Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians
Man’s Wisdom, God’s Wisdom (Part 1)
1 Corinthians 1:18-26
15 June 2014
O Love divine, what hast thou done!
The immortal God hath died for me!
The Father’s co-eternal Son
Bore all my sins upon the tree.
Th’immortal God for me hath died:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!
– Charles Wesley
The sin of pride is a root that produces all kinds of fruit. And much of this fruit was being seen in the church at Corinth in the way they chose to follow their favourite leaders. Their choices betrayed their love for style, method, charisma, intellectualism and rhetoric. But Paul confronted their sinful behaviour with the centrality of the Cross.
He sets up a contrast between the kinds of people who respond to the Gospel: those who are saved, and those who are perishing. The first group look at the cross through the lens of human wisdom and they view the cross as ridiculous and moronic. The second group are those who look at the cross through divinely given lenses and conclude that it is, indeed, the power of God. Paul’s argument is that while human wisdom may appear to be clever and ingenuous on the surface, it does not (even in its highest form) have the power to address the core problem – sinful hearts.
As Christians today, we must learn from the negative example of the Corinthians that the power of God is not manifest in slick, contemporary charismatic methods but in the uncompromising preaching of the Cross, despite the fact that many view it as weak and fragile. In fact, the only message we have is the message of the Cross. Sure, it may be foolishness to the world. But it is the only message that brings salvation
1. The pre-eminence of God’s wisdom (vs 18)
2. The permanency of God’s wisdom (vs 19-20)
3. The power of God’s wisdom (vs 21-25)