“Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and … know nothing but the word of God. ” Martin Luther had great insight and encouragement knowing the sheer fact that the war between the world and the cross would be an on going battle. In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 God pronounced the foolishness of the cross. This paragraph begins in 1:18 with a thematic statement. Paul writes, “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. Paul makes it clear that there are only two categories of people: the “perishing” and the “saved. ” Ultimately, all must fall into one of these two classes; there is no other. Paul writes that those who are perishing consider the word of the cross “foolishness. ” The word of the cross is that salvation is freely granted by God’s grace, not human merit or intellect. Furthermore, salvation is extended to all people. This levels the ground at the foot of the cross. Everyone comes to God through faith, based upon the work of Jesus Christ. In 1:19 God’s rescue strategy opts for what appears to be weakness in the eyes of the world.
God works in reverse thinking, especially in terms of human redemption. God does not need anyone but Himself to accomplish His plan of salvation. None of us would have ever come up with the plan of salvation that God did. In our “wisdom” we would have made it much more confusing, complex, and inequitable. Earn your way to heaven. We would have devised a “lay-away” salvation plan. But God designed a salvation free for all, available to all, by sending His Son to die for our sins. In the death of Christ, God displayed His own sheer genius in masterminding a plan of salvation whereby He remained both just and the justifier.
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God designed His plan of salvation in such a way that sinful man could not come to know Him by human wisdom, which could only exalt man. So God purposed to save lost sinners through a means that seemed utter nonsense to a “wise” world—the cross. In the cross, we see the wisdom of God most fully revealed. In His infinite wisdom, God designed a plan that in no way compromised His holiness or left His righteousness unfulfilled. God’s wrath has been poured out on man’s sin; all the while, His righteous demands have been met, and He is now ree to receive sinners into His holy presence. This blows my minds. God “fools” us to show Himself wise and powerful. God planned the foolishness of the cross (1:21-25). In 1:21, Paul writes, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. ” Paul explains that God humbled the world by keeping those who were wise in their own eyes from knowing God. Paul says that God was “well pleased. ” By this, Paul means that God was sovereign over His purposes.
God doesn’t want to share His glory so He chooses a message that gives Him the most glory possible. How does the word of the cross relate to our lives? First, we must seek to ponder the wonder of the cross. Christianity without the cross is like music without a tune. When we talk about our beliefs, you must make a direct line to the cross of Christ. That is what makes our message both unique and powerful. It may take a crucified church to bring a crucified Christ before the eyes of the world. Christ’s cross makes foolish human wisdom. The cross insults our intelligence, ability, and ambition.
Yet, the churches that God is going to do great things through are weak and foolish in the world’s eyes, so that God can fool the world and receive wisdom and power. When all else fails, we can always go back to the cross and bond around our love for the One who died for us there. Ultimately, all that we believe is wrapped up in the cross of Christ. It is the central truth of the Christian faith and the preeminent event of human history. The cross is our message, our hope, and our confidence. It is our badge of honor and the emblem of suffering and shame. Though the world despises the cross, we rally to it.