The Wisdom of God through Christ Crucified

A Sunday Morning Exhortation

 

 

Read: I Corinthians 1:17-31

 

In this passage we read of a comparison between the wisdom of man versus the wisdom of God.  The main subject of these words is of the wisdom of God, which is seen through the sacrifice of His Son.  The very “corner stone” of God’s grand scheme for this earth is found through the crucifixion of the Anointed One.  Through this sacrifice those who understand and choose to avail themselves of its benefits symbolically wash themselves in the blood of Christ so to have deliverance from sin and death. There can be no future reward, and there can be no immortal race that can exist that can eternally give glory to God and enjoy the blessings of a peaceful earth unless the evil effects of Adam’s sin are first atoned for.

 

No matter what schemes man comes up with, no matter what inventions, cures, or philosophies he devises nothing has been or ever will be done to solve the problem of death.  Longer life and a comfortable existence full of all that man has invented to make life more enjoyable cannot fix the great problem of life, for the reason that all existence comes to an end eventually and passes into eternal non-existence.  Man can devise nothing to save himself no matter how well thought out, no matter how well built, no matter how well funded.  Man takes great pride in his accomplishments and in fact he has come a long way over the short history of this earth, but still he passes into the grave arrogantly if not valiantly but vainly attempting to avoid the great inevitable.

 

The scriptures paint the picture of a great divide between the wisdom of man verses the wisdom of God.  The Apostle Paul quotes from Isaiah 29 where it is stated, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.   On the other hand, man is so caught up in his own way of thinking as to what is right and what is wrong that Paul addresses man’s vanity by telling us that “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness”.  The ways of God are considered to be foolishness by the ways of men, or who Paul styles, “them that perish”.   We are no doubt not just talking about the atheist, or even those who believe in a creator but have no part in religion, but we also speak of those who profess a belief in God and Christ but add their own wisdom, philosophies, and ideas to the picture that in reality make the word of God of none effect.  Here in I Corinthians the Apostle Paul is speaking to the ecclesia at Corinth and is attempting to step into ecclesial difficulties that are dividing the ecclesia.  We see the thinking of man entering into the picture, which is causing strife within the ecclesia.  The division was being caused by those who were boasting as to who they had been baptized by - as if it were some kind of status symbol.  Such a doctrine as this was nullifying the whole purpose of being baptized.  It is not the person doing the baptism that is of any issue but who we are being baptized into (that being Christ) that is of the utmost importance in our understanding. 

 

What we understand our baptism to mean and the importance of keeping fleshly thinking out the picture is realized when Paul states, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect”.  So human thinking and perception, as demonstrated, can nullify God saving Truth, which as Paul warns can nullify the benefits that Christ’s sacrifice has for us.  As is stated in II Peter 2: 19, 20 concerning those who teach false doctrines and those who indulge in worldly activity, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, then, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment  delivered unto them.  But it happened unto them according to the true proverb, ‘The dog is turned to his own vomit again”, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”  To turn to man’s wisdom is to void the hope of eternal life that is promised to those who are avail themselves of the Saving Name.

 

If we think for a moment (for the purpose of a mental exercise) it is easy to see that the Truth of God’s wisdom would easily appear to be foolishness in men’s eyes.  To the atheist, non-religious, or any variety of a humanist individual any responsibility to a greater more intelligent power is highly odious.  They teach that man is the master of his own destiny, and that he is free to live by the rules he himself has devised for his own enjoyment.  To them the Bible is nothing more then oppression and ignorant mythology.  How silly would it appear that we can have immortality by faithfulness to an angry God (in their view) and connection to the brutal murder of an innocent man on a Roman cross?  How brutal, how barbaric, how foolish!they exclaim.  And why do we look to a poor carpenter as a Savior of the human race?  Why not a man of power, might, refinement, and political tact?  Where is the science?  Where is the reason? 

 

Even for the so-called religious who do recognize a creator and do practice a form of religion, as Paul said about the practicing Jews and which also applies to the many religious people of this world, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”  They have desire but their understandings are so mired by the thinking of human wisdom as to make void the Truths of God.  Whereas the atheist and agnostic want to deny any recognition of the God of Israel the religious of this world wish to embellish and alter such an understanding.  Immortal Soulism, trinitarianism, an eternal burning Hell, ecumenicalism, believe anything you want to believe isms, and so on – all these inventions of man’s thinking and philosophy corrupt and nullify the very simple and beautiful truths that make up God’s plan for this earth and mankind upon it.

 

But God, perceiving man’s folly has the mastery over it.  As Paul continues in his argument, “the foolishness of God is wiser then men, and the weakness of God is stronger then men.”  To prove the point and teach the lesson to man that he so desperately needs we see that God’s workings are always contrary to man’s ideas of how things should be.  God does not choose the wise and powerful but we are told that “how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.  BUT God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE.”

 

This is so completely contrary to the thinking of the flesh and yet it is so deeply intelligent of God but yet so simple of a plan to bring down the pride of human invention and reason.  Even many of the churches of this world have lost out on this all important lesson.  Bigger is better in man’s thinking.  Better technology, more money, bigger homes, bigger churches and so on.

 

But what does this have to do with Christ crucified.  If we are thinking with the mind of the flesh where do we find beauty in a body beaten, scourged, and hung by men?  Where do we find beauty in the lowly carpenter from Nazareth?  Where do we find beauty in a man who spoke clearly in condemning the so called wise, educated, and wealthy of his day?  Where do we find wisdom in an individual who made the people around him so incensed by telling them of their sins and folly to the point that they conspired to put him to death?  What wisdom or beauty is there in the shedding of blood?

 

We are told by Paul that God has chosen things which are despised to bring to nought those things that are.  It is through the sacrifice of Christ that “death will be swallowed up in victory”.  It is through the sacrifice of Christ that we have “the great salvation”.  It is through the sacrifice of Christ (as it benefited himself) that he was raised by the blood of the everlasting covenant to now enjoy eternal life at the right hand of the Father.  It is through the benefits of his own  sacrifice that Christ  has been enabled to return to the earth a second time “without sin” to strike the feet of the Kingdom of Men and to overtake the Kingdoms of the Earth and reestablish the ancient Kingdom of Israel which will be a universal Kingdom.  It is through His sacrifice that it can be said of the faithful “these are they which came out of great tribulation, have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  This is what the wisdom of God can do and will do.  Though starting simple and originating from humble circumstances its end will be far glorious then the wisdom (so called) of men.

 

The Apostle Paul continues these thoughts further. We read in the next chapter: 

 

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 2: 4,5

 

But as it is written, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.’  But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”  2: 9,10

 

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 2: 13

 

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, ‘He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.’  And again, ‘The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.’  Therefore let no man glory in men, For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollas, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” 3: 19-23

 

It is through what is perceived by men to be nothing more then foolishness that we see the Wisdom of God.  It is through Christ crucified that we have hope and the promise of eternal life.  A life everlasting that will leave behind in the dust of vanity the foolishness of a vain idea that man was capable of saving himself.

 

A. Thomas