1 Corinthians 1:18-19 ESV
“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.’”
So, why is the word (logos) or message (reasoning) of the cross of Christ foolishness to those who are perishing? It is because it is opposed to our flesh nature; our sin nature. For, it teaches that faith in Jesus Christ means dying with Christ to sin and living to Christ and to his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Acts 26:18).
And, it is because it teaches submission to Christ, humbling ourselves before him, yielding to his will for our lives, and making him Lord (owner-master) of our lives. Also, it is because it teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
And, why is it the power of God to those of us who are being saved? Because it delivers us out of our slavery to sin so that we are no longer under the control of sin and Satan, and we are now slaves to Christ’s righteousness. And, it empowers and strengthens us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world.
And, it is because it gives us the armor of God to put on in order to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us, and it instructs us in the way we should go. And, it exposes the lies of our enemy, and it brings the truth into the light. And, it gives us a message of hope and of a future with God that has purpose and that rests in his strength and power and not in our own.
But, there are many people who are wise in their own eyes, who are clever and manipulative, who have taken the message of the cross and have turned it into something that God never intended. They stripped it of its power by removing the power of the cross to deliver people from their bondage to sin. And, they reduced the message to mere forgiveness of sin regardless of whether or not the “believer” continues on sinful course.
So, the salvation from sin they are promising is a lie, and the hope of heaven they are also promising is a false hope based on a lie. And, so their adherents are left still in slavery to sin, still under the control of Satan, without hope, with a false sense of freedom, and yet destined for hell.
But, God will one day destroy their false wisdom which is not wise at all, but which is foolish. And, he will prevent their false intellect from coming to fruition. He will make it of no effect to where people will no longer be tricked by it, and to where they will no longer follow after it, for he will expose it for the folly that it is, and he will open blinded eyes to see the truth.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25 ESV
“Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Sometimes too much education can be a hindrance to our faith. Sometimes we can fill our minds so much with the theologies of this person or that that we can totally miss the messages God has for us from his word. Sometimes what was ingrained in us from our childhood can also be a hindrance to our faith if what we were taught keeps us from hearing and believing the truth.
This is why the Scriptures teach that we must have childlike faith. We must come to God with the pure innocence of a child in believing and accepting what he shows us, and in following him in obedience to his commands.
We need to go into the Scriptures with that childlike faith, willing to have our ideas challenged, and our traditions brought into question. We need to be willing to put our preconceived notions aside in order to let the purity of God’s Word penetrate into our hearts and lives. And, we need to be followers of Jesus Christ and not of men (or women).
We also need to not get into arguments (fights) with people, especially over things that don’t really matter for eternity. Our purpose in sharing the Word of God with other believers should be for their growth to maturity in Christ, and to encourage them in their walks of faith. And, included in that is exposing the lies so they are not led astray, and proclaiming the truth so that they are following Jesus in the way of righteousness.
We need to be sharing with others what is beneficial for them spiritually, that will make a difference in their lives and in their walks of faith.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’”
I have always loved this section of scripture, and that is because I really identify with it personally. I was brought up very poor, so definitely not from noble birth. I was not encouraged much at all as a child that I had much worth or value. No one that I recall was encouraging me to excel in any particular areas, except maybe in singing. I was always a slow reader, and I had a very low reading comprehension level.
I had trouble believing I could learn most things. I graduated high school with a 1.4 GPA (D-). I finished four years of college (with no degree) the first time around with a 2.5 GPA. But, a lot of those were music courses, so that brought up my GPA. So, I had no high opinion of myself or of my abilities or of my intellect. And, I had multiple people putting me down a lot, and discouraging me even from following the call of God on my life.
But, God called me to his service despite all of that, because he didn’t call me because of my intellect or my abilities, but because of his love and his grace. And, so I see my history as really a blessing from God. He called me, not because of what I could accomplish, but because of what he wanted to accomplish through me, and that is why he gets all the glory, because I know more than anyone but God that it is HIM working through me.
And, this way he not only gets the glory, but it is obvious that the power comes from him and not from me. And, so I have no cause to boast except in him, because I absolutely know that I could do none of what he has me do every day in writing what he gives me to write unless I am completely dependent on him to speak to me and through me for his glory.
So, let me encourage you with these words. It is good for us to study the word of God so that we can be workmen (and women) who correctly handle the Word of Truth. But, we need to remain humble before God, realizing that what we have comes from him, and we need to be dependent on him to feed us the truth of his Word, and to guard against gathering a lot of head knowledge. For, what is important is that we live what we believe, that we put the Word into practice in our lives, and that we love others as Christ loves us.
You are Loving and Forgiving
An Original Work / February 19, 2012
Based off Psalm 86
You are loving and forgiving,
Jesus, Savior, King of kings.
You provided our redemption.
By Your blood You set us free.
You are gracious; full of mercy.
No deeds can compare with Yours.
Great are You; there is none like You.
Glory be to Your name.
Teach me Your way, and I’ll walk in it.
O Lord, I will walk in Your truth.
May I not have a heart divided,
That Your name I give honor to.
I will praise You, O Lord, my Savior,
For great is Your love toward me.
You have delivered me from my sins.
Your grace has pardoned me.
You, O Lord, are full of compassion,
Slow to anger, bounteous in love;
Faithful to fulfill all You promise;
Glory be to Your name above.
Hear, O Lord, and answer Your servant.
You are my God. I trust in You.
Turn to me and grant Your strength to me.
You are my comforter.