“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
We have in this verse two contrasting positions: those who perish and those who are saved. Both of these positions suggest movement in a particular direction. The living are either “perishing” or “being saved.” Salvation in particular is considered from at least three different points of view in the New Testament.
Sometimes it is spoken of as happening in the past, “according to his mercy he SAVED us” (Titus 3:5). This is justification.
Sometimes it is spoken of in the present, “Ye are saved” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The Greek participle in this scripture is in the present tense and denotes “being saved.” The is sanctification.
Sometimes it is spoken of in the future, “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Romans 13:11). This is glorification.
Each on of us is either perishing or being saved. Either we are being delivered from the disease of sin and self or we are becoming more sinful and selfish. What is the direction of your character? Is there progress in the Lord or regress into sin? Do you have an increased hunger for the things of God or are you feeding the appetites of your flesh?
What determines the direction you go? It is “the preaching of the cross” (1:18). This does not just mean preaching itself, although that is part of it. The word for “preaching” is the Greek word logos, the same word that we find in the first chapter of John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word (logos) was with God, and the Word (logos) was God… And the Word (logos) was made flesh…” (John 1:1,14). It is the WORD of the cross that determines your direction.
In the East, where the dessert meets a river-valley or oasis, the sand is in a continual state of drift from the wind. This is the cause for barrenness in such portions of the desert that join themselves to fertile land. Simply set down a large rock on the sand, and see what a difference its presence makes. After a few showers, to the leeward side of the stone some blades of grass will spring up; you have the beginnings of a garden!
The potential for this life is the product of the stone; but how? Simply by arresting the drift.
This life is full of wind; information overload, busy schedules, and winds of doctrine. All of these blow in my life and if I do not protect against them, they will cause a drift that will choke out any fruit that I may be producing. I need some immovable stones to arrest the drift.
My pastor and other spiritual leadership arrests the drift of misguided ambition and complacency.
My friends and family arrests the drift of burnout and loneliness.
The Word of God arrests the drift of false doctrine and the enemy’s lies.
Without these and other rocks in my life, the winds would blow and the sands would bury me in the cares of this world and the weakness of my flesh.
Thank God for arresting the drift!
What stones do you have in your life to arrest the drift? Most of them have to be put there intentionally.
I have recently discovered (through the suggestion of a friend) the writings of R. C. Campbell. The books are a compilation of his sermons. The following is taken from his sermon Faith Of Our Fathers in the book titled Keeping The Foundations (1946). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I have been thinking about these words today.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
“To the faith nothing can be added. In it is new light that will flash, hidden nuggets of golden riches which will be discovered, sweeter harmonies which will be enjoyed. But they are there already. Astronomy has discovered planets, bodies, stars, but astronomy did not add them to the constellations; it only discovered them. They were there before astronomy lifted its telescope. Music cannot add a new note to the scale. The octave is the final measure of the possible tones. Musicians will continue to arrange and combine them into sweeter melodies, but no ingenuity of theirs can enable them to reach beyond the octave of tones. So with the faith; we will find its deeper riches if we mine for them, discover new worlds of beauty if we but turn the telescope of faith upon them, enjoy sweeter music if we will but harmonize its tones. But these are there now. They are not new. They are as old as God.”
“It is not a new faith we need; we need to find our way back to the old faith.”