by Mike Ratliff
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:12-14 KJV)
As I write this it is early in the investigation of the murders in Colorado this past Sunday at the youth missionary training center and the Mega-Church in Colorado Springs. The speculation I have heard from some close to the investigation is that the attack was one that was centered in a hatred of Christianity. That remains to be seen, but that would not surprise me. I previewed the anti-Christian movie, Zeitgeist last week and was appalled at the lengths some will go to in their war on Christ and Christianity.
I posted a article several days ago about the Straw man Fallacy. This is a form of debate or argument where one side builds their case by creating a false or corrupt version of their opponent’s stand or argument. Then they proceed to attack their false version of the truth, the Straw man. That is a fallacious form of argument. I have noticed, and I pray that you have as well, that the recent attacks on Christianity have all been of this type. For instance, in the movie Zeitgeist, the attack was on a false view of genuine Christianity. One of their attacks was centered on them trying to prove that Christianity simply used the Egyptian myth of the god Horus as a model for Jesus Christ. One of their arguments was that both Horus and Jesus had the same birthday, December 25th. Well, we don’t believe that December 25th is Jesus’ actual birthday. In fact, we teach that the Bible does not tell us when Jesus was born. Therefore, this argument is a Straw man.
This is just one of many arguments in that movie like this. I have never heard of anyone successfully attacking the real Jesus, but I have witnessed innumerable Straw man attacks against Him. This should tell us that those doing this do not have the Holy Spirit, therefore they simply do not understand the truth.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (1Corinthians 1:18-19 KJV)
What is the preaching of the cross? This is God’s total revelation, the Gospel in all its fullness. This preaching or teaching is centered in the incarnation and crucifixion of Christ. It also includes the entire divine plan and provision for the redemption of sinners. This is the theme of all Sacred Scripture. This teaching is foolishness to those who are perishing. The Greek word that forms “foolishness” here is the root word for our English word “moron.” It means “absurdity.” Those who are perishing see the message of the cross as utter foolishness or moronic or absurd. What does it mean that they are perishing? The Greek word that is translated as “them that perish” is a present participle. It implies continuous or repeated action. Later in v18 we have the term “saved.” It is also a present participle.
What is this telling us? The Greek Interlinear for v18 reads, “For the word of the cross is truly foolishness to those being lost; but to us being saved, it is the power of God.” There are two groups of people on this planet. There are those being saved and those being lost. This is speaking of a process. Those being saved are in the process of salvation. It will not be completed until the redemption of the body. (Romans 8:23; Romans 13:11) Everyone else is in the process of destruction. What makes the difference? Those being saved responded to the message or preaching of the cross by receiving Christ as Lord and Saviour. Christ rejecters are in the process of destruction. (Ephesians 2:1,2) To them, the Gospel is nonsense. To those being saved, it is powerful wisdom.
The phrase, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent” is a quote from Isaiah 29:14. This prophecy is in process and will be fulfilled when Christ sets up His Kingdom. When the Kingdom of God comes in fulfillment, all human wisdom will die.
“Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1Corinthians 1:20-25 KJV)
Human wisdom always proves to be unreliable and temporal. There are some comments or emails that we receive on this blog that are 100% human wisdom and philosophy. If we do not have an eternal perspective with our hearts full of God’s wisdom then we can be deceived and misled by their wise sounding words and criticisms. However, as I stated earlier, their arguments are always of the Straw Man variety and are from a temporal perspective. They sound wise, but are based on incomplete or invalid assumptions. Where is the wise? God has made foolish the wisdom of the world.
“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:27-28 KJV)
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:1-9 KJV)
God has chosen to use the foolishness of the cross and it’s preaching to save those who believe. Why did God do it this way? It is to exclude boasting. Genuine salvation is the result of God’s work in those whom He saves in such a way that no one may boast. Therefore, we must conclude that in that process man is the object of it not the instigator of it. Natural man looks at the cross and the message of the Gospel and scoffs. However, when the Holy Spirit moves through the preaching of it, opening hearts to it, then the object of God’s love sees it as the most glorious wisdom. Then they see the wisdom of the world as the ultimate foolishness.
God’s ways are not man’s ways. Neither are God’s thoughts man’s thoughts. God saves sinners by a process that the world sees as moronic. That is why believers must abstain from accumulating the wisdom of the world and, instead, seek the ways of God and treasure up His truth in their hearts until that day when their redemption is complete.