God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
–1 Corinthians 1:21
Human wisdom is temporal. It is limited. It discounts the wisdom of God as foolishness. But Paul said God’s so-called foolishness leads to salvation. Look at 1 Corinthians 1:21-23: “God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness.”
In Paul’s day, the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would deliver them from Roman oppression. So when Jesus did not meet their expectations, they dismissed Him. But the Jews failed to understand that Jesus came to deliver them from the greatest oppression of all–the oppression of sin and death. Jesus was for them a stumbling block. On the other hand, to the Gentiles, Jesus was foolishness. Greek philosophy said everything material is evil; only that which is spiritual is good. So when Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, that did not fit their philosophical system, and they, too, rejected the message of the cross.
But for believers, God’s foolishness is true wisdom. Verses 24-25 say, “But to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” Paul was saying nobody comes to an understanding of the gospel on their own. In 1 Corinthians 2:14, he put it this way: “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” To the natural man, the unsaved person, the gospel will always be foolishness. The only way you and I can believe the gospel message is if God does a supernatural work in our hearts.
Commentator Warren Wiersbe told the story of a young man who went up to an evangelist and asked what he needed to do to be saved. The evangelist said, “It’s too late!”
The young man began to panic. He said, “Is there nothing I can do?”
The evangelist replied, “Too late! It’s already been done! The only thing you can do is believe.”
That is the message of the cross. It is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is true wisdom.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Foolishness of God” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Warren Wiersbe, “Be Transformed” (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2009), 141.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.