But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10)
Recall Paul’s plea for the church at Corinth, that they be unified and all agree (1 Cor 1:10). Paul follows this plea by giving the church reasons for the factions in their midst, in an effort to show them what is the source of their divisions, and what might keep them from heeding his appeal for unity. The first reason for the factions is their misunderstanding of the Christian message. In verse 18 of chapter 1 Paul begins his argument – that it is the message of the cross that God uses to powerfully divide the human race by saving the elect out of the condemned fallen human race destined for destruction. While the Corinthians were more interested the in style and rhetoric of the messenger, they were missing the fact that it is the message preached, that God intends to use to save those who believe. This message of the cross is counted as foolish by those who are perishing, but it proves that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, as it provides the answer to the greatest issues that face men’s souls – sin, righteousness and judgment. The wisest philosophers in the history of the human race could not give adequate answers to these eternal questions, but a simple, foolish, message of the cross provides all the answers anyone would ever need; as to the called people of God, the message of the cross is the power of God unto salvation.
As Paul continues this argument in verse 26 of chapter 1, he points to the fact that in the church, God did not call many wise, mighty or noble, so that no flesh might boast. He teaches us that every aspect of our salvation is “of the Lord,” so that our boasting might only be in the Lord. Along with the composition of the church, Paul’s preaching of the Gospel also glorified God alone, as it did not come with the persuasive words of human wisdom (2:4), but with the power of a simple foolish message of Christ crucified (2:2).
In verse 6 of chapter 2, the argument continues; however, now he describes this very same message, as a message of wisdom (2:6-7) and the deep things of God (2:10). We are not to think that Paul has launched into some new idea or topic here. It is the very same foolish message of the cross that is at the same time is the wisest and deepest of messages. Its content does not change, but how it is received differs. There are those who receive God’s message for what it is, the wisdom of God, and those who do not; there are those who receive the very same message by the Spirit of God and those who receive it by the spirit of the world; there are those who receive it with the mind of Christ, and those who seek to grasp it with a natural mind. But human wisdom, the spirit of the world, and the natural mind are completely unable to receive this message – it is a message that is fundamentally incomprehensible to the human mind, apart from the Sprit of God revealing it.
Think about what it takes to believe that the eternal, wise, almighty, omnipotent self-sustaining God, our Maker and Judge, has out of sublime love and mercy for His sinful enemies, sent His one and only beloved Son to die the detestable, cursed death of a criminal, being nailed to a tree, in order that His enemies might be forgiven and reconciled to Him! And that this wise plan was carried out by sinful selfish leaders who thought they were in control of the events, meanwhile God was bringing about His own good redemptive purposes. To believe such, brethren, is quite honestly, impossible without the work of the Spirit. It is no wonder that Jesus said we MUST be born of the Spirit to see the kingdom of God! (John 3:3-8) May we say with increasing gratitude, “God has revealed this to us by His Spirit” (1 Cor 2:10).
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