Skip to content

. . . And Pour Contempt on All My Pride

“God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 6:14)

” ”

The history of Israel that is recorded in the Old Testament is unlike the history of any other nation in that it does not glorify the nation. Rather it shows Israel as a nation favored and blessed by God, but also a nation that did not appreciate its blessings.

The Israelite people turned away from the Lord and served other gods. They did not listen to the prophets God sent to them. They brought on themselves the defeats and humiliations they suffered at the hands of their enemies. When they were victorious it was due completely to the help that God gave them. Even the heroes–men such as Abraham and David–are shown to be weak when they trusted in themselves.

Bible history is not flattering to Israel, but it is an honest history; it tells the truth.

The same is true of New Testament history. The apostles are not larger-than-life figures but men with weaknesses and sins. Out of fear Peter denied Jesus three times. James and John tried to exalt themselves above their fellow disciples. Before his conversion Paul persecuted the followers of Christ. When the apostles were strong and heroic, it was because the Holy Spirit strengthened them.

The story told by the passion and death of Christ is likewise one that is not flattering to mankind. Christ endured the death of the cross in order to take upon Himself the sin of mankind. Already in the prophecies of the crucifixion, Isaiah writes that the cause of the death of the Messiah would be the sin of the human race. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities . . . The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53:5,6).

Christ, Our Sinbearer

The Gospels testify clearly that Jesus was not put to death for anything that He had done, but that He gave His life as a ransom for many.

The apostles also taught that human sin was the cause of the crucifixion and death of Christ. Paul wrote that in the crucifixion God the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:21). Peter wrote that Christ “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24).

During Lent when we hear the passion history read and the cross preached, we hear a message that does nothing for our pride. It not only tells us that we are sinners, but shows us the greatness of our sins, for we see in the sacrifice of Christ the great price that He paid to redeem us from our sins. We see our Savior, the Sinbearer, suffering the very wrath of God, because He bore our sins. We see that without Jesus we are lost and condemned sinners who could by no means redeem ourselves.

The preaching of the cross is unflattering to human pride. So much so that the world rejects such preaching and treats it as foolishness. Because of our flesh we also find the preaching of the cross hard to hear. But it is the truth. We are lost and condemned by nature. All ideas and thoughts of human merit or worthiness before God are lies. We need to see ourselves as we are, as God sees us.

We can’t boast of ourselves–but that doesn’t mean that we can’t boast of anything. We can boast in the cross of Christ!

We can say with complete confidence that Jesus, God’s Son, suffered and died for us. We can say that all our sins have been washed away by His own precious blood. We can say that through faith in Christ we are righteous and acceptable to God. We can even say that we are God’s own children and heirs who have eternal life.

Of ourselves we have nothing to boast about. In the cross of Christ we have everything to boast about.

–Pastor John Klatt