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1 Corinthians 1:18-25 Alternative Wisdom

October 5th, 2009

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You could take the entire history of human philosophy and religion – subjects which have filled libraries, and centuries of intense thought and discussion on the part of everyone, from the educated to the simple – and the bible’s summary of the whole is found in these verses.
 
Man may ‘search for truth’ all he likes – but God has appointed a means of revealing himself (and he IS truth), which undermines the proud ideas of flesh – in every culture.

In this passage Paul addresses his Corinthians audience which was made up mostly of Jews and Greeks. For the Jews, the paradigm of cultural fulfillment was power (strength) for the Greeks it was wisdom. The gospel insists that both can only be found in Jesus – whose wisdom looks like foolishness and whose power looks like weakness.

Strength and Weakness
How is the cross is the power of God? It seems so weak… Because it is only through the cross that the power of sin (our most deathly and unconquerable enemy) is defeated. The powers that control us can only be subdued through the cross – the moment of ultimate weakness and shame!

Wisdom and Folly
How is the cross the wisdom of God? It seems so foolish… Because the problem of our sin was beyond anyone’s ability to solve. It needed God’s wisdom to devise a way in which he could be both just and the justifier of the ungodly.

Pleasure and Pain
The cross is a stumbling block to such people. A God who calls us to follow a crucified master cannot desire our pleasure. And yet we know that true pleasure is only found in the God embraced all of our pain (much of which masquerades as pleasure in Brighton) so that we could know the ‘pleasures ever more… at his right hand’ (Psalm 16).

Beauty and Ugliness
Our society wants beauty and yet the Cross is ugly.
in the end all human beauty will fade. The Beauty of the Lord will not.