1 Corinthians 1:31


Friday, 4 April 2014

…that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31

The last verse of Chapter 1 begins with, “as it is written.” Thus Paul is going back to the only Scriptures of his day (the Old Testament) in order to make a summary point concerning his thoughts of the past 21 verses. His quote is a condensed citation of Jeremiah 9:23, 24 –

“Thus says the Lord:
‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,’ says the Lord.'”

In Christ alone is where our boasting is to lie. It does not belong to any given man:

1) There should be no divisions within the church, i.e. “I am of Paul” or “I am of Cephas.” Etc.

2) The should be no following after the great and learned of the world – whether a pagan or a well-trained and faithful follower of Christ, i.e. “I follow Aristotle,” or “I follow John Calvin,” or “I follow Albert Einstein,” or “I follow Billy Graham.”

3) There should be no desire to emulate the mighty.

4) Our goal shouldn’t be to seek after a nobleman, a politician, or a movie star.

Rather than these things, or any other potential division in our allegiance concerning our spiritual life in Christ, we should direct our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our attention to what God has done in Him. In essence, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” It is Christ who is the head of the church; it is Christ who demonstrates and reveals to us the wisdom of God; in Christ are found the otherwise unsearchable riches of knowledge and understanding – both in the created order and in Scripture; in Christ is all power and strength; and in Christ is all greatness and majesty. Surely then, if these things are true, let us boast in and glory in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

Life application: Why trade your allegiances for something less than what is the greatest of all. As Jesus Christ is the epitome of perfection in all that is good and wonderful, let Him alone be your hope, desire, aspiration, and love.

Supreme and all-glorious God – You alone are worthy of our adoration and emulation. Give us a heart to follow after You and to use as our role model Jesus Christ our Lord who fully reveals You to us. Thank You for the endless, ceaseless display of glory which You make known through Him as we walk in Your light and in Your holiness. Help us always to fix our eyes, hearts, and thoughts on Jesus. Amen.



1 Corinthians 1:30


Thursday, 3 April 2014

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 1 Corinthians 1:30

In the past four verses, Paul has written about the workings of God, specifically mentioning “God” three times:

1) God has chosen the foolish things of the world
2) God has chosen the weak things of the world
3) The base things of the world and the things which are despised, God has chosen

After that, he noted that because of God’s efforts “no flesh should glory in His presence.” Because all was a work of God, then we come before Him with empty hands. There can be no boasting in self because of the work of another.

And so in verse 30, he begins with “But of Him.” This is speaking of God who has been noted as the One who has accomplished the work of reconciliation which began with His selection of us. It is “of Him,” meaning God, that “you are in Christ Jesus.” God selected us and God did the work for us through His Son. Because we have received the work of Christ, we are “in” Christ. We move from Adam to Christ, from death to life, from condemnation to salvation.

We have moved into a positional relationship with God by being in Christ Jesus “who became for us wisdom from God.” As seen in the previous verses, the calling of God is predominantly among the weak, the base, the despised, and etc., according to the world’s standards. And even those who are highly intellectual, mighty, or noble had to let go of self and humble themselves before God. This is because the great attribute they possess is actually nothing before Him. Rather than our own wisdom, we find the wisdom from God when we find Christ. All things make sense: life has purpose, the reason why we are here suddenly becomes clear, the Scriptures with their unusual stories suddenly clear up and are understandable. It is in Christ, and only in Him, that such wisdom can be obtained.

And along with the wisdom, we also receive more. In Christ there is:

1) “Righteousness.” Before coming to Christ, we were unrighteous. As humans we bear sin, both inherited and committed. Sin is an offense to God and thus we are born in and continue in unrighteousness until it is removed in Christ. At the cross, a transfer is made. Our unrighteousness is transferred to Him to be removed at His death and His righteousness is imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

2) “Sanctification.” Because of our position in Christ, we are sanctified by His Spirit. Prior to Christ, we were deemed unholy and unclean before God. But our position in Him means that we are considered holy and pure. This doesn’t mean that we have actually attained this state, but that we are regarded as such because of Christ. In position, we are sanctified.

3) “Redemption.” Jesus said that the one who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34). John confirms that he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8). Because we are born into sin and continue in a life of sin, the devil is our master. But Christ Jesus can redeem us from this through His work. When we receive Him by faith, we are redeemed from the power of the devil. Because we are so redeemed, we are in Christ and can never lose this position. This truth is noted in 2 Corinthians 5:19 –

“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.”

If we falter, it doesn’t change our position because God is “no longer counting” our sins against us. The doctrine of eternal salvation is written all over this concept. What kind of a Savior would come only to provide eternal insecurity? Rather, in Him we are declared righteous, we are sanctified, and we are redeemed. This is the marvelous work of God in Christ for us!

Life application: To be in Christ is the sweetest place to be.

Lord God, You sent Jesus to justify a sinner such as I. I receive Him. You sent Jesus to sanctify us from our impurity. I receive Him. And You sent Jesus to redeem us from the power of the sin. I receive Him. Thank You for the work of Christ. In Him, I have found peace with You. Thank You for the infinitely glorious work of Jesus my Lord. Amen.


1 Corinthians 1:29


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

…that no flesh should glory in His presence.1 Corinthians 1:29

For several verses, Paul has been explaining how God chooses the weak, the foolish, and the despised to shame the mighty, the intellectual, and the noble. Because of this, there is no boasting before Him. If such as these are chosen and not the others, then they are obviously considered lesser in any given category than those others and so they can’t boast that they were somehow great.

But there is also the fact that some nobles are Christians, some mighty are Christians, and some highly intellectual people are as well. How then can this statement be considered an all-encompassing truth? The reason is that those who are in such positions had to step down from where they were – away from those around them, and humble themselves just like those of lesser status. The ground is level at the foot of the cross. All are bound under sin and so no one can reach higher than any other in expectation of being saved. Therefore, those who are of the higher position on earth were actually more humbled in their status before being saved than those of lower position.

As Paul tells us in Romans 3:27 – “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.” In his ever-consistent way of explaining theology, Paul shows that it is faith which saves and so regardless of status, or works of the law, or any other thing, all must ultimately and completely credit God for their salvation.

For this reason, “no flesh should glory in His presence.” The term “flesh” is being used to consider the whole man. All who stand before God have nothing in and of themselves which they can glory (or boast) in. When the redeemed stand in His presence, we will not glory in ourselves, we will give the glory to God. As this is absolutely truthful for us now and certain for us at that time, then let us endeavor to live as if it is true. In all things, let us give glory to God.

Life application: If you feel that you somehow merit your salvation (because of who you are), or if you feel that you must somehow merit your salvation (through works), they you probably aren’t saved. Salvation is a gift bestowed upon one who does not deserve it. Accept the gift and rest in the work of Christ alone.

Lord, Your word says that I am saved by grace through faith and that this is a gift. I accept that I stand justified before You completely and wholly on the merits of Jesus Christ alone. I rest in what You have done. Thank You for the cross of Christ. Amen.

1 Corinthians 1:28


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

…and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,… 1 Corinthians 1:28

Continuing on in the same line of thought as the previous verse, Paul shows that the things God decides upon and uses can be the least of all. And this is for a reason. If He chose the great things of the world, then the world could boast of their greatness before God. But by choosing those things which are weak and foolish, then God is exalted when He uses them to put to shame the mighty and the wise. Such is also true when He chooses “the base things of the world.”

The “base things” are exactly the opposite of those things which are considered noble. Instead of choosing the blue-blooded, He goes to the uneducated and the lowly. Such people know how they are accounted to those in the world around them. But when they find that God has a purpose for them and that He loves them, they become the greatest example of His tender-mercies. Those who were once drug addicts or prostitutes realize the magnitude of the riches of Jesus Christ and so their hearts will be radically changed in turning to Him. The gratitude will never cease throughout the eternal ages.

This is also true with “the things which are despised.” These “God has chosen” according to His wisdom. This is true with His original selection of Israel. We read of it in Deuteronomy 7:7 –

“The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples.”

Surely, the surrounding nations looked upon them with contempt and thought they could snuff them out in a moment. And the Bible bears this out. Great nations came against Israel and yet Israel prevailed. Gideon and 300 men triumphed over 120,000 Midianites – a number like the sand of the seashore. And how could this have been conceived of? Even Gideon, when given his commission responded to the Lord with incredulity –

“O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Judges 6:15

However, God used him – the least of his father’s house, from the weakest clan of Manasseh – and he was victorious. Such is the case, time and time again in the Bible. And such is the case again in the world today. Little Israel is hemmed in by enemies and even her “friends” are working to tear her apart. And yes, she again will prevail over the nations. You, like Israel and those who are despised and weak, can too prevail when the Lord is at your right hand. Be encouraged by this.

Finally, Paul adds in, that God also uses “the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.” The Pulpit Commentary notes that “The not is the Greek subjective negative; things of which men conceived as not existing – ‘nonentities.'” In other words, that which appears to be absolutely nothing can be used by God as if it is something. John the Baptist spoke this way to those who came to him –

“Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.” Matthew 3:8, 9

God can raise up children from mere stones and He can raise you up and use you as well. This is the marvelous working of God in redemptive history. From the very dust of the earth, God formed the majestic being known as man – intricately woven together and capable of amazing feats of intelligence and strength. From one man who was old and childless came a group of people who have lasted and endured for 4000 years. And from that line of people, which included some of the worst sort, came the human genealogy of the Messiah of the world.

With God, nothing is impossible. If you are the called of the Lord,  He may have chosen something weak, foolish, base, despised, or even considered as “nothing.” But if He has called you, then you are of more value than all of the high-minded, noble, and powerful people who have rejected Him. Think of your position of honor in His eternal home and be satisfied with what the future holds.

Life application: In Christ, you are a glorious jewel within heaven’s treasure box, radiant and precious.

Heavenly Father, though I am little and of no account to the great, noble, and learned of the world, I am Yours because of my faith in Jesus. No greater treasure, no higher achievement, and nothing else of this world can compare to that. I belong to You and have an eternal inheritance. Let the world despise me. Your favor is all I need. Hallelujah and Amen!


1 Corinthians 1:27


Monday, 31 March 2014

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 1 Corinthians 1:27

Verse 27 begins with “but” to show support for what he just stated in the preceding verse which said, “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.

Though many of the “brethren” aren’t wise, mighty, or noble, all they need to do is reflect on the fact that they are of the called despite their worldly state. Instead of skipping over them for those others, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise.” How many out there with doctoral degrees think ever-so highly of themselves? Professors teach in colleges and seminaries with impressive insights into academic matters and yet they are devoid of any personal relationship with God through Christ. And yet, there are millions of high-school dropouts who have called on Christ and are of the redeemed. Though they are looked down on by those of high learning, they are in fact the ones who have been granted the grace of eternal life.

In addition to them, “God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” There are many great athletes who boast in their strength. Because they are so exceptional by worldly standards, they often have great wealth and even move into politics or  business later in life. But the puny weaklings who are overlooked have had time to reflect on the more important matters of life. While the athlete is exercising, the weakling is home reading the Bible.

The same is true with the mighty in military, political, or financial power in comparison to the average person who works a regular job and quietly lives his life. Might of any sort is an opiate which replaces one’s instinctive need for God with feelings of self-worth and greatness. Instead of such sorts, God has revealed Himself to those who simply and humbly live their lives and take time to seek Him out.

Life application: Just because someone is prettier, stronger, more intellectual, or more powerful than you, there is no reason to be envious of them. In the end, beauty fades, the strong tire and age, the intellectual become forgetful, and the mighty go to the same grave as the rest. Those who have called on Jesus though have the sure promise that the grave isn’t the end of the story. By the power of Christ, we shall be raised to eternal life. What more could we hope for!

The message is so simple, O God. We need a Savior and You sent Jesus. We have sinned; He is sinless. And the surest proof that my faith is in the right place is the resurrection. I believe the word, I accept the premise – Jesus is Lord. Hallelujah and Amen!