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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 1

The Preaching of the Cross

“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isa. 28:16.

When I was considering a proper title for this subject. I first thought of it as “The True Foundation”. Upon further consideration I realized that there was only one foundation. But we need to make a distinction between the conglomerate religious mess on every hand and the one and only Sure Foundation.

Since so much confusion and error exists as to what the true foundation is this distinction is necessary. However beautiful and impressive the religious edifice may be, if it is not built on this foundation it is Babylon and must fall. Babylon will not be able to stand against the fury of Satanic power that is even now being unleashed against the world.

Crime and violence is increasing. Our prisons, jails, hospitals and mental institutions are overflowing. Mankind from individuals to nations are at each other’s throats, accusing and being accused. Wars and rumors of wars are a present tense fact. The nuclear arms race could erupt at any moment into the world’s greatest holocaust. Immorality and perversion are no longer looked upon as sin. In fact, the so-called “gay rights movement” is demanding recognition and respect by the rest of society.

Despite the scientific advancement and modern technology that enables man to clear forests, move mountains, harness the sun, explore the universe and mass produce food, machinery and goods, much of the world is starving.

Our water, air and land is being polluted by toxic waste. Inflation, taxes and high interest rates is making havoc of the world’s economy. More and more the age old problem of two classes of humanity is emerging — the very rich and the very poor. From every standpoint our world is on a collision course with destruction.

Needless to say, divine intervention is not necessary — left to himself man will destroy the world and himself with it. His own selfishness and greed are cords of iniquity drawing him closer and closer to annihilation. Earth man faces extinction along with other endangered species. Our only hope is the Rock of Ages.

This is the tried stone, the precious corner stone, the sure foundation. When our house (hope) is built on anything less it is sure to fall. Even now the rot and decay of manmade substitutes are beginning to give way. Matt. 7:24-29.

FALSE PROPHETS

More and more I am made to see that many things have replaced Christ in religion as well as the world system. This is why the word is filled with so many warnings about false prophets and deception.

Jesus said, Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.” Matt. 7:15.

In Matt. 24:4-5 Jesus said, “... take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.”

Please note that this scripture does not say these false prophets would actually be claiming to be Christ. That would fool very few people. They, like most preachers, will simply claim to be Christ’s representative. They will acknowledge Jesus as the Christ and profess to believe in him.

Although they acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, he is not the foundation of their faith. They have some other emphasis that keeps their converts from seeing the finished work of the cross. The gospel they preach is corrupted. It is not the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. II Cor. 4:3-4.

They cannot preach the gospel of Christ because they do not have the revelation of Christ. It is still true that you cannot minister what you do not have. Ministers and professing Christians are the product of the religious systems that beget them. It is simply the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Matt. 7:16, “Ye shall know them by their fruits....”

MANY SPOILED

Paul likewise warned us to “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ. For in dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Col. 2:8-10.

Perhaps most of our organized religious world falls in this category. They have been spoiled “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” How can they minister something they do not have or understand?

AN EXAMPLE

A good example of this is found in Acts 18 24-28 and Acts 19:1-7. these twelve men were converts of Apollos before he met Aquilla and Priscilla who expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. It is obvious he lacked knowledge to bring these men into spiritual reality.

Apollos was mighty in the scriptures, fervent in the Spirit, diligent in his teaching and an eloquent man. Yet he could not minister truth that he did not have. Discerning their condition, Paul further instructed these men and baptized them again in the name of the Lord. This time they had faith to enter into the spiritual reality they lacked under Apollos’ teaching.

BLINDED BY TRADITION

We cannot have apostolic or foundational truth apart from ministries with a revelation of such truth. Such revelation cannot be found in the organized religious world. This is because they are filled with tradition and their own religious concepts.

Like the old wineskins Jesus spoke of, they not only have no room or capacity for such truth but they deplore those who have such revelation as being religious fanatics. Any ministry or individual that would dare to obey Jude’s admonition to “... Earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints” would soon find himself without the camp and classified as a heretic. Jude 3 and Heb. 13:13.

Such ministry would be a servant of God and not a servant of men or Satan. II Cor. 11:13-15. This was the unique difference between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees. This is why Jesus said, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” John 5:43-44.

Nothing is any more deceptive and delusive than religious tradition. Believing their sacred traditions are not to be questioned they feel no need of further enlightenment. They dare not look for anything in the scriptures beyond the confines of their particular brand of religion.

As Moses put the veil over his face to keep the children of Israel from seeing the ultimate abolishment of the new law through Christ, that veil today keeps religious man from the revelation of Christ. Instead of turning with their heart to the Lord, they blindly base their hope on a false foundation of error and religious tradition. II Cor. 3:12-18.

Whatever measure of truth they have is dead letter incapable of imparting life. The letter of the word actually ministers death and builds a prison house of religious form from which very few escape. II Tim. 3:5.

Before we can have the revelation of Christ that sets men free, we must desire to please God more than man including ourselves personally. God’s Spirit is not given to preach our pet doctrines or religious traditions. The Holy Spirit was given that we might preach Christ and him crucified. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:14.

If the apostle Paul were to come on the scene today he would be branded as a false prophet by most of the religious establishments. Like the Scribes and the Pharisees in Christ’s day their religious traditions would blind them to the truth. Paul’s first step would be to sweep away the debris of error and lifeless form and cause men to rediscover the sure foundation of Christ and him crucified.

If he wouldn’t build upon another man’s foundation in his day (Rom. 15:20) he certainly wouldn’t attempt to build on the false foundations of confusion and error that exists today. Once again he would say, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which Jesus Christ.” I Cor. 3:11.

The one thing that Satan hates above all others is the truth of the cross. The truth of the cross is the gospel. I do not mean just the historical account of the man Jesus Christ dying on a Roman cross.

Tens of thousands of people died on wooden crosses. Two died at the same time Jesus did — one on either side of him. But their deaths meant nothing so far as man’s salvation is concerned.

POWER OF THE CROSS

Of all the deaths ever experienced during the history of mankind, Christ’s death is unique. No other blood ever shed upon this cursed earth can atone for man’s sins. This is the cardinal truth upon which the whole structure of divine revelation rests. Without this truth everything collapses like a house of cards. Is it any wonder David said in Psalm 11:3, “If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

Paul understood this great truth when he said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom. 1:16.

Think of it! The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Ordinarily we think of the power of God as something miraculous or phenomenal. But the truth is, it is the glorious gospel in its many aspects of divine revelation.

It was this vital truth that permeated all of Paul’s writings. Wherever error existed it was a challenge to this great truth. God’s greatest instrument against error, confusion and Satanic power was and is the preaching of the cross. This is why Paul wrote these words, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” I Cor. 1:18.

Leave this truth out and you have no gospel. Without this truth men will die in their sins. Satan does not fear the church or ministry that does not have this truth. This is also why Satan works so hard to corrupt this truth above all others.

He knows that he cannot destroy this truth altogether so he seeks to corrupt it by adding law — works, human merit or by taking away some vital aspect of the truth. All so-called Christianity supposedly believes in the cross. But it is the cross plus, or the cross minus that they preach.

And this is why there is no power to save in their gospel. Without the gospel they have no foundation for their religious structure. This includes the many corrupted varieties. They are simply a part of Babylon that must fall.

The professing Christian whose hope is based on a false or corrupted gospel is like a ship in a storm without an anchor. It is the gospel of Christ that brings us into the harbor of rest and anchors us there.

This truth is not only essential in the conversion of the sinner but it must be understood to bring faith, strength and stability to the Christian’s life.

To simply say that Christ died for our sins is not sufficient. This is just a meaningless figure of speech to most people. What we need to know is the various aspects of what was accomplished by Christ’s death on the cross. as a foundation for our faith he is not only a stone but a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation. these various adjectives represent the various aspects of truth that relate to the person and work of Christ.

It is through an understanding of these truths that we are saved and set free. Each facet of truth serves some definite purpose in our redemption — not just our salvation from the penalty of sin but our prayer life, our Christian walk and spiritual well-being.

THE LAMB OF GOD

Although John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin in the flesh, he never knew who he really was until the day Jesus approached him as he baptized in the river Jordan. It was the revelation of God’s spirit to his heart that enabled John to cry out, “...Behold the Lamb of God. which taketh away the sin of the world.”

By the Spirit, John knew that Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of the Old Testament. As a type the sacrificial lamb had to be a male of the first year, and without blemish. As a type the sacrificial lamb was representing the sinless, only begotten Son of God. Exodus 12:5.

THE SECOND ADAM

No other human being born into the world since Adam could die in our place. This is because they were all sinners and in need of redemption themselves. The sacrifice had to occupy the place of innocence that Adam occupied before the fall. This is why Jesus was called the last Adam. I Cor. 15:45-47.

This is why Jesus’ birth was also unique. Natural procreation would simply bring another sinner into the world. To avoid this a virgin was chosen to give birth to a child conceived in her by the Holy Spirit.

Conceivably the first Adam could have lived forever had he not sinned. Jesus, the second Adam, did not sin and would have lived forever had our sins not been placed upon him.

JESUS’ DEATH

The cause of Jesus’ death was not a Roman cross — it was our sins placed upon him. He could have called ten thousand angels to rescue him but he knew that our sins were being placed upon him and that he was dying in our place. He knew he was a sacrificial lamb and must die to satisfy the demands of the law that condemned all men from Adam to the last human being born into this world.

Although God is merciful, kind, long suffering and perfect love, he is also holy and just. If he failed in any wise he would cease to be God. His laws are holy and just and must be vindicated as they are an expression of his own being. His holiness and justice demanded death for sin. His mercy and grace provided us a substitute sacrifice in the person of his only begotten Son.

II Cor. 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Jesus went to the cross a sinner — not his sins but ours. They were placed upon him. He chose to do this. As the sinless Son of God dwelling in that light that no man can approach unto he asked for and was granted permission to take our sins upon himself and die in our stead.

HOLY OF HOLIES

No other human being could come into the holy presence of God because they were sinners and God cannot look upon sin.This is why the Father turned his back upon Jesus on the Cross and Jesus cried out “... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matt.27:46.

We need to understand the holiness of God. This is the first lesson the Lord taught Moses when he appeared to him in the burning bush. Exodus 3:1-12. Before telling Moses what he wanted him to do, he said, “... Draw nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5.

This was also the first thing the Lord taught Joshua after he replaced Moses as God’s leader. He too was told to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. Joshua 5:13-15.

Isaiah likewise learned something about the holiness of God through a vision given to prepare him for the work God had for him to do. After seeing the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, Isaiah said, “... Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:1-8.

It was the divine and awesome presence of God that caused John to fall at his feet as dead when he appeared to him on the isle of Patmos. Rev. 1:17.

It was like the same awesome presence of God that caused Jacob upon awakening at Bethel to say, “... How dreadful is this place. This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Gen. 28:17.

God’s holiness demands justice for sin. Sin is transgression of the law. I John 3:4. The law said the soul that sinneth must die. Ezek. 18:20. This sentence of death was carried out when Jesus died on the cross.

There can be no appeals or pardons from the penalty of sin except through our Lord Jesus Christ. Once and for all he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Heb. 9:26. Even as Adam’s sin brought death upon all of his descendants, Christ’s righteousness imparts life eternal to all of his descendants.

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Rom. 5:19.

BY ONE OFFERING

Under the substitute animal sacrifices had to be made over and over again because they could never take away sin. Heb. 10:1-4. Actually they were mere types that pointed to the true and only acceptable sacrifice that was to come. Heb. 9:26-28 says “... But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment;

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

The sacrifice of Christ brought to an end the law and all the bloody animal sacrifices of the Old Testament. There are two principle reasons for this. First of all, man could not keep the law. The law was an expression of the righteousness of God was not given as a means of obtaining salvation.

Romans 3:20 says, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

Man in his depraved condition could never keep the law. But the law did serve to hold transgression in check and reveal to the elect their need of salvation by grace through faith. But then as now, many not understanding the principle of salvation by grace through faith tried to be justified through obedience to the law.

Gal. 3:19 says, “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”

The seed referred to here is Christ. Since man could not keep the moral aspect of the law with its commandments, the ceremonial aspect of the law served as a promissory note until man’s sin debt was actually paid at Calvary.

Gal. 3:24-25 says, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

WORLD’S GREATEST EVENT

The world’s greatest event in the history of the world was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was the supreme expression of God’s hatred of sin. It was the supreme expression of God’s love for his creature man. It sounded the death knell for all men and angels in rebellion against God.

It was the climactic fulfillment of all the types and shadows that pointed to a day of deliverance and redemption. It was the sacrifice that ended all sacrifices. With this one sacrifice sin, past, present and future, was forever put away. Heb. 9:26.

This sacrifice alone enabled sinful man to be justified without human merit, good works or any law regardless of its origin. Regardless of how degraded, vile and sinful a human being might be, the efficacy of this sacrifice was more than sufficient.

“But to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted unto him for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Rom. 4:5-8.

ONCE FOR ALL

In the mind and reckoning of God the merit of this sacrifice was once and for all. It saves and secures the believer from time to eternity. Heb. 10:10 says, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

With this one sacrifice Jesus’ work on this earth was forever finished. Heb. 10:12-14. says, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

The world will not see him again until he comes with his holy angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel. II Thess. 1:7-10.

If Christ’s sacrifice was not sufficient to take care of all our sins, past, present and future, we could never have spiritual rest. Heb. 4:11. If our salvation depended on his death plus or minus anything we would always have room for doubt. Either we are complete in him or we are not. Thank God! The word says, “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Col. 2:10.

Christ’s blood would lose its efficacy and power if one soul was lost who put their trust in him. “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Heb. 10:14.

In fact, if Jesus’ blood didn’t once and for all take care of our sins, past, present and future, we would be no better off than Israel was under the law.

Heb. 10:1-3 says, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

“For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

“But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.”

Seeking to be justified by the law simply brings the curse of the law upon the seeker. This is because it is impossible for any descendant of Adam to keep God’s holy law.

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

“But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

“And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Gal. 3:10-14.

This is the problem I find with so many professing Christians. They are still striving to be justified by law-works. As a result they are intimidated and condemned by the adversary when they fail to measure up. The law is Satan’s greatest ally in accusing and condemning unstable souls.

Not understanding that “... Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, “ they continue to be blown about by every wind of doctrine. Eph. 4:14 Like Israel under the law, being ignorant of God’s righteousness they seek to establish their own through false religious concept. Rom. 10:1-4.

An understanding of the purpose of the law is not only important to the Christian and the seeker of salvation, it is vital. Beyond doubt it is in this area that Satan takes advantage of the ignorant and unlearned to destroy them.

Hosea 4:6 is certainly relevant to this truth. God spoke through the prophet and said, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge...”

TEMPTING GOD

To those who would have brought the believers at Antioch back under the law Peter said, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” Acts 15:10-11.

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