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The World Has Been Crucified to Me

(inspired by and adapted from the sermon notes of Charles H. Spurgeon)

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
(Galatians 6:14)

The verses which precede this reveal that Paul vigorously rebuked those who went aside from the doctrine of the Cross. You can’t add to the gospel, and you can’t take away from it.

When we rebuke others, we must take care to go right ourselves; hence he says, “far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paul heats up in disgust when he thinks of the opponents of the cross. He no sooner touches the subject than he glows and burns. Yet he has his reasons, and states them clearly and forcibly in the latter words of the text. He describes three crucifixions:

1. Christ crucified

“…the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Paul mentions the atoning death of Jesus in the plainest and most obnoxious terms. The cross was shameful as the gallows tree. Yet with the clearest contrast as to the person enduring it, for to him he gives his full honor in the glorious title “our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In this he boasted so as to boast in nothing else, for he viewed it as…

  • …a display of the divine character (2 Corinthians 5:19).
  • … the manifestation of the love of the Savior (John 15:13).
  • …the putting away of sin by atonement (Hebrews 9:26).
  • …ensuring eternal life to all believers (John 3:16).

In each of these points of view, the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is a pillar of light, flaming with unutterable joy.

2. The world crucified

“…the world has been crucified to me…”

As the result of seeing all things in the light of the Cross, he saw the world to be like a guilty felon executed upon a cross.

For Paul, a cross-centered perspective on life caused him to think the following of the world and its pleasures:

  • Its character is now condemned (John 7:31).
  • Its teachings despised.
  • Its pleasures, honors, treasures rejected.
  • Its threats made nothing of.
  • Itself soon to pass away, its glory and its fashion fading.

3. The believer crucified

“…and I to the world.”

To the world, Paul was no better than a man crucified. If faithful, a Christian may expect to be treated as only fit to be put to a shameful death.

You might find…

  • …yourself first bullied, threatened, and ridiculed.
  • …your actions and motives misrepresented.
  • …yourself despised as a sort of madman, or of doubtful intellect.
  • …your teaching described as out of date.
  • …yourself an alien to society.

Our victory in the cross

As Andrew Murray once said:

Do not be satisfied with so many others only to know the cross in its power to atone. The glory of the cross is, that it was not only to Jesus the path to life, but that each moment it can become to us the power that destroys sin and death, and keeps us in the power of the eternal life. Learn from your Savior the holy art of using it for this. Faith in the power of the cross and its victory will day by day make dead the deeds of the body, the lusts of the flesh. This faith will teach you to count the cross, with its continual death to self, all your glory. Because you regard the cross not as one who is still on the way to crucifixion, with the prospect of a painful death, but as one to whom the crucifixion is past, who already lives in Christ, and now only bears the cross as the blessed instrument through which the body of sin is done away (Romans 6:6). The banner under which complete victory over sin and the world is to be won is the cross.