Word of the Week by Justin Breeden – The Foolishness of the Cross
The Word of the Week – The Foolishness of the Cross
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 NASB
In 1st Corinthians, the apostle Paul addresses a myriad of problems within the church of Corinth – such as church that is plagued with many internal problems – such as spiritual elitism (1 Corinthians 1:10-17), sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 5:1), a lack of church discipline (1 Corinthians 5:2-13), abuse of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:20-22), etc. Here, in chapter 1, verses 18-25 (1 Corinthians 5:18-25), the apostle specifically warns the church not to abandon the simplicity of the word of the cross for the so-called wisdom of the world and the deception of so-called signs. Why was this warning necessary? It seems that some who professed to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ were being drawn away from the foolishness of the word of the cross by the pseudo-intellectualism of the Grecian philosophers and the desire for so-called signs from God that would parallel those granted by God through the prophets in the Old Testament.
“For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom…” (1 Corinthians 5:22)
As I studied through Paul’s warning here, it occurred to me that many of us may be guilty of doing the same thing today. How so? Are not many abandoning the simplicity of the Word of God for the so-called wisdom of this age? Are not many abandoning the sufficiency of the Word of God in search of signs from God?
For example, many who profess the name of Christ are no longer content to believe the first two chapters of Genesis accurately describe the events of creation – namely that God spoke the universe into existence out of nothing (Genesis 1:3,6,9,etc.), created Adam from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7), and made Eve from Adam’s rib (Genesis 2:21-22). Others today make much out of seeking after signs from God to the neglect of His Word.
What are we to do? Notice the determination of the Apostle Paul in these verses. Rather than capitulate to a culture of pseudo-intellectualism and sign seeking, he resolutely states, “but we preach Christ crucified”. Even in the face of a culture that would view the message and the messenger as ignorant and worthless, the apostle Paul says that he would continue to proclaim the word of the cross.
Why? Only the word of the cross has the power to give a dead sinner life (regeneration), to grant repentance and faith (conversion), to forgive sin (justification), to make one holy (sanctification), and to grant eternal life (glorification). Only the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ actually has the power to bring one into a true, intimate, relational knowledge of God. Worldly wisdom cannot do this. Seeking for divine signs cannot do this. Only the cross of Christ can do this.
Alas! And did my Savior bleed,
And did my Sovereign die!
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I!
Alas, And Did My Savior Bleed, Isaac Watts, 1707
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