“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:18
The gospel of the cross of Christ in foolishness to people who are dying in their sins and refusing to believe. It does not appeal to our human preponderances and is unattractive to our thought processes and emotional responses. We think it is a silly idea to die for the ungodly, showing what we think of God’s ways. God’s ways are not our ways, and his remedy for sin is not a good idea to our way of thinking. But to people who have had their spiritual eyes opened and their understanding enlightened by the Spirit of God, it is actually the power of the almighty God!
“For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing.”
1 Corinthians 1:19
God will show up human wisdom for what it actually is – foolishness. He will show the faulty mindset that comes up with the foolish attitudes and motivations towards Himself and His infallible Word. The wisdom of this world, which comes from the human psyche, will be destroyed and the foolish interpretations that human minds have about God and what he instructs us to do, will come to nothing. God has made the foolishness of this world as nothing, and those who follow it become foolish like it is.
All human arguments will come to nothing.
“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
1 Corinthians 1:20
The wise people of this world also come to nothing. Set against the grace of God they are silent and gone. The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God and cannot compete with the truth of the Scripture. Even the person who wrote down the Scripture and knows it so well, cannot stand against its power to change lives and alter completely the mind and heart. Those who have arguments are rendered silent by this wisdom, of God, for it is indisputable and cannot be refuted. Christ has risen and the proof is there. The gospel is preached and people are changed and saved from their sinful lives, and it is irrefutable. It all comes to nothing in the eyes of the God who is calling people to Himself, to be part of His kingdom and share in His glory.
“For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn’t know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe.”
1 Corinthians 1:21
God has made it so that it will be through the seeming foolishness of speaking the Word, that people will be saved. It is not through learned debate, but through the simple presentations of the gospel message and the call of God to repent and believe that we are to be saved. Anyone who is enlightened by God to know His truth from the Scripture, and has a heart for other people, can do it. It does not require world orientated qualifications or lots of top class education. We need the lack of art and the heart of the evangelist to present the gospel in a way that people can understand and can access the message. It must be clear and direct so that when listening, the mind and heart are turned to God; the soul is convicted of its sin; and the desire is put there to repent and believe the truth being presented. People should be able to become Christians from listening to that preaching and know what they have to do to come to Christ. It must be clear and plain, for we are responsible for the souls that are listening.
“For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom,”
1 Corinthians 1:22
The Jewish people wanted their cultural equivalent to be met before they would believe. They wanted the signs of His coming, and yet when the signs were already in place and could be clearly seen, but still they did not believe. They did not want signs or any proofs, but just the meeting of their particular demands. We cannot come to God in this way. The Gentile Greeks want wisdom to guide them to God, but God has destroyed the worldly wisdom that they crave. It is like a drug to them because it validates their worth and feeds their pride. We cannot come to God on these terms either. We can only come in repentance and faith. We must humble ourselves and seek the Lord and His way and not our own way. This is also the disposition of the Christian walking with God and is the demeanour of the believer in Jesus – to walk as He walked…
“But we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks”
1 Corinthians 1:23
The answer to the worlds problems in reaching out for God, is the presentation of the simple, straightforward and clear gospel message. Not embellished by our art and science, but the words that will penetrate the soul and cause discomfort at sin and a fear of punishment and a desire for God, forgiveness and a life of faith. This cannot be produced by worldly wisdom or miraculous signs. Therefore the message is a stumbling block to everyone. Acceptance of Christ and His death in the cross, is a stumbling block for the Jews, and the lack of worldly wisdom is foolishness to the outsiders, the Gentile Greeks, as it offends their pride.
“But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:24
But to those who are marked by a God and who’s minds and hearts will be opened to receive the message and believe in the Son of God, Christ Jesus is the power of God to save them and the wisdom of God to believe. God calls Jews and Gentiles to Himself as the message of the gospel is preached through the power of the death of Christ on the cross and the mighty wisdom of God, which humbles us and makes it possible for us to believe.
The gospel must be preached in its clearness and simplicity so that all can believe. We preach the wisdom of God and not this world. Worldly religion and gospels will never save. Only the humility that comes for reiterating what is said in the Word, will save souls. Repent and believe is the only message and that is what saves the sinful person, who seeks the Lord.