Enemies of the Cross of Christ
The Gospel is undoubtedly good news. It is news of hope and mercy and salvation and of eternal happiness. As Christians, we are promised the resurrection. We are promised that all our pain and sorrow will be alleviated, and that one day God will wipe every tear from our eyes. We know that heaven awaits those who are faithful to the end, and that in heaven we will find the fulfillment of all our deepest longings, and that there we will know eternal joy.
Yes, the Gospel is good news—but it has always been a challenge too, for Jesus demands everything. He asks us, his disciples, to take up and carry our crosses after him on the narrow way. Why? Is it because he is capricious and mean? Hardly. It is because he is the great physician, and he must cure us of what is killing us, namely the deadly passions that would choke the life from our souls.
The disease of sin and death dwells at the deepest level of our being, and this sinful nature must be crucified if we are to be saved. This crucifixion is what is known as repentance. We must die to ourselves if we would be saved. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25). “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24).
So the Gospel is Good News, but it is also a sentence of death on our old nature. We cannot understand Christianity until we understand this fact: Heaven can only be found through the hard wood of the cross. There simply cannot be a joyful Easter without there first being a Good Friday.
Sadly, at the very highest levels of