A PERSONAL

 

 

VERSE BY VERSE COMMENTARY

 

 

1CORINTHIANS

 

 

 

 

SHARON CRAVENS

 


1Cor. 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

“apostle” = apostolos, ap-osę-tol-os; from 649; a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ (“apostle”) (with miraculous powers):—apostle, messenger, he that is sent.

 

Paul, the converted sinner Saul, loves to identify himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ.  I don’t think he ever got over the fact that God chose him.  He is an apostle “through the will of God.”  It was God’s choice, God’s pleasure, God’s purpose for his life.  That purpose is told us in Acts 9:15:

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:”

That is still an amazing concept to me.  Our study in Revelation confirmed that we are created for God’s good pleasure; He has a plan, a purpose for each one of us. 

Rev. 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

 

I decided to go to Acts 9 and read the account of his conversion.  God didn’t stand over Saul with a club and beat him into submission.  He appeared to him in a miraculous way and questioned him.  It’s interesting that Saul asked for the “Lord” to identify himself.  It must have truly shocked him to hear the voice identified as Jesus and to have that voice claim that he was the one Saul was persecuting.  Saul was a Pharisee and well trained in the scripture.  He truly thought he was serving God by destroying the Christians.  He knew that the voice from heaven was from God, and now that voice was connected to the person of Jesus.  That has to be his understanding since he immediately repents, changes his mindset, and asks for instruction as to what to do next.  Once he is given instruction as to the Lord’s will, he obeys—immediately and willingly.  What does he do while he is waiting for further instruction?  He prays; he wants to share his heart with God and hear from God’s heart.

 

God has a purpose and a plan for each one of us.  It is up to us to respond in acceptance, obedience and submission.  If we choose to kick and rebel, it is not going to defeat God’s plans and purposes, but it will determine our future, both in our lifetime and for eternity.  Again I am reminded of a verse in Revelation:

Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

 

Paul’s companion at this point is Sosthenes, a brother in the faith.  Paul is always in fellowship with other Christians and working as part of a team, part of the greater whole.

 

1Cor. 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

Paul is writing to the church of God at Corinth, a specific body of believers.  He identifies the church as those who are sanctified (made holy, purified) in Christ Jesus and called (invited) to be saints (sacred, pure, morally blameless).  How is one “sanctified” in Christ Jesus?  By confessing Jesus as Savior and Lord.

2Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Rom. 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Paul then connects this body of believers to the whole—“with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”  There is one church and one Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

1Cor. 1:3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul always addresses the recipients of his letters with a blessing of grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  The grace—God gave us what we didn’t deserve—His Son, Jesus Christ, and continues to gift us through the Holy Spirit because of our acceptance of that gift.  The peace—Jesus’ sacrifice made possible our peace, our ability to be at one again in fellowship with the Creator.

 

1Cor. 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

Paul must have been a great man of prayer.  He is always lifting up to God those to whom He has ministered and taught.  His focus is always on God’s provision for the body of believers through His Son.  It’s an example that I have found to be most challenging and difficult to emulate.  It requires a heart that is truly others-centered.  I believe that the more you invest of yourself in others, the more you treasure that investment.  It’s very convicting.

 

1Cor. 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

A relationship with the Savior enriches us in every way.  All wisdom and knowledge come from God.  The Greeks were known for their love of dialogue and thirst for knowledge.  Paul is getting their attention with a word of praise and encouragement in the areas that are important to them.

 

1Cor. 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

The word for “testimony” references evidence.  Paul is affirming that their lives gave evidence of their profession of faith. 

 

1Cor. 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“gift” = charisma, kharę-is-mah; from 5483; a (divine) gratuity, i.e. deliverance (from danger or passion); (specially), a (spiritual) endowment, i.e. (subjectively) religious qualification, or (objectively) miraculous faculty:—(free) gift.

 

Paul now references some of the evidence.  They are not lacking in any gift.  The same word for gift is used in the following verses:

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom. 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Rom. 12:5-6 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,

1Cor. 7:7 ….But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

1Cor. 12:4, 7-8,11 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit….But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  For to one is given by the Spirit…. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

1Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

2Tim. 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

1Pet. 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Observations:

Š      Salvation is a gift.

Š      Once given, God does not take a gift back.  (See Romans 11:29 above.)  Repentance = irrevocable = Incapable of being recalled or revoked; unchangeable; irreversible; unalterable.

Š      Members of the body have different gifts.

Š      Every believer has his “proper” gift.  The word proper indicates “pertaining to self, private, separate.”

Š      The Holy Spirit is the One who imparts gifts.

Š      Some gifts are “better” than others.

Š      Lack of use can cause the need for a gift to be stirred up, rekindled, brought back to life.

Š      The gifts are for use in ministry to one another.

 

It was also interesting to me that many of the verses using the word gift had no foundation in the Greek; it was supplied by the translators.  Many other uses were of other words that included the following meanings:  gratuity, sacrifice, offering, bestowment, present.

 

I believe this gives more meaning to Paul’s statement regarding there being no lack of gifts in this church.  The body as a whole possessed all the gifts necessary for the needs and successful function of the body.

 

Another evidence is that they were waiting (looking expectantly) for the return of Jesus.  One who is waiting for Jesus will reflect that expectancy by how he/she lives.  You live in preparation for that event.  When we are expecting company or to meet someone important, we clean up and prepare to make a good impression.  When it is someone we love, admire and/or respect, we are eager with anticipation; we are looking forward to the appointment.

 

1Cor. 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Who” seems to be a direct reference to “Lord Jesus Christ” at the end of verse 7.

 

“Confirm” is to make stable, firm, stedfast, sure.

 

“end” = telos, telę-os; from a primary te÷llw tello (to set out for a definite point or goal); properly, the point aimed at as a limit, i.e. (by implication) the conclusion of an act or state.

 

Once we give our lives to Jesus, He is the one who will keep us stedfast and sure in the faith to completion—until we are in His presence for eternity—that’s the point being aimed at, the conclusion of our walk of faith.  It is His work in us that secures us. 

 

As I continued to think on this verse, another verse came to mind.

Phil. 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

 

The words “that ye may be” were added by the translators.  The actual reading should be continual—“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, blameless…..”  The word blameless means “unaccused, irreproachable.”  His work of keeping us in the faith ensures that we will be without grounds for accusation because He has imputed His righteousness to us.

 

1Cor. 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

“faithful” – trustworthy, sure, true.  Webster adds, “Worthy of confidence and belief; conformable to truth of fact; exact; accurate” and “true and constant in affection or allegiance to a person to whom one is bound by a vow, by ties of love…”

 

I usually think of faithfulness in the light of trustworthiness, but I like Webster’s thought of that trustworthiness being connected to His love for me.  It is God the Father Who calls us into fellowship with His Son Jesus through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  That fellowship allows us to share and partake with Christ in His position as the Son of God.  The part that’s hard for my understanding is that we are sons and daughters and heirs with Jesus our Lord.

Rom. 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Rom. 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God

Our position as heirs, doesn’t detract from Jesus’ position as Lord.  My position as wife is submissive to my husband because God ordained it to be that way, but I am still on equal footing in the throne room of grace and in the gifts and blessings available to the children of God.  Children are submissive to their parents in the same way.  God has established an order of government in His kingdom, and Jesus is the King.  We are the servants even as we enjoy the blessings of being sons and daughters in the family of God.

 

Because of God’s faithfulness, we have no excuse for sin in our lives.  He is faithful to provide a way out of temptation; there is never a time that provision isn’t available.

1Cor. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

 

Because of God’s faithfulness, we can be confident of forgiveness when we do sin.

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

1Cor. 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

“beseech” = invite, implore (Webster: petition with urgency, beg), desire, pray

 

Paul is writing these believers as members of his family, people he cares about.  By using the phrase “our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paul is emphasizing that he is on the same level as those to whom he is writing; they are all servants.  Paul is urging these believers to be unified in spirit, word and deed.  This reminds me of Jesus’ prayer in John 17.

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Unity in the body of believers is one of the ways the world is convinced of the truth of the gospel.  I am firmly convinced that one of the devil’s most effective tools has been the ability to cause division in the body of Christ.  When they look at those who claim to be Christians and compare them with those who follow false religions, what do they see?  They generally see more unity and passion in commitment among the adherents of false religions than they do in those who claim to be followers of Jesus. 

 

1Cor. 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

Evidently, Paul had friends in this body of believers with whom he kept in touch.  These friends had communicated to Paul regarding contentions (quarrels, debate, wrangling) in the church.  According to the following verses, the source of contention had to do with prestige or preference in some way because of whose teaching through whom they had become part of the body of believers or who had baptized them.

 

1Cor. 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

1Cor. 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

1Cor. 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

1Cor. 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

1Cor. 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

Paul must have been horrified that they placed him, Apollos and Cephas/Peter on the same level as Christ.  (Evidently there were some in the this church who had heard Jesus teach in person.)  He immediately starts pointing out the differences.  Christ did not teach division in the body of believers.  He taught humility, and love and a servant spirit.  Christ was crucified on the cross to redeem us to God, to provide our salvation—not Paul (or Apollos or Peter).  We are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost—not in the name of Paul (or Apollos or Peter).

Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Paul decided to make it clear that he wanted no part of that kind of thinking.  He was glad he had only baptized a few people in Corinth.  He didn’t want anyone thinking that his name should in any way be associated with their reason for infighting.  The only recognition in baptism should be the name of the believer publicly identifying with the body of Christ through the ministry and provision of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

 

1Cor. 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Again point is made that Paul was commissioned by Christ.  What was his chief purpose?  To preach the gospel, the good news, the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross and His victory over the grave.  This isn’t to say that Paul was not to baptize, just that that was not his main commission from the Lord.

 

“not with wisdom of words” – We all love to hear ourselves talk.  We love to expound our thoughts and ideas.  This was especially true of the Greek culture in Corinth.  When we try to insert our own wisdom and explanations, the message of the cross becomes distorted and even ineffective.  This was a significant temptation to someone as learned and well spoken as Paul.  He was well aware that the simple message of God’s love in sending His Son to become the perfect sacrifice for our sin needs no embellishment.  The full thrust of that love comes through as we simply tell the story of the willing Son of God being obedient unto death on the cross (Heb 12:2) knowing that He would become “my” sin (2Cor 5:21)--sharing the wonderful truth of the resurrection that gives us hope for eternity (1Pet 1:3)--making clear that salvation is available as a gift (Eph 2:8) to all who will accept Jesus’ sacrifice and place their faith in Him as their Savior.

Heb. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

1Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

 

1Cor. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

There are many who are going to lose out on the precious gift of salvation because of their own “wisdom.”  To think that someone can get their sins forgiven and live eternally with God simply by believing the gospel message seems foolish and absurd to them.  It’s bound to be more complicated and surely cannot be available to everyone.

 

Those of us who accept the gospel message in simple faith realize what a great miracle this precious gift is.  We know that only through the power and provision of God could we possibly hope for salvation and a position of righteousness before Almighty God.  We recognize our helplessness.  The message of the cross is a miracle far beyond our understanding.

 

1Cor. 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

“it is written” – Where?

Is. 29:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

Why is God going to do this?

Is. 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

God wants us to look to Him for truth and honor Him with our life as well as our lips.  He doesn’t want us to depend on the wisdom of men.  God is going to provide salvation for man in a way that will not make sense according to man’s wisdom.  He calls this His “marvelous work”—wonderful, difficult, things too high, a miracle.  What man could possibly think that God, the Creator of the Universe, could love us so much that He would send His only Son to die on a cross in judgment for “my” sin?  The truth of the cross completely goes against the wisdom of man.

 

1Cor. 1:20 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?

“Wise” has reference to intellectual ability.  “Scribe” is referencing the educated man.  “Disputer of this world” is a reference to those who debate and philosophize as they look for answers through human reasoning.  From God’s reference point, even the most intelligent and learned of men appear foolish as they try to find answers without reference to Him.

 

1Cor. 1:21 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.

This is basically saying that it was God that determined that man would not be able to know and understand God through his own wisdom.  There is a difference in knowing about God and having an intimate relationship with and understanding of God.  We can know about God through creation.

Psa. 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

 

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Rom. 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

We can only know God intimately with understanding through restoration of fellowship with Him that comes through faith in Jesus, the Son.  The preaching being referenced here is the preaching of the cross as declared in verse 18.  Acceptance of the message of the cross will result in salvation (healing, preservation, being made whole) for the one that believes its truth and places his faith in the Savior.

 

1Cor. 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

As man seeks for answers without reference to God, the Jews are known for looking for signs (a miracle, a wonder) and the Greeks are known for seeking wisdom (intelligence, knowledge and the capacity to use it). 

 

The Jews had a history of miraculous intervention on their behalf; so it is not surprising to me that they would expect the miraculous to identify something as being associated with the Divine.  The problem is that their expectations placed limits as to what those signs could be.  The Jewish people as a whole did not accept the miracles of Jesus as a sign of God’s affirmation of Him as the Messiah because of their expectation of His coming as a deliverer and a conquering King.  As a result, they ended up rejecting Jesus and accusing Him of being empowered by Satan.

 

It is so important to study the scripture with an open heart and seeking instruction by the Holy Spirit.  We need to learn to set aside our own perceptions, expectations, and wisdom to be able to hear the instruction of the Spirit.  That so goes against our nature.  It’s wonderful that God gives us wonderful men who love the Lord to share what they have learned about God’s Word, but we should never be dependent upon the teaching of man.  It’s wonderful to have our thinking stimulated and stretched through input from others, but our total dependence should be on the teaching of the Spirit.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things…

 

1Cor. 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

This verse affirms what was stated above.  The preaching of Christ as the Messiah was a stumblingblock (a trap, a snare, an occasion to fall) to the Jews.  To the Greeks, it was pure foolishness (silliness, absurdity).

 

1Cor. 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

“them which are called” – Those who are invited, appointed.  Who are those called?

Rom. 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Rom. 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

 

Heb. 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus….

 

As God, He knew from the beginning who would choose to follow Him in faith.  His Word is full of the truth that He is not willing that any should perish.

Ezek. 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. 

2Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

I just take the Lord at His word.  God called those whom he knew would choose Him.  He didn’t create people for the purpose of condemnation.  Neither did He refuse to create those who would choose to reject Him.  He created all and has done everything possible to cause man to choose to follow Him in faith and obedience.

 

The Greek for the word “Greeks” embraces the Gentile world, all non-Jews.  What a blessed truth.  God chose the nation of Israel for the special purpose of presenting Himself and His truth to the world, but His salvation is open to all—Jew and Gentile. 

 

The message of Christ crucified is a message of the power and wisdom of God.  Only the Son of God could have willingly laid aside His deity and clothed Himself with humanity to become the perfect, sinless man who could qualify as the blood sacrifice to pay for “my” sin.  Only through the power of the Father to raise Him from the dead could that sacrifice be declared acceptable.

Rom. 4:24b …if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Rom. 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

 

Rom. 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

 

1Cor. 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

If these words weren’t breathed into Paul through the Holy Spirit, I would say that Paul had made a mistake here.  How could any action of God be called foolish?  How could God ever be considered as weak in any area?  Since the purpose of scripture is to communicate truth to man and reveal God to man, the Spirit seems to be making a point from man’s point of view.  It certainly seems foolish in my eyes as a parent to think of sacrificing my child to save someone else—especially knowing that sacrifice would cause that child to be ridiculed and suffer so much pain—especially knowing that sacrifice would be rejected by so many.  It seems “weak” that God has allowed the god of this world to exert his influence for so long (from man’s perspective) as God waits for man to repent and turn to Him in faith because He is not willing that any should perish.  The key is found in the book of Isaiah:

Is. 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Is. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God does not think and act in ways that man can truly understand.  I feel like I get a glimmer from time to time—but only a glimmer.  We are sinful; He is holy and righteous.  We are selfish; He is loving and merciful.  We are impatient; He is patient and longsuffering.  We are so caught up in the “now”; “now” is not a relevant term to Him; He is outside of time.  We are living in a finite world; He is—always has been and always will be.  Our understanding is based on our knowledge base, which is limited; His knowledge base is unlimited; He knows everything there is to know. 

 

Because God through His Son chose to appear foolish and weak to men by willingly coming to this earth in humility as a man and submitting to the cross, we have the opportunity to experience a restored relationship with the Creator.  His wisdom and power were declared as the Father resurrected the Son in victory over sin and the grave.

1Pet. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 

Rom. 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

Rom. 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

 

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant….

 

1Cor. 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

Reminder, Paul is talking to “brethren,” fellow believers.  “Ye see your calling” seems to be a way of saying, “Look who makes up this body of believers.”  Evidently, the group didn’t include many that were considered wise (smart, intelligent), or strong (mighty, powerful), or noble (well born, high in rank) in the eyes of man.  Why would that be?  Generally speaking, those who are wise, strong and noble have a hard time recognizing that they have a need; or if they do recognize it, are too proud to admit it.

Mark 2:16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

 

1Cor. 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

1Cor. 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

These verses build directly on the previous verse.  I think the point being made is that man has to realize that in and of himself there is no salvation.  God’s perfect plan made clear that only through the work of Christ can man have hope for the future.  Man cannot guarantee his eternal well being through plans of his own making using his own wisdom.  The most powerful man on earth cannot effect his own salvation.  God is no respecter of persons.  No matter how high the level of society in which you are born, even if of royalty, you cannot “command” salvation of God nor can you expect salvation just because of who you are.

 

Although the wording makes it sound like the Lord is trying to keep people from experiencing salvation, He is really expressing a beautiful truth.  Nothing man can do can accomplish his salvation.  The provision has been made for us.  It’s provided as a gift to those who are willing to recognize their position as a sinner before Almighty God and repent and accept His wonderful gift. 

Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Eph. 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

1Cor. 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

There are some verses in Jeremiah that support this section of scripture:

Jer. 9:23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:

Jer. 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Even the three groups of people referenced seem to match with verse 26.  No man will be able to stand before God and glory/boast in and of himself for any reason.  It is only through the gifting and empowerment of God that one is wise, mighty, or noble/rich to begin with.  It is only because of the provision of God through His Son in His mercy that we can have a hope for the future.

 

We were created for the glory of God and for His good pleasure.

Is. 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Rev. 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

We have been deceived into thinking that it is the other way around—that God is around to honor us and make our life wonderful.

 

1Cor. 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

“of him” – This is referencing God the Father as the One Who made it possible for us to be “in Christ Jesus.”  It was the Father Who gave the Son as a sacrifice for my sin; the Son was willing and obedient.  Yet, Father and Son are One.  Through the Father, Jesus is the One that embodies and personifies the following:

1.     “wisdom” – The Greek includes both spiritual and worldly wisdom.  Webster = “The quality of being wise; knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it; knowledge of the best ends and the best means; discernment and judgment; discretion; sagacity; skill; dexterity.”

 

Psa. 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments:

Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

 

2.     “righteousness” – The Greek includes equity of character, innocent and holy.  Webster = “The state of being right with God; justification; the work of Christ, which is the ground of justification.”

 

3.    “sanctification” – The Greek states, “properly, purification, i.e. (the state) purity; concretely (by Hebraism) a purifier:—holiness, sanctification.”  Webster = “The act of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purified, or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God; also, the state of being thus purified or sanctified.”

 

4.     “redemption” – The Greek states, “ransom in full, redemption and deliverance.”  Webster = “The procuring of God’s favor by the sufferings and death of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God’s violated law.”

 

I’m gaining quite a respect for good ole Webster. 

 

It is through Jesus that we can begin to “know” the Father.  As I continue to contemplate this verse, the order seems odd.  I would think first in order of redemption which produces righteousness and puts us in a position to become sanctified and wise.

 

1Cor. 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

This verse seems to be referencing Jeremiah 9:24 (quoted above).  All through the scripture the Spirit emphasizes that God’s word is always fulfilled.  God’s plan is very specific to ensure that ALL glory belongs to God.  Every ability man has is a gift from God.  Man’s redemption is completely dependent upon the work of God through His Son, Jesus.  Even when we become a child of God through faith in Jesus, we can only accomplish His purpose for us through the empowerment and direction of the Holy Spirit.  Man has absolutely nothing about which to boast except that “he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord.”