When you consider your perspective regarding the questions of why you exist on this
planet and what will happen to you after you die, you will evaluate knowledge found in the world through the glasses of your understanding and experience. This knowledge base becomes your “world view” which is demonstrated by your lifestyle. In these next few chapters of 1 Corinthians we will see that worldly wisdom and heavenly wisdom are in conflict with each other and are opposing worldviews promoting differing lifestyles with eternal consequences. The ultimate question is: which world view will be proven right in the end? We will all find out experientially when we step through the portal of death whether we will spend eternity rejoicing or lamenting. Fear not, God himself – the author of scripture, gives his personal guarantee – in writing that we can know for certain right now where we will spend eternity. You don’t have to wait until you die to find out. Alternatively, God’s great opponent claims that there is nothing to fear because there is nothing past that portal. So, just like Adam in the Garden, God has given you the right and responsibility to choose either to trust God’s Word or follow your own wisdom; but with the choice comes with God’s warning and eternal consequences. Choose wisely.
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
1 Cor 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
2 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God of Power, Righteousness, holiness and redemption. Through the preaching of the cross of Calvary, you can have my righteousness. By trusting in my work, you can be made holy in my Son. By letting me do for you what you cannot do for yourself, I will work in you with the same resurrection power that raised Christ from the dead. If you simply believe my message, I will redeem you from Sin, Satan, and Death itself and will make you positionally holy and acceptable in my sight both now and completely in the end. Human wisdom says that I “help those who help themselves”, but this is wrong. Like saving a drowning man, I will wait until there is no strength (fight) in you before I step in, so that you cannot claim any credit for yourself.
I AM the God of wisdom. In my wisdom, I have given you free will. Like the saying goes; “If you love someone, let them go, if they return, then they are yours. If they do not return then it was never meant to be.” In my love for you, I chose to let you choose whether you will love me in return. In my wisdom, I have given you the simple truth, not some elaborate philosophical scheme. The whole point is so that your salvation does not rely in any way on you; your wisdom, your intelligence, your strength, your righteousness, your will power, your image, your good intentions, your heritage, or your religiosity; so that you will recognize that salvation is to result in my glory, not yours. The beauty of my truth and wisdom is that it is meek and lowly and my calling is to anyone with the heart of childlike faith to receive it. This is opposite to the thinking of the world, which is about earning it by dedication, sacrifice and hard work on your part.
Points to ponder when choosing
When I think of the choice mentioned in the opening comments, I often think of this life being the gamble of eternity. Without alternative worldviews offered to us, the exercise of our free will choice is non-existent. Whether choosing between Christianity and non-Christian religions, cults or even evolutionary materialism, we have to weigh out the pros and cons that come with the choice. On the one hand, being a believer has many benefits in this life, all of which would be considered worth living for, not the least is the offer of free eternal life. The down side is that Satan becomes your enemy and in many parts of the world you may have to lay down your life physically in your stand for Christ.
What are the stakes? If Christianity’s claims are true, and If God’s word is true, what are a few years of pain and suffering in this life as compared to70 bizzillion years of the bliss of heaven? However, those who are not Christian may have a life of pleasure now, but will spend eternity where the worm is ever consuming you in the fiery outer darkness of hell all alone.
Conversely, if Christianity is not true, then heaven and hell are non-existent and we all just disappear; the end. 1 Cor 15 says that Christians are to be pitied more than all men for their standard of holy living. Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. But scripture goes on to say… Christ has indeed risen from the dead.
Thus, Christianity is a win-win situation, and non-Christianity might seem like a win in this life, but a lose situation where it counts for eternity. Which do you want?
The Counter-intuition of God
Objections: You may ask; “How can a God of love send anyone to hell?” Let me answer that question with another question. “How can a Holy, Righteous, Just, Judge let any sinner into heaven?” To put it into a human perspective; what would you think of a human judge who lets law breakers off the hook without due justice? Why do you expect God to do so? Let’s refine the question; it isn’t about God sending just “anyone” to hell. Let’s get specific. The question is really about your not liking the thought that God would send “you” (a sinner) to hell for not having His righteousness. Don’t make the mistake in thinking that God is all-loving without acknowledging his being all-Holy too. His love does not cancel his holiness. To show that he is both in that he loves you so much, he took his holy judgment on himself through Jesus Christ on the cross to pay for your sin penalty of death so you could experience heaven one day in true holiness. This wisdom of God in rescuing a lost humanity with free salvation to all who would humbly accept it is counter-intuitive to our human standards and foolishness. Jude 24 “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”.
More to come,