Saturday, November 18, 2017

Speaking Wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6-10)

“Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:6–10, NASB95)

For those who might have stopped with the previous verses and mocked Christians for being simple, Paul responded by adding that there is a time and a place for speaking “wisdom” or in more depth about God and His way for us. Paul uses the word “mature” which is the Greek word “teleios,” and it means being perfected, having come to maturity, completed, or of full age. It includes the idea of having grown or growing, which specifically here refers to one having been saved and now growing in Christ. In other words, the right words from God are to be spoken at the right time. James wrote of this maturity coming to us as a result of us having grown in our understanding and faith in God as we have seen Him bring us through various trials over the course of our lives. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect [teleios] and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2–4, NASB95)

Paul said the wisdom that we learn as believers is not the same as that of man apart from God; “…a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away….” These men are perishing, and they don’t have a clue what God really has to say. The prophet Isaiah wrote of this difference, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NASB95)

As we look around us it is very easy to see how man scoffs at the things we know of God. Some ridicule our prayers and try to block us praying in the public arenas. The reading of His Word has been banished from our schools. The Ten Commandments have been removed from many public buildings, and crosses even taken down on public and semi-public lands. Marriage has been altered from His plan. The killing of preborn babies has not only been allowed by our courts, but now is even being pursued as a right that must be paid for by others. Sexual and human identity is being redefined to that of preference over clear biological distinction according to His design. Christians in business are being denied the right to live according to the ways of God in their own companies, and people are being forced out of positions because of their closely held faith. Clearly, man’s ways are not God’s ways, and in this country where much of its structure and rules were once based upon biblical principles we’ve seen a radical change in direction as man’s ways have increasingly pushed God’s ways out of the fabric of our nation.

Many who do not know Christ and embrace His Word as truth view those of us who do as fools. But Scripture tells a different story, which in the end will prove to be the true story. The fools are those who think they call the shots and who think they have no need of God and do not heed His ways. These are the ones who will one day bow before Him in judgment. “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him [Jesus Christ], and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9–11, NASB95)

But even among Christians, there are those who are influenced by this movement of culture and who have been deluded in much that Scripture has to say. There are those whose lives do not reflect the kind of growth in Christ that Scripture speaks of, and even give others cause to wonder if they are truly saved. And, there are those who’ve jumped onto the slippery slope of viewing the word of God as advisory rather and inspired and who pick and choose which principles of Scripture they want to hold for today. Surely, there are some in this group who call themselves “Christians” who probably are not, and who one day will be revealed as such. But, there are also those who have been deceived as they sit under errant teaching as was looked at in our walk through 2 Peter. The reality is that we probably cannot know who is who here. We can only respond to what we see and encourage each other to grow in the truth or the wise teaching of Scripture, and where there is no growth we can pray that the Spirit would intervene and soften hearts. 

It is in this very place that Paul finds many in the church at Corinth and it is to them that much of this letter is written. Ultimately, we know that just as it is God who called us to Him through the free gift of salvation in His Son; it is God who will bring each of us to Himself in glory. In the next chapter Paul wrote of the assurance we have despite the things we’ve done, remembering that our salvation is found in Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified. “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:15, NASB95)

Paul went on to write, “…but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood….” God’s wisdom is not a huge mystery to us (though we all have much to learn), but to those who don’t know God it is. Through His prophets God had foretold the coming of Christ, but the rulers of His day did not understand them. If they had, they surely would not have done with Him what they did, which was to crucify the very One sent to save them from their sins. Being blind to the truth, they “crucified the Lord of glory.” Even them not understanding was prophesied hundreds of years in advance. 

But for those who did listen, Paul quoted another passage from the prophets. “For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, who remembers You in Your ways….” (Isaiah 64:4–5a, NASB95) Isaiah wrote that God meets the one who rejoices in doing righteousness and who remembers Him and His ways. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word as given to us by men moved by the Spirit. It is also the Spirit who opens our eyes to see and understand those same words today. He added, “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.” The Spirit is God always present and full of all knowledge, who knows the will of the Father and who indwells every single believer. This is a pretty amazing thing. God resides in us in the person of the Spirit, and the Spirit helps us to understand the very things that God has revealed through the authors that He has chosen to give us His Word.

Knowing the presence of the Spirit in believers and the absence of the Spirt in unbelievers we should not be surprised when we come up against opposition and those who look upon us as fools. The truth is really this—they don’t get it, and because of that they lash out. What they know is life apart from God and being enslaved to sin as they taste the benefit in varying degrees of God’s influence through His people in the world. When that influence wains, the darkness surely grows. God has given us so much. As we grow in Him we in turn have much to offer to one another in the body and also to others as we live before them in this dark and desperately needy world.

No comments: