The preaching of the cross is, I know, nonsense to those who are involved in this dying world, but to us who are being saved from that death it is nothing less than the power of God. (JBP)
It is commonly held by Christians that God is all-powerful. It is also misleading. It may seem like splitting hairs, but God can’t do certain things. He can’t cease to be God; he can’t refuse to save penitent sinners; he can’t make two plus two equal five.
More practically, his power is not always exercised as we might expect. He does not always step in and heal cancers or feed starving children. He lets tyrants prosper and lets his people become martyrs. This all-powerful God chooses to limit the use of his power. This in itself is an expression of his power, albeit a strange expression.
One day, of course, his great and absolute power will be unleashed once and for all. There will be no evil, no opposition to his good government of his creation. For now, we live with the understanding that our all-powerful God limits his power in order for his human creation to live freely as human beings in his world.
The greatest demonstration of this strange power is the cross. God endured shame and suffering and seemed to let evil triumph, and at the same time showed his power over evil and death. The cross both shows his power and shows how differently he wields that power. In one way it is absolute, in quite another way it is highly ambiguous.