Paul Exalts the Cross of Christ to the Believers in Corinth
1 Corinthians 1:18-19 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. KJV
Paul as we left him last was representing to the Corinthian believers his “one purpose” that our Lord Jesus Christ saved him from his sin for and that was to proclaim to everyone he encountered that through Jesus Christ alone is their forgiveness of sin and access to God. Paul told them that he did not ever present himself to any sinner on the earth as if he (Paul) were some great man in speech or intellect or power or wisdom, but his one aim was to declare the “Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” and pray for the Holy Spirit’s Power to bring conviction to the hearts of the lost, which is exactly what Paul did amongst them. Paul had been informed of these Corinthian believers elevating him to almost equal status of our Lord Jesus and as we declared in the last study, Paul writes in the first part of this letter addressing that behavior and wrong thinking and putting it down forcefully.
Paul was likewise confronted with a situation like this but in an even greater degree of “man worship” than exemplified by these Gentile Corinthians. Dr. Luke documents for us the results of an encounter Paul had with a lame man in the Gentile city of Lystra, here is the record, Acts 14:8-15 At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” NKJV
Paul was confronting (in this letter to the Corinthians) this similar attitude (although not to this degree because the Corinthians had received Christ) that was beginning to crop up in factions, clicks, and groups of them some lifting up Paul and some lifting up Peter and others lifting up Apollos, forgetting that all of them are just sinful men just like them, only declaring the message of the gospel of Christ death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. Paul now begins to exalt our Lord Jesus Christ and the Cross to them in the letter reminding them of who saved them and how he saved them from being dead in their trespasses and sins. Paul declares to them that God’s Power is not in any man (including himself), but it is all in Christ and in His death on that Cross for sinful humanity, as our Lord Jesus declared Himself with these words speaking of His eminent death on the Cross, John 12:31-33 “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. NKJV
Paul reminds them how many of them viewed the gospel message Paul declared to them when he first came among them (Romans 1:16). Paul calls the proclamation of the gospel “foolishness” to those who remain in their sins and absent the forgiveness of God (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Surely many of these Corinthian believers had friends and even some earthly family members who were still rejecting or resisting this message of the “Cross of Christ” for salvation. The English word Paul uses to describe the condition of those perishing is “foolishness” and it is translated by the Greek word moria which means silliness or absurdity (ridiculous or illogical). This Greek word is perhaps where we get the word “moron” from. Paul wanted to remind them of how the remaining lost world views the “Cross of Christ” and in so doing likewise remind them of the reverence and awe and love and adoration they should view it with and not to exalt any mortal man but only and always our Lord Jesus Christ, and this is how Paul put it to them when he wrote his second letter to them, as it is written, 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. NKJV
Listen to the way this writer or author A. T. Robertson explains the way Paul details our salvation, “Salvation is described by Paul as a thing done in the past, ‘we were saved’ (Romans 8:24), as a present state, ‘ye have been saved’ (Ephesians 2:5), as a process, ‘ye are being saved’ (1 Corinthians 15:2), as a future result, ‘thou shalt be saved’ (Romans 10:9).” Paul affirms his previous words by now quoting the Old Testament Prophet Isaiah when he (Isaiah) warned the people of Jerusalem who were consumed by the “blindness of disobedience” just as Paul refers here to those perishing in their sins, as it is written, Isaiah 29:13-14 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. KJV
“Paul was filled with dismay on hearing that a fourth division of the Church called themselves by his name. He told the Corinthians that whatever any of their human teachers had done for them, they had contributed only different phases or viewpoints of truth, all of which service sank into absolute insignificance as contrasted with the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross.” F. B. Meyer
“The sickness of soul and the perils that threaten life, flow from the central fact of sin, and salvation consists, negatively, in the sweeping away of all of these, whether the sin itself, or the fatal facility with which we yield to it, or the desolation and perversion which it brings into all the faculties and susceptibilities, or the perversion of relation to God, and the consequent evils, here and hereafter, which throng around the evil-doer. The sick man is healed, and the man in peril is set in safety. But, besides that, there is a great deal more. The cure is incomplete till the full tide of health follows convalescence. When God saves, He does not only bar up the iron gate through which the hosts of evil rush out upon the defenseless soul, but He flings wide the golden gate through which the glad troops of blessings and of graces flock around the delivered spirit, and enrich it with all joys and with all beauties. So the positive side of salvation is the investiture of the saved man with throbbing health through all his veins, and the strength that comes from a divine life. It is the bestowal upon the delivered man of everything that he needs for blessedness and for duty. All good conferred, and every evil banned back into its dark den, such is the Christian conception of salvation. It is much that the negative should be accomplished, but it is little in comparison with the rich fullness of positive endowments, of happiness, and of holiness which make an integral part of the salvation of God.” Alexander MacLaren
“To the Apostle Paul nothing was worth declaring to lost men and women but the “Cross of Christ” as he said to these Corinthians latter in this same letter with these words, 1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. KJV If this was all Paul declared to lost sinners, then we must vehemently turn our backs on any ways of so called clever human methods to try and get people to believe.” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…