Let me show you what I mean by the confrontation of the cross.
Consider a man who is fed up with his sinful habit yet he continually falls deeper into its clutches. He has promised himself a hundred times he will never do it again – and, for a while, he submerges the temptation and enjoys a measure of freedom. But later it comes back with greater force.
This man has covered up his sin, lied about it, cheated because of it – and it has brought him great sorrow. He no longer enjoys it, but he can’t quit. He just keeps going back.
The man knows he will have to stand at the judgment seat one day and he goes through life fearing exposure and scandal. His sin has drained him, shackled him, deceived him. It has brought him down to a weariness in which he can hardly exist – he’s at the end of his rope.
In this sad, weary, worn-out state, the Holy Spirit brings the man this word: “There is a way out for you. There is a place of victory, peace, joy, newness of life. Accept Christ’s call to run to Him and find rest. Go to the cross of Jesus Christ.”
Beloved, when you kneel at the cross, you will not hear an easy, soft word, at least not at first. Even though the cross is the only door to life, you are going to hear about death – death to every sin.
At the cross, you face the crisis of your life and that is what is missing in so many churches. The preaching of the cross brings about a crisis of sin, of self-will. It will speak to you with loving, but firm, words about the consequences of continuing in your sin:
“Deny yourself. Embrace the death of the cross. Follow Me!”
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Lk 9:23).