Walking Away From “Wise Guys”: A Devotional Reflection on Corinthians 1:18-31

The elegant simplicity of faith is defined and symbolized in the cross.

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There can be no parsing of the message it represents.  It represents our separation from the God who created the universe; life and us.  Yet, at the same time, it is the means by which we are again made one with Him.

It is fitting that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians should be the conveyor of this message.  Corinth, in modern terms was, at the time of Paul’s writing, the most “cosmopolitan” of biblical cities, being comprised of many nationalities; social classes and particular denominations of Christianity.  Its  geography made it a crossroads of trade for all corners of the known world at that time.

Can you say “diversity”?

The power of Rome; the collected wisdom of Greek philosophy and the clamor of the marketplace must surely have constituted a habitat for faith not so much different from that which exists today.  That is to say, sectarian; diverse; driven by and catering to many ‘special’ interests competing for power and influence.

What better a time and place for Paul to shepherd them back to the Gospel and its meaning for a fallen mankind?

Paul cites Isaiah (29:14) from the Old Testament:  “The wisdom of the wise will perish”.  Those professing faith in Corinth could not deny their acceptance of this piece of Scripture.  That being the case, Paul continues, is it not folly to lose ourselves in using logic or knowledge to discern the nature of God?

Likewise, Paul notes that the Jews “seek signs”.  Their prayers for a conquering Messiah, more powerful than any pharaoh or king or emperor, are for  an ultimate conquest over enemies.   This belief that a true Messiah should be proof that “might makes right” is, again, folly.

For human logic and human strength or power are but that:  human.  To try to attain righteousness; sanctification and redemption with our God through these means alone is hubris at best, and sinful pride at worst.

This sinful folly, born of Adam, and rampant still in our warring and factious society, is what has separated us from Him.  And only He could make Himself flesh through Jesus Christ; and splay Himself on a cross to shoulder our sin as one of us out of  His love for all of us.  His death and resurrection unite us into His Spirit.

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We need only accept this, not due to any ” logic”,  nor even out of deference to ” power”.  This world, and our living in it, is proof enough of His power.  Accept the cross, and its meaning, and know that there is neither wisdom nor power that can understand; discern or measure His amazing Grace.

Boast not of what you can do for God or your fellow man, ….boast of what God has done for you.

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