The Cruciform Life: Cruciform Wisdom

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1 Cor 2:6-16; 3:18-19

We do, however, speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age knew this wisdom, because if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written,

What no eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no human heart has conceived—
God has prepared these things for those who love him.

10 Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, since the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except his spirit within him? In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God, so that we may understand what has been freely given to us by God. 13 We also speak these things, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 But the person without the Spirit does not receive what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually. 15 The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, and yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone. 16 For

who has known the Lord’s mind,
that he may instruct him?

But we have the mind of Christ.

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks he is wise in this age,let him become a fool so that he can become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, since it is written, He catches the wise in their craftiness;

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Preparation for Worship

In the second chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul continues to jab at the Corinthians misguided notions of wisdom and power. Paul is alarmed that his friends in Corinth have been so deeply influenced by definitions of power, status and self-promotion that were so prevalent in the city of Corinth. Though the Corinthians thought themselves to be very mature and knowledgeble, Paul undercuts their self-assessment by calling them back to the true wisdom of God, which he says looks like foolishness to the world. This wisdom is nothing more or less than the message of the crucified Messiah. Though many promote novel secrets of wisdom and spirituality, Paul says all the great mysteries of God are locked up and now revealed through the simple message of the cross.

How do we get access to this secret wisdom of God? Paul says only the Spirit of God can reveal it. The execution of Jesus on the cross is such a bizarre  counterintuitive, and even offensive means of salvation, that it takes a supernatural revelation of God to show a person that this is indeed the height of the wisdom of God. 

In Paul’s estimation, the tragedy of the church of Corinth is that those who have received the revelation through the Spirit about the wisdom of the cross are living and operating according to the wisdom of the world. He is heartbroken about this and calls his friends to again become “fools” in the world so that they can again be wise (3:18).

The urging of this text is to ask in what ways are you still operating according to the wisdom of the world, even if you have already experienced the revelation of the Spirit about the truth of the cross. When it comes to money, power, beauty, leadership, status, security, or a myriad of other issues, are you still living by what the world considers smart, admirable and worthwhile? Paul is calling you back to the foolishness of the upside down wisdom of the cross. Become a fool so you can again be wise.