“But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.” (Galatians 5:11)
Paul makes it clear in this verse, that it is the cross of Jesus which is the central issue in our faith. People are to believe or not, stumble or not, on the basis of ONE thing: the cross of Christ.
Nothing else in the church is to be as important as the cross. We are to be “marked” by nothing less; no other teaching; no other peculiarity. If people believe, let them beleive the cross. If they disbelieve, let them disbelieve the cross.
It should be our goal that nothing else about us causes them to stumble: not our hypocrisy; or our worship peculiarities; or our politics; or anything else but Jesus Christ crucified. We should strive for all other stumbling blocks to be taken out of the way, that only the cross might cause anyone hearing us to stumble.
And we must never de-emphasize the cross, in order to try to minimize the stumbling nature of it. THIS IS WHAT PEOPLE ARE SUPPOSED TO STUMBLE OVER IF THEY DO! The cross is our message. If the word of the cross causes people to turn away, then so be it. That is the ONE thing we must be content for them to stumble over!
In light of this, each of us should ask ourselves:
— What things in our church should be changed or minimized, so that people might stumble only over the cross? What can we do in our church to better keep the cross of Christ as our central message?
— What in MY OWN LIFE should be changed or minimized, so that people I know only stumble over the cross? How can I personally make my life — my lifestyle; my personal conversation — more about what Paul said is to be our central message: “the stumbling block of the cross.”