. He died for you so that you might live. Nothing can take from you what He has given you.

I think now of that poor criminal on the cross who turned to Jesus as begged, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus said, "Today you shall be with me in paradise." How precious is that moment - the very moment that the thief was physically dying for his crimes, his faith granted him spiritual salvation. That is what Jesus went to the cross to do for all who will trust Him.

C. Don't Worry About your Prospects

Someone has wisely said that a fly was as safe in the Ark as an elephant. It was not the size of the elephant that made him safe, it was the security of the Ark. You and I are not safe due to the size of our works or gifts; we are safe due to the Ark of Safety which Christ made possible at the cross.

We read in I John 4:10 states ...

"10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Then we read in 2 Corinthians 4:15-18 ...

15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Again, in 1 John 3:1 we read ...

"3 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him."

You see, we are blessed through the work of Jesus on the cross - the work He did in our behalf was due to His love for us and not our love for Him. We only came to repent of our sin and love Him once we received Him by faith. Every part of salvation is due to God's love for sinners and He showed that fully and completely at the cross.

Then, lastly consider ...

III. The Burden of a Wasted Life was Lifted at the Cross

I told Jayne that I saw a sermon title the other day that looked interesting. It was titled, "Why I know that Elvis is alive and OJ Simpson will get a fair trial." She wanted to know what kind of preacher would deliver a sermon like that. I told her the sermon title was from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers. She looked shocked. Then I told her what I thought the sermon was about, even though I have never heard it. Naturally this is conjecture on my part, but it is probably right. Adrian probably preached on the fact that no one really dies. We will live forever! Elvis is not dead. He is either in heaven or hell. And O.J. will get a fair trial one day before a wiser and truer judge than any earthly judge or jury. Friend, we must all one day appear before God. Believe me when I tell you that it is a wasted life that is lived without benefit of salvation through Christ.

A. Your Work is a Waste without Christ

Look at Ecclesiastes 2:17-18 ...

"17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me."

All human work is but a passing fancy. That does not mean we should not work. In fact, for the person who is saved, work is enjoyable. Remember that God told Adam to keep the Garden of Eden and tend it, and that was even before sin entered the world. Work was not the curse placed on Adam, but it was the meaningless of human work and the sweat and briars that got in the way of human enjoyment of work - that was a curse upon mankind. A person who has accepted Christ has the joy of work restored. The New Testament teaches that we should do all our work as unto the Lord. We should do what our hand finds to do with all our heart. We should do our best at our work, whether we are cleaning floors or building skyscrapers. But, if we are living without Christ, all of our work is in vain. If we know Christ, we know the Scripture is correct which states, "Our labor is not in vain, in the Lord." Amen!

A man builds sandcastles every summer on a busy beach just before the tide comes in. People gather and question why he would work on such elaborate pieces of art for hours, just to have them washed away by the tide. He then uses the occasion to witness to the passing nature of our world. He points out that everyone who works in this world and leaves God out, is building sandcastles that will be washed away by the tide of time and death. How right that man is and what a grand witness he gives.

B. Your Wealth is a Waste without Christ

In Psalm 39:5-7 states ...

Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah
Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches,
And does not know who will gather them.

“And now, Lord, what do I wait for?

My hope is in You.

Busy living without Christ, is living in vain. Paul knew that earthly possessions could not save his soul, nor give lasting meaning to his life. Paul gloried in the cross, not in some earthly bank account or treasure chest. Jesus said, "Lay up treasure in heaven." That is what one does when he bows at the cross, comes to know the Savior, and serves Him faithfully.

C. Your Worship is a Waste without Christ

Paul was pointing out to the Galatian Church that a person who comes to God in his own righteousness is doomed to defeat. All worship and service for the Lord is a waste outside the saving work of Christ on the cross.

We remember Ephesians 2:8-9 where Paul writes ...

"For by grace are you saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast."

The word boast here is the same as that in Galatians 6:14. This provides the proper context for understanding what Paul meant.


A man heard a sermon on the subject of the cross one Sunday and that night he dreamed he was there at the cross. He saw Jesus bleeding and he watched as a Roman soldier drew back a cat-o- nine-tails and came down upon the back of the Lord. He saw Jesus quiver in pain. He saw the blood steam from the wound caused by the blow. In the dream, the man decided he had to do something. As the soldier drew back the whip to strike Jesus again, the dreamer grabbed the soldier's arm to stop him. Then, the soldier turned and looked the dreamer in the eye. The dreaming man suddenly realized that he was looking at himself! It was he, himself, who was beating the Lord with the whip. He woke from his dream with a new appreciation of how true it is that our sins crucified the Lord of glory.

Oh, yes, I will glory in the cross. At the cross, my burdens were rolled away. How about you? Have you been to Calvary for the cleansing power, are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? You can come to Him now, for Jesus completely saves!

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