Wisdom in the power of God

by Mike Ratliff

6 Σοφίαν δὲ λαλοῦμεν ἐν τοῖς τελείοις, σοφίαν δὲ οὐ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου οὐδὲ τῶν ἀρχόντων τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου τῶν καταργουμένων· 1 Corinthians 2:6 (NA28)

6 But wisdom we speak among the mature, yet it is a wisdom not of this age or of the rulers of this age, the ones being brought to nothing; 1 Corinthians 2:6 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Every generation of genuine Christians must fight the battles for the truth and correct doctrine. Some of these “Truth Wars,” as John MacArthur calls them, have been worse and longer than others, but the one we are in now has been especially ugly with outright defections from within what most would consider the bulwark of Christian leaders who have shown their true liberal colors. However, what has been most enlightening to this Christian has been the absolute faithfulness of our Lord in the building of his church in the midst of rampant apostasy, pop-culture so-called chrisitianity, the decimation of local churches on a huge scale with the proliferation of mega-churches that are seeker-sensitive and politically correct non-gospel man-centered fake churches. There are also the huge churches based on the personality of the pastor as if he is some sort of rock-star. I have contacts from all over the world who testify how hard it is for them to find a solid, Biblically based church in their area. Even through all of this carnage, our Lord is faithful and continues to build his church. 

Some of us who have fought this battle for quite some time have noticed something. These fake churches are spiritually empty, that is, there is no real fulfillment to be had there as there is from knowing Jesus personally as Lord and Saviour as you obediently serve him with your life and all you do, including in church by sitting under the preaching of the Word rightly divided and participating in the Lord’s Supper (Communion) and witnessing the Baptizing of new believers. These things God has designed to build up the Body of Christ and when the mature (genuine believers) are in a church like that, they also receive the very wisdom of God and are able to endure this life in the flesh as no natural man can. What my friends and I have come to see is that God’s people are very hungry for this.

Yes, this nation is still under the judgment of God and so we have ungodly leaders and the country is full of ungodly people demanding their “rights” while being deeply offended at even the mention of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is not to say that within these same people there are not a very large number of religious people who call themselves “Christians,” but their focus is anything but eternity and the glory of God. These are the ones who demand that society become “Christianized” or redeemed and that the United States take on its proper role as a “Chosen Nation” of God. Then there are other’s calling themselves “Christians” whose theology marks them as heretics. These groups come in as many levels of “error” that can be defined and we don’t have the room to do that here.

I know that those few sentences in that last paragraph may have “offended“ some of you, but we are never commanded in Sacred Scripture to “Christianize the World,” but to make disciples from every nation teaching them to observe all things that Christ taught. Our Lord commanded this and he also said that in the doing of that command, we would be hated and persecuted until his return, but that we should take heart, because he would always be with us.

1 Κἀγὼ ἐλθὼν πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ἦλθον οὐ καθʼ ὑπεροχὴν λόγου ἢ σοφίας καταγγέλλων ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ. 2 οὐ γὰρ ἔκρινά τι εἰδέναι ἐν ὑμῖν εἰ μὴ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν καὶ τοῦτον ἐσταυρωμένον. 3 κἀγὼ ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ καὶ ἐν φόβῳ καὶ ἐν τρόμῳ πολλῷ ἐγενόμην πρὸς ὑμᾶς, 4 καὶ ὁ λόγος μου καὶ τὸ κήρυγμά μου οὐκ ἐν πειθοῖ[ς] σοφίας [λόγοις] ἀλλʼ ἐν ἀποδείξει πνεύματος καὶ δυνάμεως, 5 ἵνα ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν μὴ ᾖ ἐν σοφίᾳ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλʼ ἐν δυνάμει θεοῦ. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NA28)

1 And I, having come to you, brothers, came not according to excellence of speech or of wisdom announcing to you the mystery of God. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my proclamation was not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith may not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Of course Paul expounded the whole counsel of God to the church and taught the Corinthians the Word of God, however, the focus of his preaching and teaching to unbelievers was Jesus Christ through the expounding of the Gospel message to them. However, notice how Paul eliminates his own preaching prowess and intellectual abilities from having any part in the outcome. He came in fear and trembling with no flowery speech yet God used the Gospel message to do a great work there. This is what has been lost on so much of those who have attempted to take the “visible church” the wrong way. Everything they have done with their programs and ditching doctrines and creeds and going after vain philosophies of men is to do the opposite of what Paul did in Corinth. Post-Modern thinkers are absolutely sure they are smarter and more able than God.

6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written,
“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (NASB) 

This passage is incredibly insulting to the natural man. Who are the mature? These are genuine believers who have been saved by Christ. This age is all periods of human history until the Lord returns while the rulers are secular authorities in this age.

In vv7-16 we have God’s wisdom, which is freely given to those whom he has saved. The natural man cannot understand this wisdom, but it is foolishness to him. To the unregenerate heart, you can preach the gospel continually, but until the regenerative spark of God replaces that heart of stone with a heart of flesh, and that person is effectually called by God, there is no belief, there is no saving faith. However, with this saving faith comes the ability to know the wisdom of God because he or she has the mind of Christ.

Now, as we look at those leaders of the pop-culture churches, the seeker churches, the entertainment oriented churches, that is, all those church groups that are bound to the flesh, do they have the mind of Christ? If they did, would they be doing and saying things that are destructive to the Body of Christ and meant to draw attention to them and away from the glory of God? Think on these things and seek the wisdom of God, not the wisdom of man.

Soli Deo Gloria!