By way of reminder – the theme of this letter is 1 Cor 1:18~ “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.“
Given the previous verses, and the previous chapter, the message of the Cross is foolishness to the world. While the world longs for a conquering ruler – a mighty king – a God who rules and reigns and is sovereign over all things, this Judeo-Christian God, who truly rules over all things, also died. Literally died. Wrapped in a cloth and set in a grave, died. To the World, this is not their conquering king. To the World, this is not their eternal ruler. To the World, this is not their sovereign creator. The wisdom of the World can’t abide a creator king who dies. This is utter foolishness to them.
Yet for us – the elect, it is the power of God, by which all men are saved – Rom 1:16-17
To the world, this is ridiculous as an idea, yet we call it “wisdom”.
v 6 – “Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.”
- The mature
- This specifically refers to the elect. Not just to the elect, mind you, but those who are “mature” in their faith. This is in contrast to the immaturity that Paul accuses them of in Chapter 3 (later to come in this letter).
- Maturity in Christ comes through struggle in our walk and in our definition of that faith. Like a tree that grows on a windy hillside, over time we expand on the starting Christian principles that we have begin with and those initial roots will extend and deepen in our souls – firmly rooting us in the truth of the gospel of God.
- Struggling in our faith, wrestling over the hard things of the message of God and his work on our behalf, produces strength and a firmness in that faith. Those who are firm in their faith are unlikely to struggle with the knowledge that God has died in their place, and also their fear of God progresses from a knowledge that God was not required to save us, but that we are illdeserving of his work on our behalf, and to lean more on the grace of God in this process – knowing that he has worked, and will continue to work, to complete this process of sanctification within us because it is to his glory, not our own. The same God that we lean on, is the same God who brought Israel out from Egypt and who defended them from all their enemies, despite their continual betrayal against him. He kept his promise to their patriarchs, and delivered them to the land that he had promised, even despite their rejection of his love and care to them.
- Conversely, the immature need to be reminded of the work of God in their lives. They still struggle with their perceived worth (be it greater or lesser than it is) and do not focus on the God who saved them for his own glory, not their own. It is because of this that they are not able to grasp the deeper things that come through this faith. Back to that tree analogy, they do not trust that their faith in God can support their full weight, despite the fact that its roots are plenty deep and secure to sustain them in its entirety and more. Once they learn to trust in him entirely – and to rest in that salvation which has been purchased for them, that they can really begin to grow.
- …wisdom of this age… doomed to pass away…
- The wisdom of this age – the worldly wisdom mentioned before – carries no weight and bends with the whims of the populace. As such, it may have the appearance of wisdom, but is rooted in the shifting sands of the glory of man, and not in God.
v 7 – “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.”
- The “secret” and “hidden” wisdom of God is only secret and hidden from the natural man. This is to show that it is not by the wisdom of men (in that it cannot be determined through the outworkings of the mind of man), but to glorify God. It was declared ages ago in the prophets – revealed plainly by God to the people, and revealed through his continual work to care for his true Israel – the Israel of God, not of the flesh (Rom 9) – and now it is made manifest before our eyes. Those who in the past have trusted in God and his promises prior to the Christ’s revealing and glorification were trusting in the promises of God to come, and we, who live in the age of Christ and of his Church, now trust in the completed promises and in the promise of the age to come.
- Wholly irrelevant and stupid to the world, yet it is all that we lean upon because, to us, it is the only thing we can. John 6:68
v 8 – “None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
- Rulers of this age…
- It was not just the ruling class of the Jews that have crucified our King, but the government who bent to their will.
- If they had understood clearly who Jesus was, he would never have been crucified. Yet it was in the wisdom of God to darken (list of verses) their understanding – to block them from seeing these things.
- Jesus walking through the midst of a crowd seeking to execute him
- His disciples blocked from seeing who Jesus was in his full glory, despite him being in their presence every day
- If Judas had truly known who Jesus was and trusted in that faith, would he have delivered him over to the Jewish authorities?
- The minds of the Jews are blocked from seeing Jesus as God (even as it is today) to their shame – God delivered the promised savior that they religiously sought to find, yet because of their fervent and zealous religiosity – serving the religion rather than the God of their religion – they missed Him entirely, and even sought to kill those (and ultimately did kill some of them) who served the God that they were seeking.
- Lord of glory…
- Jesus is the ruler of all things – and the lord of all. He is the ultimate king of glory – glory in God, glory of God, and glory of those whom he came to save.
v 9-10 – “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’ – these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”
- God’s wisdom is greater than the wisdom of the world, and it cannot be discerned through the work of the mind of man, but God chooses to reveal it to whom he will, and to solidify these things in their minds of his elect, by the work of His Spirit.