My last post was about how we cannot rely solely on our personal experience of God. Theology has an important part to play as well. Our experience, as sweet, as intimate, as powerful and as impactful as it may be, gives us only a narrow view, a tiny piece of the picture of who God is. The experience and thoughtful analysis of the countless faithful who have gone before us can help us understand the fuller picture.
The sermon I heard in church this Sunday shifted my perspective. Not to say that our experiences of God are not important; not to say that theology is not important to help us understand the bigger picture. But, really, neither of those can be our starting point. At Wonderful Mercy Church this morning, Pastor Graeme Sellers was preaching on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. In that passage, St. Paul declares that “…Christ crucified, [is] a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles…” (v. 23, English Standard Version). And yet, as Pastor Sellers taught, the cross is the definitive revelation of God: “Our picture of God is to be derived 100% from Jesus on the Cross because Jesus reflects what God is like with 100% accuracy.”
If we want to know God, good theology is important; personal experience can be sweet; but they cannot be our starting place. We cannot start with those and work our way up to the cross, the stumbling block and folly. We must start with the cross, the God’s love for us perfectly reflected in Jesus on the cross. From there we can work our way to the rest, but we must start at the cross.
This post steals steals shamelessly from Pastor Sellers’ message, “Power, Knowledge, and the Cross of Christ.” I encourage you to take 30 minutes and give it a listen. It will be well worth your time.