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God’s grace nullifies worldly wisdom

God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God. God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:27-31

Those who are perishing, those who are heading to destruction live according to the standards of sinful human wisdom. Because of this they wrongly conclude that the message of the cross is foolishness. On the other hand, it is the Holy Spirit that convicts and changes the perspectives of those who are being saved. Those who follow Christ rightly perceive that Christ’s death on the cross is not foolishness, but it is the power of God bringing salvation from sin and death. Paul pressed this radical outlook of believers in order to remind Christians that the way of Christ does not rely on sinful human wisdom. God demonstrated the foolishness of human wisdom in Christ in that human wisdom would never lead anyone to think that God would allow his Son to be crucified to save man. By acting in a way that human wisdom would label “foolish,” God unsatisfied human wisdom. When God’s grace touched their lives, their old standards of judgment fell away. They saw with new eyes and understood that the gospel of the crucified Christ was the power of God that could rescue them from the dominion of sin and from divine judgment. Believers have come to recognize something about the gospel of the crucified Christ: it is wiser than man’s wisdom. In other words, the message of Christ entered into reality in ways that far exceed any human wisdom. Furthermore, the gospel is stronger than man’s strength. People cannot rescue themselves from bondage to sin or its punishment by their own power. Human wisdom is unable to conquer “the wages of sin” (Rom. 6:23), that is, death. This is why the good news of Christ rescues and delivers. It overcomes even death (see 2 Timothy 1:10). Those who believe the gospel know the reality of its wisdom and power. For this reason, they exalt nothing above Christ and his saving work. God planned to shame those whom the world considered wise and strong. Paul did not use these unflattering descriptions of the Corinthians to demean them, but to remind them that to know Christ is to know God’s wisdom. In this way, glory belongs to the Lord alone and no one has basis for boasting but “only about the Lord.”


Noel De Guzman

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