But just how powerful is the cross?
In 1838, Robert Murray M’Cheyne preached a sermon, “God Let None of His Words Fall to the Ground.” To demonstrate the power and authority of God’s Word, he related this story:
The excellent John Flavel was minister of Dartmouth, in England. One day he preached from these words: ‘If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha.’ [1 Cor. 16:22] The discourse was unusually solemn – particularly the explanation of the curse. At the conclusion, when Mr. Flavel rose to pronounce the blessing, he paused, and said: ‘How shall I bless this whole assembly, when every person in it who loves not the Lord Jesus is anathema maranatha?’ The solemnity of this address deeply affected the audience. In the congregation was a lad named Luke Short, about fifteen years old, a native of Dartmouth. Shortly after, he went to sea, and sailed to America, where he passed the rest of his life. His life was lengthened far beyond the usual term. When a hundred years old, he was able to work on his farm, and his mind was not at all impaired. He had lived all this time in carelessness and sin; he was a sinner a hundred years old, and ready to die accursed. One day, as he sat in his field, he busied himself in reflecting on his past life. He thought of the days of his youth. His memory fixed on Mr. Flavel’s sermon, a considerable part of which he remembered. The earnestness of the minister – the truths spoken – the effect on the people – all came fresh to his mind. He felt that he had not loved the Lord Jesus; he feared the dreadful anathema; he was deeply convinced of sin – was brought to the blood of sprinkling. He lived to his [one hundred and sixth] year, giving every evidence of being born again. [From “Banner of Truth”]
That’s the power of the cross.