Paul tells the Brethren in Corinth to only Glory in Christ
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. KJV
Paul immediately after using the great “figure of speech” about God the Father reminds them of many of their personal status in their previous lives before they heard the gospel and encountered our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul affirms what he said earlier about how the so-called wise Gentiles looked at the “Cross of Christ” and mocked it, ridiculed it, and called it foolish, while they the Corinthian brothers and sisters who are now joined to Christ have passed from spiritual death into eternal life in our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul reminds them of what is well-known amongst them, that most of them were not among the lawmakers or judges or orators or educators or business owners or among the wealthy or in any of the circles of the influential people that made the decisions concerning the city of Corinth. One of the English words Paul uses is noble and it is translated from the Greek word eugenes which means simply a person high in rank. Paul says to them look at who actually responded to the gospel message and received this new resurrection life in Christ and realize that what I declared to you earlier is all true. Paul declares to them that it is the will of God to “confound” the wise with the simplicity of salvation far apart from salvation requiring some super human effort to attain. The English word confound Paul uses is translated by the Greek word kataischuno which means to shame down or to put to shame or to disgrace or to put to blush or to dishonor. Paul declares that the foolishness of preaching the gospel of grace that declares all people everywhere depraved, defiled, and dead in trespasses and sins dishonors the learned intellectuals i.e. the Harvard, Yale, and Princeton Grads that are on all occasions exalted for their great minds and abilities in problem solving by many in society and their egos are constantly stroked and become ballooned and pride blinds them to their true condition in sin and they dismiss the simplicity of the gospel.
Paul writes or documents on two separate occasions in his second letter to these Corinthian believers about how he represented himself amongst them in stark contrast to the prideful Judaizers he was always among them in “simplicity” and Paul used this word in 2 Corinthians 1:2 & 2 Corinthians 11:3 and on both occasions this English word is translated by the same Greek word haplotes and this word means singleness, sincerity, mental honesty the virtue of one who is free from pretense and hypocrisy not self-seeking, openness of heart manifesting itself by generosity. Paul described his manner of conduct in their presence this way and now wants to convey to them that the gospel of grace is for all sinners, but God’s method of presenting it by preaching the “Cross of Christ” appears retarded to the mind full of its own might or strength or capability or goodness. Paul says God has chosen the “weak things” and the “base things” and the “things which are despised” to put to shame or disgrace the things and people of high ranking in this world unwilling to humble themselves under God’s Mighty Hand (James 4:10 & 1 Peter 5:5-6). Paul uses these three English phrases to illustrate Gods Divine Elective and Sovereign choice among the children of men, as Paul declared in this passage of Scripture, Romans 9:15-16 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. NKJV
The first English phrase Paul uses “weak things” is translated by the Greek word asthenes which means strength less in a moral sense; feeble; impotent; sick and without strength. In reality Paul is saying the same thing our Lord Jesus said at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount with these words, Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” NKJV Our Lord and Paul are both saying that only the person that recognizes their bankrupt condition spiritually before a Holy, Righteous, and Pure God will know true “blessedness” because when God the Holy Spirit brings them under conviction to this point, then and only then will they be regenerated and born again and know the kingdom of heaven and prove to be the chosen or elect of God. The second English phrase Paul uses is “base things” and it is translated by the Greek word agenes which means without kin and of unknown descent or ignoble or low born. The third English phrase Paul uses is “things which are despised” and this is translated from the Greek word exoutheneo which means contemptible or to make of no account, despise utterly. Paul declares that only the souls that see themselves as weak, base, and despised are able to see the “Cross of Christ” in its true light and receive Christ strength, purity, and honor, while at the same time destroying and making the human efforts that appear mighty, wise, and noble to complete and utter uselessness.
Paul declares that God’s sole purpose is to receive all the glory, for as it is written by Isaiah speaking of our Lord Jesus to come, God the Father reveals His Purpose for Christ coming to the earth with these words, Isaiah 42:1-8 “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.” Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it, “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness, I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon and those who dwell in darkness from the prison. I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.” NKJV These words spoken by God the Father through the Prophet Isaiah serve as the testimony for these very words Paul wrote to these Corinthian believers and to all of us in every generation since this letter was first penned as the joined confirmation of the Father’s words even though they were written nearly 1,000 years apart. As the Prophet Isaiah describes our Lord Jesus being “called in righteousness” and a “covenant to the people” Paul declares our Lord Jesus Christ is made for all of us in Him our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
Christ our wisdom meaning there is nothing outside of Him and the contents of His Holy Word that has any knowledge, understanding, or intelligence either scientific or spiritual. Christ our righteousness meaning that in Christ solely and only are we innocent before God the Father and seen by Him as having all of our sin debt to Him paid in full and therefore, we are at peace with Him and have peace with Him (Psalms 85:10 & Romans 5:1 & Romans 14:17). Christ our sanctification meaning it is in and by and through our Lord Jesus Christ that we are washed and cleaned up from the filthy condition of our sinful souls, set apart by Him, purified by Him, and made holy by Him Alone. Christ our redemption meaning it is His death and shed blood that has paid our ransom money to the kidnapper (sin, darkness, and the devil) holding us hostage, but now Christ has freed us, delivered us, and saved us forever. Paul wanted these Corinthian believers to remember from whence they were ransomed by our Lord Jesus, some of the low places in sins captivity our Lord snatched them from and Paul says it this way later in this same first epistle or letter with these words, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. NKJV It’s as if Paul is trying to give them a flash back of who they were before Christ came into their lives and as he began this section of his letter grieved at them for breaking up into clicks exalting Peter or Apollos or even himself into the place only that Christ must occupy in their hearts and lives daily. Paul declares that “no flesh” including him will glory or vaunt himself in our Lord’s Presence, but “according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31).
“The gospel is fitted to bring down the pride of both Jews and Greeks, to shame the boasted science and learning of the Greeks, and to take down that constitution on which the Jews valued themselves and despised all the world besides, that no flesh should glory in his presence (1 Corinthians 1:29), that there might be no pretense for boasting. Divine wisdom alone had the contrivance of the method of redemption; divine grace alone revealed it, and made it known.” Matthew Henry
“The sinner that has truly been saved by grace alone in Christ Alone knows with complete and absolute certainty that he or she owes all to Him and therefore, they exalt Him Alone and want to see Him Glorified in their lives and throughout the earth.” 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…
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