The base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1 Corinthians 1:28-29)
As the apostle Paul has been writing of the message of cross, thus far his focus has been on those who reject it. Now in verses 26-31 of chapter 1, he describes those who accept and receive the message of the cross. They are not those who are intelligent, glamorous or gifted – instead, they are the nobodies. Paul makes this point in verse 26 where he asks the church to consider the station in life in which most of the church was in when they were converted. He seems to be adapting the language of Jeremiah 9:23-24: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; …” The wise, the strong, the influential, the rich, the famous, the noble – these categories of people are respected in the world, but these things have no eternal significance. Being well regarded in the pagan society is in no sense an advantage
in the eyes of God.
Question then … if God is not impressed by the public philosophies, political clout, athletic ability, or extravagant wealth of a person, then why is the church so enamored with these things? Why is it that the church is constantly parading Christian athletes, media personalities, and pop music artists as if their opinions are any more significant than any other Christian? Why is it that Christians are quick to boast about this or that well-known figure who attends their church, and not the despised or lowly or homeless person who became a Christian in their church?
Paul justifies his point theologically, presupposing that people will not come to Christ unless they are chosen. And if those who come to Christ are mostly, “nobodies,” then it must mean that God has preferentially chosen them. God has done this to display His wisdom while shaming the wise of this world. Ultimately God makes this choice so that no flesh should glory in His presence (1:29, see also Is 42:8, 48:11). God is so devoted to His own glory, that He takes the highest and best of human wisdom and makes it foolish and impotent and useless! He makes it so that no man can ever find Him, by the means of his own ingenuity or cleverness or intellect.
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