1 Corinthians 1:18 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.
I have read this verse many times. It’s application to me has always been about telling the difference between two groups of people: the unsaved and the saved. However, as I read this today, it struck me in a different way. It struck me in a more, well, grammatical way. Bear with me. The subject of this verse is not the people; it is the message of the cross. Well, technically “of the cross” is a prepositional phrase so the message would be the subject. Right now I am cringing at the potential of English instructors reading this and me being wrong, but I think I am mostly correct. Oh boy, I am quickly losing the point here.
The message. It is something and it leads to something. It is either foolishness or power. It was never intended to be an idea. It was never intended to be theology. It was never intended to be spiritualism. It was intended to be power – that is what should be produced from the message of the cross. Power. And it leads to something. If it is considered foolishness, it leads to death (perishing is a nice way of saying dying). It if is power, it leads to being saved. And not just a rescue. Think of this word saved like the word preservative. A preservative doesn’t just keep food from spoiling today, it is in an ongoing state of keeping the food from being spoiled.
So it’s either one thing or the other. Either the message of the cross is foolishness to you and you are perishing or it is power to you and you are being saved. There isn’t much middle ground. In fact, this is a theme throughout scripture that following Christ is pretty much an “all in” kind of decision. And when you make that decision, there should be a power of God accompanying it. It’s a hard pill to swallow really. So there are questions to be asked: Am I on the fence? Do I think some of what God expects is just foolish? Do I see the power of God present in my life? They are good questions to ask though because they will bring us to a place where Christ becomes real in us and the power of God will be ever present in our lives!