Week 6 - 1 Corinthians 1:18

Week 6 – 1 Corinthians 1:18:  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.
Pride must be destroyed. It is a most beloved character trait to most of us. We like to think that if we have certain abilities, possessions, friends, etc., that somehow, we are more valuable and important to the world. For the Christian, we get caught up in pride by measuring ourselves according to the standards of this world, which is passing away, instead of the kingdom of heaven, which is our eternal inheritance in Christ. We have some innate desire to measure our good in some tangible way that makes sense to us and everyone around us. The problem with that is, due to sin the measures of this world are out of balance and directly opposed to the measures of God.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” ( 1 Samuel 16:7)

This verse from 1 Samuel is describing the anointing of David as king and the rejection by Yahweh of Saul as king. You have one whose heart was ever seeking the Lord and one who was not. Only God could make that distinction. It would obviously look foolish for strong, mature, and experienced Saul to be replaced by a shepherd boy, but not according to the Lord. So, we see that God judges and sees far beyond what we do. Corinth is a place in the world that lives on pride. They have the greatest intellect, food, culture, strength - you name it they have it. Now the word of the cross comes into that environment and changes people and causes them to follow this crucified Jesus. They will be ridiculed for following a God who could not save Himself from a sinner’s crucifixion. That message is considered foolish, or stupid, but only by those that are perishing. We are all perishing, getting older, decaying in the flesh so to speak, but this word for perishing is indicting those without spiritual life. The rest of the chapter goes on to describe those people as unable to understand the spiritual, for they are part of a world that is dead (spiritually) in their sins and trespasses (see Eph. 2). If there is more to life than breathing, and if God is Spirit so that those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:24), yet man is dead in his spirit because of sin, then how might we live and be saved?

Answer: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

We believe the message of the cross because we understand, spiritually, how necessary, and powerful His dying under the wrath of God for the sins of His people was. It appears foolish for God to come in the flesh and die, and for His followers to hold up the cross as a symbol of our hope of life in Him. It seems crazy to say an eternal God died in human flesh. But we who are being saved come to know that unless He cleansed us, we would not be clean. Unless He set us free, we would not be free. Unless He reconciled us to God we would not be reconciled. Unless He lives, we would not live.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (1 Corinthians 5:21)

The strength and power and wisdom of God so confounds and transcends a world like ours so much so that when He displays it (the cross) we cannot understand it. Yet, He has chosen to reveal it to the least or weakest of us. After a discussion on the foolishness of the those witnessing the power and presence of God in Christ yet denying it, Jesus declares: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. (Matt. 11:25-26)

Do not be alarmed, little ones, if you are considered foolish because of the cross, it means life for you. It is how God in His power rescued you from sin. It would be eternally foolish to identify yourself with anything but the cross.

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