The Power of God

“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’” 1 Co. 1:17-19 ESV

Divisions in the Church

There were divisions in the church in Paul’s day, just like there are today. For, today one follows the Baptists, another the Presbyterians, another the Methodists, and still another the Charismatics or the Pentecostals, etc. So, Paul was chiding them for these divisions in the church, and he was strongly appealing to them that they should all be united.

So, his reference here to baptism had to do with these divisions in the church where people were following men instead of God. And, he was thankful that he had only baptized a few people, so that people would not be claiming they were baptized in Paul’s name. For, he did not want people to follow him. He did not want to be their idol. He wanted them to be Christ followers. But, he did encourage people to follow his example, at times.

So, he was encouraging them to all be united and that there be no divisions among them. But, this was not the beginning of some ecumenical movement in the church. This was not some movement to get all institutional churches (businesses, organizations of men) to all come together in unity under one human head and to adopt the same ideas and structures, etc.

The unity Paul was talking about is unity with Christ, with him as the ONLY HEAD. This is unity with the mind of Christ, and with his divine purpose and will for our lives. It is unity with the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and with the teachings of scripture, taught in context. And, it is unity of the Spirit and in the Spirit, and not of men or of their marketing schemes.

For, Christ sent Paul to preach the gospel, but not with words of human wisdom or smooth talk or charm, but in the power of the Holy Spirit, with the wisdom of God. And, he sent him to teach the whole counsel of God, not just cherry picked scriptures meant to tickle itching ears. Thus, Paul was all about the whole truth and nothing but the truth. For, he did not want the cross of Christ to be emptied of its power.

Cross Emptied of Power

Paul did not want people’s faith in Christ to rest on man’s wisdom, but on the wisdom of God, as taught by Jesus and by his NT apostles.

But, so much of what is called “the gospel” today is man’s wisdom, not God’s, for it cherry picks scriptures to say what they want to hear while it ignores the bulk of scriptures which teach on salvation, because the large majority of those scriptures don’t tickle itching ears, but they make people uncomfortable about their lives, because they are still walking in sin.

But, people are flocking by the thousands to hear man’s wisdom because it doesn’t confront them with their sins, it doesn’t require submission to Christ, and it makes no call for repentance or for walks of obedience to Christ. Man’s wisdom tells people that they can “believe” in Jesus and that it doesn’t have to drastically alter their lifestyles. They can go on pretty much like they did before, because now God’s grace covers all their sins, or so they say.

For, the teaching of the cross is folly to those who are perishing. Thus, they will have no part in death to sin or living to righteousness, or walking by the Spirit and no longer by the flesh. For, they think they don’t have to. For, they see salvation from sin as a “get-out-of-jail-free” card and nothing more. They have their ticket into heaven, so they think, and that is good enough for them. How they live, they feel, makes no difference now.

Lies vs. Truth

But, God is exposing the folly of man’s wisdom, and he is exposing the lies for what they are, and he is revealing his truth in contrast to those lies.

And, he is revealing the truth with regard to his salvation from sin. And, that is that he died, not just to free us from punishment and so we can go to heaven when we die. He died to deliver us from our slavery to sin and to empower us to live to his righteousness, for this is what his free gift of GRACE is all about!

(Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Lu. 9:23-25).

And, the other aspect of that truth, which is critical that we comprehend, is that, if we want to have eternal life with God, we must walk (in practice, in lifestyle) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We must daily, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and in lifestyle we must be living holy lives, pleasing to God.

This is not saying we will never sin, or that we will never fail in any respect. But, the scriptures are real clear on this subject. How we live our lives does impact our eternal security.

The righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk no longer according to the flesh, but who walk according to the Spirit. If we walk in the light as Jesus is in the light, we have fellowship with God and with one another who are also walking in the light, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

So, if we make sin our practice, and we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, and we keeping living in sin, habitually and willfully living in disobedience to our Lord and to his commands, then heaven is not guaranteed us when we die, and we don’t have eternal life with God, for we are all going to reap what we sow in this life (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Eph. 5:3-6).

The Power of God

Yet, even though the truth of the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing in their sins, and thus they are not willing to submit themselves to the cross of Christ and to death to sin and to living to righteousness, we who are in Christ, by faith in him, find that the preaching of the cross is the power of God in our lives.

For, we are so grateful to our Lord that he did not leave us in our bondage to sin but that he rescued us from the power of sin and Satan by setting us free from our slavery and by empowering us to live righteously, by his grace. For, this is true freedom!

So, don’t let liars and deceivers sell you short on the gospel and leave you still in slavery to sin while giving you a false hope of heaven. Believe the truth of the gospel. Read the New Testament book by book and verse by verse and pray for wisdom and understanding of the gospel message. And, if you are sincere, the Lord will show you the truth which will set you free.

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

5 thoughts on “The Power of God

  1. Sue, from the beginning of your post I couldn’t stop thinking about Colossians 3:14: “Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others].” Blessings in this season of thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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