Thursday, 8 May 2014
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 1 Corinthians 3:18
In chapters 1 & 2, Paul spoke in detail about human wisdom in contrast to spiritual wisdom. There we saw that true spiritual wisdom will always be centered on the Person and work of Jesus Christ. In chapter 1 we read this –
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'”1 Corinthians 1:18, 19
Now returning to this thought concerning wisdom, after having discussed our building upon the foundation which is Christ, he reminds us the importance of the materials we use by beginning with, “Let no one deceive himself.” Self-deception is an enormous problem. When people are puffed up with pride and are unwilling to focus on (or properly handle) the word of God, they will delude themselves concerning it.
A great example of this is when a person is asked a question to which they have no answer. Instead of saying, “I don’t know” they will often start theorizing in their own mind, looking for anything that sounds acceptable so that they don’t sound uneducated. In this, they begin to deceive themselves and thus deceive others in the process. Paul speaks about this type of thing in 2 Timothy 3:13 –
“But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
Anytime we depart from the truth of Christ as revealed in Scripture, we head immediately in a perverse direction. However, this isn’t limited to Christians with bad theology. It permeates the world of academia. It is more than common to invent fine sounding arguments concerning issues to which the specialists have no idea about and no answer to. Instead, they make up things in their head in order to sound wise and they carry many along in their deceit.
Paul gives a remedy for this when he says, “If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” Rather than “seeming wise” by professing a wisdom other than Christ, the wisest course of all is to “become a fool.” This means that taking the direction of Christ and running with the knowledge of Christ is foolishness to the world. When someone takes that direction, they are counted as a fool. But in reality, they have made the wisest choice of all because their instruction comes from the true Source of wisdom, God. In this, one will “become a fool that he may become wise.”
What seems contradictory to the rest of the world is the soundest course of all. In Christ, there is an eternal fount of wisdom, reason, intelligence, and splendor. Apart from Him, there is only vain imaginings and self-deceit which results in the deceiving of others. It is an eternally sad choice to make.
Life application: New religious expressions pop up daily. Old religions are revived and reinstated as supposed sources of enlightenment. Philosophies are held in high esteem because they question reality or the ability to truly know anything. All such things seem wise to the world, but they are foolishness to God. On the contrary, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the true wisdom of God and in it all other machinations of man are made utterly foolish. Stand firm on the gospel of Christ and know that God is pleased with you looking “foolish” to the rest of the world!
Lord God, I’d rather be a fool in the eyes of the world while standing on the gospel of Christ than to have all the accolades, honors, and awards that the world can tempt me with. I’d rather be the lowest worker in Your heavenly kingdom, than the smartest philosopher in hell. I’d rather be crucified next to my Lord, than die in peace in a bed of feathers and silk sheets if that meant losing You. Lord, use me, Your lowly servant, until I am used up. And then Lord, take me home to Your glorious place of rest. Amen.