Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

by Mike Ratliff

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. 1 Corinthians 2:12-14 (NASB) 

Have you noticed, have you become aware, how being a Christian in this world makes you a secondary level person? On the other hand, I have paid special attention to the attacks on our faith and they are all made up of a form of a form of debate called a “strawman” attack. . 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 strawman.

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 strawman 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.

18 For the word 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,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-19 (NASB) 

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 the cleverness of the clever I will set aside” 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.

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater 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 come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (NASB) 

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.

27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Romans 3:27-28 (NASB) 

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:1-9 (NASB) 

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.

Soli Deo Gloria!