Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Corinthians 2:2
“For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2
The Gentile believers in the city of Corinth to whom Paul is writing almost exclusively came out of idol worship of “the gods” of Greek or Roman mythology. The philosophers of the Greeks attended to the seeking of wisdom. To a Greek, having wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the ‘seen and unseen’ was the epitome of being Man in discovering how to live. Many philosophers did try to establish or discover universal laws of conduct. The Greek philosophers asserted that their philosophy reflected the true will of the gods. This was the previous mindset of these new Corinthian believers. They coupled their faith in Christ with what was called ‘wise’’ according to the culture. Paul wanted to set things straight for them. Paul told them that Christ did not send him to baptize (which they undoubtedly heard continuously from Jews who followed Christ), but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect (I Cor 1:17). Today, if a man or woman is teaching or preaching a different or additional gospel message to the masses other than what was given to Paul, most specifically the crucified Christ, watch out. Having the wisdom of words is not the same as the power of the cross message. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom 16: 17-18). There are plenty out there that draw the masses through their ‘smooth words and flattering speech’ but are deceiving the hearts of the simple.
Paul emphasizes to them that through the wisdom of this world you can not know God (I Cor 1:21). In fact, it pleased God through the (assumed) foolishness of the message preached (Christ crucified for you), to save those who believe, plus nothing. Just BELIEVE it, by FAITH. “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom…” (I Cor 1:22). But in contrast to what the Jews were seeking and what the Greek culture was seeking Paul’s message was this: “…but we preach Christ crucified” (I Cor 1:23). To the Jewish man or woman, the Messiah being killed and crucified was a stumbling block to them, just as Old Testament prophecy forecast. To the Gentile Greek man or woman, the message of Jesus Christ being crucified specifically for them in order to save them from the penalty of sin and the Adamic nature and receive full forgiveness from the Creator was ‘foolishness’. Why? Because the message of the cross can only be understood by ‘faith’. This means you cannot figure out with your earthbound wisdom and insight and great knowledge the truth of Christ crucified for you. To the Ancient Greeks they were dedicated to cultivating the life of the person of practical and theoretical wisdom, the education of the mind. From birth onward, a Greek educational system involved developing the mind to such a dimension that the mind in wisdom and knowledge could rise above the natural. Millions of people today do the same thing through opening their mind to any sort of comprehensible value in practice or religion to attain a higher degree of wisdom – to know how to live – how to be stress free, and how to be calm in the mind, and saved from this Adamic nature from doing unhealthy things. So ‘why’ did God design it so that you cannot figure out how to be saved through access of worldly wisdom? One of the greatest attributes of Man’s fallen nature is pride. Therefore, Paul writes in verse 29 “…that no flesh should glory in His presence.” If you could figure this out, you would glory in your self-discovery. Pride. But God’s perspective says this: “…it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord” (vs 31).
There is one thing the Apostle Paul was determined to know and determined to share: Jesus Christ and Him crucified (2:2). The word ‘determined’ fully means that he reached a decision to a course of action. He made up his mind to share nothing else as priority except Christ’s death. Therefore, he continues in verse 5 “…that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God”. I encourage you at this time to focus upon what Jesus Christ has done for you; to ponder and grasp by faith the depth and wisdom of Christ’s finished work of the cross on your behalf. The world has gone amuck. But the security of being ‘in Christ’ because of the cross far out measures what wisdom this world could ever offer as relief. Do not be corrupted by what this ‘world’ offers, even so-called smooth-talking preaching that does not focus upon the cross. “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor 11:3).
Jaca Kier, Board Member, True Devotion Ministries, Inc.