Monday, January 30, 2017

Real Wisdom

1 Corinthians 1
24 But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Paul writes two letters to the Church in Corinth. Corinth was an isthmus (five sided island) just south of Greece. Corinth was a major commercial center, and home to a lot of immorality, due huge cult practice of prostitution, and other forms of debauchery. In fact the term "to Corinthianize", was a synonym for loose living and depravity. It was also an intellectual center for philosophers and debaters of different religions and philosophies. Paul uses the term "wisdom" throughout this chapter to compare worldly wisdom with God's wisdom.

Paul says God's wisdom is foolishness to the Jews who seek signs, and foolishness to the Greeks who seek human wisdom. Most likely these new Christians were tempted to go back to the wisdom of this world rather than relying on the foolishness of the Gospel. Paul reminds them that they were not very wise when God called them. Paul is speaking "tongue in cheek" when calls his preaching foolishness, but since it is the wisdom of God, it is wiser than the anything in the world. But God's wisdom is not just intellectual but full of power too. God's power in Jesus Christ shows that God's wisdom is much more efficacious than the hollow philosophies that have no power at all.

You see in God's wisdom, He sent His only Son to earth. He was born in manger and grew up the son of a carpenter. When he spoke he got the attention of his elders. He even confounded their own wisdom. Jesus spoke in parables to illustrate how God's kingdom worked. He used earthly analogies to transmit spiritual meanings. To those looking to understand they saw how God's kingdom could come and bring ultimate meaning in their lives. Finally, in God's wisdom, His Son went to the cross to pay for the sins of all people. For God to go and die on a cross, seems foolish to many. After all, why did he not come on a war horse to deliver the Jews from the Romans. But instead he came as a suffering servant. He came to serve and wash his disciples' feet rather than Lord it over them. Who would have invented this plan? Could the philosophers of this world come up with this plan?

Paul wants to remind them lest they forget, that God's plans are higher than their plans. God in His wisdom saved them when they could not save themselves. One of the things he will address with them later is pride, which plays itself in "spiritual pride". Sometimes as we grow in our Christian faith we need to be careful we don't replace God's simple wisdom with or own. That would be pretty smart!

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