1Co 1:20-21 “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? 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.”
Paul, in verse nineteen, has called attention to the word of God in the scriptures (Isa 29:14) that He would destroy the wisdom of the wise and negate the understanding of the prudent. He then calls on the church to examine this truth against their thoughts and actions. This is something we often fail to do today.
When we hear men begin to speak with what seems to be great wisdom, we need to stop and consider where they are. It is not their physical location, but the mental, moral, and spiritual terrain we need to be aware of. We have a responsibility to consider this wisdom in the light of God’s teaching. If that wisdom is not according to the word of God, then we have a responsibility to reject it.
We cannot take the ideas of our time and uphold them simply on the basis of the level of a man’s education (the scribe). Our lives are not to be molded by the thoughts and actions of those who do well in debates (the disputer of this world). It behooves us to live according to the teaching of God’s word as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
Many believe that living a life by faith (as in trusting God) is foolish because we cannot prove God empirically. Men would rather turn to theories such as “the big bang” or Darwinism to explain the world around us. When we trust implicitly in the notions and explanations of men, we are still living by faith. It simply becomes a question of where our faith is placed. It has been my experience that I can always trust God: the same cannot be said for man.
It is no accident that men cannot use worldly wisdom to prove God’s existence. The wisdom of God exceeds the wisdom of men. Man’s inability to absolutely know God and His power by worldly wisdom is a result of the His wisdom. We cannot and will not come to God outside of the drawing power of His will and purpose in grace (Joh 15:16).
Since we know that our eternal deliverance is of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, we must understand that Paul is not now telling us that the gospel is necessary for our eternal salvation. We were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4), so that choosing could not hinge on our hearing and believing the gospel. However, to those of us whom He has granted the grace to believe, there is deliverance in His preached word.
The salvation we have in the preaching of the gospel is a salvation from the fear and despair of the wisdom of this world. The gospel is not the vehicle of our salvation, but rather the affirmation of it. It does not bring life and immortality, but it does bring it to light (2Ti 1:10). God uses the foolishness of preaching to show us, through the Holy Spirit, our Savior Jesus Christ who has abolished death.
May we walk in the light of God’s wisdom and rejoice that He cannot be explained away by the wisdom of the world!