SERVANTS' MINISTRY, Inc.
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THEME: Centrality of Christ crucified; correction of divisions
Introduction to the letter (verses 1-9).
Greetings (verses 1-3).
Introduction (verses 4-9).
The divisions which existed in the Corinthian church (verses 10-16).
Defense of the apostle's preaching (verses 17-31).
Salutation and Thanksgiving (1 Cor.1:1-9)
1 Cor.1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, (KJV)
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother . . . since Paul had many indiscretions and misdeeds to voice disapproval of, and condemn in the Corinthian Church, it was necessary that he should make it clear about his authority. He was called through the will of God, by a special appointment from God alone (Acts 9). He derived no part of his authority from man. Sosthenes our brother is probably the same person mentioned Acts 18:17.
1 Cor.1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (KJV)
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth . . . the church is called the church of God, because it has been founded by His planning, and was devoted to His service. Even though bad conditions had been introduced into that church; and there were separations and incorrect doctrines; and although there were some who gave evidence that they were not sincere Christians, the apostle did not hesitate in calling them a church of God.
To them that are sanctified . . . sanctified means set apart for God. They were separated from the many heathens around them, and devoted to God and His cause. They were different from the others, and truly devoted to God (Rom.1:7).
In Christ Jesus . . . they were sanctified by the agency of Christ. It was by His authority, His power, and His Spirit that they had been separated from the heathens around them, and devoted to God (Jn.17:19).
Called to be saints . . . the word saints does not differ very much from the word sanctified. Saints are those who are sanctified (set apart). Saints are those who are those who trusted Jesus by faith and have been born again. NO mortal man can ever make a saint! ONLY God can make a saint!
With all that in every place . . . all who profess Christ as their Saviour and Lord, both in Corinth, Ephesus and other parts of Greece or Asia Minor. By this we see that Paul intended that this Letter was to be a general property of the universal Church of Christ; even though there are several things in it that are suited only to the Corinthians.
Call upon the name of Jesus Christ . . . in Scripture, to call upon the name of any person, means to call on the person himself (Jn3:18; 14:6; Acts 4:12). To appeal to the name, indicates worship and prayer. Please do NOT call on any name except JESUS!
Both theirs and ours . . . that is, Jesus Christ is the common Lord and Saviour of all. JESUS is NOT the exclusive property of any ONE Church, ONE people or ONE nation. Calling on or petitioning in the Name of the Lord Jesus (Jn.14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23), was the proper distinguishing mark of a Christian . . . then and now. In those times no man attempted to pray to God except in the Name of Jesus Christ . . . this is still true today. TRUE Christians still pray in Jesus’ Name today, when they ask anything from God.
1 Cor.1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ Grace be unto you . . . (Rom.1:7; 1 Pet.1:2).
1 Cor.1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; (KJV)
I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ . . . a large part of this letter contains rebukes for the conditions which had arisen in the church at Corinth. Before Paul proceeds to the specific statement of those disorders (verse 10), the apostle Paul praises them for the accomplishments which they had really made in spiritual knowledge, and shows that he was willing to allow them all that he could. It was not part of Paul’s disposition to withhold commendation any time that it was due. On the contrary, as he was inclined to be faithful in reproving the errors of Christians, yet he was no less likely to praise them when he could (Rom.1:8). A church leader must be willing to commend those who do well in harmony with the Gospel, as well as a disposition to rebuke where it is deserved.
Seventeen Things BY Jesus Christ
1. Righteousness (Rom.3:22)
2. The grace of God (Rom.5:15)
3. Reign of righteousness (Rom.5:21)
4. Grace and truth (1 Cor.1:4; Jn.1:17)
5. Peace (Acts 10:36)
6. Creation (Eph.3:9; Col.1:16-18)
7. Reconciliation (2 Cor.5:18)
8. Revelation (Gal.1:12)
9. Justification (Gal.2:16-17)
10. Adoption (Eph.1:5)
11. Exceeding riches of grace (Eph.2)
12. All needs supplied (Phil.4:19)
13. Salvation (1 Thes.5:9)
14. Spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet.2:5)
15. A good conscience (1 Pet.3:21)
16. Calling to glory (1 Pet.5:10)
17. Utterance and knowledge (1 Cor.1:5)
1 Cor. 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; (KJV)
That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge . . . Paul tells them that they abound, and are enriched and abound in all utterance . . . in all doctrine . . . they understood it! All the truths of God involving their salvation had been clearly declared to them, and they perfectly comprehended the doctrines which they had heard.
1 Cor. 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: (KJV)
Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you . . . the testimony of Christ is the Gospel which the apostle Paul had preached, and which had been confirmed by various gifts of the Holy Spirit, and miracles done by the apostle.
1 Cor. 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: (KJV)
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . such was the strength of their faith that the gifts of the Spirit were bestowed on them as abundantly as on any other church. Faith with God’s blessing is often presented in Scripture. Our Lord said: Mat. 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (KJV)
Waiting for the coming of our Lord . . . it is hard to say if Paul meant the final judgment, or our Lord's coming to destroy Jerusalem, and make an end of the Jewish state (1 Thes.3:13).
As the Jews in general continued to contradict and blaspheme, it is no wonder that Paul should be directed to point out to the believing Gentiles that the judgments of God would quickly fall on this rebellious people, and scatter them over the face of the earth; which shortly afterwards took place.
1 Cor.1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)
Who shall also confirm you unto the end . . . the testimony of Christ was confirmed among them, when they believed and obeyed (verse 6).
That ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . in the day when He comes to judge the world, according to some; or in the day in which He comes to destroy the Jewish state, according to others. What we must know for sure is that while God destroys them who are disobedient, He can and will save those who believe.
1 Cor.1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord . . . notice that the Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned in every verse so far. There is an extended Name given to our Lord here . . . called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. This gives four points of identification for Him, so there is no way to not understand.
Paul makes two wonderful statements: God is faithful, and we are called unto the fellowship of His Son.
God is faithful . . . men are not always faithful. Even TRUE believers are NOT always faithful, BUT God is ALWAYS faithful.
By whom ye were called . . . this is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The important word here in connection with the Lord Jesus Christ is fellowship. This is one of the greatest privileges that is given to us as God’s children. If you are in Christ, if you have come to Him and accepted Him as your Saviour, then you are in partnership, in union with Christ. He is willing to be our Partner. This means a very close relationship with Christ. We can face all of today's problems with Him as our Partner. We can count on Him. We can look to Him. He is the solution to ALL the problems and the frustrations of life.
This concludes the introduction to 1 Corinthians, which is a greeting and thanksgiving. The body of the Letter concerns conditions in the Corinthian church, and there were some real problems, as we shall see.
Verse 10 starts a new section in Paul's first Letter to the Corinthian believers. He will address himself now to the primary problem in the Corinthian church. It is surprising to see that their problems have a very familiar ring. I don't know of a church anywhere today that does not have problems, and many of them are the same as those that the Corinthian believers had.
Importance of Christ Crucified Corrects Divisions (1 Cor.1:10-31)
The Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned again in this next verse. This Letter puts emphasis on the Lordship of Christ. We hear a lot about His Lordship, but we see very little of it in today’s times. This creates serious problems. It is NOT enough, just to talk about the Lordship of Christ.
Is Jesus YOUR Saviour and Lord?
Have YOU made Him YOUR Lord and YOUR Master?
1 Cor.1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (KJV)
Now I beseech you, brethren . . . Paul having finished his introduction comes to his second point, urging them to abstain from conflicts, that they might be of the same heart and mind, striving together for the hope of the Gospel.
By the name of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . by His authority, and because of their infinite obligations to His mercy in calling you into such a state of salvation.
That ye all speak the same thing . . . that in matters of doctrine you all speak the same thing; and that you neither be divided in sentiments or opinions, nor in affection,
That there may be no divisions among you . . . which is also further evidenced by the next phrase, being
But that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment . . . a union in affection is the needed and vigorous duty of all those who are the disciples of Christ, and such a duty not only concerns Christians of the same nation, with relation one to another, but also Christians of all nations, and may be attained, if by our lusts we do not hinder it. Let "there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." What is "the same mind"? It is the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5-8).
1 Cor. 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. (KJV)
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you . . . Chloe was most likely some very religious matron at Corinth, whose family was converted to the Lord; some of whom were probably sent to the apostle to inform him of the rebellions which then prevailed in the Church at that place. Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, mentioned in (1 Cor.16:17), were probably the sons of Chloe.
Contentions . . . disagreements, disputes and debates were produced by the divisions mentioned above. When they had divided, they must have struggled, in order to support their respective parties. It seems the trouble with the church in Corinth was that they had a bunch of baby Christians. Babies generally do a lot of whining.
1 Cor.1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. (KJV)
Now this I say, that every one of you saith . . . every one here means many of you, or several of you (1 Cor.14:26).
I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ . . . this explains the reasons for these quarrels. In nearly all the apostolic churches there were quarrels between the Jewish and Gentile converts. It is plain from this and the following letter that these quarrels were provoked by false teachers (2 Cor.11:13); that these teachers were Jewish (2 Cor.11:22); and that they tried to undermine the authority of Paul as an apostle. The two principal parties in Corinth, therefore, were Gentiles calling themselves the disciples of Paul, and Jews claiming to be the followers of Peter.
1 Cor.1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (KJV)
Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? . . . the grounds of our loyalty to Christ are, #1. That He is the Christ, the Son of the living God; #2. That He has redeemed us; and #3. That we are consecrated (sanctified) to Him in baptism (1 Cor.12:13). All these grounds are exclusive to Christ ALONE! To NO other being in the Universe do believers stand in the relationship which they all gain salvation from their common Lord. Since there is just ONE Christ, just ONE Redeemer, just ONE baptism, TRUE Christians cannot be divided without violating the bond that binds them to Christ and to one another.
1 Cor.1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; (KJV)
I thank God that I baptized none of you . . . WHY. . . didn’t Paul himself baptize? (see verse 17). To him it was now a subject of grateful concern that he had not done it.
But Crispus and Gaius . . . Crispus had been the chief ruler of the synagogue at Corinth (Acts 18:8), and Gaius resided at Corinth, and at his house Paul resided when he wrote the Letter to the Romans (Rom.16:23). It is also possible that the third Letter of John was directed to this man (3 Jn.1:1). And if this is so, then probably Diotrephes (3 Jn.1:9), who is mentioned as one who loved to have the pre-eminence, had been one big reason for the difficulties at Corinth. The other persons at Corinth had been probably baptized by Silas and Timothy.
1 Cor.1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. (KJV)
Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name . . . Paul was careful not to baptize, in case it should be thought that he wished to make a following for himself; because insincere observers might think that he baptized them in his own name . . . to be his followers, even though when Paul baptized anyone, he baptized them only in the Name of Christ.
Although it was the duty of the apostles to baptize (Mat.28:19), Paul rejoiced that it had so happened that he had administered that ordinance to only a few people in Corinth, so all grounds that he was making disciples to himself was removed.
1 Cor.1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. (KJV)
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other . . . Stephanas (Chloe’s son, verse 11) was one of the three messengers sent to inform the apostle of the state of the church in Corinth. Paul says he baptized the household or family of Stephanas. It seems that Paul considered his duty to Christ was bringing the Gospel to people, and he himself attached little importance to baptism that he could not really remember whether he had baptized anyone else or not.
1 Cor.1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. (KJV)
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect . . . so that the cross of Christ might not be made powerless and inoperative. If Paul in preaching had either substituted human wisdom for the doctrine of the cross, or had so presented that doctrine as to turn it into a philosophy, his preaching would have been powerless. It would lose its divine element and become nothing more than human wisdom. ANYTHING that obscures (darkens or hides) the cross removes the power from the Gospel.
1 Cor.1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (KJV)
For the preaching of the cross . . . the preaching of the cross is the doctrine concerning the cross and is the doctrine that proclaims salvation to a lost world through the crucifixion of Christ.
Is to them that perish foolishness . . . there are only two classes of people anywhere the Gospel is preached: the unbelievers and gainsayers who are perishing; and the obedient and willing believers. A gainsayer is one who opposes, denies, disputes or contradicts the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To unbelievers, the preaching of salvation through the merit of a crucified Saviour is foolishness, stupidity.
But unto us which are saved it is the power of God . . . to those who believe this doctrine of Christ crucified, the power of God saves their soul! The awesome power of God is without question, effective to deliver them from all the power, guilt, pollution of sin and Satan’s power.
1 Cor. 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. (KJV)
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent . . . (Isa.29:14). This is not to be considered as the citation of any one particular Passage of the Old Testament, as much as an appeal to a doctrine clearly revealed in it. In many Passages, and in many forms, God taught through His prophets the insufficiency of human reason to lead people to the knowledge of the way of salvation.
Isaiah 29:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (KJV) . . . The wisdom of their wise and understanding of their prudent are the same thing!
1 Cor. 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (KJV)
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? . . . this is a challenge to the wise of every class and of every nation to disprove what he had said. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? Paul refers now to Isaiah (Isa.33:18). Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? Where are the wise men amongst the heathens? Where are the scribes, the learned men in the law, amongst the Jews?
Where is the disputer of this world? . . . where are those amongst Jews or Gentiles that are the great scholars into the reasons and natures of things, and manage debates and disputes about them? They understand nothing of the mysteries of the Gospel, or the way of salvation, which God holds out to the world in and through Jesus Christ alone.
Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? . . . all the education in the world cannot ever save your soul! Don’t you see how God has tricked the wisdom of the world? God ia saying that worldly education, worldly knowledge and worldly wisdom have NO effect whatsoever in salvation! He makes it all appear to be vain and contemptible, and of no use at all, when it comes to saving souls.
My friend, you do NOT have to have ANY formal education at all to have God save your soul!
All you have to do is . . . when you read or hear the Gospel message, BELIEVE it. God’s Almighty power will take it from there! Just believe in faith (Eph.2:8-9).
John 3:15-18 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (KJV) . . . There it is!
1 Cor. 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (KJV)
For after that in the wisdom of God . . . I think the wisdom of God here means the wise administrations of God’s Providence in the government of the world, which always leads to His wise ends.
The world by wisdom knew not God . . . the unbelievers of the world would not come to a knowledge of and acceptance of God, so it seems God chose to reveal Himself in and through Jesus Christ . . . but the supposedly wise and noble people were totally hindered by their own reasoning and worldly knowledge, in that they could NOT comprehend the Gospel.
It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe . . . it pleased God greatly to organize the great decree of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which they count foolishness, as the holy and ONLY means by which He would bring all those to Him, that give credit to the revelation of the Gospel. ALL who believe, accept and receive Christ in faith, hold fast to Him, shall receive salvation and eternal life in Heaven one day.
This and the following verses contain Paul’s second argument support just how insufficient human wisdom is. The argument is this: experience having shown the insufficiency (total lack) of human wisdom, God set it aside, declaring it to be utterly worthless, thus He adopted the foolishness of preaching as the means of salvation.
1 Cor.1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: (KJV)
For the Jews require a sign . . . the Jews were not without some true Divine revelation, and they did own the true God, but they desired some miraculous operation from Christ (Mat.12:38; Jn.4:48), to confirm to them that Christ was sent from God. Without signs and wonders they would NOT believe; giving NO credit at all to the words of Christ. My friend, Jesus IS God! http://www.hisservants.org/is_jesus_god_h_s.htm
And the Greeks seek after wisdom . . . by whom Paul means the Gentiles, especially the more educated ones, for Greece was at that time very famous for human literature. They wanted a demonstration of all things from natural causes and rational arguments, and despised every thing which could not so be proven.
1 Cor.1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (KJV)
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness . . . this Passage is parallel to the one above. Since human reason in all its developments (Jewish or Greek) had failed, Paul says: we preach Christ.
But we proclaim Christ crucified . . . this doctrine did not meet the demands of Jews or Greeks. It did not satisfy the expectations of the Jews, nor the requirements of the Greeks, plus it was a stumbling-block to the Jews. The Jews had expected the Messiah to be a glorious temporal prince, who would deliver and exalt their nation. To present as their Messiah someone crucified as a criminal was the greatest possible insult. Therefore, to them He was a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall (Rom.9:33; 1 Pet.2:8). To the Greeks this doctrine was foolish. Nothing could be more absurd than that the blood of the cross could remove sin, promote virtue, and secure salvation. This is the same thought with millions of people today. They are WRONG! It is ONLY the precious Blood of Jesus that can save you. 1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (KJV)
1 Cor.1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (KJV)
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God . . . those who are the called always means those called successfully, as set apart from those who are just invited but never make it to the feast (Mat.22:1-14). The Jews wanted a display of power; the Greeks wanted wisdom. Both are found in Christ, and to the highest degree! JESUS is the power of God and the wisdom of God. And He is the ONLY One Who can save your soul! (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12).
1 Cor.1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (KJV)
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men . . . the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisest man; and the weakness of God is stronger than the strongest man ever! The meaning of these forceful and potent expressions is, that the things that God appoints, which seem to mankind absolute foolishness, are infinitely beyond the highest degree of human wisdom; and that those works of God, which appear to be contemptible, superficial and weak . . . surpass all the efforts of human wisdom and power. The means which God has appointed for the salvation of mankind is so wisely thought out, and so powerful, that all who properly use them shall be unfailingly brought to the end . . . final blessedness in Heaven, which He has promised to ALL them who believe and obey Him (1 Jn.5:10-13). Only a fool would call God a LIAR!
1 Cor.1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (KJV)
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called . . . the connection is not with the preceding verse but with the whole of the preceding context. Paul now introduces a new argument to demonstrate the uselessness of human wisdom. The argument results from their religious experience.
Not many wise men after the flesh . . . not many who are regarded as wise; or who are ranked with philosophers. This supposes that there were some of that description, although the majority of Christians were then, as now, from more humble ranks of life. That there were some of high rank and wealth at Corinth who became Christians, is well known. Crispus and Sosthenes, rulers of the synagogue there (Acts 18:8,17; 1 Cor.1:1). Gaius was a rich, hospitable man (Rom.16:23); and Erastus, the chancellor of the city of Corinth (Rom.16:23), had been converted, and were members of the church.
Not many mighty . . . not many men of power; or men holding important offices in the state (Rev.6:15). This may refer to those who wield power of any kind, whether derived from office, from rank, from wealth, etc.
Not many noble . . . not many of illustrious birth, or descended from famous or well-known families. Paul does not say that there were NO men of wealth, power and birth, but that the majority of the Christians was made up of such. They were made up of those who were of a humble lifestyle. The truth is, the Gospel calls ALL classes of people; but the wise, the mighty, and the noble, are too busy, or too sensual, to pay any attention to an invitation so spiritual and so Godly; so therefore there are few of these in the Church.
1 Cor.1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (KJV)
But God hath chosen . . . the fact of their being in the church at all was the result of God’s choice, His calling. It was owed entirely to His grace.
The foolish things . . . this refers to those who were had little learning, rank, wealth and power, and who were regarded as fools, and were despised by the rich and the great.
To confound the wise . . . to bring to shame; or that God might make them ashamed; humble them by showing them how little He regarded their wisdom; and how little their wisdom contributed to the success of His cause. God overlooked them, and bestowed His favors on the humble and the poor; by choosing His people from the ranks which they despised, and bestowed on them the exalted privilege of being called the sons of God. God had poured dishonor on the rich and the great, and overwhelmed them and their schemes of wisdom with shame. It is also true, that those who are regarded as fools by the wise men of the world, are often able to confound those who boast of their wisdom; and that the arguments of plain men, although illiterate except in the knowledge of Christ. The effect of Christian principles have a power which the education and talent of the men of this world cannot oppose or resist. They have truth on their side; and truth, even though dressed in humble clothing, is mightier than error, although clothed with the brilliance of mind, the demonstration of fine speeches and the cunning of dishonesty.
Five Things God has chosen, and why:
#1. Foolish things to confound the wise
#2. Weak things to confound mighty
#3. Base things to humble the exalted
#4. Despised things to humble noble
#5. Powerless things to bring to defeat the things that are powerful
1 Cor.1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (KJV)
And base things of the world, and things which are despised . . . it is most likely that Paul is referring here to the Gentiles and to the Gentile converts, who were considered base and despicable in the eyes of the Jews, and who counted them no better than dogs. By these very people, converted to Christianity, God has brought to nought all the Jewish self-importance; and by means of the Gentiles themselves, He has overwhelmed the whole Jewish state; so that even Jerusalem itself was soon after this, trodden under foot of the Gentiles. Dogs, a term of reproach: (Ps.22:16; Mat.7:6; 15:26; Mk.7:27; Phil.3:2; Rev.22:14).
What is base? It is the low, dishonorable, immoral and shameful as opposed to the noble.
Despised in the world are those people in low condition, whom the rich and noble look down upon with contempt.
Things that are not are those people who are entirely overlooked as though they were not even there. There is a high point here. God has chosen not only lowly people but those who were objects of contempt, and even those below contempt, too insignificant to be noticed at all. These base ones, these low ones in the eyes of the world, are the ones that God chooses to make kings and priests to Himself (1 Pet.2:5,9; Rev.1:6; 5:10; 20:6).
God brings to nought (nothing) the things that are, meaning those who make their existence known and felt, as opposed to those who are nothing in the world’s eyes. It is clear from the dispensations of God’s grace, that knowledge, rank and power do NOT attract the favor of God in any way. This should exalt the humble, and make the humble content.
1 Cor.1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. (KJV)
That no flesh should glory in his presence . . . WHY does God do things opposite from way the world does? The answer is quite simple! That NO flesh should glory in His Presence! God does His mighty works in such a way that pleases Him. Mankind has no part either in the system or power by which His works are done. Those who are called and accept His invitation (Mat.22:1-14), shall be allowed entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven, but the ones refusing the invitation shall perish in Hell. Many are called, but few are chosen (Mat.22:14). The chosen ones are the ones who believe God and accept Jesus as God’s ONLY Way to Heaven. Yes, I know, many people resent this, and say that THAT Way is far too narrow. Yes! It surely is narrow (Mat.7:13-14) . . . BUT . . . it is wide enough for the whole world IF they are wise enough to go that way! And my friend, the Bible is quite clear that it is God’s ONLY Way of salvation. The wicked shall perish: (Ps.2:12; 73:27; Pro.10:28; 11:7; Lk.13:3,5; Jn.3:16,18,36; 1 Cor.1:18; 2 Thes.2:10; 2 Pet.2:12; 3:6).
I truly do believe that God calls ALL people. Why do I say this? For one reason, the Passage in Matthew 22:1-14, the parable of the marriage of the King’s Son, and for another reason, this Passage in Peter.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (KJV) . . . Not willing that any should perish . . . It is NOT God's will that you or anyone else should perish. Perish = to destroy, destroy utterly, put to death, ruin. He wants NO one to go to Hell! He does NOT want to condemn anyone to Hell!
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (KJV)
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (KJV)
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (KJV)
1 John 5:10-12 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (KJV)
Do you really SEE what each of these verses say? You must BELIEVE what God says, OR He shall condemn you to Hell . . . NOT because He wants to, but because YOU chose NOT to believe what He clearly says!
I think if you are reading these words, it is because God does NOT want you to be condemned to Hell. He wants your name in the book of life (Rev.20:15). He wants you to pass from death unto life. John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (KJV) . . . Jesus clearly tells us we can pass from death unto life! YOU can do that, just turn to Christ Jesus today and receive the wonderful salvation that He has for you.
John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (KJV)
1 Peter 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (KJV) . . . Do you SEE what this says? We have an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you . . . your name is on that mansion IF you are God’s child (1 Jn.3:1-2), by being born again spiritually into His family (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8). Thank You Jesus!
1 Cor. 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (KJV)
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus . . . any good that you possess is granted by God, for it is by and through Him that Christ Jesus came, bringing all the blessings of the Gospel dispensation.
Who of God is made unto us wisdom . . . Christ Jesus is the Author of spiritual wisdom which far excels the wisdom of the philosopher and the scribe, and even that of the Law, which is called the wisdom of the Jews (Deut.4:6).
And righteousness . . . justification is obtained for us by Jesus’ righteousness (Rom.5:1), so that remission of sins is ours, which the Law could never give (Gal.2:21; 3:21-22).
And sanctification . . . sanctification is being set apart for God. It obtains for us not only an external and effective holiness, as was that of the Jews, but also an internal and eternal holiness (Eph.4:24), brought about in us by the Holy Spirit.
And redemption . . . God is the Author of redemption, not from the Egyptian bondage, or Babylon captivity, but from the bondage of Satan, the power of sin and death, and from the bondage of corruption. We are brought into the glorious liberty as the sons of God, or the redemption of the body (Rom.8:21,23).
The purpose of the apostle Paul is to show that man, of himself possesses NO good, that whatever he has comes from God, and it comes from God ONLY through Christ Jesus.
To be in Christ Jesus is to be united to Him. It is union with Him!
#1. Symbolically, as we were in Adam (Rom.5:12-21; 1 Cor.15:22).
#2. Without question, as a branch in the Vine, or a part of the body (Jn.15:5-7).
#3. Knowingly and willingly by faith (Rom.8:1).
The effects of this union, as here stated, are that Christ Jesus is from God. He is the Author, made for us:
#1. The first effect is wisdom. Christ is the TRUE wisdom. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Mat. 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (KJV)
Union with Christ, makes the believer truly wise. All true religious knowledge can come only from Christ, and it is only those who submit to His teaching who are wise for salvation.
#2. The second effect of union with Christ is righteousness and sanctification. These are closely united as different parts of the same thing. Righteousness is what satisfies the demands of the law as a rule of justification (Rom.5:1); sanctification is what satisfies the law as a rule of duty. Christ is both to us. He is our righteousness, because by His obedience and death He has FULLY satisfied the demands of justice, so that we are the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor.5:21). On Judgment Day, Christ will be our righteousness (Rom.3:21-22.5:19; Phil.3:9). He is also our sanctification. His Spirit lives in all His people as the Spirit of holiness, so that they are transformed into His likeness from glory to glory. And wherever the Spirit dwells, there are the fruits of the Spirit (Acts 26:18; Rom.8:9-10; Gal.5:22-23; Eph.2:5,10).
#3. The third effect is redemption, meaning deliverance from evil, and from God’s wrath. This term sometimes includes all the benefits received from Christ. When Jesus is called our Redeemer He is presented as One who delivers us from guilt, from Hell, from sin, from the power of Satan and from the grave. But when redemption is set apart from justification and sanctification, it refers to the FINAL deliverance from evil. The day of redemption is the day when the work of Christ will be completed in the perfect salvation of His people . . . body and soul (Rom.8:23; Eph.1:14; 4:30; Heb.9:12).
Five things Christ is made TO us:
#1. The power of God (1 Cor.1:24)
#2. The wisdom of God (1 Cor.1:24,30)
#3. The righteousness of God (1 Cor.1:30)
#4. The sanctification of God (1 Cor.1:30)
#5. The redemption of God (1 Cor.1:30)
Nine things Christ was made FOR us:
#1. He was made flesh (Jn.1:14).
#2. He was made of a woman (Gal.4:4).
#3. He was made of the seed of David (Rom.1:3).
#4. He was made in likeness of man (Phil.2:7).
#5. He was made of no reputation (Phil.2:7).
#6. He was made lower than angels (Heb.2:7).
#7. He was made under the law (Gal.4:4).
#8. He was made a curse for us (Gal.3:13).
#9. He was made sin for us (2 Cor,.5:21).
1 Cor.1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (KJV)
That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord . . . God's aim is making wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption depend on the TRUE Christian’s union with Christ. Union with Christ does NOT depend on our merit, but on His own good pleasure. In this my friend, we most certainly should glory ONLY in Him, and our confidence should be completely in Him and NOT in ourselves. All the glory of our salvation should be ascribed to Him and not to us.
Have you thanked Jesus today?
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