In Galatians 5:11 Paul says that if he preaches the gospel persecution arises. If he preaches religion, he would not be treated that way. He makes this remark, “Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished.” The truth is, the message of the cross leaves no room for ambivalence or indecision. It is offensive. The message of the cross is seen by some as foolish and to others a stumbling block. The reason is that the cross gets at the heart of each person.
Sin brings death. The cross is a message that brings that reality to the consciousness of those who hear the gospel. Sin necessitated the horrible event of death. It demands a righteous response and the cross is that response. The cross is a message that sin ceases in death because it causes death. The only way to stop sin is to stop the sinner.
The cross demands that for anyone who wishes to escape the sentence of death, someone else has to die. It also demands that the guilty place themselves upon the instrument of self-denial and repent of their sinful ways. There must be, as it were, a death of the actions that produced death to begin with. That is what repentance is, and the cross brings that awareness.
That is why people find the message to be a stumbling block. They don’t want to be held responsible for their sin, nor do they want to give up control of their own lives in order to stop their behavior. Death is repulsive no matter how one looks at it. Yet, it is the only way through judgment unto life.