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. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 ESV
This post is a bit of a departure for me. It’s not one of my regular “watches daily at wisdom’s gates”. Neither is it a Biblical reflection on some topic that comes to mind, one of my more spontaneous posts.
It’s a reflection on one of the main themes of this blog: wisdom. I know in my daily readings today I blogged about wisdom from James’ letter. But it set me to thinking about how godly wisdom is different to worldly wisdom, and brought me to meditate on this passage.
The message of the Bible isn’t, at its core, a message of glory, of prosperity, of health, wealth and happiness. That would be what we would assume in our worldly wisdom.
The message of the Bible is, at its core, the message of the cross. It’s not about man made religion, how we try and earn God’s favour by our wisdom.
It’s about the subversive, topsy-turvy wisdom of God. If our wisdom is “deep magic”, in the words of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series; God’s wisdom is deeper magic.
God subverts the wisdom of the world. The world says that if you work hard, all your dreams will come true. God says that our work is never enough. We need to trust in His work of salvation for us on the cross.
Religious people want to see miracles from God. Jesus said that a wicked and adulterous generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah- as he came out of the belly of the whale, so Christ came out of the tomb in defeat of death after His crucifixion for our salvation.
Secular people are “theologians of glory”, as Martin Luther would put. They glory in humanity and our own intrinsic wisdom. The idea that God’s eternal Son died for us and rose again victorious over death is foolish to them.
But God’s wisdom will ultimately expose all human wisdom as folly. The world says that dead people don’t rise again. God says “nothing is impossible” for Him. In His wisdom He will raise us all up for judgement- some to be judged righteous through faith in Christ, and others to be condemned as we all deserve to everlasting punishment.
So the “wisdom” in “watching daily at wisdom’s gates” isn’t, I hope, worldly wisdom, but divine wisdom. We might be foolish in the world’s eyes, but as long as God’s Word makes us wise for salvation, we’ll be “reyt” as we say in Yorkshire (“alright”). We can be justified- made just as if we’d never sinned. We can be reconciled to the Holy One, Almighty God Most High.
Are you wise for salvation? Or do you need to wise up? I pray that God will impart His wisdom to all who read this blog, myself included!