Galatians 6:14
But as for me, may I never boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Christ Crucified the Preacher's ThemeJ. A. James.Galatians 6:14
Christ the Means of Self-CrucifixionD. Clarkson.Galatians 6:14
False Grounds of BoastingJohn Bulmer, B. D. , Mus. Bac.Galatians 6:14
Glorying in the CrossRichard Watson.Galatians 6:14
Glorying in the CrossJ. Philip.Galatians 6:14
Glorying in the CrossA. F. Ewing., J. C. Galloway, M. A.Galatians 6:14
Meanness of Self-BoastingH. W. Beecher.Galatians 6:14
Mistaken Concealment of the CrossH. Melvill, B. D.Galatians 6:14
Moral CrucifixionOwen.Galatians 6:14
No Christianity Without the CrossGalatians 6:14
Our CrossLuther.Galatians 6:14
Reasons for Glorying in the CrossAlbert Barnes.Galatians 6:14
Salvation At the CrossT. Guthrie, D. D.Galatians 6:14
Self-Renouncement Through the CrossJohn Irwin, M. A.Galatians 6:14
The CrossW. Jackson.Galatians 6:14
The Cross a Glorious SpectacleBishop Atterbury.Galatians 6:14
The Cross a Reality in Our FaithCanon G. E. Jelf.Galatians 6:14
The Cross of ChristH. Melvill, B. D.Galatians 6:14
The Cross of ChristD. Thomas, D. D.Galatians 6:14
The Cross of ChristW.F. Adeney Galatians 6:14
The Cross of Christ the Christian's GloryRobert Bond.Galatians 6:14
The Cross of Jesus ChristJ. H. M. D'Aubigne, D. D.Galatians 6:14
The Cross Our Only BoastR. Newton.Galatians 6:14
The Cross Reveals God's HeartAlex. H. Craufurd, M. A.Galatians 6:14
The Cross the Foundation of the BibleBishop Ryle.Galatians 6:14
The Double SacrificeW. B. Pope, D. D.Galatians 6:14
The Glories of the CrossBishop Beveridge.Galatians 6:14
The Glory of the CrossEmilius Bayley, B. D.Galatians 6:14
The Glory of the CrossAndrew Murray.Galatians 6:14
The Glory of the CrossW. H. Wardwell.Galatians 6:14
The Glory of the CrossJ. H. BeibitzGalatians 6:14
The Methods of Glorying in the Cross of ChristBishop Atterbury.Galatians 6:14
The Surety's CrossH. Bonar, D. D.Galatians 6:14
Three CrucifixionsC. H. Spurgeon.Galatians 6:14
Glorying in the CrossR.M. Edgar Galatians 6:11-18
Parting WordsR. Finlayson Galatians 6:11-18


1. St. Paul can glory in nothing else. Yet he had whereof to glory. His birth, his education, and his religious devotions had been sources of pride to him. His Christian attainments, his apostolic authority, his missionary triumphs, and his brave endurance of persecutions, might be taken as reasons for self-glorification. But he rejects the whole. Plainly no Christian inferior to St. Paul can have anything in himself to be proud of.

2. The glorying only begins in looking away from self to Christ. Men talk of glorying in their crosses. But St. Paul boasted, not in his own cross, but only in the cross of Christ. He made nothing of his sufferings for Christ; all his interest was absorbed in Christ's sufferings for him. All the brightness of Christian experience centres in Christ.

3. The grand source of glorying is the cross of Christ. The cross was the symbol of shame; it has become the token of what we most reverently adore. So complete is the transformation of ideas that we can with difficulty understand the paradox as it would strike the contemporaries of St. Paul when he spoke of glorying in the cross. It is as though we spoke of priding ourselves on the gallows. This cross, this instrument of shameful death has become the emblem of Christianity. Gleaming in gold on the spires and domes of our cathedrals, it typifies the most vital truth of Christianity. The glory of the cross is not a merely mystical sentiment. It springs from evident facts:

(1) the fidelity of Christ as the good Shepherd, who would not forsake the flock and flee before the wolf;

(2) the patience, gentleness, and forgiving spirit of Christ on the cross; but

(3) chiefly the love of Christ in suffering shame and anguish and death for us. There are some who would dispense with the doctrine of the cross; but a crossless Christianity will be a mutilated, impotent gospel, robbed of all efficacy, shorn of all glory.

II. THE CROSS AS AN INSTRUMENT OF DEATH. The cross does not change its nature by winning its glory. Still, it is a cross - tool of pain and death. It is no less than this to the Christian as it was no less to Christ. For Christianity is not a calm acceptance of what Christ has done in our stead; it is union with Christ, first in his death and then in his victory.

1. The cross means the death of the world to us. Before that glory of Divine love in human passion all lesser lights fade and perish. As we look upon the cross the world loses its hold upon us. In the vision of truth and purity and love even to death, the threats of the world's hurts lose their terror and the fascinations of its pleasures their charm.

2. The cross means our death to the world. Joined with Christ by faith, we have the old self killed out of us. Hitherto the power of the lower world has dragged us down to sin and trouble. But in proportion as we are united to the Crucified we cease to have the feelings and interests which chain us to the earthly. St. Paul describes a magnificent ideal. No man on earth has fully realized it. It must be the aim of the Christian more and more to be one with Christ, that the cross may pass more deeply into his soul till all else melts and fades out of experience. These two aspects of the cross - its death-power in us, its glory in Christ - are directly related. For it is only after it has been the instrument of death to us that we can rise in the new life and see it as the one absorbing object of glory. - W.F.A.

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.
The Cross of Christ is the key to St. Paul's life; and that life is itself the best human exponent of the Cross of Christ. He saw no ground for boasting, or rejoicing, or living, save in that. By "the Cross" is to be understood the atoning death of which it was the instrumental cause. It stands for "Christ crucified."


1. It exhibits in a special manner the justice of God.

2. It exhibits in a special manner the love of God.

3. It reveals in perfect harmony the justice and the love of God.The pardon which God has provided for sinners is a propitiated pardon — a pardon for which a price has been paid, even the blood of the Son of God. Justice is thus upheld in its integrity: mercy is shielded from the charge of conniving at unrighteousness (Romans 3:21-26).


1. It secures pardon and reconciliation for the sinner. Nothing to be done, but to believe the overture of mercy, and become reconciled to God. Man has nothing to bring of his own, and nothing is asked for. The Cross provides a present salvation for all who believe in the crucified Son of God.

2. It supplies the believer with a two-fold power;

(1)the power of a new motive, viz., love;

(2)the power of a new life — the life of the spirit.Henceforth the love of Christ constrains him; the law of the Spirit of life has made him free from the law of sin and death, and the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in him who walks not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

III. CONCLUDING INFERENCES. The Cross of Christ may further be viewed —

1. As supplying the only safe rule for faith and practice.

2. As demanding courage in confession.

3. As securing grace for action.

(Emilius Bayley, B. D.)


1. To glory in an object implies —

(1)That we have a sincere regard, a high esteem, and a real affection for it.

(2)That we are deeply interested in it.

(3)That the object affords us joy and consolation.

2. The objects in which the apostle would not glory.

(1)Worldly wisdom.

(2)Worldly riches.

(3)Worldly honours.

(4)Self righteousness.

(5)Eminency of gifts.

(6)His privileges as a Jew.

(7)His usefulness as a minister of the gospel.



1. Because it gives a full and copious description of the Redeemer's person.

2. Because it gives an ample relation of the blessings procured for man, by the life and death of Jesus Christ. Reconciliation with God; pardon, holiness, joy, victory over the world, eternal life.

3. Because it gives a glorious display of the Divine perfections. Divine love; infinite mercy; resistless power; incomprehensible wisdom; inflexible justice; spotless purity.

4. Because it gives a grand manifestation of the Divine Persons in the Godhead.

5. Because it gives a brilliant exhibition of the Redeemer's conquest.

6. Because it procured the glories of heaven.

(Robert Bond.)

Strong language — the result of strong emotion. Used by St. Paul on hearing that the Galatians, among whom he had planted the standard of the Cross, were now trying to conceal its odium if not to abandon it altogether.


1. The sacrificial, meritorious, victorious "Cross."

2. "Glorying." Not mere acquaintance, approbation, or cordial attachment; something higher than all this — exultation, boasting, rejoicing. "Call me madman," he says, "despise me, mock me, because I make my boast in the Crucified! seize me by the hand of violence, drag me to your dungeons, load me with chains, lead me to the stake: still I will rejoice. Among friends or foes, in liberty and in bonds, in life and in death, I will glory still in the Cross of Christ."

3. "Only" in the Cross will he glory. Not in his lineal descent, or his affinity to the Jewish Church; not in his literary attainments or learning: these are insufficient for the hope and salvation of guilty man.

(1)In nothing inconsistent with the Cross.

(2)All glorying consistent with the Cross must be made subservient to it.When he glories in infirmities, tribulations, etc., it is because Christ is glorified in and by them. So also he would glory in the Advent of Christ, when He came to destroy the works of the devil; in the life of Christ, so immaculate, benevolent, useful; in the teaching of Christ, so wise, important, Divine; in the splendour of the miracles of Christ; in the triumphant resurrection of Christ; in the ascension of Christ, when He took human nature with Him into heaven; but only in so far as these looked forward or back to the sacrificial death of Christ, without which they would all have been in vain.


1. The Cross is the grand consummation of all the preceding dispensations of God to man.

2. The splendid scene of a decisive victory over the Lord's enemies and ours.

3. The meritorious, procuring cause of every blessing to Adam's fallen race.

4. The most powerful and only effectual incentive to all moral goodness.

(1)The pattern of moral excellence there exhibited.

(2)We must have grace to imitate.

(R. Newton.)

Behold our Divine High Priest, offering up the great sacrifice required for the redemption of the souls of men; the very Son of God pouring forth His own blood upon the altar, an atonement for the sins of the whole world. Behold this, and you will acknowledge that though there was never any spectacle so sad, yet never was there any so glorious, so worthy of contemplation by men and angels. And consider to what mighty results that dark hour of His humiliation and anguish is giving birth; and despise the vain pomp of the world in comparison of the splendour of His sufferings. For there, as He hangs on the accursed tree, is the great Captain of our salvation fighting our battles and vanquishing our enemies; there is He, for us, bruising the head of Satan, taking the sting from death, robbing the grave of victory, disarming hell of its terrors. Surely the vain glories of earth, when in contrast with those real triumphs of the Saviour's Cross, must lose their attraction in the view of every Christian; can we look on Him whom we have pierced and see Him stretched on His Cross, for us enduring the pain, despising the shame of it, and yet regard with satisfaction that scene of vanity and sin which occasioned Him thus to suffer? Can we love the world and the things that are in the world, while our view is fixed on Him who gave Himself expressly that He might deliver us from this present evil world; that He might see us free from the enchantment, the enslavement, of its false allurements and hollow delights?

(Bishop Atterbury.)

The real glory of the Cross, for a deep soul like that of Paul, consists in this — that it is the best revelation of the heart of God. It often seems much easier to get at the mind of God than at His heart. His mind is "writ large" for most of us in the nightly majesty and order of the starry heavens; but for His heart we search vainly in the bewildering labyrinths of external nature. As the intellect spells out each single word that tells it of the thoughts of God, the heart remains too often unsatisfied, and cries aloud with bewildered Job, "Oh that I knew where I might find Him!" Like some fainting and forlorn wanderer in a parched and arid desert, the heart still yearns for "the fountain of living waters," still cries aloud, "I thirst, I thirst." Unable to recognize its true God, its real Father, in those hard, unpitying laws which science reveals, the heart of man cries despairingly, like its great Lord on Calvary, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" Now the teaching of Christ's life and death is that God has a heart as well as a mind; that, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, love is the source and root of all things — stronger than hate, mightier than sin, more enduring than hell. Christianity dares to go down into the lowest hell of degradation, and preach the everlasting gospel to souls fast bound in the misery and iron of inveterate evil. In order to meet our very sorest needs, our religion reveals a Being who, needing nothing Himself, finds His deepest happiness in perpetually giving. Christianity boldly declares the naturalness of self-sacrifice in God; for this, surely, is the meaning of the declaration that "God is love." And thus entrenched for ever in the very heart of God, the Christian spirit is not dismayed either at the stony-hearted apathy of nature or the manifold activity of the powers of evil. Even as the Christian pilgrim sinks down fainting in. some cheerless wilderness, he is for ever heard exclaiming with one of old, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

(Alex. H. Craufurd, M. A.)

I. THE NATURE OF HIS GLORYING. And the word itself is for most of us, at first thought, of evil odour and association. For where men and women have been given to boast and glory, it has ordinarily been assumed to be the outworking of personal pride or the dictate of personal vanity, a pretension to greatness or an aping of superiority that most men and moralists have resented as offensive and loved to discipline with contempt and humiliation. Now, I do not deny that there is a kind (I will not say a degree) of that self-appreciation, right and proper, not to be repressed in ourselves or censured in our neighbours; but in practice about one of the best safeguards in young or old, for nobility and purity of character. A man should always have so high an opinion of his own honour that he would not stoop to dishonour; and so good an estimate of his own worth that he will scorn to degrade himself by a mean or vulgar or discreditable action. But that opinion we all have a right to form of ourselves, simply as men, apart from any circumstances peculiar to us personally. Now, that is what we call the self-conscious type of glorying, which you know is very common, and is not by any means an insignificant force and factor in society, and among the ordinary working motives of men. And there are at least two natural checks to it which we must mention, though only incidentally and on our path to higher truths. First, consider the inconceivable littleness of the very best that you or I can be or do, compared with the immensities around us, in which we are less than a speck upon the mountain. "What impression do I make in Europe?" inquired a petty chief in the centre of Africa, from a daring traveller who visited his hut. Surrounded by barbaric honours, he little thought that two hundred miles away they had never heard his name. But, again, remember that what distinguishing qualities may be yours admit of two interpretations. Either you may regard them as lifting you up to superior honour, in which case of course you glory; or you may think of them as burdening you with unusual responsibility, which aspect of the matter can surely only work humility. For if God Almighty has given you peculiar endowments of mind or property, or appointed you a place where in some measure you will be the light and leader of men, ah! my friend, let others think it a glorious thing to be the pilot of a vessel amid the cruel rocks and breakers, where the safety of five hundred lives may depend upon your skill; or the captain of an army, where the destruction of tens of thousands may result from one trivial blunder. But for you, if in society you are in any sense a pilot or a captain, to strut in conscious self-appreciation, is to show yourself unworthy of the trust, incapable of realizing the responsibility, and self-condemned of moral inferiority before the eye of men. God forbid that in aught pertaining to myself I should glory. However, I find there is a saving clause in our text — "Save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" — which redeems the matter of glorying from unqualified condemnation. Glorying, when selfish or in the least tainted with selfishness, is contemptible; when it is unselfish, it may simply be sublime. To take a simple example. Have you never known some leal-hearted old nurse, for instance, who in the days of her infancy attended some little boy for pay, and gave him besides a true affection that could not be rewarded by the gold she got then or ever for her services. He grew up in her hands, and passed out to a brilliant career at school, in college, and in the world. Those old affectionate eyes followed his bright course day by day. He was no child of hers. He was never likely to lift her from her lowly station. She had no claim or hope to share his renown. But every hour his name was on her lips; every paper was searched with eager hope to find some mention of his praise; and when it comes on to the hour of her sickness and pain and death (I am not imagining a story), the message from the far-away place of his fame will strengthen her heart for the last struggle, and the thought that he will come to follow her hearse forecasts a brightness on her grave. The old creature unselfishly glories in him who was her charge, and that boasting is not despicable, but humanly beautiful and even grand. So, who does not know that "the poor swearing soldier" may come so to glory in his country's flag, and his regiment's honour, and his captain's renown, that he will step forward to be shot down into the ditch, that unpraised and unnoticed there his body may support the feet of gallant comrades on their way to victory. His glorying is unselfish, and for that reason not despicable, but sublime. And I am deeply convinced, brethren, that no life of yours or mine can ever be so fine and potent as it is capable of becoming, so long as it contents itself by merely restraining this Galatian vanity, and does not go on to replace it by apostolic enthusiasm. In other words, to make the best of our lives, they must be utterly consecrated to some cause outside themselves.

II. We pass on to consider THE BASIS OR SUBJECT OF THE APOSTLE'S GLORYING. "I glory in nothing but a cross." But this paradox, though at the time a" stumbling-block" and "foolishness," is by no means a permanent difficulty of the gospel. For often and often throughout the course of history you find things that visibly were weak and contemptible transfigured by splendid principles behind them into a glory that has burned their image on the minds of men for ever. A simple example will serve. One of the notable traditions of the world is that of the gallant burgher of Flensburg, who, on his way to have his battle-wounds dressed, paused, with Sidney's very exclamation, "Thy need is greater than mine," to empty the contents of his own flask into the lips of a dying enemy. But perhaps you have heard how, when his noble offer of help was replied to only by a desperate wound from the hand of him whom he was denying himself to befriend, he still persisted in his mercy; and just muttering, "Rascal, I would have given you the whole bottle, but now you shall only have the half," drained off a part himself, and with the rest still eased the thirst of his unworthy foe. The wooden bottle, pierced with an arrow, which his king, on making him a noble, gave him as his armorial bearings, was itself of no great concern. But behind that trifle, you see, there lay a deed and a principle which have lifted it among the noblest emblems of chivalry, and made it a thing in which the hero's sons might "glory," while a whisper of his deed lingered in tradition or a tinge of his blood was in the veins of men. But what are those transfiguring principles behind the symbol? Of these two principles, love and sacrifice, the Cross is the external token, and from them, for the apostle and all men, it derived its meaning and its glory.

1. Love.

2. Sacrifice.

III. But now, IN WHAT SENSE WAS THE WORLD CRUCIFIED TO THE APOSTLE, AND HE TO THE WORLD, BY DEVOTION TO THE CROSS OF THE SAVIOUR? What is the meaning of this language? Well, I fancy we have all seen, in common life, something very like it; and borrowing an illustration, it may be possible to paint the truth in other colours than its own. Perhaps you have known some young neighbour of yours very fond of singing, very fond of reading, very fond of drawing and sketching, and passionately fond of society. She is now only a few years older, nothing more. But how comes it that the only songs she cares for now are simple lullabies; and all the pictures she makes are little rapid ones, to be crushed the next hour by baby fingers; and tales of half a page are her only literature? Besides, she does does not now much care for society. There is a transformation, and by that infant life given in charge to her the world that once was hers is become dead to her and she dead to the world. Is not this something akin to the great apostle's transformation? I repeat that the problem of the Christian life for you and me is likely somewhat different to what it was for this first great missionary. Him the Cross of Christ severed off entirely from the world's pleasures and business. You and me it sends back with purified motives to the world's pleasures and business. The question is, In what way should I be dead to the world, and the world dead to me? One often wonders why it is that men and women, capable of such high and varied enjoyments and with things so beautiful and good around them, are yet able on the whole to enjoy life so little, and in grasping natural good, find it become ashes in their hands; and the glory of what they coveted, when they have got it, becomes darkness to their eyes. I do not believe there are half the men of your acquaintance who have tried hard to make the most of the world, and have succeeded splendidly, who, if asked in private conference seriously, will not answer that substantial happiness rarely advanced with upward movement; and that their outward triumphs have very largely been inner disappointment. What is the meaning of that old lament on the folly of the sons of men? Is it God's way of commentary on what apparently is the sentiment of our text, namely, that every man's good consists in dying to the ordinary affairs of time? I was just thinking over these commonplace matters last night, brethren, when, looking out of my own window, I saw a dark crescent creeping over the surface of our lovely full moon; on and on it spread, till it blotted out her whole mild light, leaving her a big ashy ball hanging out from the sky, and the earth in comparative darkness. The fault of last night's eclipse is not altogether to be charged upon the beautiful moon. It was our own earth that swung itself in between her and the sun, preventing the solar rays from getting at our attendant, and then, of course, she had a natural revenge upon us, in not being able to reflect them back upon ourselves again. But the darkness of the moon was just our own shadow falling upon her surface, and blotting out her beauty. Brethren, I could not help feeling it was a symbol of what often happens in my own life and that of thousands about me. This belief of my heart never wavers, that God Almighty has made all things of which the world is composed to bless and please and gladden the lives of His dear children. His love is reflected from every one of them. But we fling upon them the shadow of our own selfishness and vices, and then, in return, they throw back upon our hearts the dark eclipse-shade of sorrow and disappointment. For instance, we win wealth: and if we got it righteously, and used it nobly and usefully, let us not talk the common cant about its powerlessness to yield a pleasure that will not cloy, and afford a true and solid satisfaction. But we get it by "shady dealing," or we use it selfishly, to the hardening of our own hearts, or cruelly, to the injury instead of the blessing of others; and is it wonderful that God's love is not reflected in the glitter of our gold, and that the light of our prosperity is darkness? How much of the eclipse of our lawful joy is the shadow of our own guilt and selfishness? But I repeat again, it is not necessary, or even probable, that your call, like that of Saul of Tarsus, is to become, as if crucified by Christ's Cross, dead to secular aims, common pleasures, and domestic comforts and attachments. Your vocation may be to live in and enjoy these for your own good and the benefit of men. And I know of no lawful business, the lowliest, that cannot be so administered as to do essential service to that gospel cause which is wide enough (if we were wide enough to understand it) to embrace all tendencies of good to the souls or the bodies of men; whose Author not merely taught the consciences, but fed the hunger of His followers, and to which every part of man is redeemed and precious.

(John Irwin, M. A.)

Putting out of sight their special reference, it will be a legitimate use of these words to regard them, in a general view, as condemnatory of all vainglory, as conveying to all persons who would boast themselves in things unworthy to be made ground of exultation. It is natural to man, in entire accordance with the law of his corrupt nature, thus to glory. He will pride himself on something that he has, or does, or is, too often unduly valuing himself on the score of it. Each human excellence, each worldly advantage, will, in turn, serve to elate the mind of its possessor. One man will esteem himself on account of his personal qualities, moral or intellectual; another will regard with complacency his rank and influence, his wealth, or other favourable outward circumstance. All which various things, unsuitable wherein to glory, are briefly summed up in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, and at the same time contrasted with that which is the one good and lawful ground of all human boasting: "Thus saith the Lord: let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth" (Jeremiah 9:23,24). Thus, no human worth or greatness, no earthly satisfaction or comforts, nothing in the shape of good, that our present mortal life can yield, may be acquiesced in as an end, and rejoiced in for its own sake; on the contrary, man's real satisfaction and rejoicing must be in his God. As a sinner, more especially, his joy will consist herein, that he has "seen the salvation of God" as revealed in the gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ; and the language of exultation most becoming to him will be that uttered of old by the blessed Virgin: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." But, although the talents, of whatever kind, which God has given to each of us, do not afford ground or excuse for self-complacency, still, rightly used, there is a lawful satisfaction in their possession. Recognized as from the hand of God, enjoyed in His fear and love, and diligently improved to His honour and glory, they may well be rejoiced in as the instruments of our happiness. It is only when they are thanklessly received, or used without reference to the purpose of Him who bestowed them, that they lose their value to us, or become worse than valueless. And the guilt of such ingratitude is only equalled by the folly of men's priding and vaunting themselves in the possession of that of which they have no certain tenure, and which, at any moment, may, in just judgment, be withdrawn from them.

(John Bulmer, B. D. , Mus. Bac.)

That celebrated divine, Jonathan Edwards, in giving his interesting diary of the life of Brainerd, the great American apostle, who was the means of converting thousands of the wild Indians, records that for some time poor Brainerd, in simplicity and not in guile, thought that the best way to make men sober was by preaching to them the attributes of God, laying hold of the functions of conscience, and keeping the Cross in the background. It is a remarkable fact that he found the whole system a failure; he could not produce one sober man. "Then," he says, "I bethought me that I would go and preach Jesus Christ; and many a hard face relaxed, many an eye shed tears that had never wept before, and I found that the best way to make men sober was to make them spiritual;" and from henceforth he gloried in and held forth nothing but the Cross.

It is recorded of some of the Romish missionaries, that in their endeavours to bring over the heathen to Christianity, they scrupulously kept the crucifixion out of sight, considering.that such a topic would create prejudices with those whom they wished to convince; and it is well known that the Moravian missionaries — men of extraordinary piety and zeal — laboured for a long time in Greenland without at least giving prominence to the doctrine of the Atonement, believing it necessary to clear the way, and prepare men's minds, before they advanced the truth of Christ's death — a truth so likely, as they thought, to give fatal offence, even to the most degraded and barbarous. In each case the same feeling was at work — the feeling that there is something very humiliating in the Cross, and that human reason, and yet more, human pride must recoil from the thought of being saved by One who died as a malefactor; and you must all be aware that this doctrine is not one which commends itself at once to those whom it promises to rescue; on the contrary, it almost invariably excites opposition, because instead of flattering any one passion it demands the subjugation of all. Yet Christianity is valuable and glorious on those very accounts on which, in common estimation, it must move the antipathies of its hearers. He who keeps back the doctrine of the Cross, is all the while withholding that which gives its majesty to the Christian religion, and is striving to apologise for its noblest distinction. Instead of admitting what may be styled "the shame of the Cross," we should boldly affirm and exhibit its glory. The doctrine has only to be fairly exhibited and fully expanded, in order to its attracting the warmest admiration.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

If I were a pupil of Titian, and he should design my picture, and sketch it for me, and look over my work every day, and make suggestions, and then, when I had exhausted my skill, he should take the brush and give the finishing touches, bringing out a part here and there, and making the whole glow with beauty, and then I should hang it upon the wall, and call it mine, what a meanness it would be! When life is the picture, and Christ is the Designer and Master, what unutterable meanness it is to allow all the excellences to be attributed to ourselves!

(H. W. Beecher.)

The pulpit is intended to be a pedestal for the cross, though, alas! even the cross itself, it is to be feared, is sometimes used as a mere pedestal for the preacher's fame. We may roll the thunders of eloquence, we may dart the coruscations of genius, we may scatter the flowers of poetry, we may diffuse the light of science, we may enforce the precepts of morality, from the pulpit; but if we do not make Christ the great subject of our preaching, we have forgotten our errand, and shall do no good. Satan trembles at nothing but the Cross: at this he does tremble; and if we would destroy his power, and extend that holy and benevolent kingdom, which is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, it must be by means of the Cross.

(J. A. James.)

The doctrine of the text is, that the death of Christ, as an expiatory sacrifice, is the glory of the true Christian. This is that great truth which there have been so many strenuous efforts in all ages to subvert. At first it was opposed by Jewish zealots, and by Gentile philosophers; and at present it is equally opposed by pharisaic speculatists in religion, who have no adequate views of the evil of sin, and the rights and honour of the Divine government. It is, however, the key-stone of the Christian arch; and it therefore becomes us to hold it in its place.


1. We glory in the doctrine of the Cross — the justification of guilty men through a propitiatory sacrifice — because of its antiquity. Antiquity is no excuse for error. Its hoariness, like that of age, cannot of itself claim reverence. The oldness of an opinion is no proof of its truth. No opinion which affects the foundations of a religion, or stands connected with a sinner's acceptance with God, can be true, if it be new; if it be not as old as the human race itself, considered as fallen creatures. We glory in the antiquity of this doctrine. It was taught by patriarchs and prophets; the law of ceremonies was its grand hieroglyphical record; the first sacrifices were its types; the first awakened sinner, with his load of guilt, fell upon this rock, and was supported; and by the sacrifice of Christ shall the last saved sinner be raised to glory.

2. We glory in the doctrine of the Cross, because it forms an important part of the revelation of the New Testament. This is indeed our principal reason for boasting in it; for that which is revealed by God must be truth and goodness.

3. We glory in the Cross of Christ as affording the only sure ground of confidence to a penitent sinner. When preached to the broken in spirit it strikes hope into the deepest darkness of despair. It is life to the dead.

4. We glory in the Cross because of its moral effects.

II. Let us attempt to derive some IMPROVEMENT from the whole.

1. Is there any person here, who, allured by the infidelity or semi-infidelity of the age, has denied or derided this doctrine? You are ashamed of the faith of your forefathers; and what do you glory in now? In your new rational discoveries?

2. But I address more who hold and respect this doctrine. But do you still cherish the love of sin, and live under its power? O the intolerable hell of the reflection, that you have slighted a Redeemer!

3. I grant that practically the doctrine of the Cross is too often made to encourage indifference to religion.

4. Lastly, I recommend you to consider, that the grand practical effect we are to expect from the death of Christ, after we have received remission of sins through His blood, is to become crucified to the world; and that the world should be crucified to us. Happy state of those who yield to the full influence of the Cross!

(Richard Watson.)

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.)

I. CHRIST CRUCIFIED. In this Paul gloried so as to glory in nothing else, for he viewed it —

1. As a display of the Divine character (2 Corinthians 5:19).

2. As the manifestation of the Saviour's love (John 15:13).

3. As the putting away of sin by atonement (Hebrews 9:26).

4. As the breathing of hope, peace, and joy to the desponding soul.

5. As the great means of touching hearts and changing lives.

6. As depriving death of terror, seeing Jesus died.

7. As ensuring heaven to all believers. In any one of these points of view, the Cross is a pillar of light, flaming with unutterable glory.

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

1. Its character condemned (John 12:31).

2. Its judgment, contemned. Who cares for the opinion of a gibbeted felon?

3. Its teachings despised. What authority can it have?

4. Its pleasures, honours, treasures rejected.

5. Its pursuits, maxims, and spirit east out.

6. Its threatenings and blandishments made nothing of.

7. Itself soon to pass away, its glory and its fashion fading.

III. THE BELIEVER CRUCIFIED. 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. He will probably find —

1. Himself at first bullied, threatened, and ridiculed.

2. His name and honour held in small repute because of his association with the godly poor.

3. His actions and motives misrepresented.

4. Himself despised as a sort of madman, or of doubtful intellect.

5. His teaching described as exploded, dying out, etc.

6. His way and habits reckoned to be puritanic and hypocritical.

7. Himself given up as irreclaimable, and therefore dead to society.Conclusion:

1. Let us glory in the Cross, because it gibbets the world's glory, and honour, and power.

2. Let us glory in the Cross, when men take from us all other glory.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is a subject of rejoicing and glorying that we have such a Saviour. The world looked upon Him with contempt; and the Cross was a stumbling-block to the Jew, and folly to the Greek. But to the Christian this Cross is the subject of glorying. It is so because —(1) of the love of Him who suffered there;(2) of the purity and holiness of His character, for the innocent died there for the guilty;(3) of the honour there put on the law of God by His dying to maintain it unsullied;(4) of the reconciliation there made for sin, accomplishing what could be done by no other oblation, and by no power of man;(5) of the pardon there procured for the guilty;(6) of the fact that through it we become dead to the world, and are made alive unto God;(7) of the support and consolation which go from that Cross to sustain us in trial; and(8) of the fact that it procured for us admission into heaven, a title to the world of glory. All is glory around the Cross. It was a glorious Saviour who died; it was glorious love that led Him to die; it was a glorious object to redeem a world; and it is unspeakable glory to which He will raise lost and ruined sinners by His death. Oh, who would not glory in such a Saviour!

(Albert Barnes.)

If you have not yet found out that Christ crucified is the foundation of the whole volume, you have hitherto read your Bible to very little profit. Your religion is a heaven without a sun, an arch without a keystone, a compass without a needle, a clock without spring or weights, a lamp without oil. It will not comfort you; it will not deliver your soul from hell.

(Bishop Ryle.)

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 Saviour 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, R.V.). The banner under which complete victory over sin and the world is to be won is the Cross.

(Andrew Murray.)

And we reckon it of importance, that we should occasionally shift the ground of debate: and that thus, in the place of admitting what may be styled, "the shame of the Cross," we should boldly affirm and exhibit its glory. With all our admissions, that at the first hearing there would be something repulsive in the doctrine of Christ crucified; we believe that this doctrine has only to be fairly exhibited and fully expanded, in order to its attracting the warmest admiration.


II. THE STRENGTH OF THE PARTICULAR REASON BY WHICH ST. PAUL JUSTIFIES HIS BOASTING. Now we need hardly observe to you, that so far as Christ Jesus Himself was concerned, it is not possible to compute what may be called the humiliation, or the shame of the Cross. It is altogether beyond our power to form any adequate conception of the degree in which the Mediator humbled Himself when born of a woman, and taking part of flesh and blood. We read nothing of shame in His becoming a man; but we do read of His shame as dying as a malefactor. Indeed, we are not so to exult as to lose those feelings of godly contrition which a sight of the cross should always produce. But, nevertheless, though of all men perhaps St. Paul was the least likely to forget or underrate the cause of sorrow presented by the Cross, this great apostle could speak of glorying in the Cross — yea, could shun as a great sin, the glorying in anything beside. Why think ye was this? We would first observe, that the greater the humiliation to which the Son of God submitted, the greater is the demonstration of the Divine love towards man. We show you, then, the Cross! Aye, the blazing of the sun, or the milder shinings of the moon, or the processes of vegetation, or the seatings of mind, are not a thousandth part so demonstrative of the love in which sinners are beheld as this emblem of shame, this memento of ignominy. We proceed to observe to you, that although to the eyes of sense there be nothing but shame about the Cross, yet spiritual discernment proves it to be hung with the very richest triumphs. It is necessary to be admitted, that in one point of view there was shame, degradation, and ignominy in Christ dying on the cross; but it is equally certain that in another there was honour, victory, and triumph. We are told that "through death Jesus Christ destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil," and that "He made peace by the blood of the Cross." We know that in dying the Redeemer broke off the yoke from the neck of the human population, wrenched from Satan the sceptre which he had long wielded as the god of this world, and scattered the seeds of immortality amid the dust of the sepulchres. Indeed, I know you may tell me, that the result may be glorious, and yet the means through which it is effected degraded and ignoble; and we can well- believe, that had the Redeemer appeared at the head of the heavenly hosts; had He come the first time as He shall the second, with a thousand times ten thousand of ministering spirits; and had He met Satan and his angels with all the retinue of evil, and overthrown them in some such battle as that of Armageddon in the last day; we can well believe that those who now see little but shame in the Cross would have exulted in the victory of the Cross. Yet what is called shame is one great element of glory. It would have been comparatively nothing, that as the leader of the celestial army Christ should have overthrown the enemies of God and man. The splendid thing is, that He trod the wine-press alone, and that of the people there was with Him none. To have destroyed death by living would have been wonderful; but to have destroyed it by dying — oh, this is the prodigy of prodigies, the glory of glories! But hitherto we have spoken only comparatively: we have rather shown that we can have no such great cause for glorying as the Cross, than that we should glory in nothing but the Cross. It is to the latter extent that the apostle carries his determination. It is a truth which we have frequently laboured to set plainly before you, that we are indebted to the mediation of Jesus for all we have in the present life, as well as for all we hope for in the next. Yes, man of science, thine intellect was saved for thee through the Cross! Yes, father of a family, the endearments of home were rescued by the Cross! Yes, admirer of nature, the glorious things in the mighty panorama retain their place through the erection of the Cross! Yes, ruler of an empire, the subordination of the different classes, the links of society, the energies of government, are all owing to the Cross! And when the mind passes on to the consideration of spiritual benefits, where can you find one not connected with the Cross? If we can affirm all this of the Cross (and there is no exaggeration, for every blessing we have, and every hope we possess, is derived to us through the sacrifice of the Mediator), then to glory in the Cross is to glory that God giveth us all things richly to enjoy; that He heareth our prayers; and that to understand, to know Him aright, is to love Him. It is to glory that there is yet fertility in the soil, yet strength in the intellect, that grace is bestowed on us here, and that a kingdom is ready for us hereafter. I observe in the last place, that there is a special reason given by the apostle for his glorying in the Cross; and which, though perhaps included in those which have been advanced, yet demands. from its importance, a brief and separate consideration. St. Paul gloried in the Cross, because by it "the world was crucified unto him, and he unto the world." What are we to understand by this two-fold crucifixion? The world was to St. Paul as a crucified thing, and St. Paul was to the world as a crucified thing. They were dead one to the other. The apostle regarded the world, with its pomps, its shows, its pleasures, its riches, its honours, with no other feelings than those with which he would have regarded a malefactor fastened to a cross, and whose condition could present no desire for participation; or the world appeared no more glorious, no more attractive to Paul than it would to a man in the agony of dissolution, who, suspended on the cross, would look down with a kind of insensibility on objects which before were precious in his sight. Thus the world was to the apostle as a crucified thing; or, to express the same idea somewhat differently, the apostle was to the world as a crucified man: so that if we put away the metaphor, the thing affirmed is, that St. Paul was completely a new creature, with affections detached from things below, and fixed on things above; and he ascribes to the virtues of the Cross this change in himself, and then considers the change as a sufficient vindication of his resolution, that he would glory in nothing but the Cross. For a moment let us examine these points; they are full of interesting instruction. It is one of the great fruits of Christ's passion and death, that the life-giving influences of the Holy Ghost are shed on us abundantly. It is, therefore, through the Cross that we become new creatures, crucified to the world, and the world crucified unto us; and it is through the sacrifice presented on the cross that those influences are derived to us, without which they could do nothing for our moral renovation. There is more to be said than this. Would you learn to despise the pomps and vanities of earth, to hate sin and to withstand evil lusts? Then must you be much on the mount of crucifixion; much with Jesus in His last struggle with evil. Who would yield to a corrupt passion, who would indulge himself in unlawful gratification, who would hearken to base temptations if his eye were on Christ, "wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities"? The sight of Jesus pierced by and for our sins is the great preservative against our yielding to the pleadings of corrupt nature. So true is it, that by the Cross of Christ the world is crucified to us, and we unto the world. Can a stronger reason be assigned why we should glory in the Cross of the Redeemer? By nature we are prisoners — we would glory in being free; we are powerless — we would glory in being mighty; we are doomed to eternal misery — we would glory in being heirs of happiness. Liberty, strength, immortality, all flow out of the crucifixion of the world to man, and of man to the world.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

To glory is one of the most characteristic propensities of our nature. It is seen in every class of society, and in every portion of the human race. From the highest dignitary to the lowest beggar, from the enlightened and refined citizen to the savage in whose mind scarcely a spark of reason appears, all discover something in which they think they can glory. And in what do they glory? In foolish toys, of which they should rather be ashamed than proud. God designed to give man something in which he could reasonably glory: He gave him "the Cross of Jesus Christ." This meditation will be devoted to the examination of the new right of glorying which has been granted to man. On this subject there are two opinions: one is the apostle's opinion, which we shall sustain. The other is the opinion of the world, which we shall refute.


1. The first reason which led him to glory in the Cross was because he saw the character and glory of God fully displayed in it.

2. But if St. Paul gloried in the Cross of Christ because it revealed to him all the glory of God, he gloried in it quite as much because it taught him his own wretchedness. Let the proudest of men draw near; let him stand at the foot of that cross erected for his salvation, and what will become of his pride? The Cross destroys that deceiving glass which magnifies us in our own eyes.

3. He glories in it especially because it raises him to the level of true greatness.

4. But notice the motive which the apostle himself assigns. "God forbid," he says, "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." This, my brethren, is indeed a glorious advantage of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Yes, my brethren, the death of the Redeemer is the only thing that can make you hate your own evil nature. It is the true remedy for your disease. But the Cross of Christ will also crucify the world to you; that is, it will destroy in you all the attractions of the vanities of this world. You cannot love both the Cross and the world. But the last motive which induced St. Paul to exclaim, as he was advancing into Asia, Greece, or Italy, or crossing the sea, that he desired no other glory, was his conception of the power of that Cross, and of the triumphs which await it. The great apostle knew that it was all-sufficient to give immortality to those who had fallen into the deepest misery. He knew that it had redeemed a great people, both in the cities of Galatia, to which he wrote, and in Greece, Rome, and Jerusalem. He knew its future destiny, that kings and nations would come and prostrate themselves before it, that "the people would bring their sons and their arms;" and that it had received the ends of the earth for an inheritance.

II. THE OPINION OF THE WORLD. Is this your language? If such was St. Paul's opinion, what is yours? There is perhaps no truth which encounters so much opposition from the world as this. How many there are who say, on the contrary, I will glory in anything rather than the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! And why is it thus? Perhaps you ask, "Is it necessary to think so much of the Cross, when there are so many other subjects in religion of more importance than this?" Of more importance than the Cross! We might here remind you of what we have just said, but we prefer to refute you by your own words. You wish to set aside the Cross as a thing of little importance; and yet you exclaim, "We cannot conceive of such a thing as that Cross, that expiatory death of God's only Son; it is too much for our reason." How can such decisions be made to agree? How can the Cross be at once so contemptible and so astonishing? If it so greatly surpasses your comprehension, why do you esteem it so lightly? "But," you will say, "it is this that perplexes us. If the Cross be true, then it is certain that the foundation of all our pretensions must give way, and that we must glory in it alone. But is it true?" But, without seeking a witness in heaven, is not earth itself sufficient? Think of the most striking events of antiquity; not a vestige of them remains, and it is only through the ancient chronicles which have been handed down to us that we are acquainted with their existence. But it is not so with the expiatory death of Christ; this fact is living in the world. The present state of the world bears testimony concerning it. It is from the blood which flowed from that cross that all those nations have sprung which have unfurled the sacred banner over the globe which they rule. Among them everything speaks of it. Shall we tell you why you will not know it? Because you do not feel the need of it. This is the point to which the whole case refers. We seize with eagerness the aid which we think to be necessary, but we despise it if we think it superfluous. The Cross of Jesus Christ is designed to purchase eternal happiness for you; but you would fain purchase it for yourselves. The Cross of Jesus Christ is designed to procure sanctification; but you would fain procure it yourselves. But perhaps you say — as some may say with truth — "I do not deny the Cross of Christ." That is true; you believe it, but partially. You do not deny the fact, but you evade it. You dare not believe, fully and openly, that the Son of God was nailed to the cross for your sake; and therefore, so far as its influence on your heart is concerned, it is a fact of no importance. Forsake this ruinous semi-Christianity. Any form of Christianity of which Christ crucified is not the centre to which everything tends and from which everything proceeds is a false Christianity. Why should you not believe what St. Paul believed?

(J. H. M. D'Aubigne, D. D.)

I. First, I am to show that whatever excellencies, outward advantages, or privileges it may be our lot to enjoy, yet it misbecomes us, as we are Christians, to glory in them. I do not say that we are to be insensible of such advantages, to have no relish of them, no complacence in them; for neither reason nor religion require such a conduct from us. They are the good things of life, given us by the Author of all good, on purpose that we should, in due measure and season, enjoy them. They may be used, if they are not over-valued; if we do not suffer our affections to cleave too closely to them, and our minds to be in any degree elated and swelled by a reflection upon them. The Christian religion, by the tendency of all its doctrines (particularly that of Christ crucified), by the manner of its progress, and the mean characters of those who first promulgated and embraced it, seems to have been so throughout contrived as effectually to mortify and beat down any undue complacence we may have in ourselves on such occasions.

II. Secondly, it highly becomes us to glory in the Cross of Christ, as I proposed in the second place to show; for since by the alone merits of His Cross we gain all the advantages of the Christian dispensation, are reconciled to God, and made capable of heaven and happiness, we cannot but glory in that Cross, if indeed we value ourselves upon our being Christians.

III. Thirdly, by what methods, and in opposition to what enemies of the Cross of Christ, we are obliged to glory in it.

1. Now, the first step requisite towards our complying with this obligation is, frequently to meditate on the sufferings and death of Christ. We glory in nothing but what we esteem and value; and what we value much we shall be apt often and attentively to consider (1 Timothy 3:16). We should turn it on all sides, and consider it as the proper subject of our awe and wonder, our joy and pleasure, our gratitude and love, till we have warmed our hearts with a lively sense of the inestimable benefits conferred on us by the means of it.

2. A second step towards fulfilling our obligation to glory in the Cross of Christ is, if we endeavour to imitate the perfect example He hath set us, and to form in our minds some faint resemblances of those meek graces and virtues which adorn the character of our suffering Saviour. And this step is a natural consequence of the former; for imitation will in some degree spring from attention.

3. A third instance and proof of our glorying as becomes us in the Cross of Christ is, if we frequently and worthily celebrate the memorial of His death, the blessed sacrament of His body and blood.

4. In the fourth place, we may be said, very properly said, to glory in the Cross of Christ, when we zealously assert and vindicate the true doctrine of His satisfaction against all the enemies and opposers of it; against the false notions of the Jews, and the false religion of the Mahometans; against the mischievous opinions of some deceived or deceiving Christians; against the vain pretences of reason and philosophy; and against the proud insults and blasphemies of atheists and infidels.

(Bishop Atterbury.)

The death of the cross has always been, above every other, reckoned the death of shame. The fire, the sword, the axe, the stone, the hemlock, have in their turns been used by law as its executioners; but these have, in so many cases, been associated with honour, that death by means of them has not been reckoned either cursed or shameful. Not so the cross. Not till more than four thousand years had gone by did it begin to be rumoured that the cross was not what men thought it, the place of the curse and shame, but of strength and honour and life and blessing. Then it was that there burst upon the astonished world the bold announcement, "God forbid," etc. From that day the Cross became "a power" in the earth; a power which went forth, like the light, noiselessly yet irresistibly, smiting down all religions alike, all shrines alike, all altars alike; sparing no superstition nor philosophy; neither flattering priesthood nor succumbing to statesmanship; tolerating no error, yet refusing to draw the sword for truth; a power superhuman, yet wielded by human, not angelic, hands; "the power of God unto salvation." Let us look at the Cross as the Divine proclamation and interpretation of the things of God; the key to His character, His word, His ways, His purposes; the clue to the intricacies of the world's and the Church's history.

I. IT IS THE INTERPRETER OF MAN. By means of it God has brought out to view what is in man. In the Cross man has spoken out. He has exhibited himself, and made unconscious confession of his feelings, especially in reference to God — to His Being, His authority, His character, His law, His love. The Cross was the public declaration of man's hatred of God, man's rejection of His Son, and man's avowal of his belief that he needs no Saviour. If any one, then, denies the ungodliness of humanity, and pleads for the native goodness of the race, I ask, What means yon Cross?

II. IT IS THE INTERPRETER OF GOD. It is as the God of grace that the Cross reveals Him. It is love, free love, that shines out in its fulness there (1 John 3:16). Nor could any demonstration of the sincerity of the Divine love equal this. It is love stronger than shame, and suffering, and death; love immeasurable, love unquenchable. Truly, "God is love." But righteousness as well as grace is here. We learn God's righteous character in many ways. We learn it from its dealings with righteousness, as in the case of all unfallen ones; we learn it still more fully from its dealings with sin, as in our fallen world; but we learn it, most of all, from its dealings with both of these at once, and in the same person, on the Cross of Christ; for here is the righteous Son of God bearing the unrighteousness of men.

III. IT IS THE INTERPRETER OF LAW. It tells us that the law is holy, and just, and good; that not one jot or tittle of it can pass away. The perfection of the law is the message from Calvary, even more awfully than from Sinai. The power of law, the vengeance of law, the inexorable tenacity of law, the grandeur of law, the unchangeable and infrangible sternness of law — these are the announcements of the Cross.

IV. IT INTERPRETS SIN. The Cross took up the ten commandments, and on each of their "Thou shalts" and "Thou shalt nots," flung such a new and Divine light, that sin, in all its hideousness of nature and minuteness of detail, stood out to view, as it never did before, "the abominable thing" which Jehovah hates. It showed that sin was no trifle which God would overlook; that the curse was no mere threat which God could depart from when it suited Him. It showed that the standard of sin was no sliding scale, to be raised or lowered at pleasure; that the punishment of sin was no arbitrary infliction; and that its pardon was not the expression of Divine indifference to its evil.

V. IT INTERPRETS THE GOSPEL That good news were on their way to us was evident from the moment that Mary brought forth her first-born, and, by Divine premonition, called His name "Jesus." Goodwill to men was then proclaimed. But not till the Cross is erected, and the blood is shed, and the life is taken, do we fully learn how it is that His work is so precious, and that the tidings concerning it furnish so glorious a gospel.

VI. IT INTERPRETS SERVICE. We are redeemed that we may obey. We are set free that we may serve — even as God spoke to Pharaoh, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me." But the Cross defines the service, and shows us its nature. It is the service of love and liberty; yet it is also the service of reproach, and shame, and tribulation. We are crucified with Christ. It is not His cross we bear. None but He could bear it. It is a cross of our own; calling us to self-denial, flesh-denial, and world-denial; pointing out to us a path of humiliation, trial, toil, weakness, reproach, such as our Master trod.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Let us look for a very little to the expression, "the Cross of Christ." This, my brethren, has different meanings in Scripture. Sometimes it signifies simply the wooden cross to which our Saviour was nailed — the accursed tree on which He hung; sometimes, again, it is used in a figurative sense, to signify those sufferings which our Saviour endured on the cross — the death which He died on it. In a wider sense still, it is employed to designate the whole of His sufferings both of His life and death, of which sufferings His death was the consummation. Lastly, the expression is not unfrequently used to denote the doctrine of Christ's Cross; in other words, the way of salvation through a crucified Saviour; and it is in this sense chiefly that we are to understand it in the verse before us.

I. Let us consider the nature and description of Paul's feelings towards the Cress of Christ. "God forbid," he says, "that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." You all know, my brethren, what it is to glory in any object. It is just to have a very high esteem for it. For example, if we speak of a man glorying in his good name, his riches, or his friends, we just mean that he esteems these things very highly, that he sets a great value upon them. The consequence is that he thinks and talks continually about them, and nothing sooner excites his indignation than to hear them undervalued or dispraised. When Paul says, then, that he gloried in the Cross of Christ, you are simply to understand him as meaning that he placed a high value upon it, that he prized it greatly. The consequence was, that that Cross was the all-engrossing theme of his meditation, his conversation, and his preaching. Observe, however, more closely the nature of the apostle's glorying, as described in the text: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. This shows his glorying in the Cross to have been an exclusive glorying. The Cross not only appeared to him as an object worthy of esteem, but it appeared to him as the only such object. We often see men taken up with several objects at once. No doubt there cannot well be more than one object on which the mind is supremely set, but there may be others on which a considerable share of attention is at the same time bestowed, and for which a strong attachment is also conceived. It filled his whole soul; it displaced and shut out every lesser object. Some of the Judaizing teachers among the Galatians, while professing Christianity, were yet glorying more in some of the institutions of the law and in the proselytes they made than in the grand doctrines of the Cross; and Paul, with special reference to these, says in the text, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross." The glory of the Cross appeared to him so great as to eclipse every other object. Although, as the Scriptures say, there is one glory in the sun, and another glory in the moon, and another glory in the stars, for one star differeth from another star in glory, yet such is the superlative glory of the sun, that when once it has risen and attained its meridian splendour all those lesser lights disappear.

II. Let us now point out some of the grounds of the apostle's glorying, especially the one stated in the text. Notwithstanding the ignominy usually attached to the death of the cross, there was something transcendently glorious in the death of Christ. Never were the Divine perfections so conspicuously displayed as in that event. The mighty changes which the preaching of that Cross had produced, the wonderful effects which it had wrought on a dark and benighted world, might well have made him glory in its behalf. Was it not a glorious sight to see the wilderness and solitary place made glad, and the desert rejoicing and blossoming as the rose? to see the parched ground becoming a pool, and the thirsty land turned into springs of water? But while the apostle thus gloried in the effects produced by the Cross upon others, his glorying as mentioned in the text seems to have had especial reference to the effects it produced upon himself. "By which," he says, "the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." But what was it that produced such a change as this upon the aspect of the world to him? It was just, my brethren, the Cross of Christ. No sooner was it beheld by him than the world lost its charms. The light which shone from the Cross at once revealed to him the true nature of all earthly things; it showed him a hideousness and ugliness in them that he had never discerned before. Many things, you know, appear smooth and beautiful in the dark but once let in the light upon them, and they immediately wear a very different aspect. So it was in the case of Paul. He thought at one time that the world was all fair and lovely, because he viewed it through a thick and darkening medium, the veil of unbelief. But when that veil was taken away, and when the flood of light which streams from Calvary's Cross was let in upon his soul, what a changed aspect did the once lovely scene begin to wear! But this was not the only effect which the Cross of Christ produced on him. It not only made the world dead to him, but him likewise dead to the world: "by which the world is crucified to me, and I unto the world." Not only did the world become changed to him, but he became changed towards it. Not only did it lose its charms, but he lost his desires after it. He now viewed its pleasures, its joys, its amusements, with as little relish and delight as a man hanging on a cross would view the richest delicacies and most inviting fruits that might be spread out before him. The current of his affections was completely changed, and the direction they had taken was just the very reverse of that in which they had formerly been flowing.

(J. Philip.)

This is the keynote of the Epistle, so that it may be called the "Crucifixion Epistle." It reflects the glory of the Cross as presented in this chosen champion of the Cross. And how?

1. In Paul's conversion.

2. The preaching of Paul reflects the glory of the Cross. This is the centre and circumference of his thought.

3. The sufferings of Paul. He died daily.

4. The triumphs of Paul reflect the glory of the Cross.

(W. H. Wardwell.)

Every man has an object of glory — the avaricious, wealth; the vain, distinction; the ambitious, power; the self-righteous, virtue; the philosophical, wisdom; the Christian, his Lord.


1. The highest appreciation of it. Paul valued it more than talents, learning, connections, influence, life. He looked upon it —

(1)Theologically — upwards towards God.

(2)Morally — downwards on man.

2. A personal interest in it.

3. A delight in professing it.


1. What world it does not crucify.

(1)The physical.





2. What world it does crucify — the corrupt moral world as animated by the spirit of —

(1)Practical atheism.



(D. Thomas, D. D.)


1. All men are naturally apt to glory in something.

2. There is nothing on earth but some one glories in it.

3. Many glory in wisdom, power, and riches (Jeremiah 9:23, 24); but

(1)these are folly, weakness, and poverty (1 Corinthians 1:26-29) in themselves;

(2)are only useful as they glorify God, their real owner (1 Corinthians 4:7).

4. Some glory in their good works, but these are nought save as wrought by the strength of the Cross, which, therefore, is the proper object of our glory through them.


1. Its glory in itself consists in —

(1)The dignity of the Crucified.

(2)The atoning efficacy of the crucifixion.

(3)Its results, in the triumphant enthronement, intercession, and sovereignty of the Son of God.

2. Its glory in relation to us. Hereby —

(1)Our sins are pardoned.

(2)We are justified.

(3)God is reconciled.

(4)The blessings of the covenant ensured.

(5)The Holy Ghost given.

(6)The new creation effected.

(Bishop Beveridge.)


1. There were truths in Judaism in which Paul once gloried, which possessed vast breadth and stimulating power.

2. But they all paled before this.


1. Paul not merely possessed the truth.

2. It possessed him.

III. Paul gloried in the Cross BECAUSE IT WAS A GREAT PARADOX.

1. He had a peculiar affinity for paradoxes (2 Corinthians 6:9; 2 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Corinthians 4:8).

2. This being Paul's tendency, the central paradox of Christianity was the very thing for him.

(1)It was the triumph of weakness.

(2)This weak and despised Cross was to destroy the world without, and

(3)to conquer the world within.In conclusion:

1. There are four stages of assent which we can give to any truth like that of Christ's Cross.

(1)Understanding it.

(2)Accepting it.

(3)Comforting ourselves by it.

(4)Glorying in it.

2. Ii is impossible to understand the cross fully until we glory in it.

3. It is impossible to glory in it unless we are willing that the world should be crucified to us and we to the world.

(A. F. Ewing.)It is not safe to judge by first appearances, otherwise we shall deem the Cross repulsive.


1. The Cross was not a thing to be tolerated, but to be exulted in.

2. The Cross exceeded all things within his knowledge.

(1)He knew the philosophy of the day.

(2)He had seen the achievements of its art,

(3)and the military force of Rome.

(4)He had been a Pharisee.

3. He chose the Cross in preference to them all.


1. Not merely the supernatural manifestations which invested it with grandeur.

2. But mainly its spiritual significance.(1) The Cross is a revelation of the glory of God. God's glory does not lie in His power or possessions, but

(a)in His righteousness;

(b)His love. The Cross sets this forth.(2) The Cross displays the true greatness of man — Love for God and man.(3) The Cross is adapted to the chief exigency and other needs of men.


(b)the need of a redeeming fact;

(c)the need of fellowship with a living person.(4) Its actual results.

(a)Its first function in the apostolic age.

(b)Its ameliorating influence on the race at large.

(J. C. Galloway, M. A.)


1. Men glory so as to become boastful and full of vainglory.

2. Men are ruined by their glory.

3. Men glory in their shame.

4. Some glory —

(1)in physical strength, in which the ox excels them;

(2)in gold, which is only clay;

(3)in gifts, which are only talents which have been entrusted to them, and so glory in the transient and the trifling.

5. Men rob God of His glory.

II. Paul had a rich choice of things in which he could have gloried.

1. Amongst the Jews he

(1)might have been an honoured rabbi;

(2)might have gloried in his genius, religious attainment.

2. As a Christian he might have gloried in

(1)his sufferings;

(2)his zeal;

(3)his work for Christ.

III. PAUL GLORIED IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST. He does not here say he gloried in Christ, though he did with all his heart. He might have gloried in —

1. The Incarnation.

2. Life.

3. Ascension.

4. Second advent.Yet he selected the Cross as the centre of the Christian system. Learn:

1. The highest glory of our religion is the Cross.

2. To think of it till by the power of the Spirit we can say, "God forbid," etc.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. What it seemed to the Jew. A symbol

(1)of failure;

(2)of servitude.

2. What is it to the Christian?

(1)The culmination of the Incarnation;

(2)a means of partaking of the Divine love.


1. To believe that religion centres round a person.

2. To feel that Christ has entirely changed our relations to God.

(1)It has abolished circumcision.

(2)It has made the new nature the desideratum.


1. By it the Christian is crucified to the world and the world to the Christian.

2. By it the believer obtains deep and lasting satisfaction.

3. By it is evolved the love which is the inspiration of self-sacrifice.

(S. Pearson, M. A.)





(W. Jackson.)





V. BY ACCEPTING CHRIST AS OUR SURETY, who died for us to the world, undertaking that we should die in Him.

(D. Clarkson.)

I. Of the world.

II. To the world.


"The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" refers to His vicarious sacrifice. "By which the world is crucified unto me," etc., refers to his own interior crucifixion in the fellowship of Christ to all things outside the new creation. But the two are now one; and the sanctified apostle glories in the Cross because, through its virtue, condemnation is gone and sin destroyed in the unity of his Christian experience This is the pith and heart of this grand apostrophe, too often forgotten by those who fail to mark that it is the conclusion of the whole matter. Some there were who despised the vicarious death of Christ, and made it of none effect; some there were who, unduly trusting in that, explained away the necessity of an interior passion. Against both this apostle of the Cross protests with holy vehemence. And the force of this protest is this — that the one without the other is not enough: that each is the complement of the other, and that their union is their perfection.

(W. B. Pope, D. D.)

The Cross of Christ is divided through the world. To each his portion ever comes. Thou, therefore, O my soul, cast not thy portion from thee, but rather take it to thee as thy most precious relic, and lay it up, not in a gold or silver shrine, but in a golden heart — a heart clothed with gentle charity, with patience, and suffering submission.


I have read how, in the burning desert, the skeletons of unhappy travellers, all withered and white, are found, not only on the way to the fountain, but lying grim and ghastly on its banks, with their skulls stretched over its very margin. Punting, faint, their tongue cleaving to the roof of their mouth, ready to fill a cup with gold for its fill of water, they press on to the well, steering their course by the tall palms that stand full of hope above the glaring sands. Already, in fond anticipation, they drink where others had been saved. They reach it. Alas! sad sight for the dim eyes of fainting men, the well is dry. With stony horror in their looks, how they gaze into the empty basin, or fight with man and beast for some muddy drops that but exasperate their thirst. The desert reels around them. Hope expires. Some cursing, some praying, they sink, and themselves expire. And by and by the sky darkens, lightnings flash, loud thunders roll, the rain pours down, and, fed by the showers, the treacherous waters rise to play in mockery with long fair tresses, and kiss the pale lips of death. But yonder, where the cross stands up high to mark the fountain of the Saviour's blood, and heaven's sanctifying grace, no dead souls lie. Once a Golgotha, Calvary has ceased to be a place of skulls. Where men went once to die, they go now to live; and to none that ever went there to seek pardon, and peace, and holiness, did God ever say, Seek ye Me in vain.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

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