March 19, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”— 1 Corinthians 2:6–10 (NIV)
Today’s passage starts with the words, “We do, however.” I believe a little context is necessary . . .
In verses 1–4, Paul describes the manner in which he came to Corinth. In his year and a half in Corinth, Paul didn’t try to be a philosopher or salesman, despite the fact that “Corinth put a premium on the veneer of false rhetoric and thin thinking” (Barclay’s Commentary). Even though he was well equipped to offer eloquent arguments and debate persuasively, Paul didn’t go that route. Instead, he resolved to focus on “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV) to show and exemplify instead of persuade.
Now, picking up in our passage, “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age.” You see, there’s a difference between what Paul calls “fine-sounding arguments” and “hollow and deceptive philosophy” (Colossians 2:4, 8 NIV) and the wisdom of God.
Human wisdom depends on human understanding, which is severely limited, biased, and skewed by past experiences, upbringing, and society. It’s also EVER-CHANGING to suit and reflect the culture of one’s day. It’s the kind of “wisdom” that leads a crowd to shout “Hosanna” one Sunday and “crucify Him” the next Sunday.
God’s wisdom comes from the everlasting, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, unchanging, perfect Creator and sustainer of all. And it’s not something we discover or happen upon. We can’t test and arrive at it by our intelligence, will, effort, or study. The wisdom of God is REVEALED to the born-again believer, to the one who has been made alive spiritually and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Apart from the Spirit, who is the third Person in the Godhead, true wisdom is impossible. It’s “a mystery that has been hidden,” a sacred secret that could only be known by revelation, “that God destined for our glory before time began.” And what is our glory? To share in His glory with Him forever in His presence! This is why Paul caps this thought off by telling us that the human mind can’t even begin to imagine and dream up the wonderful, glorious things God has prepared for us both in this life as His children and in eternity!
Friends, you don’t need to convince people of the truth of the gospel or the validity of the message of the cross. You don’t need to argue with people on social media or at your family gatherings. You don’t need to come with the finest and most eloquent arguments. You could give the most amazing and compelling gospel presentation ever and it can still be seen as “foolishness” to one who is perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18). Instead, like Paul, RESOLVE to make your greatest work of apologetics and evangelism your sanctification and your witness, “to know nothing . . . except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV). As you grow in your faith, the Spirit will work in you, speak through you what needs to be said, and open the hearts and minds of people to receive the gospel.
Pause: What’s the difference between human wisdom and the wisdom of God? How can we know?
Practice: Like Solomon, ask the Lord for the wisdom to best serve Him and minister to those around you!
Pray: Father, please reveal Your wisdom, truth, and power to me today and every day in ever-increasing measure. Allow me to see through the lens of the gospel and to have the mind of Christ in all things. Empower me to live in such a way that I am an effective witness to my neighbors and even my enemies. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.