The Cross Shows God’s Power and Wisdom

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The apostle Paul declares in 1 Corinthians verses 18 and 19:

(18) For the word of the cross is folly 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 discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (ESV) {See Isaiah 29:14}

The message that proclaims Christ crucified as the Redeemer of all who believe, is—to the sin-darkened mind—utter foolishness. According to human reasoning, it makes no sense that one man should die as a substitute for others. Nor, in their minds, can it be accepted that a holy God would allow his Son to die for sinners. At every turn, human reasoning presents a host of arguments against the message of the cross. Glory be to God, however, the apparent folly of the cross is what saves repentant sinners! (Rom. 1:16-17)

God has exposed human wisdom for what it is: wisdom destitute of enlightenment from above. The world cannot understand the wisdom of God because it has perverted God’s holy and righteous standards. In its great wisdom, the world pronounces darkness to be light; wrong to be right, and evil to be good. It pronounces the very things that God forbids and condemns, to be acceptable and commendable. This gross violation of God’s ways and God’s will is reflected in every area of society, and in almost all areas of life. (Rom.1:18-23)

We must not imagine, however, that—in and of themselves—qualities such as human wisdom or human intelligence are ungodly. These qualities are gifts of God. They only become ungodly when abused: i.e., when used for evil or ungodly purposes or without regard for the One who provided mankind with these gifts.

Those, however, who abuse the gifts of God, stand to lose the gifts of God. Those who do not use their minds to honour God, will—by God’s judgment—find their minds becoming susceptible to error, misunderstanding, misjudgment and ever-increasing ungodliness. Let us remember the great intellect possessed by Satan. Let us remember, too, from whence he fell.

Hence…God destroys—or renders misguided, wholly unsatisfactory and futile—the wisdom of this world: And he does this through the preaching or message of the cross.

[Excerpt from Expository Notes: 1 Corinthians (chapter 1, verses 18-19). To read or download the full version of these Notes, see under the NT Commentaries menu above.]

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