The Public Cross
Today the children and I listened to a sermon by Douglas Wilson entitled, "The Public Cross" based on I Corinthians 2: 1-10. As I listened, it occured to me how much my faith (and likely that of others) is often very mixed with unbelief. We take the words "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him" as permission to think that God really isn't going to do the things that He clearly says He is going to do in His Word. In other words, when the Bible speaks of the glory of the Lord filling the nations, and all nations worshipping him, we project this all into the future life as though it were an eschatological fairy tale for eternity after the end of the world, never thinking that it will actually occur in this life. It is precisely because it will occur that the rulers of the world would not have put Christ to death if they had known what would come of it. The death of Christ isn't merely about personal salvation. Where you spend eternity is not something that keeps your political rulers up late at night or causes them to break out in persecutions. Rather what gets their goat, and always has done, is the way the cross of Christ challenges them in their capacity as political leaders and threatens their power. That is why, from the very beginning, it was the political and ecclesiastical leaders who conspired to put Christ to death, who posted guards at the tomb, and who were the first ones to know that He had come back from the dead. They believed Christ's words about His coming resurrection where His own disciples did not.
It is so easy to get locked into a few specific aspects of the faith and totally miss or ignore others. Very often salvation is something that is talked of only in terms of the individual. Yet Scripture talks of salvation in terms of groups of people, like households, cities, and nations. Salvation comes not only to individuals, it comes to the collective -- the one and the many. Man is a social creature and as a social creature he is saved. We are saved not only as individuals, we are saved as a community -- the Church.