But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me…
Outwardly we make much of the cross; we place it, and we rightly place it (for we are not ashamed of the symbol of our salvation), over the sacred table of our Lord, remembering the sacrifice of His death. We carve it, in polished marble or beautiful stone, for the gables of our churches or the graves which contain the blessed dead. We emboss it in wood or ivory on our prayer-books. We wear it, in gold, or silver, or jet, or bronze, on our breast. The Victoria Cross is our most prized decoration. The Geneva Cross protects our ambulances. The Church of England Temperance Society adopts the cross as its badge. A combination of three crosses makes up the Union Jack, our national standard, our prints are set in cross frames. All sorts of notices have the cross for their border. Very many, following the early Christians, use the sign of the cross, in the midst of the congregation. Lovely flowers and ripened corn are put together into this shape for the harvest ornamentation of the sanctuary; and pictures of our dying Lord, as He hung for us upon the tree of shame, are common things in our homes. Yet, after all, do we, as a nation, do we, as a Church, do we, as individual Christians, really glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?
I. IS FAITH IN AN UNSEEN SAVIOUR INFLUENCING THOROUGHLY, OR AT LEAST MORE AND MORE, YOUR DAILY LIFE AND CONVERSATION? The fact that Christ died for us — for you, for me — is just as true and certain for us as it was for St. Paul. But do we, as he did, make Christ the great reality of the spiritual world, and determine thankfully to live and die for Him?
II. DOES THE CROSS BECOME THE TRUE MEASURE FOR OUR SELF-CONGRATULATION? How could we plume ourselves on our cleverness, or our quick progress, or our skill in music, or our power of language, or the influence which we have gained by money, or by eloquence, or by social talents, if we did but recollect that the triumph of the Son of God was won by His emptying Himself of His glory and bending to the lowest place — the death of the slave and the malefactor, apparently smitten of God and afflicted by the hiding away of His face? Truly, the higher we are, the more we are to humble ourselves, in order to grow like unto Him.
III. IS THE CROSS ABASING US, specially in the place where God's honour dwelleth, and wherein the presence of our once crucified, now glorious Lord, does chiefly manifest itself?
IV. IS THE CROSS MY SECRET JOY? Does it really represent the attitude of my soul towards God? How deeply many of us must feel, that we want less of the Cross on the heart, and more of it in the heart! We want, not so much the display of the form, as the proof that we are not ashamed of the thing, when we are with the men and women of the world.
V. IS THE CROSS OUR CHIEF HELP IN TROUBLE — that whereon we can stay ourselves when all our earthly friends are taken away — because it invites us in our sorrow to "the fellowship of His sufferings"?
(Canon G. E. Jelf.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
WEB: But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.