The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the CORINTHIANS – Chapter 2
1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.
2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. – 1 Corinthians 2:1-2
The Greek culture gave tremendous honour to good orators, just as we do in places such as parliament today. People who can give a convincing argument or persuasive speeches do well in politics, no matter if they can achieve what they say should be done. We all have God given desires for peace, freedom, happiness and prosperity. Ironically politicians and human governments have tried to fulfil these needs but without God. But He is the very one who wants to give us these things – through the cross of Jesus. By knowing Jesus through the crucifixion, we get peace with God: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27). Freedom: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36). Happiness: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11). And prosperity: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). God has provided everything for us in Jesus, He is our all in all, through His crucifixion and resurrection.
“yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)
3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,
4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:3-5
I don’t know about you, but I somehow imagine the Paul was a strong character but here he states clearly that he was in a state of fear, weakness and trembling! By all accounts he was not a very good speaker. Again, a surprise. We are so used to polished messages. He relied on the Spirit of Wisdom to speak through him a message that I am sure Paul had learned himself before he spoke it. What we say is so much more powerful if it is born from our experience. Faith needs to rest on the power of God. Reminds me of the tale of King Canute resting on pride and faith in himself who ended up getting wet. Or Samson who time and time again relied on his own strength and wreaked havoc, until weak and blind, in an act is self-sacrifice, he slaughtered 3000 Philistines. As the author of Hebrews sums up the heroes of faith:
33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. – Hebrews 11:33-34
Lord may we not rely on our own wisdom but in your Spirit of Wisdom. Teach us to hear Your voice and obey.
6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.
7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. – 1 Corinthians 2:6-8
There is no doubt God, wisely, keeps secrets and things hidden. The idea of revelation is that something that always existed is made known. Now the enemy and the world loves to use this to make people proud. Gnosticism is having knowledge that others do not which makes you nearer to God. In most Gnostic systems the sufficient cause of salvation is this “knowledge of” (“acquaintance with”) the divine. So many cults use this and so do lots of religions (The priest knows the mind of God, the Grand Master has knowledge the lesser masons do not etc.) But Jesus teaches us to humble ourselves;
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7
God reveals His truth to us. In the person of Jesus Christ. He is all we need to know because in Him all things exist. Through the crucifixion the Love of God (which always existed) was truly revealed to mankind. Satan, the ruler of this age wanted Jesus dead. God knew that His death would bring many children to glory.
9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”-
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:9-11
Will we ever understand the Holy Spirit? Here we learn that the Spirit searches everything “even the deep things of God.” What does that mean? Yesterday we noted that God keeps secrets. He reveals things at the right time. Murder mysteries are compelling; as bits are revealed to us to indicate the truth of who the Villain is. In the greatest story of all we know the villain and we know his destination but still we see the plan unfold bit by bit on our own lives. How can we comprehend the triune nature of God? How can we comprehend His wisdom? By totally trusting the Spirit of God to justify, wash and sanctify us (1 Cor 6:11) from all unrighteousness. God’s plan is prefect:
9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things,
10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 3:9-10
12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. – 1 Corinthians 2:12-13
In the property world the mantra is “location, location, location”. In the Christian world perhaps the mantra should be “by Your Spirit, by Your Spirit, by Your Spirit”. The Old Testament points to the importance of the Holy Spirit:
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. – Isaiah 42:1
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. – Joel 2:28
And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, – Ezekiel 11:19
We all have access to spiritual wisdom through the Spirit of God, but this is to know Jesus, in our walk with Him (not claiming that we have all wisdom). He is our Wisdom. We are taught by Him and need to walk in humility and submission to the leading of the Spirit.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2:14-16
What a powerful section the second part of chapter two is. The Holy Spirit, our comforter, gives us wisdom, truth, knowledge and discernment. We have the mind of Christ. We have the Word revealed to us in the scripture and we have the Spirit of God to make the word alive in our hearts and minds, as we meditate on the manna the Lord provides fresh for us each day. We have the mind of Christ to spiritually discern and judge all things, which is the exercising of wisdom. Some people use “Judge not, that you be not judged” – (Matthew 7:1) to claim that no one should comment on their misbehaviour. But, here we read “The spiritual person judges all things,”. We naturally assess or judge situations. We could not survive if we did not. How would we recognise a dangerous person or a crafty person or when a person is lying? Yet, no man can judge us. Only the Lord has that right, and no one instructs Him or tells Him what to do. He may use people to speak His Word into our lives if we are going astray. But, we can, through obedience and humility, enter the Kingdom of God in our experience on earth, through learning to hear and obey. The natural person, full of pride and independence, cannot understand this. They need to be born again and have the eyes of their understanding opened to receive the Mind of Christ, which is fully available to all who believe. But we are children of the light born of the Spirit.
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.