“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the follow of what we preach to save those who believe.”
1 Corinthians 1:21
The wisdom of God is not the same as the wisdom of the world. It is more powerful in authority because it has kept the world from knowing God through its wisdom. He calls the foolish, the weak, and the low and despised to put to shame the wise, the strong, and those that are exalted “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (vs. 29). But what is His wisdom? And how do we pursue it to live by it? Verse 30 says that Christ Jesus “became to us wisdom from God.” It doesn’t say that He gave to us that wisdom, but He became it for us. So I think the answer to understanding God’s wisdom is to know and love the person and works of Jesus.
He lived a perfect life, but did not boast. He never looked to Himself, but only to God. He never attributed anything to Himself, but only to God. He did only what the Father commanded Him to do. He was the only person in the history of the world to not have a messiah-complex (ironic, huh?). He lived a life of personal weakness (taking no glory in Himself, exhibiting no pride in His power, faith, or wisdom, He went to the least of these and forfeited all status to love them) and in His moment of greatest weakness, His death on the cross, He defeated the afflictions of sin and the sting of death of forever. God’s power was truly made perfect in his weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10).
This Scripture always makes me feel like my head is going to explode when I think about it. The Lord, in His wisdom, kept man’s wisdom from knowing His Son through its wisdom alone and He is pleased to save those who believe the folly of what we claim as Truth. But even the difficulty I experience when trying to wrap my mind around this passage confirms its message – the Gospel is not something simply meant to be understood because we can’t fully understand it. Ultimately, it is a great mystery in which God glorifies Himself and glorifies us when we search It out (Proverbs 25:2).
God has not told His story so that we can simply believe it with our minds in our own wisdom, which is ultimately a product of the Fall. The story of the cross is folly to those who are perishing because it is ridiculous without a belief that Jesus is God. A guy comes running out of the wilderness wearing animal skins and eating bugs yelling at everyone about repentance and forgiveness of sins. Then there’s a virgin birth of a man who claims to be God and lives a perfect life. He performs miracles and healings, talks about angels and demons, and speaks Truth to his own demise. This Jesus walks willingly into one of the most gruesome murders in the history of man. He is whipped, beaten, spit upon, nailed to a cross, left to hang for hours, stabbed in the side, and placed in a tomb that is rolled away by angels two days later so that He can walk out of it resurrected from the dead and then ascend into heaven after spending time with his disciples and many others. Who is going to believe that through the wisdom of the world? Virgin birth? Impossible. Resurrection from the dead? Not a chance. And that guy who ate bugs and wore animal skins, he had to be crazy. That story is silly.
And it is…to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to those being saved. It was folly to the Jews and the Greeks who demanded more than the cross of Christ (signs and wisdom, respectively). But to those whom God has called, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. And that is more than enough for us to believe and spend our entire lives chasing.
“The City of God is a place where the inhabitants love people and walk on gold; the city of man is a place where the inhabitants love gold and walk on people.”