Devotional/Reflection: G. K. Chesterton once wrote: “If I had only one sermon to preach, it would be a sermon against Pride. The more I see of existence, and especially of modern practical and experimental existence, the more I am convinced of the reality of the old religious thesis; that all evil began with some attempt at superiority; some moment when, as we might say, the very skies were cracked across like a mirror, because there was a sneer in Heaven[…]Pride is a poison so very poisonous that it not only poisons the virtues; it even poisons the other vices.” I think Chesterton is correct. Pride is the most poisonous of the vices because its very nature is to blind us to the fact that we are in sin. When we are prideful, we cannot but see ourselves as better than others, and if this is our attitude, we will never recognize the sinful attitudes and behaviors in our lives. Paul, too, knew the dangers of pride, and he calls the Corinthian church to a different kind of life. We learn in this passage that part of the reason for the division of the church discussed in verses 10-17, namely factions separated by claims to who brought them to faith, are the result of pride. In claiming Paul or Apollos or Cephas, the Corinthian believers are grasping at superiority. But Paul points out in quite direct words that this is utter foolishness, not only because it is sinful (which it is), but because very few of them were of any account in the culture. Here they were living by the standards of the world and yet most of them amounted to nothing by worldly standards because they lacked wealth, power, or wisdom. And Paul points out further that this is a good thing because it reminds the Corinthians of an important truth–none of us, no matter how great we are by worldly standards, can stand before God righteous on account of those standards. As verses 18-25 show, in God’s wisdom he chose the foolishness of the cross so that no human being can boast before God, because they bring nothing but their sin to the equation. But Paul gives abundantly good news: because of God and His wisdom we are in Christ Jesus, and because we are in Christ Jesus he has become for us wisdom, and consequently righteousness and sanctification and redemption as well. Jesus did the work that we could not do so that we might have the righteousness that we could not earn, nor did we deserve. And though it is foolish in the eyes of the world, it is wisdom to God, and all those who find life in Christ as well. The first five verses of chapter 2 help reinforce God’s work from beginning to end. God the Father chooses the weak and poor and despised of the world and makes them wisdom and righteousness in Christ Jesus, the Son, a truth which is proclaimed not by human wisdom but by the Spirit of God in power. It is a Trinitarian work from beginning to end, and yet by God’s grace we share in it. Praise be to the Triune God!
- In what ways is pride evident in your life?
- What can you do to kill pride in your life?
- Do you find yourself thinking highly of yourself? How does this passage help humble you?
- What comes to mind when you hear terms like righteousness, sanctification, and redemption?
Scripture Memory:”And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”–1 Corinthians 1:30-31
- “Consider Your Calling”–1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (John Piper)
- “Let Him Who Boasts Boast in the Lord”–1 Corinthians 1:31 (John Piper)
- “The Present Power of Christ Crucified”–1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (John Piper)
- “The Wisdom of Men and the Power of God”–1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (John Piper)
- “Preaching Christ and Him Crucified”–1 Corinthians 2:1 (Alistair Begg)
- “The Cross and Christian Preaching, Part 1”–1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (Jim Shaddix)
- “The Cross and Christian Preaching, Part 2”–1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (Jim Shaddix)