May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
No one likes a boaster. No one enjoys someone who is always boasting about something he has or does. Paul opposed those who boasted in their circumcision and in their keeping of the law. He said that if anyone could boast in their religious observance, it was he (Philippians 3:4-6). But he considered all that to be garbage (literally, dung). He would only boast in Christ, in the cross of Christ.
Why? Why would Paul boast in what others considered to be a shameful, disgusting, degrading manner of death? Because Paul saw that the cross of Jesus Christ was 1) the mirror of God’s attributes, his love, mercy, grace, power, and wisdom; 2) the means of the redemption of sinners; 3) the magnet by which God would draw people from every language and nation to Christ. (William Hendriksen)
We can boast in the cross of Christ because it means the death of sin, the defeat of the devil, the purchase of a people for God’s own possession, and the death of death itself. We can boast in the cross because the death of Jesus means the life of all his ransomed people. As today we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, let us boast in the sacrifice of our beloved Savior on the cross.
The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food;
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good. (T.S. Eliot)
“I lay these thoughts before your mind. What you think now about the cross of Christ, I cannot tell. But I can wish you nothing better than this,—that you may be able to say with the Apostle Paul, before you die or meet the Lord, ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’.” (J.C. Ryle)
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood. (Isaac Watts)
Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain;
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross
Be my glory ever,
Till my ransomed soul shall find
Rest beyond the river. (Fanny J. Crosby)